Free Soil Party, founded August 9-10, 1848, in Buffalo, New York. It included members of the “Conscience Whigs” Party, Democrats and members of the Liberty Party. The motto was, “Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor and Free Men.” It was a third party, whose main purpose was opposing the expansion of slavery into the Western territories acquired after the war with Mexico. The party argued that free men on free soil was a morally and economically superior system to slavery. The party agreed with the Wilmot Proviso, and tried to remove existing laws that discriminated against freed African Americans. The party was active from 1848 to 1852. The party’s support came largely from the areas of upstate New York. The party membership was absorbed by the Republican Party at its founding in 1854. (References)
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Chapter: “Coalition in Massachusetts. Election of Mr. Sumner,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
In the year 1848 there were thousands of Democrats who sympathized, for various reasons, with the Free Soil movement, though they gave a reluctant support to General Cass. But when the election was over, and the government had passed from Democratic rule, and the Southern pressure was in some measure lifted by both the removal of the responsibility of power and what was deemed Southern recreancy in deserting General Cass for General Taylor, there were many who hoped that their party would place itself in better position. This was specially manifested in Ohio in the organization of its legislature, in the election of judges, and also in the election of Mr. Chase as United States Senator. In Connecticut the Democrats and Free-Soilers combined in the election of members of Congress; Mr. Booth, who had voted the Free Soil ticket, Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Waldo, who had publicly indorsed the Free Soil platform, being chosen members of the House. In Vermont, too, a similar fusion was effected, and the Democrats passed antislavery resolutions.
The Massachusetts Democratic State convention met in Springfield on the 19th of September, 1849. It consisted of about six hundred members, who adopted with hardly a dissenting voice, and with general applause, resolutions avowing opposition "to slavery in every form and color" ; pronouncing "in favor of freedom and free soil wherever man lives throughout God's heritage"; and declaring that "slavery is a mere municipal regulation," that it " does not exist in the Territories by municipal law," that " Congress has no power to institute it," that " the local laws of our State can never be transported there," that it " can never exist there but by local law sanctioned by Congress." They also declared their opposition to the extension of slavery to the Territories, and in favor of restricting it to the limits within which it exists by the local laws of the States. Those resolutions were drawn up by Benjamin F. Hallett. On his way to the convention he read them to Charles C. Hazewell, then editor of the Boston “Times," and to Mr. Wilson, then editor of the Boston “Emancipator and Republican." Mr. Hazewell was a gentle man of vast historical acquisitions, of extraordinary memory, and of progressive views. He approved of the sentiments of the resolutions; but he asked Mr. Hallett what the Southern Democrats would say to them. To this question that gentleman promptly replied: "I do not care what they say. We have risked everything for them. They deserted General Cass and elected General Taylor. They can take care of themselves and we can take care of ourselves." They were indorsed by the Boston “Post “on the morning after the convention, and the opinion was expressed that the two minority parties could act together on State affairs. There was cooperation in many of the senatorial and representative districts, but it was mainly for local purposes. In Wisconsin, too, there was a like co-operation between the Free-Soilers and the Democrats, the Democratic State convention passing a series of resolutions of the most thorough antislavery character.
The New York Democratic State committee invited the Free Soil State committee to unite with them in calling a union convention for the nomination of a union ticket. In response the committee reiterated their convictions concerning slavery, declared it to be a social and political evil, avowed their attachment to the ordinance of 1787, and stated that they could form no combinations that would require its abandonment. They expressed their gratification that Democrats in other States were taking ground against slavery extension. Not withstanding this reply, the two parties met simultaneously in convention at Rome on the 16th of August. The Democratic convention passed resolutions in favor of the power of Congress to prohibit slavery in the Territories and in the District of Columbia, but would not pass any making slavery a test question. The Free Soil convention adopted resolutions embodying the principles of the Buffalo platform. Committees of conference were appointed, but the Democratic convention refused to accept the resolutions of the Free Soil body. And yet the latter, under the lead of John Yan Buren, proposed to merge the two conventions in one. But the proffer was declined, and the two adjourned. The Free-Soilers immediately issued an address to the public in which they arraigned with much severity the course of the Democratic convention.
The Democratic State convention was held at Syracuse on the 5th of September, nominated a State ticket, and, singularly enough in view of what had transpired and of their hitherto unsuccessful efforts at union, proposed that the Free-Soilers should name a portion of the candidates to be voted for, providing, however, that they should be well-known Democrats, and that they should " impose no principle or test " upon the candidates " inconsistent with the resolutions " adopted at Rome by the Democratic convention, conditions that effectually disfranchised the old members of the Liberty party and the forty thousand Whigs who had voted with the Free Soil party.
In the Free Soil, or Barnburner, convention at Utica, both the resolutions and the speeches were antislavery in character, and strong hopes were expressed that the Democratic Party would soon be found occupying that ground. In one of the resolutions adopted it was declared to be “dishonorable to New York if the Democracy of this great Commonwealth should reject the teachings of her Tompkins and her Wright, and refuse to assist in this great work of regeneration, the foundations of which were laid by Thomas Jefferson." “We expect to make the Democratic party of this State," said John Yan Buren, “the great antislavery party of this State, and through it to make the Democratic party of the United States the great antislavery party of the United States." Said Henry B. Stanton: " Here and to-day we are doing up the work of centuries, and God help us to do it well!” He expressed the belief that the people, the masses, could be “trusted on the question of slavery."
But, notwithstanding these distinct and loudly proclaimed avowals of antislavery sentiments, the convention proceeded to the acceptance of the Syracuse proposition for the union of the parties in the ensuing election. Without any security that the sentiments they had just avowed should become the principles of the united party, or any assurance other than their professed ability to convert the Democratic organization to their faith, they entered into an organic union with a party whose past history and current policy were in direct antagonism with the avowed principles and purposes of their own. As might have been expected, the only effect was disastrous. Instead of converting the Democratic Party, they themselves apostatized from their loudly proclaimed faith, accepted the compromise measures of 1850, helped elect and sustained Franklin Pierce, whose administration was the most intensely proslavery on record.
When the Whig majority in the Massachusetts legislature rejected Mr. Wilson's proposition to request Mr. Webster to vote against the pending compromise measures, he declared his determination to co-operate with anybody of men to drive the dominant party from power, and to send to the Senate a statesman who would fitly represent the cherished and distinguishing opinions of the Commonwealth. Avowing himself as opposed to the fusion of parties except on “the basis of the full and complete recognition of the principles embodied in the Buffalo platform," he advocated a “coalition” between the Free Soil and Democratic parties, each party to retain its distinctive organization, principles, and policy. He kept the pledge thus made on the floor of the House of Representatives, and during the spring and summer of 1850 did what he could to secure the co-operation of the masses of these parties. The death of President Taylor, the reactionary course of Mr. Fillmore, the activity of Mr. Webster, the defection of Northern Whigs, and the assured triumph of the com promise measures, seemed to him to make a coalition a necessity and its success a duty. To aid that result he, as chairman of the State committee of the Free Soil party, invited one hundred of the leading Free-Soilers of the State to meet with the committee on the 10th of September. The meeting was held at the Adams House in Boston. Some fifty or sixty were present. It was a meeting remarkable for its large proportion of thoughtful and cultivated men, and men, too, of irreproachable character and unblemished integrity. They were persons who would very naturally think independently, and differ, too, on the new questions that were pressing their claims and clamoring for answers. Mr. Wilson presided, and stated that the purpose of the meeting was to consider the policy of co-operating with the Democrats at the coming election. He expressed the belief that a large majority of the Free Soil party were in favor of a coalition for the purpose of securing a United States Senator for six years, and that, if the State committee and other leading Free-Soilers united upon that policy, it would be successful. It was for the purpose of canvassing the question and ascertaining their views that he had called them together.
The discussion was opened by John G. Palfrey, who ex pressed his decided opposition to the proposed movement. He thought the value of electing a United States Senator had been exaggerated, that there were doubts of their ability to carry out such a programme, and that the proposed coalition might prove disastrous to their own organization. Charles Francis Adams expressed a similar opposition in language very decided and unequivocal. With similar emphasis and decision did Richard H. Dana, Jr., Samuel Hoar, and Stephen H. Phillips also oppose the proposed coalition. On the other hand, Marcus Morton, William Jackson, Dr. Caleb Swan, and
John B. Alley favored it, and augured the best results there from. But, at the suggestion of Mr. Adams, William A. White moved that no action should be taken committing the State committee or the party, but that each member should be left to act according to his sense of duty. His motion received the concurrence of the meeting. A majority of those present were unquestionably opposed to the plan, but a minority believed it could be made a success, and were determined to make the trial. There can be no doubt, however, that, though these men differed in regard to the proposed policy, they were actuated by a common purpose. Among those who favored the proposed action was William Jackson, who had been long an antislavery man, a prominent member of the Liberty party, but who held all parties as matters of secondary importance, to be subordinated to the paramount claims of freedom. He made an earnest speech. Though, he said, he did not expect to live to see the day when the Liberty or Free Soil party would have a majority in the State or the nation, he was anxious that they should throw their votes so that they should be felt, that they should be as faithful to liberty as the slaveholders were to slavery. “I want to make my vote tell," he said, " and it will not do to be too straight and perpendicular for the sake of principle." Dr. Swan, too, a veteran and earnest antislavery man, strenuously advocated the proposed coalition. A campaign paper was started, called the "Free-Soiler," edited by Francis W. Bird, John B. Alley, and Horace E. Smith. It advocated the proposed union on the distinct ground of censuring the action of Mr. Webster, repudiating the compromise measures and the administration, and electing a Free Soil senator. The " Emancipator and Republican," edited by Mr. Wilson, the Dedham " Gazette," by Mr. Keyes, the Worcester " Spy," by Mr. Earle, the Lowell " American," by William S. Robinson, the Northampton " Courier," by Mr. Gere, advocated a coalition upon the same basis.
