American Abolitionists and Antislavery Activists:
Conscience of the Nation

Updated August 19, 2018













l to r: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips

Republican Party - Part 7








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Founders and Political Leaders - Part 7

Read, John Meredith

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

READ, John Meredith, jurist, born in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, 21 July, 1797; died in Philadelphia, 29 November, 1874. was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1812, and admitted to the bar in 1818. He was a member of the Pennsylvania legislature in 1822-3, city solicitor and member of the select, council, in which capacity he drew up the first clear exposition of the finances of Philadelphia, U. S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1837-'44, solicitor-general of the United States, attorney general of Pennsylvania, and chief justice of that state from 1860 until his death. He early became a Democrat, and was one of the founders of the Free-soil wing of that party. This induced opposition to his confirmation by the U. S. Senate when he was nominated in 1845 as judge of the U. S. Supreme Court, and caused him to withdraw his name. He was one of the earliest and staunchest advocates of the annexation of Texas and the building of railroads to the Pacific, and was also a powerful supporter of President Jackson in his war against the U. S. bank. He was leading counsel with Thaddeus Stevens and Judge Joseph J. Lewis in the defence of Castner Hanway for constructive treason, his speech on this occasion giving him a wide reputation. He entered the Republican Party on its formation, and at the beginning of the presidential canvass of 1856 delivered a speech on the " Power of Congress over Slavery in the Territories." which was used throughout that canvass (Philadelphia, 1856). The Republican Party gained its first victory in Pennsylvania in 1858, electing him judge of the supreme court by 30,000 majority. This brought him forward as a candidate for the presidency of the United States in 1860: and Abraham Lincoln's friends were prepared to nominate him for that office, with the former for the vice-presidency, which arrangement was defeated by Simon Cameron in the Pennsylvania Republican Convention in February of that year. He nevertheless received several votes in the Chicago Convention, notwithstanding that all his personal influence was used in favor of Mr. Lincoln. The opinions of Judge Read run through forty-one volumes of reports. His " Views on the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus" (Philadelphia, 1863) were adopted as the basis of the act of 3 March, 1863. which authorized the president of the United States to suspend the habeas corpus act. He refused an injunction to prevent the running of horse-cars on Sunday, since he could not consent to stop "poor men's carriages." Many thousand copies of this opinion (Philadelphia, 1867) were printed. His amendments form an essential part of the constitutions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and his ideas were formulated in many of the statutes of the United States. Brown gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1860. Judge Read was the author of a great number of published addresses and legal opinions. Among them are " Plan for the Administration of the Girard Trust "(Philadelphia, 1833); 'The Law of Evidence" (1864); and "Jefferson Davis and his Complicity in the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln" (1866).—John Meredith's son, John Meredith, diplomatist, born in Philadelphia, 21 February, 1837, received his education at a military school and at Brown, where he received the degree of A. M. in 1866, was graduated at Albany law school in 1859, studied international law in Europe, was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia, and afterward moved to Albany, New York. He was adjutant-general of New York in 1860-'6, was one of the originators of the "Wide-Awake" political clubs in 1860. He was chairman in April of the same year of the committee of three to draft a bill in behalf of New York state, appropriating $300,000 for the purchase of arms and equipments, and he subsequently received the thanks of the War Department for his ability and zeal in organizing, equipping, and forwarding troops. He was first. U. S. consul-general for France and Algeria in 1869-'73 and 1870-'2, acting consul-general for Germany during the Franco-German war. After the war he was appointed by General de Cissey, minister of war, to form and preside over a commission to examine into the desirability of teaching the English language to the French troops. In November, 1873. he was appointed U. S. minister resident in Greece. One of his first acts was to secure the release of the American ship " Armenia " and to obtain from the Greek government a revocation of the order that prohibited the sale of the Bible in Greece. During the Russo-Turkish war he discovered that only one port in Russia was still open, and he pointed out to Secretary Evarts the advantages that would accrue to the commerce of the United States were a grain-fleet despatched from New York to that port. The event justified his judgment, since the exports of cereals from the United States showed an increase within a year of $73,000,000. While minister to Greece he received the thanks of his government for his effectual protection of American persons and interests in the dangerous crisis of 1878. Soon afterward Congress, from motives of economy, refused the appropriation for the legation at Athens, and General Read, believing that the time was too critical to withdraw the mission, carried it on at his individual expense until his resignation, 23 September, 1879. In 1881, when, owing in part to his efforts, after his resignation, the territory that had been adjudged to Greece had been finally transferred, King George created him a Knight grand cross of the order of the Redeemer, the highest dignity in the gift of the Greek government. General Read was president of the Social Science Congress at Albany, New York, in 1868, and vice-president of the one at Plymouth, England, in 1872. He is the author of an " Historical Enquiry concerning Henry Hudson," which first threw light upon his origin, and the sources of the ideas that guided that navigator (Albany, 1866). and contributions to current literature.
Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 199.


Remelin, Charles, Ohio


Rice, Alexander Hamilton, 1818-1895.  Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Boston, Massachusetts.  Four term Congressman, December 1859-March 1867.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.  (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 232-233; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 534; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RICE, Alexander Hamilton, governor of Massachusetts, born in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, 30 August,
1818. He received a business training in his father's paper-mill at Newton and in a mercantile house in Boston, and, after his graduation at Union College in 1844, established himself in the paper business at Boston. He became a member of the school committee, entered the common council, was chosen president of that body, and in 1855 and 1857 was elected mayor of Boston on a citizens' ticket. During his administration the Back Bay improvements were undertaken, the establishment of the Boston City Hospital was authorized, and on his recommendation the management of the public institutions was committed to a board composed in part of members of the common council and in part chosen from the general body of citizens. He served several years as president of the Boston board of trade, and has been an officer or trustee of numerous financial and educational institutions. He was elected to Congress by the Republican Party for four successive terms, serving from 5 December, 1859, till 3 March, 1867. He served on the Committee on Naval Affairs, and, as chairman of that committee in the 38th Congress introduced important measures. He was a delegate to the Loyalists' Convention at Philadelphia in 1866, and to the Republican National Convention in 1868. He was governor of Massachusetts in 1876, 1877, and 1878. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 232-233.


Riddle, Albert Gallatin

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RIDDLE, Albert Gallatin
, lawyer, born in Monson, Massachusetts, 28 May, 1816. His father moved to Geauga County, Ohio, in 1817, where the son received a common-school education, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1840, practised law, and was prosecuting attorney from 1840 till 1846. He served in the legislature in 1848–9, and called the first Free-Soil Convention in Ohio in 1848. In 1850 he moved to Cleveland, was elected prosecuting attorney in 1856, defended the Oberlin slave-rescuers in 1859, and was elected to Congress as a Republican, serving from 4 July, 1861, till 3 March, 1863. He made speeches then in favor of arming slaves, the first on this subject that were deliver in Congress, and others on emancipation in the District of Columbia and in vindication of President Lincoln. In October, 1863, he was appointed U.S. consul at Matanzas. Since 1864 he has practised law in Washington, D.C., and, under a retainer of the State Department, aided in the prosecution of John H. Surratt for the murder of President Lincoln. In 1877 he was appointed law-officer to the District of Columbia, which office he now (1888) holds. For several years, from its organization, he had charge of the law department in Howard University. Mr. Riddle is the author of “Students and Lawyers,” lectures (Washington, 1873); “Bart Ridgely, a Story of Northern Ohio.” (Boston, 1873); “The Portrait, a Romance of Cuyahoga Valley” (1874); “Alice Brand, a Tale of the Capitol" (New York, 1875); “Life, Character, and Public Services of James A. Garfield” (Cleveland, 1880); “The House of Ross” (Boston, 1881); “Castle Gregory.” (Cleveland, 1882); “Hart and his Bear” (Washington, 1883); “The Sugar-Makers of the West Woods” (Cleveland, 1885); “The Hunter of the Chagrin" (1882); “Mark Loan, a Tale of the Western Reserve” (1883); “Old Newberry and the Pioneers” (1884); “Speeches and Arguments” (Washington, 1886); and “Life of Benjamin F. Wade’’ (Cleveland, 1886). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 248.


Roberts, Anthony Ellmaker, 1803-1885, Pennsylvania, abolitionist.  U.S. Marshal.  Two-term Member of Congress from the Ninth District of Pennsylvania, 1855-1859.  Republican leader in Republican Party in Pennsylvania.  Opposed slavery.  Roberts was supported by Congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens.  (Herringshaw, 1902; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1949).


Rollins, Edward Henry, 1824-1889.  Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Hampshire.  Served in Congress July 1861-March 1867.  U.S. Senator 1877-1883.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 312-313; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 120; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 787; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROLLINS, Edward Henry, senator, born in Somersworth (now Rollinsford), New Hampshire
, 3 October, 1824. Several of his ancestors, who were among the first settlers of New Hampshire, served in the Revolutionary army, and his great-grandfather, Ichabod, was an active patriot and a member of the state convention that resolved itself into an independent government on 5 January, 1776. His name was given to the portion of Somersworth in which he resided. Edward Henry was educated in Dover, New Hampshire, and South Berwick, Maine, became a druggist's clerk in Concord and Boston, and subsequently entered business there on his own account. In 1855-'7 he was a member of the legislature, serving in the last year as speaker, and he was chairman of the New Hampshire delegation to the National Republican Convention of 1860. He served in Congress from 4 July, 1861, till 3 March, 1867, and was a firm opponent of the measure that was adopted in July, 1864, doubling the land-grant of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, and making the government security a first instead of a second mortgage upon the road. From 1868 till 1876 he was secretary and treasurer of the company, and from 4 March, 1877, till 4 March, 1883, he was U. S. Senator. He was a founder of the First National Bank in Concord, is an owner of Fort George Island, Florida, arid is now (1888) president of the Boston, Concord, and Montreal Railroad Company. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 312-313.


Ross, Edmund Gibson, 1826-1907, U.S. Senator.  Editor, Kansas Tribune, Free State Newspaper.  (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 327-328; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 175; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 905)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROSS, Edmund Gibson,
senator, born in Ashland, Ohio, 7 December, 1826. He was apprenticed at an early age to a printer, received a limited education, and in 1847 moved to Wisconsin, where he was employed in the office of the Milwaukee “Sentinel” for four years. He went to Kansas in 1856, was a member of the Kansas Constitutional Convention in 1859, and served in the legislature until 1861. He was also editor of the Kansas “State Record” and the Kansas “Tribune,” which was the only Free-state paper in the territory at that time, the others having been destroyed. In 1862 he enlisted in the National army as a private, and in 1865 became major. On his return to Kansas, after the war, he was appointed to succeed James H. Lane in the U. S. Senate, and was elected to fill out the term, serving from 25 July, 1866, till 4 March, 1871. He voted against the impeachment of President Johnson, thus offending the Republican Party, with which he had always acted, and was charged with having adopted this course from mercenary and corrupt motives. After his term ended he returned to Kansas, united with the Democratic Party, and was defeated as their candidate for governor in 1880. In 1882 he moved to New Mexico, where he published a newspaper, and in May, 1885, was appointed by President Cleveland governor of that territory. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 327-328.