The Free Soil State convention met in Boston on the 3d of October. The convention was called to order by Mr. Wilson, Amasa Walker was made temporary chairman, and Joseph T. Buckingham was made permanent president. Both Stephen C. Phillips and John Mills sent letters declining to be again candidates for governor and lieutenant-governor. These letters and the question of candidates were referred to a committee of one from each county. The committee reported the names of Mr. Phillips and Mr. Walker as candidates, and they were nominated by acclamation and a rising vote. These nominations were very satisfactory to the party and commanded a hearty support. Mr. Phillips was among the earliest advocates of antislavery in the ranks of the Whig party. He was a successful merchant, of liberal education and culture, a ready, earnest, and forcible speaker, eminently conscientious and practical, and always ready to make personal sacrifices for the cause he espoused. Mr. Walker was also a merchant. Though he belonged to the Democratic Party he was an early and earnest antislavery man. With wealth, practical sagacity, mental culture and acumen, he was an earnest and effective worker in the ranks of the new party.
Charles Francis Adams reported a series of resolutions in which the compromise measures were declared to be " shocking to the best feelings of the human heart," and the Fugitive Slave Act " an insult to humanity, a disgrace to free America, and a dishonor to the civilization of the age "; that to " such a law no obedience can spring from the heart;" and that " no duty is more imperative than that of laboring from this time forward for its immediate and unconditional repeal." Brief and eloquent speeches were made by Julian of Indiana, Free Soil member of Congress, Sumner, Adams, Burlingame, Keyes, Leavitt, Bradburn, and White.
Horace Mann had been selected by the Whigs of the Eighth District to succeed John Quincy Adams. His antislavery opinions were well known when elected, and he had never exhibited any faltering in Congress from the position he had maintained at home. His severe criticism and condemnation of Mr. Webster and his course were, however, very distasteful to his Whig constituents, and he was rejected as their candidate for the pending election. But what had so grievously offended the Whigs recommended him to the Free-Soilers. A District convention was held at Dedham, over which Mr. Adams presided. In his address he said that " there was no question that the striking down of the Representative in this District would be considered by the slaveholders as the greatest triumph yet achieved, because he had the courage to do what no other public man had done. He had boldly taken the great traitor by the throat and held him up to the view of the people of Massachusetts." He said that the present afforded a fine opportunity to “overlook the rigid lines of party," and to extend the hand of fellowship to the men of other parties who agreed with them in “support of great principles." As for himself, he declared his determination never to be a candidate for office "upon a ticket formed by any combination of parties unless it was founded on Free Soil principles." Speeches were made by Edward L. Keyes, Francis W. Bird, and Edwin Thompson. Mr. Mann received the unanimous vote of the convention, and was triumphantly elected by the people.
The Free Soil and Democratic conventions of Middlesex County were held at Concord for the nomination of six Senators on the same day; George F. Farley presiding over the former, and Benjamin F. Butler over the latter. Mr. Farley, on taking the chair, gave a searching review of the Whig party, vindicated the principles of the Free Soil organization, and justified the proposed union of forces for the triumph of the principles of the new party. A committee of conference with the Democrats was appointed. John A. Bolles, William A. White, Chauncy L. Knapp, James M. Stone, and S. P. Adams vindicated the proposed policy for local purposes, for the condemnation of the administration, and the election of a United States Senator pledged to freedom. Mr. Stone gave pertinent expression to the great thought of the movement by saying that he would “use the weapon of the Whig party to strike power out of the grasp of the Democratic Party, and the weapon of the Democratic party to strike power out of the grasp of the Whig party."
Mr. Wilson defined the grounds on which he favored the proposed union. Not State issues, but liberty, afforded the motive that influenced him in his action. By temporarily uniting with the Democrats he hoped to secure the balance of power, and place the Free-Soilers in a position to direct the policy of Massachusetts and place the Old Commonwealth “in the van in the great contest to rescue the government from the grasp of the Slave Power." He wished, above all, to send a true and tried champion of freedom to the Senate of the United States, “to stand side by side with Hale, Seward, and Chase, to fight the battles of liberty for the next six years." Whatever measures might be needful for the glory of the State would receive their support; “but all these measures," he said,” must be subordinate to the great question of the age." In the nomination of Mann and Fowler the Free-Soilers had shown their readiness to unite with Whigs whenever by so doing they could advance their principles. The proffer was accepted by the Democratic convention, the desired arrangement was made in the senatorial and representative Districts, and the nominations, thus made, secured the almost unanimous support of the Free Soil and Democratic parties.
The Free Soil speakers and presses placed their appeal for popular support on the same basis. The views of the masses of the party were well expressed by Mr. Sumner, a few days before the election, in a speech in Faneuil Hall. " It is because," he said, " I place freedom above all else that I cordially concur in the different unions and combinations throughout the Commonwealth, in Mr. Mann's District, of Free-Soilers with Whigs; also in Mr. Fowler's District, of Free-Soilers with Whigs; and generally in senatorial Districts, of Free-Soilers with Democrats. By the first of these, two good men may be secured in Congress, while by the latter the friends of freedom may obtain a controlling influence in the legislature of Massachusetts during the coming session, and thus advance our cause. They may arbitrate between both the old parties, making freedom their perpetual object, and in this way contribute more powerfully than they otherwise could to the cause which has drawn us together." These sentiments, thus fully and frankly expressed by Mr. Sumner, not only embodied the sentiments of the great body of the Free Soil party, but unquestionably contributed largely to his selection as candidate for the senatorship after its success. The coalition triumphed. There was no choice for governor, and decisive majorities were secured in both houses of the legislature. When it assembled in January, 1851, committees of conference were appointed by the Free Soil and Democratic caucuses. With entire unanimity, the Free Soil members authorized their committee, at the head of which was placed the venerable John Milton Earle, to express their entire readiness to elect Mr. Boutwell governor, and to allow Democratic candidates to fill the other State offices, on the sole condition that a Free-Soiler, selected by Free-Soilers, should be elected for the long term to the Senate of the United States. For this they had fought the battle, and for this they were willing to sacrifice everything else. The Democrats acquiesced in the arrangement, though they expressed a preference that Free-Soilers should fill some of the State offices.
But this arrangement was not made without opposition. Mr. Palfrey addressed a letter to the Free Soil members of the legislature in deprecation of the proposed measure, expressing similar sentiments to those he had avowed at the conference. He reiterated the idea that they were overestimating the importance of having a Senator, who must necessarily be in a lean minority, while the risks to the Free Soil party were great, -- too great to be wisely run for a boon of such questionable value. He expressed the conviction that they were on the eve of great changes, and of new combinations in the political world, and that they should keep themselves free from entangling alliances, and hold themselves in a position to profit by any new developments which might be, at any time, expected. Mr. Adams wrote a letter to the Boston “Atlas," expressing concurrence in the views maintained by Mr. Palfrey. He expressed confidence in “the purity of purpose” of the Free Soil party, and, though he might not agree with the majority in the means to the end, he believed “the end we mean to reach is one and the same, -- the predominance of the principles of freedom in the national policy." He confessed that he felt almost as strongly as any of his party the temptation to overlook the difficulties in his desire to secure the results. “Most especially should I be reconciled," he said, " to everything short of the dissolution of the party into old-line Democracy, if it could ring the political knell of one whose course has done more, in my humble judgment, to shake the wavering principles and unsettle the highest policy of Puritan New England than that of any man known in its history."
The Free Soil proposition was accepted. Henry Wilson was made president of the Senate, and Nathaniel P. Banks, Jr., speaker of the House; Mr. Boutwell was chosen governor, Mr. Cushman was made lieutenant-governor, Amasa Walker, the Free Soil candidate for lieutenant-governor, was made Secretary of State, the Free-Soilers had four of the nine councillors, and Robert Rantoul, Jr., proposed by the Democrats, was accepted and elected to the United States Senate for the remainder of the time ending March 4, 1851. Mr. Simmer was unanimously selected by the Free-Soilers, receiving eighty-two votes as their candidate for Senator for the long term, and after a somewhat exciting debate his nomination was accepted by the Democratic caucus. A few Democrats, under the lead of Caleb Gushing, opposed his nomination, as also did the "Morning Post," the organ of the party, and several other Democratic papers. Samuel D. Bradford addressed a letter to the Democratic members of the legislature, in which he warned them of the peril to the party the proposed coalition would bring; and he told them they were standing " on the very brink of political annihilation," and implored them not to disturb the country by sending " a firebrand into the councils of the nation."
Robert C. Winthrop was selected as the Whig candidate for Senator. In the Senate Mr. Sumner received twenty-three votes, Mr. Winthrop fourteen, and Henry W. Bishop one. On the first ballot in the House Mr. Sumner received one hundred and eighty-six votes, Mr. Winthrop one hundred and sixty-seven. As one hundred and ninety-three votes were necessary for a choice, Mr. Sumner lacked five of the requisite number. The recusant Democrats gave twenty-three votes, and there were a few scattering ballots cast. This failure to elect Mr. Sumner caused a deep feeling of disappointment both in and out of the legislature. Conferences and caucuses were held by the Free Soil members almost daily. A committee on organization was appointed, of which Mr. Wil son was chairman. This committee labored with tireless zeal and unfaltering faith. They insisted from the beginning that their candidate could be elected and should be elected, and that no change or compromise should be made. They were sustained by the Free Soil masses and presses and by leading Free-Soilers in and out of the State. Adams, Dana, and Phillips, and others who opposed this alliance with the Democracy, were gratified with the selection of Mr. Sumner as the candidate, hoped for his election, and were opposed to his withdrawal or abandonment.
But, after weeks spent in unsuccessful struggles, some of the Free-Soilers, hoping that some other candidate would be more acceptable, counselled a change. Some of the seceding Democrats intimated that another candidate would command votes that Mr. Sumner had failed to receive. Indeed, Mr. Gushing took occasion to say that Mr. Sumner's cause was “a lost cause." Governor Boutwell, also believing that the contest was hopeless, counselled a change from Mr. Sumner to Stephen C. Phillips. On the 22d of February, Mr. Sumner wrote to Mr. Wilson, requesting him to communicate to the Free Soil members his desire that they should not hesitate to transfer their support to some other candidate faithful to their cause, if success could be thus achieved. In this letter he said: “Abandon me, then, whenever you think best, without notice or apology. The cause is everything; I am nothing."
But the great body of the Free-Soilers were firm, and, not withstanding the fierce opposition arrayed against their candidate, the timidity of friends, the counsels of the governor, and the inflexibility of the “indomitables," as the twenty-three Democrats styled themselves, they still adhered to their candidate. The contest continued until the 24th of April, when, on the twenty-sixth ballot, Mr. Sumner received just the requisite number, and was elected. With that majority was Nathaniel B. Borden of Fall River, an antislavery Whig and former member of Congress, who gracefully yielded to the wishes of a majority of his Whig constituents, as expressed in a memorial, circulated through the tireless efforts of James Buffinton. Of the twenty-three Democrats, it is believed that Israel Haynes of Sudbury finally gave his vote for Mr. Sumner.
The result of the vote was hailed with marked demonstrations of delight, and the Free-Soilers who had doubted the wisdom of the arrangement rejoiced in its success. In the evening an immense meeting was held in State Street, at which congratulatory speeches were made by Thomas Russell, Joseph Lyman, and Henry Wilson. This meeting then moved to the house of Mr. Sumner, but he had retired to the home of a friend in Cambridge, preferring to avoid the anticipated demonstrations of victory. The joyous crowd then went to the house of Mr. Adams, who addressed them, saying: "I am glad of the opportunity to congratulate my friends upon the glorious triumphs of liberty in the election of Mr. Sumner." But Mr. Sumner was by no means ungrateful to his friends for their long and persistent support. In a letter to Mr. Wilson, written on the day after his election, he disowned and warmly expressed his deprecation of the idea of seeming " cold and churlish in thus withdrawing from all the public manifestations of triumph to which our friends are prompted," saying that by so doing he was only following " the line of reserve " he had pursued throughout the contest. To Mr. Wilson's share in the contest he thus referred: “To your ability, energy, determination, and fidelity our cause owes its present success. For weal or woe, you must take the responsibility of having placed me in the Senate of the United States. I am prompted to add, that while you have done all this I have never heard from you a single suggestion of a selfish character, looking in any way to any good to yourself; your labors have been as disinterested as they have been effective."
Opprobrious epithets were plentifully bestowed upon those who planned and participated in the coalition. But the results abundantly vindicated both the principle and the policy of that movement. By it was placed in the Senate of the United States one who has borne a conspicuous part in the councils of the nation and rendered large service to the cause of freedom. By it was elected to the same high station, though for a brief period, Robert Rantoul, Jr., who, though a member of the Democratic Party, was a gentleman of recognized ability and clearly pronounced antislavery convictions, so pronounced that he lost caste with his party and was discarded therefor. It sent, too, or aided in sending, Charles Allen, Horace Mann, Orrin Fowler, and Robert Rantoul, Jr., to the House of Representatives for the XXXIId Congress. Conscious of the purity of their motives and aims, and gratified arid satisfied with the result, the advocates of the coalition turned from the hasty and harsh denunciations of the present, and appealed with assured confidence to the calmer judgments of the future. To those charges of “bargain and corruption” that were then so freely made against the Free Soil leaders Horace Mann replied. Referring to a similar charge, which had been made against the administration of John Quincy Adams, he said: “I believe the same charge against the Free Soil party will have come twenty years hence to the same result, that of conferring honor upon its object and infamy upon its authors.”
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 338-351.
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Officers, Members and Supporters:
Hale, John P., 1806-1873, New Hampshire, statesman, diplomat, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator. Member of the anti-slavery Liberty Party. President of the Free Soil Party, 1852. Elected to Congress in 1842, he opposed the 21st Rule suppressing anti-slavery petition to Congress. Refused to support the annexation of Texas in 1845. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1846, he was the first distinctively anti-slavery Senator. Adamantly opposed slavery for his 16 years in office. In 1851, served as Counsel in the trial of rescued slave Shadrach. In 1852, he was nominated for President of the United States, representing the Free Soil Party. As U.S. Senator, voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 8, 35, 51-54, 74, 100-102, 121, 126, 152, 164, 170, 205, 220; Filler, 1960, pp. 187, 189, 213, 247; Goodell, 1852, p. 478; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 20, 28, 29, 33-37, 43-46, 51, 60, 63-65, 68, 72, 254n; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 50, 54, 298; Sorin, 1971, pp. 130, 132; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 33-34; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 2, p. 105; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 9, p. 862; Congressional Globe).
Adams, Charles Francis, 1807-1886, newspaper publisher and editor. Free Soil Party nominee for Vice President of the U.S. (lost), 1848. Son of former President John Quincy Adams. Grandson of President John Adams. Opposed annexation of Texas, on opposition to expansion of slavery in new territories. Formed “Texas Group” within Massachusetts Whig Party. Formed and edited newspaper, Boston Whig, in 1846.
(Adams, 1900; Duberman, 1961; Goodell, 1852, p. 478; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 32-33; Pease, 1965, pp. 445-452; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 51, 298; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 12-13. Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 1, Pt. 1, pp. 40-48).
Bailey, Gamaliel, 1807-1859, Maryland, abolitionist leader, journalist, newspaper publisher and editor. Publisher and editor of National Era (founded 1847), of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Co-founded Cincinnati Anti-Slavery Society in 1835. Corresponding Secretary, Ohio Anti-Slavery Society. Assistant and Co-Editor, The Abolitionist newspaper. Liberty Party. Co-founder of the Free Soil Party. Published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1851-1852.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 21, 25-26, 28, 30, 34, 52, 55, 67, 148-149, 166, 192, 202, 223, 248; Dumond, 1961, pp. 163, 223, 264, 301; Filler, 1960, pp. 78, 150, 194-195, 245, 252; Harrold, 1995; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 4, 5, 14, 23, 24, 26, 27, 44, 46, 54, 61, 63, 69, 88-89, 91, 103, 106; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 50, 185; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 136; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 1, Pt. 1, pp. 496-497; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 1, p. 881)
Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862, Kinderhook, New York, lawyer, political leader. Eighth President of the United States. While President, Van Buren was against the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. He did this in order to prevent futher sectional divide in his party. He was opposed, in principle, to slavery. During his presidency, he opposed the annexation of Texas and the extension of slavery to the territory. Free Soil Party nominee for President of the U.S. (lost), 1848. (Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 230, 234; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. XIX, pp. 152-156)
Chase, Salmon Portland, 1808-1873, statesman, Governor of Ohio, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1864-1873, abolitionist, member of the Liberty Party, co-founder of the Free Soil Party, and member of the Anti-Slavery Republican Party. “A slave is a person held, as property, by legalized force, against natural right.” – Chase.
“The constitution found slavery, and left it, a state institution—the creature and dependant of state law—wholly local in its existence and character. It did not make it a national institution… Why, then, fellow-citizens, are we now appealing to you?...Why is it that the whole nation is moved, as with a mighty wind, by the discussion of the questions involved in the great issue now made up between liberty and slavery? It is, fellow citizens—and we beg you to mark this—it is because slavery has overleaped its prescribed limits and usurped the control of the national government. We ask you to acquaint yourselves fully with the details and particulars belonging to the topics which we have briefly touched, and we do not doubt that you will concur with us in believing that the honor, the welfare, the safety of our country imperiously require the absolute and unqualified divorce of the government from slavery.”
“Having resolved on my political course, I devoted all the time and means I could command to the work of spreading the principles and building up the organization of the party of constitutional freedom then inaugurated. Sometimes, indeed, all I could do seemed insignificant, while the labors I had to perform, the demands upon my very limited resources by necessary contributions, taxed severely all my ability… It seems to me now, on looking back, that I could not help working if I would, and that I was just as really called in the course of Providence to my labors for human freedom as ever any other laborer in the great field of the world was called to his appointed work.”