Sackett, William Augustus, 1811-1895, New York, lawyer, politician.  Elected to U.S. House of Representatives from New York as a member of the Whig Party.  Served in Congress two terms from 1849-1853.  Opposed extension of slavery into the New territories and the fugitive slave laws.  Early member of the Republican Party.  (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 364-365)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SACKETT, William Augustus,
Congressman, born in Aurelius, Cayuga County, New York, 18 November, 1812. His ancestors came from England in 1632, settled in Massachusetts, and continued to live in New England until 1804, when his father moved to Cayuga County, New York. He received an academic education, studied law in Seneca Falls and Skaneateles, was admitted to the bar in 1834, and soon secured a lucrative practice. Elected to Congress as a Whig, he served from 3 December, 1849, till 3 March, 1853. He took part in the controversy in relation to the admission of California as a free state, and both spoke and voted for admission. He earnestly opposed the Fugitive-Slave Law, and was uncompromisingly in opposition to slavery and the admission of any more slave states. From the committee on claims he made a report on the power of consuls, which had an influence in the final modification of those powers. He moved to Saratoga Springs in 1857, where he still resides. In 1876-'8 he travelled extensively in Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land, and wrote letters describing his journeys that were published. He has been a Republican since the organization of the party, and has been active as a public speaker.—His son, WILLIAM, was colonel of the 9th New York Cavalry, and was killed while leading a charge under General Sheridan at Trevillian Station, Virginia. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 364-365.


Schurz, Carl, 1829-1906, abolitionist leader, political leader, journalist, lawyer, Union general, Secretary of the Interior. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 428-429; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 466; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 726-729)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SCHURZ, Carl, statesman,
born in Liblar, near Cologne, Prussia, 2 March, 1829. After studying at the gymnasium of Cologne, he entered the University of Bonn in 1846. At the beginning of the revolution of 1848 he joined Gottfried Kinkel, professor of rhetoric in the university, in the publication of a liberal newspaper, of which he was at one time the sole conductor. In the spring of 1849, in consequence of an attempt to promote an insurrection at Bonn, he fled with Kinkel to the Palatinate, entered the revolutionary army as adjutant, and took part in the defence of Rastadt. On the surrender of that fortress he escaped to Switzerland. In 1850 he returned secretly to Germany, and effected the escape of Kinkel from the fortress of Spandau. In the spring of 1851 he was in Paris, acting as correspondent for German journals, and he afterward spent a year in teaching in London. He came to the United States in 1852, resided three years in Philadelphia, and then settled in Watertown, Wisconsin. In the presidential canvass of 1856 he delivered speeches in German in behalf of the Republican Party, and in the following year he was an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant-governor of Wisconsin. During the contest between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln for the office of U. S. Senator from Illinois in 1858 he delivered his first speech in the English language, which was widely published. Soon afterward he moved to Milwaukee and began the practice of law. In 1859-'60 he made a lecture-tour in New England, and aroused attention by a speech in Springfield, Massachusetts, against the ideas and policy of Mr. Douglas. He was a member of the Republican National Convention of 1860, and spoke both in English and German during the canvass. President Lincoln appointed him minister to Spain, but he resigned in December, 1861, in order to enter the army. In April, 1862, he was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers, and on 17 June he took command of a division in the corps of General Franz Sigel, with which he participated in the second battle of Bull Run. He was made major-general of volunteers, 14 March, 1863, and at the battle of Chancellorsville commanded a division of General Oliver O. Howard's corps. He had temporary command of this corps at Gettysburg, and subsequently took part in the battle of Chattanooga. During the summer of 1865 he visited the southern states, as special commissioner, appointed by President Johnson, for the purpose of examining their condition. In the winter of 1865-'6 he was the Washington correspondent of the New York “Tribune,” and in the summer of 1866 he moved to Detroit, where he founded the “Post.” In 1867 he became editor of the “Westliche Post,” a German newspaper published in St. Louis. He was temporary chairman of the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1868, where he moved an amendment to the platform, which was adopted, recommending a general amnesty. In January, 1869, he was chosen U. S. Senator from Missouri, for the term ending in 1875. He opposed some of the chief measures of President Grant's administration, and in 1872 took an active part in the organization of the Liberal Party, presiding over the convention in Cincinnati that nominated Horace Greeley for the presidency. After the election of 1872 he took an active part in the debates of the Senate in favor of the restoration of specie payments and against the continuation of military interference in the south. He advocated the election of Rutherford B. Hayes in the presidential canvass of 1876, and in 1877 President Hayes appointed him Secretary of the Interior. He introduced competitive examinations for appointments in the interior department, effected various reforms in the Indian Service, and adopted systematic measures for the protection of the forests on the public lands. After the expiration of the term of President Hayes he became editor of the “Evening Post” in New York City, giving up that place in January, 1884. In the presidential canvass of that year he was one of the leaders of the “Independent” movement, advocating the election of Grover Cleveland. He remained an active member of the Civil Service Reform League. Among his more celebrated speeches are “The Irrepressible Conflict” (1858): “The Doom of Slavery” (1860); “The Abolition of Slavery as a War Measure” (1862); and “Eulogy on Charles Sumner” (1874). Of his speeches in the Senate, those on the reconstruction measures, against the annexation of Santo Domingo, and on the currency and the national banking system attracted much attention. He has published a volume of speeches (Philadelphia, 1865) and a “Life of Henry Clay” (Boston, 1887). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 428-429.


Scofield, Glenni William, born 1817, lawyer, jurist.  Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.  Congressman December 1863-March 1875.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, p. 434; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

S
COFIELD, Glenni William, jurist, born in Chautauqua County, New York, 11 March, 1817. After graduation at Hamilton College in 1840, he moved to Pennsylvania, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1843. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1850-'l and of the state senate in 1857-'9, and in 1861 was appointed president judge of the 18th Judicial District. He was then elected to Congress as a Republican, and served from 7 December, 1863, till 3 March, 1875. He took an active part in the reconstruction measures, and served on important committees, being chairman of that on Naval Affairs. On 28 March, 1878, he was appointed register of the treasury, and he served until 1881, when he was appointed an associate justice of the U. S. Court of Claims. Hamilton gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1884. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 434.


Selden, Henry Rogers, 1805-1885, lawyer, jurist, abolitionist.  Republican Lieutenant Governor for New York State.  Opposed to the extension of slavery to the territories.  (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 456-457)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SELDEN, Henry Rogers, jurist, born in Lyme, Connecticut, 14 October, 1805; died in Rochester, New York, 18 September, 1885. In 1825 he moved to Rochester, New York, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1880. He began practice in Clarkson, Monroe County, but returned to Rochester in 1859; and was reporter of the court of appeals in 1851-'4. He was a Democrat, but, being opposed to the extension of slavery, aided in the formation of the Republican Party, and in 1856 was its successful candidate for the lieutenant-governorship. He attended the Republican National Convention at Chicago in 1860, and concurred with his colleagues from New York in advocating the nomination of William H. Seward, but acquiesced in the nomination of Abraham Lincoln. In July, 1862, Mr. Selden was appointed a judge of the court of appeals to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of his brother, and he was afterward elected for a full term, but resigned in 1864. In 1872 he attended the Cincinnati Convention that nominated Horace Greeley for the presidency, and, though opposed to this course, reluctantly supported him in his canvass. He published “Reports, New York Court of Appeals, 1851-'4” (6 vols., Albany, 1853-'60). Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V pp. 456-457.


Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872, statesman, U.S. Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, U.S. Senator from New York, abolitionist, member Anti-Slavery Republican Party. 

(Baker, 1884; Dumond, 1961, pp. 292, 302, 355-356; Gienapp, 1987; Holt, 1999; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 9, 10, 54, 119-121, 160, 162, 165-167, 168, 177, 191-192, 198, 247; Pease, 1965, pp. 177-181, 483-485; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 52, 62, 136, 138, 240, 513, 634-636; Sewell, 1976; Van Deusen, 1976; Wilson, 1872, Vol. 2, pp. 164-166; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 470-472; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 615; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 19, p. 676; Hinks, Peter P., & John R. McKivigan, Eds., Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition.  Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 613-616)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SEWARD, William Henry,
statesman, born in Florida, Orange County, New York, 16 May, 1801; died in Auburn, New York, 10 October, 1872. His father, Dr. Samuel S. Seward, descended from a Welsh emigrant to Connecticut, combined medical practice with a large mercantile business. His mother was of Irish extraction. The son was fond of study, and in 1816 entered Union, after clue preparation at Farmers' Hall Academy, Goshen, New York. He withdrew from college in 1819, taught for six months in the south, and after a year's absence returned, and was graduated in 1820. After reading law with John Anthon in New York City, and John Duer and Ogden Hoffman in Goshen, he was admitted to the bar at Utica in 1822, and in January, 1823, settled in Auburn, New York, as the partner of Elijah Miller, the first judge of Cayuga County, whose daughter, Frances Adeline, he married in the following year. His industry and his acumen and power of logical presentation soon gave him a place among the leaders of the bar. In 1824 he first met Thurlow Weed at Rochester, and a close friendship between them, personal and political, continued through life. In that year also he entered earnestly into the political contest as an advocate of the election of John Quincy Adams, and in October of that year drew up an address of the Republican Convention of Cayuga County, in which he arraigned the “Albany Regency” and denounced the methods of Martin Van Buren's supporters. He delivered an anniversary address at Auburn on 4 July, 1825. He was one of the committee to welcome Lafayette, and in February, 1827, delivered an oration expressive of sympathy for the Greek revolutionists. On 12 August, 1827, he presided at Utica over a great convention of young men of New York in support of the re-election of John Q. Adams. He declined the anti-Masonic nomination for Congress in 1828, but joined that party on the dissolution of the National Republican Party, with which he had previously acted, consequent upon the setting aside of its candidate for Andrew Jackson. In 1830 he was elected as the anti-Masonic candidate for the state senate, in which body he took the lead in the opposition to the dominant party, and labored in behalf of the common schools and of railroad and canal construction. He proposed the collection of documents in the archives of European governments for the “Colonial History of New York,” advocated the election of the mayor of New York by the direct popular vote, and furthered the passage of the bill to abolish imprisonment for debt. At the close of the session he was chosen to draw up an address of the minority of the legislature to the people. On 4 July, 1831, he gave an address to the citizens of Syracuse on the “Prospects of the United States.” On 31 January, 1832, he defended the U.S. Bank in an elaborate speech in the state senate, and at the close of that session again prepared an address of the minority to their constituents. In 1833 he travelled through Europe, writing home letters which were afterward published in the “Albany Evening Journal.” In January, 1834, he denounced the removal of the U. S. bank deposits in a brilliant and exhaustive speech. He drew up a third minority address at the close of this his last session in the legislature. On 16 July, 1834, he delivered a eulogy of Lafayette at Auburn.