(Blue, 2005, pp. 19, 30, 34, 61, 70-73, 76-78, 84, 123, 124, 177, 178, 209, 220, 225, 226, 228, 247, 248, 259; Dumond, 1961; Filler, 1960, pp. 142, 176, 187, 197-198, 229, 246; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 4-5, 8-9, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 33-36, 61-64, 67, 68, 70-72, 76, 87, 89, 94, 118, 129, 136, 156, 165, 166, 168-169, 177, 187, 191, 193, 195-196, 224, 228, 248; Pease, 1965, pp. 384-394; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 46, 56, 58, 136, 173, 298, 353-354, 421, 655-656; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 585-588; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 34; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 4, p. 739; Hart, Albert Bushnell, Salmon Portland Chase, 1899).
Alley, John B., 1817-1896, Lynn, Massachusetts, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1863-1876, voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. Alley was a member of the Liberty and Free Soil Parties.
(Congressional Globe; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872).
Julian, George W., 1817-1899, Indiana, Society of Friends, Quaker, statesman, lawyer, radical abolitionist leader from Indiana. Free Soil Party nominee for Vice President of the U.S. (lost), 1852. Member of U.S. Congress from Indiana, 1850-1851. Was against the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act. Fought in court to prevent fugitive slaves from being returned to their owners. Joined and supported early Republican Party. Re-elected to Congress, 1861-1871. Supported emancipation of slaves. Husband of Ann Elizabeth Finch, who was likewise opposed to slavery. After her death in 1860, he married Laura Giddings, daughter of radical abolitionist Joshua Giddings.
(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 486; Blue, 2005, pp. ix, 9, 10, 11, 13, 161-183, 210, 225-229, 259-260, 265-270; Riddleberger, 1966; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 54, 354-355; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 5, Pt. 2, p. 245; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 486-487; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 12, p. 315)
Banks, Nathanial Prentiss, 1816-1894, Waltham, Massachusetts, statesman, anti-slavery political leader. Republican U.S. Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives. Union General. Governor of Massachusetts. Member of the Free Soil and, later, Republican parties. He was opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854. He was also opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, as this repeal favored the slave power. Banks was called, “the very bone and sinew of Free-soilism” (Scribner’s, 1930, p. 578)
(Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. 1, pp. 158-159; Scribner’s, 1930, pp. 577-580; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 348)
Bird, Francis William, 1809-1894, anti-slavery political leader, radical reformer. Member of the anti-slavery “Conscience Whigs,” leader of the Massachusetts Free Soil Party. Led anti-slavery faction of the newly formed Republican Party. Supported abolitionist Party leader Charles Sumner. Opposed Dred Scott decision. “Bird Club” greatly influenced radical Republican politics in Massachusetts and in the U.S. Senate. Organized Emancipation League. Supported enlistment of African Americans in the Union Army and emancipation of Blacks in the District of Columbia. Supported women’s rights, Indian rights, suffrage rights for Chinese, and other causes. Editor of the Free Soiler newspaper.
(American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 2, p. 805; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, p. 343)
Blanchard, Jonathan, 1811-1892, clergyman, educator, abolitionist, theologian, lecturer. Worked for more than thirty years for the abolition of slavery. Member of the American Anti-Slavery Society. President of Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, 1845-1858. President, Illinois Institute. Vice president, World Anti-Slavery Convention, London, England, 1843. (Bailey, J.W., Knox College, 1860; Blanchard Papers, Wheaton College Library, Wheaton, Illinois; Blanchard Jonathan, and Rice, N.L. , 1870; Dumond, 1961, p. 186; Kilby, 1959; Maas, 2003; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 196-197; Dictionary of American Biography, 1936, Vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 350-351)
Booth, Walter, U.S. Congressman from Connecticut, Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, p. 338)
Boutwell, George Sewall, 1818-1905, statesman, lawyer. Governor of Massachusetts. Helped organize the Republican Party. Member of Congress, 1862-1868. Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senator. Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.
(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 331-332; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 1, Pt. 2, pp. 489-490; Congressional Globe; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 348)
BOUTWELL, George Sewall, statesman, b. in Brookline, Mass., 28 Jan., 1818. His early life was spent on his father's farm until, in 1835, he became a merchant's clerk in Groton, Mass. He was afterward admitted to partnership, and remained in business there until 1855. In 1836 he began by himself to study law, and was admitted to the bar, but did not enter into active practice for many years. He also began a course of reading, by which he hoped to make up for his want of a college education. He entered politics as a supporter of Van Buren in 1840, and between 1842 and 1851 was seven times chosen as a democrat to the state legislature, where he soon became recognized as the leader of his party. In 1844, 1846, and 1848 he was defeated as a candidate for congress, and in 1849 and 1850 he was the democratic nominee for governor with no better success; but he was finally elected in 1851 and again in 1852 by a coalition with the free-soil party. In 1849-'50 he was state bank commissioner; in 1853 a member of the state constitutional convention. After the repeal of the Missouri compromise in 1854 he assisted in organizing the republican party, with which he has since acted. In 1860 he was a member of the Chicago convention which nominated Lincoln, and in February, 1861, was a delegate to the Washington peace conference. President Lincoln invited him to organize the new department of internal revenue in 1862, and he was its first commissioner, serving from July, 1862, till March, 1863. In 1862 he was chosen a member of congress from Massachusetts, and twice re-elected. In February, 1868, he made a speech advocating the impeachment of President Johnson, was chosen chairman of the committee appointed to report articles of impeachment, and became one of the seven managers of the trial. In March, 1869, he entered President Grant's cabinet as secretary of the treasury, where he opposed diminution of taxation and favored a large reduction of the national debt. In 1870 congress, at his recommendation, passed an act providing for the funding of the national debt and authorizing the selling of certain bonds, but not an increase of the debt. Secretary Boutwell attempted to do this by means of a syndicate, but expended more than half of one per cent., in which he was accused of violating the law. The house committee of ways and means afterward absolved him from this charge. In March, 1873, he resigned and took his seat as a U. S. senator from Massachusetts, having been chosen to fill the vacancy caused by the election of Henry Wilson to the vice-presidency. In 1877 he was appointed by President Hayes to codify and edit the statutes at large. Mr. Boutwell was for six years an overseer of Harvard, and for five years secretary of the Massachusetts state board of education, preparing the elaborate reports of that body. He afterward opened a law office in Washington, D. C. He is the author of “Educational Topics and Institutions” (Boston, 1859); a “Manual of the United States Direct and Revenue Tax” (1863); “Decisions on the Tax Law” (New York, 1863); “Tax-Payer's Manual” (Boston, 1865); a volume of “Speeches and Papers” (1867); and “Why I am a Republican” (Hartford, Conn., 1884). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 331-332.
Bradburn, George, 1806-1880, Nantucket, Massachusetts, politician, US Congressman representing the Free Soil Party, newspaper editor, Unitarian clergyman, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, lecturer. Member, American Anti-Slavery Society. Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Vice-President, 1840-1845. Attended World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in June 1840, where he protested the exclusion of women from the conference. Lectured for the American Anti-Slavery Society with fellow abolitionists William A. White and Frederick Douglass in 1843. Editor, the Pioneer and Herald of Freedom from 1846 to 1849 in Lynn, Massachusetts.
(Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 345)
Brainerd, Lawrence, 1794-1870, anti-slavery activist, temperance activist, capitalist, statesman, U.S. Senator, elected 1854, member of the Liberty and Free Soil Parties. Manager, American Anti-Slavery Society, 1833-1839. (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 358; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. I, Pt. 2, p. 594)
BRAINERD, Lawrence, senator, b. in 1794; d. in St. Albans, Vt., 9 May, 1870. He was active in forwarding the political, commercial, and railroad interests of Vermont, and was for several years candidate for governor. After the death of Senator Upham, Mr. Brainerd was chosen to the senate as a free-soiler for the remainder of the term, serving from 5 Dec., 1854, till 3 March, 1855. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 358.
Broderick, David Colbert, 1820-1859, Washington, DC, forty-niner, political leader, elected to the California State Senate in January 1851. Elected U.S. Senator from California in 1857. Member of the Free Soil Party. He was opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and the admission of Kansas as a state under the Lecompton constitution. He left the Democratic Party on the issue of slavery in 1858. California had much pro-slavery sentiment, and this affected Broderick’s career. Broderick was killed in a dual with California Supreme Court Chief Justice David S. Terry. Terry was a leader of the pro-slavery movement in California. (Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 382. Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. III, pp. 61-62; Lynch, Jeremiah, A Senator of the Fifties, 1911)
Bryant, William Cullen, 1794-1874, author, poet, editor, abolitionist. Wrote antislavery poetry. Free Soil Party. Editor of the Evening Post, which supported Congressman John Quincy Adams’ advocacy for the right to petition Congess against slavery, and was against the annexation of Texas. After 1848, the Evening Post took a strong anti-slavery editorial policy and supported the Free Soil Party, supporting Martin Van Buren. It opposed the Compromise of 1850. Bryant and the Post opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854. In 1856, the Post broke with the Democratic Party, endorsing the new Republican Party and its anti-slavery faction. They supported John C. Frémont as the presidential candidate. Bryant opposed the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court. He endorsed John Broan’s raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in1859. He strongly supported the nomination of Lincoln as the Republican candidate for president in 1860.