The Whig Party, which had originated in the opposition to the Jackson administration and the “Albany Regency,” nominated him for governor on 13 September, 1834, in the convention at Utica. He was defeated by William L. Marcy, and returned to the practice of law in the beginning of 1835. On 3 October of that year he made a speech at Auburn on education and internal improvements. In July, 1836, he quitted Auburn for a time in order to assume an agency at Westfield to settle the differences between the Holland land Company and its tenants. While there he wrote some political essays, and in July, 1837, delivered an address in favor of universal education. He took an active part in the political canvass of 1837, which resulted in a triumph of the Whigs. He was again placed in nomination for governor in 1838, and after a warm canvass, in which he was charged with having oppressed
settlers for the benefit of the land company, and was assailed by anti-slavery men, who had failed to draw from him an expression of abolitionist principles, he was elected by a majority of 10,421. The first Whig governor was hampered in his administration by rivalries and dissension within the party. He secured more humane and liberal provisions for the treatment of the insane, a mitigation of the methods of discipline in the penitentiary, and the improvement of the common schools. His proposition to admit Roman Catholic and foreign-born teachers into the public schools, while it was applauded by the opposite party, drew upon him the reproaches of many of the Protestant clergy and laity, and subjected him to suspicion and abuse. His recommendations to remove disabilities from foreigners and to encourage, rather than restrict, emigration, likewise provoked the hostility of native-born citizens. His proposition to abolish the court of chancery and make the judiciary elective was opposed by the bench and the bar, yet within a few years the reform was effected. At his suggestion, specimens of the natural history of the state were collected, and, when the geological survey was completed, he prepared an elaborate introduction to the report, reviewing the settlement, development, and condition of the state, which appeared in the work under the title of “Notes on New York.” In the conflict between the proprietors and the tenants of Renselaerwyck he advocated the claims of the latter, but firmly suppressed their violent outbreaks. He was re-elected, with a diminished majority, in 1840. A contest over the enlargement of the Erie Canal and the completion of the lateral canals, which the Democrats prophesied would plunge the state into a debt of forty millions, grew sharper during Governor Seward's second term, and near its close the legislature stopped the public works. His projects for building railroads were in like manner opposed by that party.

In January, 1843, Seward retired to private life, resuming the practice of law at Auburn. He continued an active worker for his party during the period of its decline, and was a frequent speaker at political meetings. In 1843 he delivered an address before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Union College on the “Elements of Empire in America.” He entered largely into the practice of patent law, and in criminal cases his services were in constant demand. Frequently he not only defended accused persons gratuitously, but gave pecuniary assistance to his clients. Among his most masterly forensic efforts were an argument for freedom of the press in a libel suit brought by J. Fenimore Cooper against Horace Greeley in 1845, and the defence of John Van Zandt, in 1847, against a criminal charge of aiding fugitive slaves to escape. At the risk of violence, and with a certainty of opprobrium, he defended the demented Negro Freeman, who had committed a revolting murder, emboldened, many supposed, by Seward's eloquent presentation of the doctrine of moral insanity in another case. In September, 1847, Seward delivered a eulogy on Daniel O'Connell before the Irish citizens of New York, and in 1848 a eulogy on John Quincy Adams before the New York Legislature. He took an active part in the presidential canvass, and in a speech at Cleveland described the conflict between freedom and slavery, saying of the latter: “It must be abolished, and you and I must do it.”

In February, 1849, Seward was elected U. S. Senator. His proposal, while governor, to extend suffrage to the Negroes of New York, and many public utterances, placed him in the position of the foremost opponent of slavery within the Whig Party. President Taylor selected Seward as his most intimate counsellor among the senators, and the latter declined to be placed on any important committee, lest his pronounced views should compromise the administration. In a speech delivered on 11 March, 1850, in favor of the admission of California, he spoke of the exclusion of slavery as determined by “the higher law,” a phrase that was denounced as treasonable by the southern Democrats. On 2 July, 1850, he delivered a great speech on the compromise bill. He supported the French spoliation bill, and in February, 1851, advocated the principles that were afterward embodied in the homestead law. His speeches covered a wide ground, ranging from a practical and statistical analysis of the questions affecting steam navigation, deep-sea exploration, the American fisheries, the duty on rails, and the Texas debt, to flights of passionate eloquence in favor of extending sympathy to the exiled Irish patriots, and moral support to struggles for liberty, like the Hungarian Revolution, which he reviewed in a speech on “Freedom in Europe,” delivered in March, 1852. After the death of Zachary Taylor many Whig Senators and representatives accepted the pro-slavery policy of President Fillmore, but Seward resisted it with all his energy. He approved the nomination of Winfield Scott for the presidency in 1852, but would not sanction the platform, which upheld the compromise of 1850. In 1853 he delivered an address at Columbus, Ohio, on ”The Destiny of America,” and one in New York City on “The True Basis of American Independence.” In 1854 he made an oration on “The Physical, Moral, and Intellectual Development of the American People” before the literary societies of Yale College, which gave him the degree of LL. D. His speeches on the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and on the admission of Kansas made a profound impression. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1855, in spite of the vigorous opposition of both the Native American Party and the Whigs of southern sympathies. In the presidential canvass of 1856 he zealously supported John C. Frémont, the Republican candidate. In 1857 he journeyed through Canada, and made a voyage to Labrador in a fishing-schooner, the “Log” of which was afterward published. In a speech at Rochester, New York, in October, 1858, he alluded to the “irrepressible conflict,” which could only terminate in the United States becoming either entirely a slave-holding nation or entirely a free-labor nation. He travelled in Europe, Egypt, and Palestine in 1859.

In 1860, as in 1856, Seward's pre-eminent position in the Republican Party made him the most conspicuous candidate for the presidential nomination. He received 173½ votes in the first ballot at the convention, against 102 given to Abraham Lincoln, who was eventually nominated, and in whose behalf he actively canvassed the western states. Lincoln appointed him Secretary of State, and before leaving the Senate to enter on the
duties of this office he made a speech in which he disappointed some of his party by advising patience and moderation in debate, and harmony of action for the sake of maintaining the Union. He cherished hopes of a peaceful solution of the national troubles, and, while declining in March, 1861, to enter into negotiations with commissioners of the Confederate government, he was in favor of evacuating Fort Sumter as a military necessity and politic measure, while re-enforcing Fort Pickens, and holding every other post then remaining in the hands of the National government. He issued a circular note to the ministers abroad on 9 March, 1861, deprecating foreign intervention, and another on 24 April, defining the position of the United States in regard to the rights of neutrals. Negotiations were carried on with European governments for conventions determining such rights. He protested against the unofficial intercourse between the British Cabinet and agents of the Confederate States, and refused to receive despatches from the British and French governments in which they assumed the attitude of neutrals between belligerent powers. On 21 July he sent a despatch to Charles F. Adams, minister at London, defending the decision of Congress to close the ports of the seceded states. When the Confederate Commissioners were captured on board the British steamer “Trent” he argued that the seizure was in accordance with the British doctrine of the “right of search,” which the United States had resisted by the war of 1812. The release of these prisoners, at the demand of the British government, would now commit both governments to the maintenance of the American doctrine; so they would be “cheerfully given up.” He firmly rejected and opposed the proposal of the French emperor to unite with the English and Russian governments in mediating between the United States and the Confederate government. He made the Seward-Lyons Treaty with Great Britain for the extinction of the African slave-trade. The diplomatic service was thoroughly reorganized by Secretary Seward; and by his lucid despatches and the unceasing presentation of his views and arguments, through able ministers, to the European cabinets, the respect of Europe was retained, and the efforts of the Confederates to secure recognition and support were frustrated. In the summer of 1862, the army having become greatly depleted, and public proclamation of the fact being deemed unwise, he went to the north with letters from the president and Secretary of War, met and conferred with the governors of the loyal states, and arranged for their joint proffer of re-enforcements, to which the president responded by the call for 300,000 more troops. Mr. Seward firmly insisted on the right of American citizens to redress for the depredations of the “Alabama,” and with equal determination asserted the Monroe Doctrine in relation to the French invasion of Mexico, but, by avoiding a provocative attitude, which might have involved his government in foreign war, was able to defer the decision of both questions till a more favorable time. Before the close of the Civil War he intimated to the French government the irritation felt in the United States in regard to its armed intervention in Mexico. Many despatches on this subject were sent during 1865 and 1866, which gradually became more urgent, until the French forces were withdrawn and the Mexican empire fell. He supported President Lincoln's proclamation liberating the slaves in all localities in rebellion, and three years later announced by proclamation the abolition of slavery throughout the Union by constitutional amendment. In the spring of 1865 Mr. Seward was thrown from his carriage, and his arm and jaw were fractured. While he was confined to his couch with these injuries President Lincoln was murdered and on the same evening, 14 April, one of the conspirators gained access to the chamber of the secretary, inflicted severe wounds with a knife in his face and neck, and struck down his son, Frederick W., who came to his rescue. His recovery was slow and his sufferings were severe. He concluded a treaty with Russia for the cession of Alaska in 1867. He negotiated treaties for the purchase of the Danish West India Islands and the Bay of Samana, which failed of approval by the Senate, and made a treaty with Colombia to secure American control of the Isthmus of Panama, which had a similar fate. Secretary Seward sustained the reconstruction policy of President Johnson, and thereby alienated the more powerful section of the Republican Party and subjected himself to bitter censure and ungenerous imputations. He opposed the impeachment of President Johnson in 1868, and supported the election of General Grant in that year. He retired from office at the end of eight years of tenure in March, 1869. After a brief stay in Auburn, he journeyed across the continent to California, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alaska, returning through Mexico as the guest of its government and people. In August, 1870, he set out on a tour of the world, accompanied by several members of his family. He visited the principal countries of Asia, northern Africa, and Europe, being received everywhere with great honor. He studied their political institutions, their social and ethnological characteristics, and their commercial capabilities. Returning home on 9 October, 1871, he devoted himself to the preparation of a narrative of his journey, and after its completion to a history of his life and times, which was not half finished at the time of his death. The degree of LL. D. was given him by Union in 1866. He published, besides occasional addresses and numerous political speeches, a volume on the “Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams” (Auburn, 1849). An edition of his “Works” was published, which contains many of his earlier essays, speeches, and addresses, with a memoir by George E. Baker, reaching down to 1853 (3 vols., New York, 1853). To this a fourth volume was added in 1862, and a fifth in 1884, containing his later speeches and extracts from his diplomatic correspondence. His official correspondence during the eight years was published by order of Congress. The relation of his “Travels Around the World” was edited and published by his adopted daughter, Olive Risley Seward (New York, 1873). Charles F. Adams published an “Address on the Life, Character, and Services of Seward” (Albany, 1873), which was thought by some to have extolled him at the expense of President Lincoln's fame, and elicited replies from Gideon Welles and others. Mr. Seward's “Autobiography,” which extends to 1834, has been continued to 1846 in a memoir by his son, Frederick W., with selections from his letters (New York, 1877). The vignette portrait represents Governor Seward in early life, and the other illustration is a view of his residence at Auburn. There is a bronze statue of Mr. Seward, by Randolph Rogers, in Madison square, New York.—His son, Augustus Henry, soldier, born in Auburn, New York, 1 October, 1826; died in Montrose, New York, 11 September, 1876, was graduated at the U.S. Military Academy in 1847, served through the Mexican War as lieutenant of infantry, afterward in Indian territory till 1851, and then on the coast survey till 1859, when he joined the Utah Expedition. He was made a captain on 19 January, 1859, and on 27 March, 1861, a major on the staff. He served as paymaster during the Civil War, receiving the brevets of lieutenant-colonel and colonel at its close.—Another son, Frederick William, lawyer, born in Auburn, New York, 8 July, 1830, was graduated at Union in 1849, and after he was admitted to the bar at Rochester, New York, in 1851, was associate editor of the Albany “Evening Journal” till 1861, when he was appointed assistant Secretary of State, which office he held for the eight years that his father was secretary. In 1867 he went on a special mission to Santo Domingo. He was a member of the New York legislature in 1875, and introduced the bill to incorporate the New York elevated Railroad and the amendments to the constitution providing for a reorganization of the state canal and prison systems, placing each under responsible heads, and abolishing the old boards. He was assistant Secretary of State again in 1877-'81, while William M. Evarts was secretary. Union conferred on him the degree of LL. D. in 1878. His principal publication is the “Life and Letters” of his father (New York, 1877), of which the second volume is now (1888) in preparation. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 470-472.