(Rodriguez, 2007, p. 326; Staudenraus, 1961, pp. 101-102; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 422-426; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. II, Pt. 1, p. 200; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 3)
Buckingham, Joseph T., Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, pp. 255, 344)
Burlingame, Anson, Anson, 1820-1870, New Berlin, New York, diplomat, lawyer, orator. Massachusetts State Senator, elected 1852. Republican United States Congressman, elected in 1855 and served 3 terms. Burlingame was a member of the Free Soil Party and an early co-founder of the Republican Party in Massachusetts. Anti-slavery activist in the House of Representatives. He delivered a speech in reprimand of Senator Preston Brooks after he assaulted Senator Sumner on the Senate floor. (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 456-457; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 1, p. 289; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, pp. 308, 336, 491-493).
BURLINGAME, Anson, diplomatist, b. in New Berlin, Chenango co., N. Y., 14 Nov., 1820; d. in St. Petersburg, Russia, 23 Feb., 1870. He was the descendant of a family who were among the early settlers of Rhode Island. His father, a farmer, removed, when Anson was three years old, to a farm in Seneca co., Ohio, where they lived for ten years, and in 1833 again removed to Detroit, and after two years more to a farm at Branch, Mich. In 1837 Anson was admitted to the University of Michigan, and six years later went to Cambridge, Mass., and entered the law-school of Harvard university, where he was graduated in 1846. He began the practice of the law in Boston, and a year or two later became an active member and a popular orator of the free-soil party, then recently formed. In the political campaign of 1848 he acquired a wide reputation as a public speaker in behalf of the election of Van Buren and Adams. In 1849-'50 he visited Europe. In 1852 he was elected to the Massachusetts senate, and in 1853 he served as a member of the state constitutional convention, to which he was elected by the town of Northborough, though he resided in Cambridge. He joined the American party on its formation in 1854, and in that year was elected by it to the 34th congress. In the following year he co-operated in the formation of the republican party, to which he ever afterward steadily adhered. In congress he bore himself with courage and address, and was recognized as one of the ablest debaters on the anti-slavery side of the house. For the severe terms in which he denounced the assault committed by Preston S. Brooks upon Senator Sumner, in 1856, he was challenged by Brooks. He promptly accepted the challenge, and named rifles as the weapons, and Navy island, just above Niagara Falls, as the place. To the latter proposition Mr. Brooks demurred, alleging that, in order to meet his opponent in Canada, in the then excited state of public feeling, he would have to expose himself to popular violence in passing through “the enemy's country,” as he called the northern states. The matter fell through, but the manner in which Mr. Burlingame had conducted himself greatly raised him in the estimation of his friends and of his party; and on his return to Boston, at the end of his term, he was received with distinguished honors. He was re-elected to the 35th and 36th congresses; but failing, after an animated and close contest, to be returned to the 37th, his legislative career ended in March, 1861. He was immediately appointed by President Lincoln minister to Austria; but that government declined to receive, in a diplomatic capacity, a man who had spoken often and eloquently in favor of Hungarian independence, and had moved in congress the recognition of Sardinia as a first-class power. He was then sent as minister to China. In 1865 he returned to the United States with the intention of resigning his office; but the secretary of state urged him to resume his functions for the purpose of carrying out important projects and negotiations that he had initiated. To this he finally consented. When, in 1867, he announced his intention of returning home, Prince Kung, regent of the empire, offered to appoint him special envoy to the United States and the great European powers, for the purpose of framing treaties of amity with those nations—an honor never before conferred on a foreigner. This place Mr. Burlingame accepted, and, at the head of a numerous mission, he arrived in the United States in March, 1868. On 28 July supplementary articles to the treaty of 1858 were signed at Washington, and soon afterward ratified by the Chinese government. These articles, afterward known as “The Burlingame Treaty,” marked the first official acceptance by China of the principles of international law, and provided, in general, that the privileges enjoyed by western nations under that law—the right of eminent domain, the right of appointing consuls at the ports of the United States, and the power of the government to grant or withhold commercial privileges and immunities at their own discretion, subject to treaty—should be secured to China; that nation undertaking to observe the corresponding obligations prescribed by international law toward other peoples. Special provisions also stipulated for entire liberty of conscience and worship for Americans in China, and Chinese in America; for joint efforts against the cooly trade; for the enjoyment by Chinese in America and Americans in China of all rights in respect to travel and residence accorded to citizens of the most favored nation; for similar reciprocal rights in the matter of the public educational institutions of the two countries, and for the right of establishing schools by citizens of either country in the other. The concluding article disclaims, on the part of the United States, the right of interference with the domestic administration of China in the matter of railroads, telegraphs, and internal improvements, but agrees that the United States will furnish assistance in these points on proper conditions, when requested by the Chinese government. From America Mr. Burlingame proceeded in the latter part of 1868 to England, and thence to France (1869), Denmark, Sweden, Holland, and Prussia, in all of which countries he was favorably received, and in all of which, but France, to which he intended returning, he negotiated important treaties or articles of agreement. He reached St. Petersburg early in 1870, and had just entered upon the business of his mission when he died of pneumonia, after an illness of only a few days. Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888.
Cheney, Oren Burbank, 1816-1903, Maine, Free Will Baptist clergyman, state legislator in Maine, educator, newspaper editor, abolitionist. Free Soil Party. Editor of The Morning Star. Founder and President of Bates College. Conductor on the Underground Railroad for seven years. Son of abolitionists Moses and Abigail Cheney. (Cheney, 1907; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, pp. 53-54)
Cleveland, Chauncy Fitch, 1799-1887, Hampton, Connecticut, lawyer, Governor, U.S. Congressman, reformer, Free Soil Party. Elected Governor of Connecticut in 1842 and in 1843. Elected Congressman in 1842. Opposed the Missouri Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Salve Law. Joined the new Republican party in 1856. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, p. 338; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 203)
Cushman, Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 348)
Cutler, Hannah Tracy, 1815-1896, Becket, Massachusetts, abolitionist, physician. Leader of the Temperance and women’s suffrage-rights movements, lecturer, educator, physician. Helped found Women’s Anti-Slavery Society, member of the Free Soil Party, organizer of the Woman’s Kansas Aid Convention in 1856. Served as President of the Western Union Aid Commission in Chicago, 1862-1864.
(Yellin, 1994, p. 58n40; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 46)
Dana, Richard Henry, Jr., 1815-1882, author, lawyer, anti-slavery activist. Co-founder of the Free Soil Party and delegate to its convention in Buffalo, New York, in 1848. He was the lawyer who represented the Fugitive Slave Shadrack in Boston in 1851 and Anthony Burns in Boston in 1854. Wrote Two Years Before the Mast (1840). (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 71-72; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 5, pp. 60-61)
Earle, John Milton, 1794-1874, Leicester, Massachusetts, businessman, abolitionist, statesman, political leader, newspaper publisher, pioneer and leader in the anti-slavery/abolitionist movement. Member of Whig and Free Soil parties. Husband of abolitionist Sarah H. Earle. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 347)
Edgerton, Sidney, 1818-1900, U.S. Congressman from Ohio, Chief Justice of the Idaho Territorial Supreme Court, and Territorial Governor of Montana, abolitionist. Delegate to the Free Soil Convention in Buffalo, 1848. Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1856. Elected to the U.S. Congress in 1858. He served two terms. (Dictionary of American Biography, 1936, Vol. 3, Pt. 2, p. 20).
Farley, George F., Middlesex County, Massachusetts, political leader, Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 345)
Frémont, John C., 1813-1890, California, Army officer, explorer, anti-slavery political leader. In 1856, was first candidate for President from the anti-slavery Republican Party. Lost to James Buchanan. Early in his career, he was opposed to slavery and its expansion into new territories and states. Third military governor of California, 1847. First U.S. Senator from the State of California, 1850-1851. He was elected as a Free Soil Democrat, and was defeated for reelection principally because of his adamant opposition to slavery. Frémont supported a free Kansas and was against the provisions of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. On August 30, 1861, General Frémont issued an unauthorized proclamation to free slaves owned by secessionists in his Department in Missouri. Lincoln revoked the proclamation and relieved Frémont of command. In March 1862, Frémont was given commands in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 8, 10, 12-13, 58, 77, 78, 105, 131, 153, 173, 178, 206, 225, 239, 245, 252, 261-263, 268-269; Chaffin, 2002; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 89, 93, 94-95, 97-98, 138, 139, 145, 149, 159, 161, 172, 215, 219-225, 228-230, 243; Nevins, 1939; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 59, 65, 140, 242-243, 275, 369, 385, 687; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 545-548; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 19; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 8, p. 459; Chaffin, Tom, Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire, New York: Hill and Wang, 2002; Eyre, Alice, The Famous Fremonts and Their America, Boston: The Christopher Publishing House, 1948; Nevins, Allan, Fremont: Pathmarker of the West, Volume 1: Fremont the Explorer; Volume 2: Fremont in the Civil War, 1939, rev ed. 1955)
Frisby, Leander F., Wisconsin Attorney General, Free Soil Party
Gage, Francis Dana Barker, 1808-1884, journalist, poet, reformer, temperance leader, women’s rights, anti-slavery leader. Lectured on abolition and was often threatened with physical violence. Her home was burned three times. During the Civil War, she taught newly freed slaves and was active as a volunteer with the Sanitary Commission. In 1863, she was appointed Superintendent of a refuge of more than 500 freed slaves at Paris Island, South Carolina. Gage was married to abolitionist James L. Gage, a lawyer from McConnelsville, Ohio.
(Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 568-569; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 84; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 326-328; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 8, p. 605; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. II. New York: James T. White, 1892, p. 321)
Giddings, Joshua Reed, 1795-1865, lawyer, statesman, U.S. Congressman, Whig from Ohio, elected in 1838. First abolitionist elected to House of Representatives. Worked to eliminate “gag rule,” which prohibited anti-slavery petitions. Served until 1859. Leader and founder of the Republican Party. Argued that slavery in territories and District of Columbia was unlawful. Active in Underground Railroad. Was censured by the House of Representatives for his opposition to slavery. Opposed Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and against further expansion of slavery into the new territories acquired during the Mexican War of 1846.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 69, 84, 86, 100, 163, 165, 188, 199, 201, 202, 216, 218-220, 221, 224, 245; Dumond, 1961, pp. 243-245, 302, 339, 368; Filler, 1960, pp. 103, 145, 186, 224, 247, 258, 264, 268; Locke, 1901, pp. 64, 175; Mabee, 1970, pp. 56, 63, 261, 305, 306; Miller, 1996; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 6, 23-26, 32-33, 45, 48-49, 54-55, 60, 61, 63, 65, 69-72, 131, 136, 162-163, 166-167; Pease, 1965, pp. 411-417; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 45, 47-49, 56, 173, 305, 316-318; Stewart, 1970; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 641-642; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 260; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 8, p. 946).
Gillette, Francis, 1807-1879, Windsor, Connecticut, anti-slavery political leader, activist. U.S. Senator, Free Soil Party, co-founder of the Republican Party. Opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in the Senate in 1854.
(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 652; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 490).
Harlan, James, 1820-1899, statesman., laywer, university president. Early anti-slavery activist in the Free Soil Party. Free Soil Whig U.S. Senator, voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. Elected Senator in 1855 representing Iowa. Re-elected, served until 1865, when appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Lincoln. Re-elected to Senate in 1866, served until 1873.
(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 83-84; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 2, p. 269; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 10, p. 94; Congressional Globe)
Keyes, Edward L., Congressman, member of the Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 345, pp. 122, 157, 252, 345)
Leavitt, Joshua, 1794-1873, New York, reformer, temperance activist, editor, lawyer, clergyman, abolitionist leader. Active supporter of the American Colonization Society. Helped in raising funds for the Society. Founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), New York, 1833. Manager, AASS, 1833-1837. Executive Committee, AASS, 1834-1840. Recording Secretary, AASS, 1838-1840. Executive Committee, American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (A&FASS). Advocated political action to end slavery, which led him to help found the Liberty Party. Edited the newspaper, The Evangelist, which was founded by abolitionists Arthur and Lewis Tappan. He later became editor of The Emancipator, which was founded by Arthur Tappan in 1833. Leavitt toured extensively, lecturing against slavery. His speeches were edited into a pamphlet entitled, “The Financial Power of Slavery.” It was one of the most widely circulated documents against slavery.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 20, 25, 34, 45, 50, 54, 94, 119, 122; Davis, 1990; Dumond, 1961, pp. 159, 175, 179, 266, 286, 301; Filler, 1960, pp. 24, 63, 101, 132, 142, 150, 168, 172, 174, 177, 189, 194, 266-267; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 1, 7-8, 17, 20, 28-30, 36, 45-49, 167, 217; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 42, 363-364; Sorin, 1971, pp. 51, 68-71, 96, 131, 132; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 345; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 649-650; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 84; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 518-519; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 339; papers in the Library of Congress; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 129-130, 214, 219)
LEAVITT, Joshua, reformer, b. in Heath, Franklin co., Mass., 8 Sept., 1794; d. in Brooklyn, N.Y., 16 Jan., 1873. He was graduated at Yale in 1814, admitted to the bar in 1819, and began to practise in Putney, Vt., in 1821. In 1823 he abandoned his profession for the study of theology, and was graduated at Yale divinity-school in 1825. He settled the same year at Stratford, Conn., where he had charge of a Congregational church until 1828. In 1819, while a student of law in Heath, Mr. Leavitt organized one of the first Sabbath-schools in western Massachusetts, embracing not only the children, but the entire congregation, all of whom were arranged in classes for religious instruction. He also became interested in the improvement of the public schools. Before he entered the theological seminary he prepared a new reading-book, called “Easy Lessons in Reading” (1823), which met with an extensive sale. He subsequently issued a “Series of Readers” (1847), but these were not as popular. When the American temperance society was formed he became its first secretary, and was one of its travelling agents, in many places delivering the first temperance lecture the people had heard. In 1828 he removed to New York city as secretary of the American seamen's friend society and editor of the “Sailor's Magazine.” He established chapels in Canton, the Sandwich islands, Havre, New Orleans, and other domestic and foreign ports. He also aided in founding the first city temperance society, and became its secretary. He became in 1831 editor and proprietor of the newly established “Evangelist,” which under his management soon grew to be the organ of the more liberal religious movements, and was outspoken on the subjects of temperance and slavery. Mr. Leavitt bore a conspicuous part in the early anti-slavery conflict. His denunciation of slavery cost his paper its circulation in the south and a large proportion of it in the north, well-nigh compelling its suspension. To offset this loss he undertook the difficult feat of reporting in full the revival lectures of Charles G. Finney (q. v.), which, though not a short-hand reporter, he accomplished successfully. The financial crisis of 1837 compelled him, while erecting a new building, to sell out the “Evangelist.” In 1833 he aided in organizing the New York anti-slavery society, and was a member of its executive committee, as well as of that of the National anti-slavery society in which it was merged. He was one of the abolitionists who were obliged to fly for a time from the city to escape mob violence. In 1837 he became editor of the “Emancipator,” which he afterward moved to Boston, and he also published in that city “The Chronicle,” the earliest daily anti-slavery paper. In the convention that met at Albany in 1840 and organized the Liberal party, Mr. Leavitt took an active part, and he was also chairman of the national committee from 1844 till 1847. In 1848 Mr. Leavitt became office-editor of the New York “Independent,” and was connected editorially with it until his death. Mr. Leavitt was an earnest and powerful speaker. In 1855 Wabash college conferred on him the degree of D. D. Dr. Leavitt's correspondence with Richard Cobden, and his “Memoir on Wheat,” setting forth the unlimited capacity of our western territory for the growth and exportation of that cereal, were instrumental in procuring the repeal of the English corn laws. During a visit to Europe he also became much interested in Sir Rowland Hill's system of cheap postage. In 1847 he founded the Cheap postage society of Boston, and in 1848-'9 he labored in Washington in its behalf, for the establishment of a two-cent rate. In 1869 he received a gold medal from the Cobden club of England for an essay on our commercial relations with Great Britain, in which he took an advanced position in favor of free-trade. Besides the works already mentioned, he published a hymn-book for revivals, entitled the “Christian Lyre” (1831). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 649-650.
Mann, Horace, 1796-1859, Boston, Massachusetts, educator, political leader, social reformer, anti-slavery activist. U.S. Congressman, Whig Party, from Massachusetts. He filled former Congressman John Qunicy Adams’ seat. Co-founder of the Young Men’s Colonization Society in Boston. Co-founded monthly paper, The Colonizationist and Journal of Freedom. He defended the American Colonization Society and its policies against criticism by William Lloyd Garrison. Opposed extension of slavery in territories annexed in the Mexican War of 1846. Said, “I consider no evil as great as slavery...” Argued against the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Reelected to Congress and served from April 1848 until March 1853. In 1852, he was a Free Soil candidate (lost) for Governor of Massachusetts.
(Mabee, 1970, pp. 64, 157, 160, 168, 170, 171, 261, 294, 409n9; Appletons’, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 190-191; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 2, p. 240; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 14, p. 424; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, p. 204).
Mills, John, member of the Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872)
Ogden, William Butler, 1805-1877, Chicago, former mayer of Chicago, entrepreneur, railroad president. Member of the Free Soil Party in 1860. Elected to the Illinois State Senate. (Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. XIII, p. 644)
Phillips, Stephen Clarendon, 1801-1857, philanthropist. U.S. Congressman, Whig Party. Also member of Free Soil Party.
(Mabee, 1970, p. 161; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 437; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 763)
PHILLIPS, Stephen Clarendon, philanthropist, b. in Salem, Mass., 1 Nov., 1801; d. on St. Lawrence river, 26 June, 1857. He was graduated at Harvard in 1819, and began the study of law, but soon discontinued it to engage in business in Salem. He was in the lower house of the legislature in 1824-'30, was elected to the state senate in the latter year, and in 1832-'3 was again a member of the legislature. He was then chosen to congress as a whig to fill a vacancy, and served during three terms—from 1 Dec., 1834, until his resignation in 1838—when he became mayor of Salem, which place he then held until March, 1842. On his retirement from this office he devoted the whole of his salary as mayor to the public schools of Salem. He was the Free-soil candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 1848-'9, and a presidential elector in 1840. Mr. Phillips discharged several state and private trusts, and was many years a member of the state board of education. Retiring from public life in 1849, he engaged extensively in the lumber business in Canada, and met his death by the burning of the steamer “Montreal” while coming down the St. Lawrence river from Quebec. Mr. Phillips was president of the Boston Sunday-school society, and author of “The Sunday-School Service Book,” in several parts (Boston). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 763.