Chapter: “John Quincy Adams. William H. Seward. Salmon P. Chase,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872.

Just one year from the disappearance of Mr. Adams from the theatre on which he had borne so prominent and important a part were elected to the Senate of the United States William H. Seward of New York and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio. Both were deeply inspired by the spirit of freedom, and had labored earnestly in its behalf. Both were men of large capacity, superior culture; laudable ambition; and tireless industry; and their entrance upon this new and broader sphere of action was welcomed by the antislavery men of the nation with high and exciting hopes that they" would prove worthy champions of a noble cause. Nor were these hopes doomed to disappointment.

In the election of 1848, the Democratic Party of New York had been riven iii twain and completely routed. The Whigs had elected all but one of its thirty-four members of Congress. They had secured four fifths of the legislature, and Hamilton Fish had been elected governor by a plurality of one hundred thousand.

Mr. Seward had done much to retain the antislavery Whigs of that and other Northern States, notwithstanding the rejection of the Wilmot proviso by the national convention. During the presidential canvass he said little of platforms or candidates, but spoke with signal ability in behalf of the Union, equal rights, the diffusion of knowledge, the development of the country, and the abolition of slavery.

During this canvass he addressed a convention in Cleveland, Ohio, and presented the issues growing out of the existence of slavery with singular boldness and distinctness of utterance. At the same time he described with philosophic accuracy and with marvelous force and felicity of language the distinction between the party of freedom and the party of slavery. He declared the antagonistic elements of American Society to be freedom and slavery. “Freedom," he said,” is in harmony with our system of government and with the spirit of the ages and' is therefore passive and quiescent. Slavery is in conflict with that system, with justice, and with humanity, and is therefore organized, defensive, active, and perpetually aggressive. Freedom insists on the emancipation and elevation of labor; slavery demands soil moistened with tears and blood." Resulting from these elements, the American people were divided, he affirmed, into the party of freedom and the party of slavery. “The party of slavery,'' he said,” upholds an aristocracy founded on the humiliation of labor as necessary to the existence of a chivalrous republic. The party of freedom maintains universal suffrage, which makes men equal before the laws, as they are in the sight of a common Creator. The party of slavery cherishes ignorance because it is the only security for oppression. . The party of liberty demands the diffusion of knowledge because it is the safeguard of republican institutions. The party of slavery declares that institution munificent and approved of God, and therefore inviolable. The party of freedom seeks complete and universal emancipation."

Admitting that the Whig Party had fallen from its ancient faith and was comparatively unsound, he claimed that it was the truest and most faithful of the two parties, the one or the other of which must prevail. He gave expression to the pregnant thought that the Whig Party was as faithful to the interests of freedom as the “inert conscience " of the American people would permit it to be, and he urged the duty of making it more faithful. " Slavery," he said,” can be limited to its present bounds, it can be ameliorated, it can be and must be abolished; and you and I can and must do it." Maintaining that the strength of slavery did not lie in the Constitution of the United States, nor in the constitutions and laws of the slaveholding States, but in the erroneous sentiments of the American people, he urged the men of Ohio to " inculcate " the " law of freedom and equal rights of man under the paternal roof, and to see to it that they are taught in the schools and in the churches. “Reform your own code," he continued; "extend a cordial welcome to the fugitive who lays his weary limbs at your door, and -defend him as you would your paternal gods ; correct your own error, that slavery bas any constitutional guaranty which may not be released and ought not to be relinquished. Say to slavery, when it shows its ' bond ' and demands its ' pound of flesh,' that if it draws one drop of blood its life shall be the forfeit."

These sentiments, thus decided, not to say defiant, were expressed in dignified language, with forensic art and the adroitness of the statesman, who made the manner strengthen and enforce the matter of his discourse. He counselled, too, their inculcation with a spirit of moderation and benevolence, and not of retaliation and fanaticism; and he expressed the be­lief that by so doing they would bring the friends of the country into an effective aggression upon slavery, and that when the public mind should will its abolition a way would be opened to do it. He urged them not to overlook· the attainable in their efforts to secure the unattainable, and to “remember that no human work is done without preparation."

Source:  Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2.  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 164-166.


Shellabarger, Samuel, Congressman, born in Clark County, Ohio, 10 December, 1817. He was graduated at Miami in 1842, studied law under General Samson Mason, was admitted to the bar in 1847, was a member of the first legislature in Ohio that met under the present constitution, and in 1860 was elected to Congress as a Republican. He took his seat in the special session that met in accordance with President Lincoln's call, on 4 July, 1861, and served in 1861-3, in 1865-'9, and in 1870-'3. He was chairman of the Committees on Commerce, that on charges by Prey against Roscoe Conkling, and that on the Provost-Marshal's Bureau, and was on the Special Committees on the Assassination of President Lincoln, Civil Service, and the New Orleans riots. He was U. S. minister to Portugal in 1869-70, and in 1874-'5 was one of the civil service commission. He then resumed the practice of his profession in Washington, D. C. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 483.


Sherman, John, 1823-1900, statesman.  Whig U.S. Congressman, 1855.  Republican U.S. Senator.  Brother of General William T. Sherman.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.  Brother of Union commander, (Appletons’, 1888, pp. 506-508; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 84; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 19, p. 813; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SHERMAN, John, statesman, born in Lancaster, Ohio, 10 May, 1823, after the death of their father in 1829, leaving the large family with but limited means, the boy was cared for by a cousin named John Sherman, residing in Mount Vernon, where he was sent to school. At the age of twelve he returned to Lancaster and entered the academy to prepare himself for college. In two years he was sufficiently advanced to enter the sophomore class, but a desire to be self-supporting led to his becoming junior rodman in the Corps of Engineers engaged on the Muskingum. He was placed in charge of the section of that work in Beverly early in 1838, and so continued until the summer of 1839, when he was removed because he was a Whig. The responsibilities attending the measurements of excavations and embankments, and the levelling for a lock to a canal, proved a better education than could have been procured elsewhere in the same time. He began the study of law in the office of his brother Charles, and in 1844 was admitted to the bar. He formed a partnership with his brother in Mansfield, and continued with him until his entrance into Congress, during which time his ability and industry gained for him both distinction and pecuniary success.

Meanwhile, i
n 1848, he was sent as a delegate to the Whig Convention, held in Philadelphia, that nominated Zachary Taylor for the presidency, and in 1852 he was a delegate to the Baltimore Convention that nominated Winfield Scott. His attitude as a conservative Whig, in the alarm and excitement that followed the attempt to repeal the Missouri Compromise, secured his election to the 34th Congress, and he took his seat on 3 December, 1855. He is a ready and forcible speaker, and his thorough acquaintance with public affairs made him an acknowledged power in the house from the first. He grew rapidly in reputation as a debater on all the great questions agitating the public mind during that eventful period: the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the Dred-Scott Decision, the imposition of slavery upon Kansas, the Fugitive-Slave Law, the national finances, and other measures involving the very existence of the republic. His appointment by the speaker, Nathaniel P. Banks, as a member of the committee to inquire into and collect evidence in regard to the border-ruffian troubles in Kansas was an important event in his career. Owing to the illness of the chairman, William A. Howard, of Michigan, the duty of preparing the report devolved upon Mr. Sherman. Every statement was verified by the clearest testimony, and has never been controverted by any one. This report, when presented to the house, created a great deal of feeling, and intensified the antagonisms in Congress, being made the basis of the canvass of 1856. He acted with the Republican Party in supporting John C. Frémont for the presidency because that party resisted the extension of slavery, but did not seek its abolition. In the debate on the submarine telegraph he showed his opposition to monopolists by saying: “I cannot agree that our government should be bound by any contract with any private incorporated company for fifty years; and the amendment I desire to offer will reserve the power to Congress to determine the proposed contract after ten years.” All bills making appropriations for public expenditures were closely scrutinized, and the then prevalent system of making contracts in advance of appropriations was denounced by him as illegal. At the close of his second congressional term he was recognized as the foremost man in the house of representatives. He had from deep and unchanged conviction adopted the political faith of the Republican Party, but without any partisan rancor or malignity toward the south.