Pierpont, John, 1785-1866, Massachusetts, poet, lawyer, Unitarian theologian, temperance reformer, abolitionist leader, member of the anti-slavery Liberty Party. Liberty Party candidate for Massachusetts. Free Soil candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1850.
(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, p. 14; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 7, Pt. 2, p. 286; Dumond, 1961, p. 301)
PIERPONT, John, poet, b. in Litchfield, Conn., 6 April, 1785; d. in Medford, Mass., 26 Aug., 1866. He was a great-grandson of James, who is noticed below. He was graduated at Yale in 1804, and after assisting for a short time in the academy at Bethlehem, Conn., in the autumn of 1805 went to South Carolina, and passed nearly four years as a private tutor in the family of Col. William Allston. After his return in 1809 he studied law at Litchfield, was admitted to the bar in 1812, and practised for a time in Newburyport, Mass. The profession proving injurious to his health, he relinquished it, and engaged in business as a merchant, first in Boston, and afterward in Baltimore. In 1816 he abandoned commerce for theology, which he studied, first at Baltimore, and afterward at Cambridge divinity-school. In April, 1819, he was ordained pastor of the Hollis street church, Boston. In 1835 he made a tour through Europe and Asia Minor, and on his return he resumed his pastoral charge in Boston, where he continued till 10 May, 1845. The freedom with which he expressed his opinions, especially in regard to the temperance cause, had given rise to some feeling before his departure for Europe; and in 1838 there sprung up between himself and a part of his parish a controversy which lasted seven years, when, after triumphantly sustaining himself against the charges of his adversaries, he requested a dismissal. He then became for four years pastor of a Unitarian church in Troy, N. Y., on 1 Aug., 1849, was settled over the Congregational church in Medford, and resigned, 6 April, 1856. He was a zealous reformer, powerfully advocated the temperance and anti-slavery movements, was the candidate of the Liberty party for governor, and in 1850 of the Free-soil party for congress. After the civil war began, though seventy-six years of age, he went into the field as chaplain of a Massachusetts regiment, but, finding his strength unequal to the discharge of his duties, he soon afterward resigned, and was appointed to a clerkship in the treasury department at Washington, which he held till his death. Mr. Pierpont was a thorough scholar, a graceful and facile speaker, and ranked deservedly high as a poet. He published “Airs of Palestine” (Baltimore, 1816); re-issued, with additions, under the title “Airs of Palestine, and other Poems” (Boston, 1840). One of his best-known poems is “Warren's Address at the Battle of Bunker Bill.” His long poem that he read at the Litchfield county centennial in 1851 contains a description of the “Yankee boy” and his ingenuity, which has often been quoted. He also published several sermons and addresses. See Wilson's “Bryant and his Friends” (New York, 1886). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 14.
Scammon, Jonathan Young, 1812-1890, Whitefield, Maine, lawyer, businessman, educator, newspaper publisher, Whig and Republican state leader, member of the Free Soil Party. Founded the Chicago Journal in 1844, the Chicago Republican in 1865. (Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. XVI, pp. 407-408)
Smith, Horace E., New York, abolitionist leader, member of the Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872)
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874, Boston, Massachusetts, statesman, lawyer, writer, editor, educator, reformer, peace advocate, anti-slavery political leader. U.S. Senatorial candidate on the Free Soil ticket. Entered the Senate in December 1851. Opposed the Fugitive Slave Law and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Organizer and co-founder of the Republican party. He was severely beaten on the Senate floor by pro-slavery Senator Preston S. Brooks. It took him three and a half years to recover. Strong supporter of Lincoln and the Union. He was among the first to support emancipation of slaves. As a U.S. Senator, voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.
(Blue, 1994, 2005; Mabee, 1970, pp. 74, 103, 173, 178, 248, 354, 261, 299, 329, 337, 356, 368, 393n17; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 60, 62, 67-68, 89, 174, 238, 243; Potter, 1976; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 54, 59, 201-203, 298, 657-660; Sewell, 1988; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 744-750; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 2, p. 214; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 783-785; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 21, p. 137; Congressional Globe; Donald, David. Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War. New York: Knopf, 1960.)
Waldo, Mr., Connecticut (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, p. 338)
Walker, Amasa, 1799-1875, Boston, Massachusetts, political economist, abolitionist. Republican U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts. Active and vigorous opponent of slavery. Walker was an early supporter of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, 1834. He submitted a resolution outlining the objectives of the Society to be the principles of religion, philanthropy and patriotism. American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) Manager, 1837-1840, 1840-1841, 1843-1844, Counsellor, Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, 1840-1841. Co-founder of Free Soil Party in 1848. Served in Congress December 1862 through March 1863.
(Filler, 1960, pp. 60, 254; Mabee, 1970, pp. 258, 340, 403n25; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 324-325; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 10, Pt. 1, p. 338; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 22, p. 485; Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 223-230; Annual Report of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, 1834)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography :
WALKER, Amasa, political economist, b. in Woodstock, Conn., 4 May, 1799; d. in Brookfield, Mass., 29 Oct., 1875. He received a district-school education in North Brookfield, where among his fellow-students was William C. Bryant. In 1814 he entered commercial life, and in 1820 formed a partnership with Allen Newell in North Brookfield, but three years later withdrew to become the agent of the Methuen manufacturing company. In 1825 he formed with Charles G. Carleton the firm of Carleton and Walker, of Boston, Mass., but in 1827 he went into business independently. In 1840 he withdrew permanently from commercial affairs, and in 1842 he went to Oberlin, Ohio, on account of his great interest in the college there, and gave lectures on political economy at that institution until 1848. After serving in the legislature, he became the Free-soil and Democratic candidate for speaker, and in 1849 was chosen to the Massachusetts senate, where he introduced a plan for a sealed-ballot law, which was enacted in 1851, and carried a bill providing that Webster's Dictionary should be introduced into the common schools of Massachusetts. He was elected secretary of state in 1851, re-elected in 1852, and in 1853 was chosen a member of the convention for revising the state constitution, becoming the chairman of the committee on suffrage. He was appointed in 1853 one of the examiners in political economy in Harvard, and held that office until 1860, and in 1859 he began an annual course of lectures on that subject in Amherst, which he continued until 1869. Meanwhile, in 1859, he was again elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and in 1860 he was chosen a member of the electoral college of that state, casting his ballot for Abraham Lincoln. He was also elected as a Republican to congress, and served from 1 Dec., 1862, till 3 March, 1863. Mr. Walker is best known for his work in avocating new and reformatory measures. In 1839 he urged a continuous all-rail route of communication between Boston and Mississippi river, and during the same year he became president of the Boston temperance society, the first total abstinence association in that city. He was active in the anti-slavery movement, though not to the extent of recommending unconstitutional methods for its abolition, and in 1848 he was one of the founders of the Free-soil party. Mr. Walker was a member of the first International peace congress in London in 1843, and was one of its vice-presidents, and in 1849 he held the same office in the congress in Paris. The degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by Amherst in 1867. In 1857 he began the publication of a series of articles on political economy in “Hunt's Merchant's Magazine,” and he was accepted as an authority on questions of finance. Besides other contributions to magazines, he published “Nature and Uses of Money and Mixed Currency” (Boston, 1857), and “Science of Wealth, a Manual of Political Economy” (1866), of which eight editions have been sold, and it has been translated into Italian. With William B. Calhoun and Charles L. Flint he issued “Transactions of the Agricultural Societies of Massachuetts” (7 vols., 1848-'54). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 324-325.
White, W. A., U.S. Congressman, member of the Free Soil Party. (Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 345)
Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892, poet, essayist, journalist. Wrote antislavery poetry. Supported the Wilmot Proviso and was opposed to the inclusion of slavery in the new territories. His poetry presented his views on the equality of the races. Supported the abolition of slavery, but did not necessarily support the tactics of the abolitionist movement. Member of the Free Soil Committee for Brooklyn and writer for the Brooklyn Freeman, a Free Soil newspaper. In 1856, he wrote to the people of the South, in an unpublished work, “You are either to abolish slavery, or it will abolish you.”
(Hughes, Meltzer, & Lincoln, 1968; Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 485-486; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 10, Pt. 2, p. 143)
Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892, Haverhill, Massachusetts, poet, journalist, newspaper publisher and editor, Society of Friends, Quaker, radical abolitionist. Wrote antislavery poetry. Publisher and editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman. Founding member, Manager, and Secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Member of the Executive Committee, American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Leader and active with the Liberty Party. Member, Free Soil Party. Called for immediate abolition of slavery in the United States.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 5, 37-64; Drake, 1950, pp. 113, 127, 137, 140-142, 158-159, 176, 181, 195; Dumond, 1961, pp. 167, 245, 286, 301; Filler, 1960, pp. 56, 66, 90, 105, 134, 148, 151, 194; Mabee, 1970, pp. 2, 4, 9, 11-13, 18, 21-22, 25-26, 29-30, 35-36, 48, 51, 65, 194, 211, 309, 326, 329, 359, 368, 373, 378; Pease, 1965, pp. 65, 102-104, 123-128; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 161, 433, 641, 723; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 493-494; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 10, Pt. 2, p. 173; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 23, p. 350; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. I. New York: James T. White, 1892, p. 407).