He was re-elected to the 36th Congress, which began its first session amid the excitement caused by the bold raid of John Brown. In 1859 he was the Republican candidate for the speakership. He had subscribed, with no knowledge of the book, for Hinton R. Helper's “Impending Crisis,” and this fact was brought up against him and estranged from him a few of the southern Whigs, who besought him to declare that he was not hostile to slavery. He refused, and after eight weeks of balloting, in which he came within three votes of election, he yielded to William Pennington, who was chosen. Mr. Sherman was then made chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means. He took a decided stand against in drafting new legislation upon appropriation bills, saying: “The theory of appropriation bills is, that they shall provide money to carry on the government, to execute existing laws, and not to change existing laws or provide new ones.” In 1860 he was again elected to Congress, and, when that body convened in December, the seceding members of both houses were outspoken and defiant. At the beginning of President Buchanan's administration the public indebtedness was less than $20,000,000, but by this time it had been increased to nearly $100,000,000, and in such a crippled condition were its finances that the government had not been able to pay the salaries of members of Congress and many other demands. Mr. Sherman proved equal to the occasion in providing the means for the future support of the government. His first step was to secure the passage of a bill authorizing the issue of what are known as the treasury-notes of 1860.

On the resignation of Salmon P. Chase, he was elected to his place in the Senate, and took his seat on 4 March, 1861. He was re-elected senator in 1867 and in 1873. During most of his senatorial career he was chairman of the Committee on Finance, and served also on the committees on agriculture, the Pacific Railroad, the Judiciary, and the Patent Office. After the fall of Fort Sumter, under the call of President Lincoln for 75,000 troops he tendered his services to General Robert Patterson, was appointed aide-de-camp without pay, and remained with the Ohio regiments till the meeting of Congress in July. After the close of this extra session he returned to Ohio, and received authority from Governor William Denison to raise a brigade. Largely at his own expense, he recruited two regiments of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and a battery of artillery, comprising over 2,300 men. This force served during the whole war, and was known as the “Sherman Brigade.” The most valuable services rendered by him to the Union cause were his efforts in the Senate to maintain and strengthen the public credit, and to provide for the support of the armies in the field. On the suspension of specie payments, about the first of January, 1862, the issue of United States notes became a necessity. The question of making them a legal tender was not at first received with favor. Mainly through the efforts of Senator Sherman and Secretary Chase, this feature of the bill authorizing their issue was carried through Congress. They justified the legal-tender clause of the bill on the ground of necessity. In the debates on this question Mr. Sherman said: “I do believe there is a pressing necessity that these demand-notes should be made legal tender, if we want to avoid the evils of a depreciated and dishonored paper currency. I do believe we have the constitutional power to pass such a provision, and that the public safety now demands its exercise.” The records of the debate show that he made the only speech in the Senate-in favor of the National-Bank Bill. Its final passage was secured only by the personal appeals of Secretary Chase to the senators who opposed it. Mr. Sherman's speeches on state and national banks are the most important that he made during the war. He introduced a refunding act in 1867, which was adopted in 1870, but without the resumption clause. In 1874 a committee of nine, of which he was chairman, was appointed by a Republican caucus to secure a concurrence of action. They agreed upon a bill fixing the time for the resumption of specie payment at 1 January, 1879. This bill was reported to the caucus and the Senate with the distinct understanding that there should be no debate on the side of the Republican
s, and that Mr. Sherman should be left to manage it according to his own discretion. The bill was passed, leaving its execution dependent upon the will of the Secretary of the Treasury for the time being.

Mr. Sherman was an active supporter of Rutherford B. Hayes for the presidency in 1876, was a member of the committee that visited Louisiana to witness the counting of the returns of that state. He was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Hayes in March, 1877, and immediately set about providing a redemption fund by means of loans. Six months before 1 January, 1879, the date fixed by law for redemption of specie payments, he had accumulated $140,000,000 in gold, and he had the satisfaction of seeing the legal-tender notes gradually approach gold in value until, when the day came, there was practically no demand for gold in exchange for the notes. In 1880 Mr. Sherman was an avowed candidate for the presidential nomination, and his name was presented in the National Convention by James A. Garfield. During the contest between the supporters of General Grant and those of James G. Blaine, which resulted in Mr. Garfield's nomination, Mr. Sherman's vote ranged from 90 to 97. He returned to the Senate in 1881, and on the expiration of his term in 1887 was re-elected to serve until 1893. At present (1888) he is chairman of the committee on foreign relations, and is an active member of the committees on Expenditures of Public Money, Finance, and Rules. In December, 1885, he was chosen President of the Senate Pro Tem, but he declined re-election at the close of his senatorial term in 1887. His name was presented by Joseph B. Foraker in nomination for the presidency at the National Convention held in 1884, but the Ohio delegation was divided between him and James
G. Blaine, so that he received only 30 votes from this state. Again in 1888 his name was presented by Daniel H. Hastings, in behalf of the Pennsylvania delegation at the National Convention, and on the first ballot he received 229 votes and on the second 249, being the leading candidate, and continued so until Benjamin Harrison received the support of those whose names were withdrawn. Mr. Sherman has published “Selected Speeches and Reports on Finance and Taxation, 1859–1878" (New York, 1879). See “John Sherman, What he has said and done: Life and Public Services,” by Reverend Sherlock A. Bronson (Columbus, Ohio, 1880). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 506-508.


Sholes, Charles Clark

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SHOLES, Charles Clark
, journalist, born in Norwich, Connecticut, 8 January, 1816; died in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 5 October, 1867. He was brought up in Danville, Pennsylvania, and there learned the trade of printing, after which he went to Harrisburg and engaged as a journeyman in the newspaper office of Simon Cameron. In 1836 he went to Wisconsin and conducted in Green Bay the first journal in that part of the west. Mr. Sholes was soon appointed clerk of the territorial district court, and in 1837 was elected to the territorial legislature from Brown County. In 1838 he purchased in Madison the "Wisconsin Inquirer," and early in 1840 the "Kenosha Telegraph," but subsequent business engagements compelled him to relinquish these journals. He fixed his residence in Kenosha in 1847, of which place he was several times mayor, frequently represented Kenosha County both in the assembly and senate of the state, and in one session was chosen speaker of the former body. In 1856 he was the Republican candidate for lieutenant-governor, but failed of election. Mr. Sholes was one of the early organizers of what afterward grew into the Northwestern Telegraph Company, with which corporation he was connected at the time of his death. He was an active abolitionist and zealous promoter of the cause of popular education. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 515.


Skinner, Mark

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SKINNER, Mark
, born in Manchester, Vermont, 13 September, 1813; died there, 16 September, 1887, was graduated at Middlebury in 1833, and studied law at Saratoga Springs, Albany, and New Haven. He settled at Chicago in 1836, was elected city attorney in 1839, appointed U. S. District attorney for Illinois in 1844 and chosen to the legislature in 1846. He became judge of Cook County Court of Common Pleas in 1851. In 1842 he was made school-inspector for Chicago, and gave much time and labor to the cause of education. The city in 1859 honored his services by naming its new school-building “the Skinner school.” He was president of the Illinois General Hospital of the lake in 1852, of the Chicago Home for the Friendless in 1860, first president of the Chicago Reform-School, one of the founders and patrons of the Chicago Historical Society, a founder of the New England Society of Chicago, and delivered an address before it in 1848, entitled “A Vindication of the Character of the Pilgrim Fathers” (1849). He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and a liberal contributor to all church charities. Judge Skinner was chairman of the meeting in November, 1846, to make arrangements for the River and Harbor Convention of 1847, and was a delegate to that convention. He took an active part in building the Galena and Chicago Railroad and was for years one of its directors, and a director in the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. He was originally a Democrat, one of the founders of the Anti-Nebraska Party in 1854, and a member of the Republican Party from its organization in 1856. In October, 1861, he was elected president of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission, and he continued such until 1864. Judge Skinner owned a large and valuable library, comprising a full collection of books relating to America. This was burned in 1871, and since that time he has more than duplicated his former collections. See a memoir by E. W. Blatchford, published by the Chicago Historical Society (1888). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 546.


Smith, Caleb Blood

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SMITH, Caleb Blood
, Secretary of the Interior, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 16 April, 1808; died in Indianapolis, Indiana, 7 January, 1864. He emigrated with his parents to Ohio in 1814, was educated at Cincinnati and Miami Colleges, studied law in Cincinnati and in Connersville, Indiana, and was admitted to the bar in 1828. He began practice at the latter place, established and edited the "Sentinel" in 1832, served several terms in the Indiana Legislature, and was in Congress in 1843-'9, having been elected as a Whig. During his congressional career he was one of the Mexican claims commissioners. He returned to the practice of law in 1850, residing in Cincinnati and subsequently in Indianapolis. He was influential in securing the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency at the Chicago Republican Convention in 1860, and was appointed by him Secretary of the Interior in 1861, which post he resigned in December, 1862, to become U. S. Circuit Judge for Indiana. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 558.


Smith, Edward Delafield

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SMITH, Edward Delafield
, lawyer, born in Rochester, New York, 8 May, 1826; died in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, 13 April, 1878. He was graduated at the University of the City of New York in 1846, was admitted to the bar in 1848, and practised in New York City. He was U. S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1861-'5, returned to practice in the latter year, and from 1871 till 1875 was corporation counsel of New York City. He was an active member of the Republican Party, and a member of the law committee of the University of the City of New York. Among his many cases of importance, was that of the People against Nathaniel Gordon, master of the slave-ship " Erie," whom he brought to the scaffold in 1862, and that against John Andrews, a leader of the draft riots in New York City in 1863. At the time of his death he was attorney of record in the Eliza B. Jumel estate case. Mr. Smith also attained success in private practice, and was widely known for his legal ability. He published " Avidae," a poem (New York, 1843); " Destiny," a poem (1846); "Oratory," a poem (1846); "Reports of Cases in the New York Court of Common Pleas" (4 vols., 1850-'9); and “ Addresses to Juries in Slave-Trade Trials " (1861). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 361.


Smith, Franklin Webster, 1826-1911, Boston, Massachusetts, businessman, anti-slavery.  Early member of the Republican Party.  Supported election of Abraham Lincoln.


Spalding, Rufus Paine, 1798-1886, Massachusetts, lawyer, jurist.  Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio, 1863-1869.  Opposed the extension of slavery into the new territories.  In 1847, declared: “If the evil of slavery had been restricted, as it should have been, to the thirteen original states, self-interest might have led to the extinction of the practice long before now.”  Spalding joined the anti-slavery Free Soil Party in 1850.  He opposed the Fugitive Slave Act.  He encouraged fellow attorneys in Cleveland to oppose the Act.  He represented Underground Railroad conductor Simon Buswell in his defense, arguing the Fugitive Slave Act was unconstitutional.  He opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.  Spalding was elected to Congress in 1862.  While there, he introduced legislation to repeal the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850.  One of the organizers of the Republican Party.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. Sinha, 2016, pp. 524, 525; Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 620-621; Congressional Globe.

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SPALDING, Rufus Paine,
jurist, born in West Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, 3 May, 1798; died in Cleveland, Ohio, 29 August, 1886. He was graduated at Yale in 1817, and subsequently studied law under Zephaniah Swift, chief justice of Connecticut, whose daughter, Lucretia, he married in 1822. In 1819 he was admitted to practice in Little Rock, Arkansas, but in 1821 he went to Warren, Ohio. Sixteen years later he moved to Ravenna, Ohio, and he was sent to the legislature in 1830-'40 as a Democrat, serving as speaker in 1841-'2. In 1840 he was elected judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio for seven years, but when, three years later, the new state constitution was adopted, he declined a re-election and began practice in Cleveland. In l852 he entered political life as a Free-Soiler, and he was one of the organizers of the Republican Party. He was a member of Congress in 1863-'9, where he served on important committees, but he subsequently declined all political honors. Judge Spalding exercised an important influence in restoring the Masonic Order to its former footing after the disappearance of William Morgan. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 620-621.


Speed, James
, 1812-1887, Kentucky, lawyer, soldier, statesman, U.S. Attorney General.  Ardent opponent of slavery.  Early friend of Abraham Lincoln.  Emancipation candidate for Kentucky State Constitutional Convention.  Unionist State Senator.  U.S. Attorney General appointed by President Lincoln in 1864, he served until 1866.  Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 625-626; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 440.

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SPEED,
James, lawyer, born in Jefferson County, Kentucky., 11 March, 1812; died there, 25 June, 1887. He was graduated at St. Joseph's College, Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1828, studied law at Transylvania, and began practice at Louisville. His ancestors were identified with that state from pioneer days, and were active participants in the best political life of the young commonwealth. Inheriting a repugnance to every form of oppression and injustice, he was naturally opposed to slavery, and his well-known opinions on that subject prevented his taking any prominent part in politics until the opening of the Civil War. He was then nearly fifty years old, but he had established his reputation as a jurist, and was recognized even by those wholly opposed to him on the issues of the time as able, consistent, and upright. He also held at this time a chair in the law department of the University of Louisville. A powerful element in Kentucky strove to commit the state to the disunion cause, and against that element he exercised all his talents and influence. To him as much as any one man is ascribed the refusal of Kentucky to join the Confederacy.  He became in early manhood a friend of Abraham Lincoln, and their subsequent relations continued to be intimate. When the war came, he promptly yielded to the president’s request that he should assist in organizing the National troops in his native state, and he devoted himself to the cause of loyalty until 1864, when he was made Attorney General of the United States. He was a member of the legislature in 1847, and in 1849 was the Emancipation candidate for the State Constitutional Convention, but was defeated by James Guthrie, pro-slavery. He was a Unionist state senator in 1861-‘3, mustering officer of the U.S. volunteers in 1861 for the first call for 75,000 men, and U.S. Attorney-General of 1864 till 1866 when he resigned from opposition to Andrew Johnson’s administration. He was also a delegate to the Republican Conventions of 1872 and 1876. His last appearance in public was in delivering an address on Lincoln before the Loyal League of Cincinnati, 4 May, 1887. In 1875, he returned to his law professorship.  Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 625-626.


Spinner, Francis Ellias

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SPINNER, Francis Ellias
, financier, born in German Flats (now Mohawk), New York, 21 January1802. His father, John Peter (born in Werbach, Baden, 18 January, 1768; died in German Flats, 27 May. 1848), officiated for twelve years as a Roman Catholic priest, then embraced Protestantism, married, emigrated to the United States in 1801, and was pastor of Reformed churches at Herkimer and German Flats until his death, preaching at first in German alone, and afterward alternately in German and English. The son was educated carefully by his father, who required him to learn a trade, and apprenticed him at first to a confectioner in Albany, and afterward to a saddler in Amsterdam, New York. He engaged in trade at Herkimer in 1824, and became deputy sheriff of the county in 1829. He was active in the militia organization, and by 1834 had reached the grade of major-general. In 1835-'7 he was sheriff, and in 1838-'9 commissioner for building the state lunatic asylum at Utica. When he was removed from this post, on political grounds alone, he became cashier of a bank at Mohawk, of which he was afterward president for many years. He held various local offices, was auditor and deputy naval officer in the naval office at New York in 1845-'9, and in 1854 was elected to Congress as an anti-slavery Democrat. He served on the Committee on Privileges and Elections, on a special committee to investigate the assault made by Preston Brooks on Charles Sumner, and on a conference committee of both houses on the Army Appropriation Bill, which the Senate had rejected on account of a clause that forbade the use of the military against Kansas settlers. General Spinner was an active Republican from the formation of the party. He was twice re-elected to Congress, serving altogether from 3 December, 1855, till 3 March, 1861. During his last term he was the chairman of the committee on accounts. When the Lincoln administration was organized, Secretary Salmon P. Chase selected him for the post of Treasurer, which he filled, under successive presidents, from. 16 March, 1861, till 30 June, 1875. When, during the war, many of the clerks joined the army, General Spinner suggested to Secretary Salmon Chase the advisability of employing women in the government offices, and carried into effect this innovation, though not without much opposition. He signed the different series of paper money in a singular handwriting, which he cultivated in order to prevent counterfeiting. When he resigned his office the money in the Treasury was counted, and when the result showed a very small discrepancy, many days were spent in recounting and examining the books of accounts, until finally the mistake was discovered. On retiring from office he went to the south for the benefit of his health, and for some years he has lived in camp at Pablo Beach, Florida. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 632.


Sprague, William, 1830-1930, Union officer.  Governor of Rhode Island, 1860-1863.  Republican U.S. Senator from Rhode Island.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Appletons’, 1888. Vol. V, p. 638; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 457; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SPRAGUE, William,
governor of Rhode Island, born in Cranston, Rhode Island, 12 September, 1830, received his education in common schools, served in his father's factory, and engaged in making calico-prints. Subsequently he became a manufacturer of linen, woollen goods, and iron, a builder of locomotives, and an owner of railroads and steamships. In 1860-'3 he was governor of Rhode Island. He had served as colonel in the state militia, offered a regiment and a battery of light-horse artillery for service in the Civil War, and with this regiment participated in the battle of Bull Run, where his horse was shot under him. He received a commission as brigadier-general of volunteers, which he declined. He also served in other actions during the Peninsular Campaign, including Williamsburg and the siege of Yorktown. He was chosen to the U. S. Senate as a Republican, was a member of the Committee on Manufactures, and chairman of that on Public Lands, his term extending from 4 March, 1863, till 3 March, 1875, when he resumed the direction of his manufacturing establishments. He operated the first rotary machine for making horseshoes, perfected a mowing-machine, and also various processes in calico-printing, especially that of direct printing on a large scale with the extract of madder without a chemical bath. Governor Sprague claims to have discovered what he calls the “principle of the orbit as inherent in social forces.” He asserts that money is endowed with two tendencies, the distributive and the aggregative, and that when the latter predominates, as before the Civil War, decadence results; but that when the former is in the ascendancy, as was until recently the case, there is progress. He received the degree of A. M. from Brown in 1861, of which university he has been a trustee since 1866. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 638.


Stanton, Henry Brewster, 1805-1887, New York, New York, Cincinnati, Ohio, abolitionist leader, anti-slavery agent, journalist, author.  Worked with William T. Allan and Birney.  Financial Secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), Manager, 1834-1838, Corresponding Secretary, 1838-1840, and Executive Committee of the Society, 1838.  Secretary, 1840-1841, and Member of the Executive Committee, American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1840-1844.  Leader of the Liberty Party.  Wrote for abolitionist newspapers.  Worked against pro-slavery legislation at state level.  Later edited the New York Sun

(Dumond, 1961, pp. 164, 219, 238-240, 286; Filler, 1960, pp. 68, 72, 134, 137, 156, 189, 301; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 14016, 18, 28, 36, 45, 47, 101, 162, 223; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 162; Sorin, 1971 p. 63-67, 97, 131, 132; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 649-650; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 525)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

STANTON, Henry Brewster, journalist, born in Griswold, New London County, Connecticut., 29 June, 1805; died in New York City, 14 January, 1887. His ancestor, Thomas, came to this country from England in 1635 and was crown interpreter-general of the Indian dialects, and subsequently judge of the New London County court. His father was a manufacturer of woollens and a trader with the West Indies. After receiving his education, the son went in 1826 to Rochester, New York, to write for Thurlow Weed's newspaper, “The Monroe Telegraph,” which was advocating the election of Henry Clay to the presidency. He then began to make political speeches. He moved to Cincinnati to complete his studies in Lane Theological Seminary, but left it to become an advocate of the anti-slavery cause. At the anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York City in 1834 he faced the first of the many mobs that he encountered in his tours throughout the country. In 1837-'40 he was active in the movement to form the Abolitionists into a compact political party, which was resisted by William Lloyd Garrison and others, and which resulted in lasting dissension. In 1840 he married Elizabeth Cady, and on 12 May of that year sailed with her to London, having been elected to represent the American Anti-Slavery Society at a convention for the promotion of the cause. At its close they travelled through Great Britain and France, working for the relief of the slaves. On his return, he studied law with Daniel Cady, was admitted to the bar, and practised in Boston, where he gained a reputation especially in patent cases, but he abandoned his profession to enter political life, and removing to Seneca Falls, New York, in 1847, represented that district in the state senate. He was a member of the Free-Soil Party previous to the formation of the Republican Party, of which he was a founder. Before this he had been a Democrat. For nearly half a century he was actively connected with the daily press, his contributions consisting chiefly of articles on current political topics and elaborate biographies of public men. Mr. Stanton contributed to Garrison's “Anti-Slavery Standard” and “Liberator,” wrote for the New York “Tribune,” and from 1868 until his death was an editor of the New York “Sun.” Henry Ward Beecher said of him: “I think Stanton has all the elements of old John Adams; able, stanch, patriotic, full of principle, and always unpopular. He lacks that sense of other people's opinions which keeps a man from running
against them.” Mr. Stanton was the author of “Sketches of Reforms and Reformers in Great Britain and Ireland” (New York, 1849), and “Random Recollections” (1886). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 649-650.


Stevens, John L., 1820-1895, author, journalist, clergyman, newspaper publisher, diplomat, anti-slavery activist and leader, political leader.  Co-founder of the Republican Party in Maine.  Co-owner and editor of the Kennebec Journal in Augusta.