Willard, Victor, Wisconsin state senator, member of the Free Soil Party
Wilson, Henry, 1812-1875, abolitionist leader, statesman, U.S. Senator and Vice President of the U.S. Massachusetts state senator. Member, Free Soil Party. Founder of the Republican Party. Strong opponent of slavery. Became abolitionist in 1830s. Opposed annexation of Texas as a slave state. Bought and edited Boston Republican newspaper, which represented the anti-slavery Free Soil Party. Called for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1815. Introduced bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia and the granting of freedom to slaves who joined the Union Army. Supported full political and civil rights to emancipated slaves. Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.
(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 548-550; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 10, Pt. 2, p. 322; Congressional Globe)
WILSON, Henry, statesman, b. in Farmington, N. H., 16 Feb., 1812; d. in Washington, D. C., 22 Nov., 1875. He was the son of a farm-laborer, whose ancestors were from the north of Ireland, and at the age of ten was apprenticed to a farmer till the age of twenty-one. During those eleven years of service he received not more than twelve months' schooling altogether, but read more than a thousand volumes. When his apprenticeship terminated in December, 1833, he set out from Farmington on foot in search of work, which he found at Natick, Mass., in the house of a shoemaker. On attaining his majority he had his name, which was originally Jeremiah Jones Colbaith, changed by legislative enactment to the simpler one of Henry Wilson. He learned the trade of his employer and followed it for two years, earning enough money to return to New Hampshire and study in the academies at Stafford, Wolfborough, and Concord. At the same time he made his appearance in public life as an ardent Abolitionist during the attempts that were made in 1835 to stop the discussion of the slavery question by violent means. The person to whom he had intrusted his savings became insolvent, and in 1838, after a visit to Washington, where his repugnance to slavery was intensified by the observation of its conditions, he was compelled to relinquish his studios and resume shoemaking at Natick. In 1840 he appeared in the political canvass as a supporter of William Henry Harrison, addressing more than sixty Whig meetings, in which he was introduced as the “Natick cobbler.” In that year and the next he was elected to the Massachusetts house of representitives, and then after a year's intermission served three annual terms in the state senate.
He was active in organizing in 1845 a convention in Massachusetts to oppose the admission of Texas into the Union as a slave state, and was made, with John Greenleaf Whittier, the bearer of a petition to congress against the proposed annexation, which was signed by many thousands of Massachusetts people. In the following year he presented in the legislature a resolution condemnatory of slavery, supporting it with a comprehensive and vigorous speech. In 1848 he went as a delegate to the Whig national convention in Philadelphia, and on the rejection of anti-slavery resolutions spoke in protest and withdrew. On his return he defended his action before his constituents, and soon afterward bought the Boston “Republican” newspaper, which he edited for two years, making it the leading organ of the Free-soil party. He was chairman of the Free-soil state committee in 1849-'52. In 1850 he returned to the state senate, and in the two following years he was elected president of that body. He presided over the Free-soil national convention at Pittsburg in 1852, and in the ensuing canvass acted as chairman of the national committee of the party. As chairman of the state committee he had arranged a coalition with the Democrats by which George S. Boutwell was elected governor in 1851 and Charles Sumner and Robert Rantoul were sent to the U. S. senate. He was a candidate for congress in 1852, and failed of election by only ninety-three votes, although in his district the majority against the Free-soilers was more than 7,500. In 1853 he was a member of the State constitutional convention and proposed a provision to admit colored men into the militia organization. In the same year he was defeated as the Free-soil candidate for governor. He acted with the American party in 1855, with the aid of which he was chosen to succeed Edward Everett in the U. S. senate. He was a delegate to the American national convention in Philadelphia in that year, but, when it adopted a platform that countenanced slavery, he and other Abolitionists withdrew. He had delivered a speech in advocacy of the repeal of the fugitive-slave law and the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia shortly after taking his seat in the senate in February, 1855. On the disruption of the American organization through the secession of himself and his friends, he took an active part in the formation of the Republican party, with the programme of opposition to the extension of slavery. On 23 May, 1856, the morning after his colleague in the senate, Charles Sumner, was assaulted by Preston S. Brooks, Mr. Wilson denounced the act as “brutal, murderous, and cowardly.” For this language he was challenged to a duel by Brooks; but he declined on the ground that the practice of duelling was barbarous and unlawful, at the same time announcing that he believed in the right of self-defence.
During the next four years he took part in all the important debates in the senate, delivering elaborate speeches on the admission of Kansas, the treasury-note bill, the expenditures of the government, the Pacific railroad project, and many other topics. His speeches bore the impress of practical, clear-sighted statesman ship, and if the grace of oratory and polished diction was wanting, they always commanded attention and respect. The congressional records during his long term of service in the senate show that he was one of the most industrious and efficient members of that body, and that his name stands connected with nearly all the important acts and resolves. Strong in his convictions, he was fearless in their expression, but he was scrupulously careful in his statements, and the facts he adduced were never successfully disputed. In March, 1859, he made a notable reply to James H. Hammond, of South Carolina, in defence of free labor, which was printed and widely circulated through the northern states. He had been continued in the senate for a full term by an almost unanimous vote of the Massachusetts legislature in the preceding January. In March, 1861, he was made chairman of the committee on military affairs, of which he had been a member during the preceding four years. He induced congress to authorize the enlistment of 500,000 volunteers at the beginning of hostilities between the states, and during the entire period of the war he remained at the head of the committee, and devised and carried measures of the first importance in regard to the organization of the army and the raising and equipment of troops, as well as attending to the many details that came before the committee. He had been connected with the state militia as major, colonel, and brigadier-general from 1840 till 1851, and in 1861 he raised the 22d regiment of Massachusetts volunteers, and marched to the field as its colonel, serving there as an aide to Gen. George B. McClellan till the reassembling of congress.
During the session of 1861-'2 he introduced the laws that abolished slavery in the District of Columbia, put an end to the “black code,” allowed the enrolment of blacks in the militia, and granted freedom to slaves who entered the service of the United States and to their families. During the civil war he made many patriotic speeches before popular assemblages. He took a prominent part in the legislation for the reduction of the army after the war and for the reconstruction of the southern state governments, advocating the policy of granting full political and civil rights to the emancipated slaves, joined with measures of conciliation toward the people who had lately borne arms against the United States government. He was continued as senator for the term that ended in March, 1871, and near its close was re-elected for six years more. He was nominated for the office of vice-president of the United States in June, 1872, on the ticket with Ulysses S. Grant, and was elected in the following November, receiving 286 out of 354 electoral votes. On 3 March, 1873, he resigned his place on the floor of the senate, of which he had been a member for eighteen years, in order to enter on his functions as president of that body. The same year he was stricken with paralysis, and continued infirm till his death, which was caused by apoplexy.
It is but just to say of Henry Wilson that with exceptional opportunities which a less honest statesman might have found for enriching himself at the government's expense, or of taking advantage of his knowledge of public affairs and the tendency of legislation upon matters of finance and business, he died at his post of duty, as he had lived, rich only in his integrity and self-respect. Among his many published speeches may be mentioned “Personalities and Aggressions of Mr. Butler” (1856); “Defence of the Republican Party” (1856); “Are Workingmen Slaves?” (1858); “The Pacific Railroad” (1859); and “The Death of Slavery is the Life of the Nation” (1864). He was the author of a volume entitled “History of the Anti-Slavery Measures of the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth United States Congresses,” in which he relates the progress of the bills relating to slavery and cites the speeches of their friends and opponents (Boston, 1865); of a history of legislation on the army during the civil war, with the title of “Military Measures of the United States Congress” (1866); of a small volume called “Testimonies of American Statesmen and Jurists to the Truths of Christianity,” being an address that he gave before the Young men's Christian association at Natick (1867); of a “History of the Reconstruction Measures of the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, 1865-'8” (1868); of a series of articles on Edwin M. Stanton that were reprinted from a magazine, with those of Jeremiah S. Black, with the title of “A Contribution to History” (Easton, Pa., 1868); of a published oration on “The Republican and Democratic Parties” (Boston, 1868); and of a great work bearing the title of “History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America,” on which he labored indefatigably during his last illness, yet was not quite able to complete (3 vols., Boston , 1872-'5). See his “Life and Public Services,” which was written by his friend, Thomas Russell, and Rev. Elias Nason, who was his pastor for many years (1872). Congress directed to be printed a volume of “Obituary Addresses,” that were delivered in both houses, on 21 Jan., 1876 (Washington, 1876). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI. pp. 548-550.
Woodard, Willard, educator, publisher, member of the Free Soil Party
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(Blue, 1987; Blue, 1973; Blue, 2005, pp. 3, 4, 7, 9-13, 35, 54-55, 66, 68-75, 121, 123, 139, 142, 144-145, 146, 170-171, 184, 198-205, 212, 214, 218-219, 236, 245; Duberman, 1968; Dumond, 1961; Earle, 2004; Filler, 1960, pp. 108, 122, 132, 182, 187, 189, 200, 213, 219, 223, 228, 233, 237, 253; Foner, 1995; Maybee, 1970, pp. 98, 110, 161, 173, 178, 247, 253, 261, 278, 279, 391n29; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 4, 7, 9, 19, 22, 26, 35, 44-47, 53-56, 60-73; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 50, 133-136, 173, 225, 297-298, 354, 514, 650-651; Sernett, 2002, pp. 124-127, 152; Smith, 1897)