Stevens, Thaddeus, 1792-1868, statesman, lawyer, abolitionist leader.  Anti-slavery leader in U.S. House of Representatives.  As member of Whig Party and leader of the radical Republican Party, urged Lincoln to issue Emancipation Proclamation.  Led fight to pass Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and establishing citizenship, due process and equal protections for African Americans. He is depicted in the 2012 film “Lincoln”. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 677-678; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 620; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 764-767; Congressional Globe; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 20, p. 711)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

STEVENS, Thaddeus, statesman, born in Danville, Caledonia County, Vermont, 4 April, 1792; died in Washington, D. C., 11 August, 1868. He was the child of poor parents, and was sickly and lame, but ambitious, and his mother toiled to secure for him an education. He entered Vermont University in 1810, and after it was closed in 1812 on account of the war he went to Dartmouth, and was graduated in 1814. He began the study of law in Peacham, Vermont, continued it while teaching an academy in York, Pennsylvania, was admitted to the bar at Bel Air, Maryland., established himself in 1816 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and soon gained a high reputation, and was employed in many important suits. He devoted himself exclusively to his profession till the contest between the strict constructionists, who nominated Andrew Jackson for the presidency in 1828, and the national Republicans, who afterward became the Whigs, drew him into politics as an ardent supporter of John Quincy Adams. He was elected to the legislature in 1833 and the two succeeding years. By a brilliant speech in 1835, he defeated a bill to abolish the recently established common-school system of Pennsylvania. In 1836 he was a member of the State Constitutional Convention, and took an active part in its debates, but his anti-slavery principles would not permit him to sign the report recommending an instrument that restricted the franchise to white citizens. He was a member of the legislature again in 1837, and in 1838, when the election dispute between the Democratic and anti-Masonic parties led to the organization of rival legislatures, he was the most prominent member of the Whig and anti-Masonic house. In 1838 he was appointed a canal commissioner. He was returned to the legislature in 1841. He gave a farm to Mrs. Lydia Jane Pierson, who had written poetry in defence of the common schools, and thus aided him in saving them. Having incurred losses in the iron business, he moved in 1842 to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and for several years devoted himself to legal practice, occupying the foremost position at the bar. In 1848 and 1850 he was elected to Congress as a Whig, and ardently opposed the Clay compromise measures of 1850, including the Fugitive-Slave Law. On retiring from Congress, March, 1853, he confined himself to his profession till 1858, when he was returned to Congress as a Republican. From that time till his death he was one of the Republican leaders in that body, the chief advocate of emancipation, and the representative of the radical section of his party. His great oratorical powers and force of character earned for him the title, applied to William Pitt, of the “great commoner.” He urged on President Lincoln the justice and expediency of the emancipation proclamation, took the lead in all measures for arming and for enfranchising the Negro, and initiated and pressed the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. During the war he introduced and carried Acts of Confiscation, and after its close he advocated rigorous measures in reorganizing the southern states on the basis of universal freedom. He was chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means for three sessions. Subsequently, as chairman of the House Committee on Reconstruction, he reported the bill which divided the southern states into five military districts, and placed them under the rule of army officers until they should adopt constitutions that conceded suffrage and equal rights to the blacks. In a speech that he made in Congress on 24 February, 1868, he proposed the impeachment of President Johnson. He was appointed one of the committee of seven to prepare articles of impeachment, and was chairman of the Board of Managers that was appointed on the part of the house to conduct the trial. He was exceedingly positive in his convictions, and attacked his adversaries with bitter denunciations and sarcastic taunts, yet he was genial and witty among his friends, and was noted for his uniform, though at times impulsive, acts of charity. While skeptical in his religious opinions, he resented slighting remarks regarding the Christian faith as an insult to the memory of his devout mother, whom he venerated. The degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by the University of Vermont in 1867. He chose to be buried in a private cemetery, explaining in the epitaph that he prepared for his tomb that the public cemeteries were limited by their charter-rules to the white race, and that he preferred to illustrate in his death the principle that he had advocated through his life of “equality of man before his Creator.” The tomb is in a large lot in Lancaster, which he left as a burial-place for those who cannot afford to pay for their graves. He left a part of his estate to found an orphan asylum in Lancaster, to be open to both white and colored children. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 677-678.


Stoddard, William Osborn

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

STODDARD, William Osborn, author, born in Homer, Cortland County, New York, 24 September, 1835. His father was for many years a bookseller and publisher in Rochester and Syracuse, New York. He was graduated at the University of Rochester in 1858, edited the “Daily Ledger” in Chicago for a short time, and the same year became editor of the “Central Illinois Gazette,” at Champaign, which he conducted for about three years. He was an opponent of slavery, and took an active part in the Republican presidential canvass of 1860. He was a private secretary to President Lincoln in 1861–4, was U. S. Marshal for Arkansas in 1864–6, and has since been variously employed. He invented a centre-locking printer's chase, and has taken out several patents for successful improvements in desiccating processes and in machinery. He has published “Royal Decrees of Scanderoon ” (New York, 1869): “Verses of Many Days” (1875); “Dismissed” (1878); “The Heart of It” (1880); “Dab Kinzer” (1881): “The Quartet” (1882): “Esau Hardery” (1882): “Saltillo Boys” (1882): “Talking-Leaves” (1882): “Among the Lakes" (1883); “Wrecked ?” (1883): “The Life of Abraham Lincoln" (1884): “Two Arrows” (1886); “The Red Beauty” (1887); “The Volcano under the City,” a description of the draft riots of 1863 (1887); and “Lives of the Presidents,” to be completed in ten volumes (1886-'8). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 698.


Stone, James W., Massachusetts


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.  He was the earliest and most important anti-slavery voice in the Senate.  He opposed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.  Sumner was an 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.)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SUMNER, Charles, statesman, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 6 January, 1811; died in Washington, D. C., 11 March, 1874. The family is English, and William Sumner, from whom Charles was descended in the seventh generation, came to America about 1635 with his wife and three sons, and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The Sumner’s were generally farmers. Job, grandfather of Charles, entered Harvard in 1774, but in the next year he joined the Revolutionary Army, and served with distinction during the war. He was not graduated, but he received in 1785 an honorary degree from the college. He died in 1789, aged thirty-three. Charles Pinckney Sumner (born 1776, died 1839), father of Charles, was graduated at Harvard in 1796. He was a lawyer and was sheriff of Suffolk County from 1825 until a few days before his death. In 1810 he married Relief Jacob, of Hanover, New Hampshire, and they had nine children, of whom Charles and Matilda were the eldest and twins. Matilda died in 1832. Sheriff Sumner was an upright, grave, formal man, of the old Puritan type, fond of literature and public life. His anti-slavery convictions were very strong, and he foretold a violent end to slavery in this country. In his family he was austere, and, as his income was small, strict economy was indispensable. Charles was a quiet boy, early matured, and soon showed the bent of his mind by the purchase for a few cents of a Latin grammar and '”Liber Primus” from a comrade at school. In his eleventh year he was placed at the Latin-school where Wendell Phillips, Robert C. Winthrop, James Freeman Clarke, and other boys, afterward distinguished men, were pupils. Sumner excelled in the classics, in general information, and in writing essays, but he was not especially distinguished. Just as he left the Latin-school for college he heard President John Quincy Adams speak in Faneuil hall, and at about the same time he heard Daniel Webster's eulogy upon Adams and Jefferson. It was in a New England essentially unchanged from the older, but refined and softened, that Sumner grew up. At the age of fifteen he was reserved and thoughtful, caring little for sports, slender, tall, and awkward. His thirst for knowledge of every kind, with singular ability and rapidity in acquiring it, was already remarkable. He had made a compend of English history in eighty-six pages of a copybook, and had read Gibbon's history.

In September, 1826, he began his studies at Harvard. In the classics and history and forensics, and in belles-lettres, he was among the best scholars. But he failed entirely in mathematics. His memory was extraordinary and his reading extensive. Without dissipation of any kind and without sensitiveness to humor, generous in his judgment of his comrades, devoted to his books, and going little into society, he was a general favorite, although his college life gave no especial promise of a distinguished career. In his junior year he made his first journey from home, in a pedestrian tour with some classmates to Lake Champlain, returning by the Hudson River and the city of New York. In 1830 he was graduated, and devoted himself for a year to a wide range of reading and study in the Latin classics and in general literature. He resolutely grappled with mathematics to repair the defect in his education in that branch of study, wrote a prize essay on commerce, and listened carefully to the Boston orators, Webster, Everett, Choate, and Channing. No day, no hour, no opportunity, was lost by him in the pursuit of knowledge. His first interest in public questions was awakened by the anti-Masonic movement, which he held to be a “great and good cause,” two adjectives that were always associated in his estimate of causes and of men. Mindful of Dr. Johnson's maxim, he diligently maintained his friendships by correspondence and intercourse. On 1 September, 1831, he entered Harvard Law-School, of which Judge Joseph Story was the chief professor. Story had been a friend of Sumner's father, and his friendly regard for the son soon ripened into an affection and confidence that never ceased. Sumner was now six feet and two inches in height, but weighing only 120 pounds, and not personally attractive. He was never ill, and was an untiring walker; his voice was strong and clear, his smile quick and sincere, his laugh loud, and his intellectual industry and his memory were extraordinary. He began the study of law with the utmost enthusiasm, giving himself a wide range, keeping careful notes of the moot-court cases, writing for the “American Jurist,” and preparing a catalogue of the library of the Law-school. He joined the temperance society of the professional schools and the college. His acquirements were already large, but he was free from vanity. His mental habit was so serious that, while his talk was interesting, he was totally disconcerted by a jest or gay repartee. He had apparently no ambition except to learn as much as he could, and his life then, as always, was pure in word and deed.

The agitation of the question of slavery had already begun. “The Liberator” was established by Mr. Garrison in Boston on 1 January, 1831. The “nullification movement” in South Carolina occurred while Sumner was at the Law-school. He praised President Jackson's proclamation, and
saw civil war impending; but he wrote to a friend in 1832: “Politics I begin to loathe; they are for a day, but the law is for all time.” He entered the law-office of Benjamin Rand, in Boston, in January, 1834, wrote copiously for the “Jurist,” and went to Washington for the first time in April. The favor of Judge Story opened to Sumner the pleasantest houses at the capital, and his professional and general accomplishments secured an ever-widening welcome. But Washington only deepened his love for the law and his aversion to politics. In September, 1834, he was admitted to the bar. During the month that he passed in Washington, Sumner described his first impression of the unfortunate race to whose welfare his life was to be devoted: “For the first time I saw slaves [on the journey through Maryland], and my worst preconception of their appearance and ignorance did not fall as low as their actual stupidity. They appear to be nothing more than moving masses of flesh, unendowed with anything of intelligence above the brutes. I have now an idea of the blight upon that part of our country in which they live.” Anticipating hearing Calhoun, he says: “He will be the last man I shall ever hear speak in Washington.” In 1835 he was appointed by Judge Story a commissioner of the circuit court of the United States and reporter of Story's judicial opinions, and he began to teach in the Law-school during the judge's absence. This service he continued in 1836-'7, and he aided in preparing a digest of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Maine. He wrote upon literary and legal topics, he lectured and edited and pleaded, and he was much overworked in making a bare livelihood. In 1835 his interest in the slavery question deepened. The first newspaper for which he subscribed was “The Liberator,” and he writes to Dr. Francis Lieber, then professor in the college at Columbia, South Carolina: “What think you of it? [slavery] Should it longer exist? Is not emancipation practicable? We are becoming Abolitionists, at the north, fast.” The next year, 1836, his “blood boils” at an indignity offered by a slave master to the Boston counsel of a fugitive slave. Sumner now saw much of Channing, by whose wisdom and devotion to freedom he was deeply influenced. His articles in the “Jurist” had opened correspondence with many eminent European publicists. His friends at home were chiefly among scholars, and already Longfellow was one of his intimate companions. In the summer of 1836 he made a journey to Canada, and in December, 1837, he sailed for France.

He carried letters from distinguished Americans to distinguished Europeans, and his extraordinary diligence in study and his marvellous memory had equipped him for turning every opportunity to the best account. During his absence he kept a careful diary and wrote long letters, many of which are printed in the memoir by Edward L. Pierce, and there is no more graphic and interesting picture than they present of the social and professional life at that time of the countries he visited. Sumner remained in Paris for five months, and carefully improved every hour. He attended 150 university lectures by the most renowned professors. He walked the hospitals with the great surgeons. He frequented the courts and theatres and operas and libraries and museums. He was a guest in the most famous salons, and he saw and noted everything, not as a loiterer, but as a student. On 31 May, 1838, he arrived in England, where he remained for ten months. No American had ever been so universally received and liked, and Carlyle characteristically described him as “Popularity Sumner.” He saw and studied England in every aspect, and in April, 1839, went to Italy and devoted himself to the study of its language, history, and literature, with which, however, he was already familiar. In Rome, where he remained for some months, he met the sculptor Thomas Crawford, whom he warmly befriended. Early in October, 1839, he left Italy for Germany, in the middle of March, 1840, he was again in England, and in May, 1840, he returned to America.

He showed as yet no sign of political ambition. The “hard-cider campaign” of 1840, the contest between Harrison and Van Buren, began immediately after his return. He voted for Harrison, but without especial interest in the measures of the Whig Party. In announcing to a brother, then in Europe, the result of the election, he wrote: “I take very little interest in politics.” The murder of Lovejoy in November, 1837, and the meeting in Faneuil Hall, where Wendell Phillips made his memorable speech, and the local disturbances that attended the progress of the anti-slavery agitation throughout the northern states, had plainly revealed the political situation. But Sumner's letters during the year after his return from Europe do not show that the question of slavery had especially impressed him, while his friends were in the most socially delightful circles of conservative Boston. But in 1841 the assertion by Great Britain, of a right to stop any suspected slaver to ascertain her right to carry the American flag, produced great excitement. Sumner at once showed his concern for freedom and his interest in great questions of law by maintaining in two elaborate articles, published in a Boston newspaper early in 1842, the right and the justice of such an inquiry. Kent, Story, Choate, and Theodore Sedgwick approved his position. This was his first appearance in the anti-slavery controversy. In 1842 Daniel Webster, as Secretary of State, wrote his letter upon the case of the “Creole,” contending that the slaves who had risen against the ship's officers should not be liberated by the British authorities at Nassau. Sumner strongly condemned the letter, and took active part in the discussion. He contended that the slaves were manumitted by the common law upon passing beyond the domain of the local law of slavery; and if this were not so, the piracy charged was an offence under the local statute and not under the law of nations, and no government could be summoned to surrender offenders against the municipal law of other governments. In April, 1842, he writes: “The question of slavery is getting to be the absorbing one among us, and growing out of this is that other of the Union.” He adjured Longfellow to write verses that should move the whole land against the iniquity. But his social relations were still undisturbed, and his unbounded admiration of Webster showed his generous mind. “With the moral devotion of Channing,” he said of Webster, “he would be a prophet.”

In July, 1843, Sumner published in the “North American Review” an article defending Commodore Alexander Slidell Mackenzie for his action in the case of the “Somers” mutiny, when a son of John C. Spencer, Secretary of War, was executed. He published also a paper upon the political relations of slavery, justifying the moral agitation of the question. In this year he contributed largely to the “Law Reporter,” and taught for the last time in the Law-school. In the election of 1844 Sumner took no part. He had no special sympathy with Whig views of the tariff and the bank, and already slavery seemed to him to be the chief public question. He was a Whig, as he said in 1848, because it seemed to him the party of humanity, and John Quincy Adams was the statesman whom he most admired. He was overwhelmed with professional work, which brought on a serious illness. But his activity was unabated, and he was elected a member of various learned societies. His letters during 1844 show his profound interest in the slavery question. He speaks of the “atrocious immorality of John Tyler in seeking to absorb Texas,” and “the disgusting vindication of slavery” by Calhoun, which he regrets that he is too busy to answer. In 1845 he was deeply interested in the question of popular education, and was one of the intimate advisers of Horace Mann. Prison-discipline was another question that commanded his warmest interest, and his first public speech was made upon this subject at a meeting of the Prison-discipline Society, in May, 1845. This was followed, on 4 July, by the annual oration before the civil authorities of Boston, upon “The True Grandeur of Nations.” The oration was a plea for peace and a vehement denunciation of war, delivered, in commemoration of an armed revolutionary contest, to an audience largely military and in military array. This discourse was the prototype of all Sumner's speeches. It was an elaborate treatise, full of learning and precedent and historical illustration, of forcible argument and powerful moral appeal. The effect was immediate and striking. There were great indignation and warm protest on the one hand, and upon the other sincere congratulation and high compliment. Sumner's view of the absolute wrong and iniquity of war under all circumstances was somewhat modified subsequently; but the great purpose of a peaceful solution of international disputes he never relinquished. The oration revealed to the country an orator hitherto unknown even to himself and his friends. It showed a moral conviction, intrepidity, and independence, and a relentless vigor of statement, which were worthy of the best traditions of New England. Just four months later, on 4 November, 1845, Sumner made in Faneuil hall his first anti-slavery speech, at a meeting of which Charles Francis Adams was chairman, to protest against the admission of Texas. This first speech had all the characteristics of the last important speech he ever made. It was brief, but sternly bold, uncompromising, aggressive, and placed Sumner at once in the van of the political anti-slavery movement. He was not an Abolitionist in the Garrisonian sense. He held that slavery
was sectional, not national; that the constitution was meant to be a bond of national liberty as well as union, and nowhere countenanced the theory that there could be property in men; that it was to be judicially interpreted always in the interest of freedom; and that, by rigorous legal restriction and the moral force of public opinion, slavery would be forced to disappear. This was subsequently the ground held by the Republican Party. Sumner added to his reputation by an elaborate oration at Cambridge, in August, 1846, upon “The Scholar, the Jurist, the Artist, the Philanthropist,” of which the illustrations were his personal friends, then recently dead, John Pickering, Judge Story, Washington Allston, and Dr. Channing. The reference to Channing gave him the opportunity, which he improved, to urge the duty of anti-slavery action. It was the first time that the burning question of the hour had been discussed in the scholastic seclusion of the university.

In September, 1846, at the Whig State Convention held in Faneuil Hall, Sumner spoke upon the “Anti-Slavery Duties of the Whig Party,” concluding with an impassioned appeal to Mr. Webster to lead the Whigs as an anti-slavery party. He sent the speech to Mr. Webster, who, in replying coolly, politely regretted that they differed in regard to political duty. In October, Sumner wrote a public letter to Robert C. Winthrop, representative in Congress from Boston, censuring him severely for his vote in support of the Mexican War. He wrote as a Whig constituent of Mr. Winthrop's, and during his absence from Boston he was nominated for Congress, against Mr. Winthrop, by a meeting of Whigs, including Charles Francis Adams and John A. Andrew. But he immediately and peremptorily declined, and he warmly supported Dr. Samuel G. Howe, who was nominated in his place. During this period, when “Conscience Whigs” were separating from “Cotton Whigs,” Sumner was untiring in his public activity. He spoke often, and he argued before the supreme court of the state the invalidity of enlistments for the Mexican War, and delivered a lecture upon “White Slavery in the Barbary States,” which was elaborated into a pamphlet, and was a valuable historical study of the subject. In June, 1847, a speech upon prison-discipline showed his interest in the question to be unabated. On 29 September, 1847, he spoke for the last time as a Whig, in the State Convention at Springfield, in support of a resolution that Massachusetts Whigs would support only an anti-slavery man for the presidency. The resolution was lost, and upon the Whig nomination of General Zachary Taylor, 1 June, 1848, a convention of anti-slavery men of both parties was called at Worcester on 28 June, at which Sumner, Charles Francis Adams, Samuel Hoar (who presided), and his son, E. Rockwood Hoar, with many other well-known Whigs, withdrew from the Whig Party and organized the Free-soil Party. “If two evils are presented to me,” said Sumner in his speech, alluding to Cass and Taylor, “I will take neither.” Sumner was chairman of the Free-Soil State Committee, which conducted the campaign in Massachusetts for Van Buren and Adams, nominated at the Buffalo Convention. In October, 1848, he was nominated for Congress in the Boston District, receiving 2,336 votes against 1,460 for the Democratic candidate. But Mr. Winthrop received 7,726, and was elected. In May, 1849, he renewed his plea for peace in an exhaustive address before the American peace Society on “The War System of the Commonwealth of Nations,” and on 5 November, 1850, his speech, after the passage of the Fugitive-Slave Law, was like a war-cry for the Free-Soil Party, and was said to have made him senator. In the election of members of the legislature the Free-Soilers and Democrats united, and at a caucus of members of the Free-Soil Party Sumner was unanimously selected as their candidate for U. S. Senator. He was more acceptable to the Democrats because he had never been an extreme Whig, and the Democratic caucus, with almost equal unanimity, made him its candidate. The legislature then chose George S. Boutwell governor, Henry W. Cushman lieutenant-governor, and Robert Rantoul, Jr., senator for the short term. These were all Democrats. The House of Representatives voted, on 14 January, 1851, for senator, casting 381 votes, with 191 necessary to a choice. Sumner received 186, Robert C. Winthrop 167, scattering 28, blanks 3. On 22 January, of 38 votes in the Senate, Sumner received 23, Winthrop 14, and H. W. Bishop 1, and Sumner was chosen by the Senate. The contest in the house continued for three months. Sumner was entreated to modify some expressions in his last speech; but he refused, saying that he did not desire the office, and on 22 February he asked Henry Wilson, President of the Senate, and the Free-Soil members, to abandon him whenever they could elect another candidate. On 24 April, Sumner was elected senator by 193 votes, precisely the necessary number of the votes cast.

When he took his seat in the Senate he was as distinctively the uncompromising representative of freedom and the north as Calhoun had been of slavery and the south. But it was not until 26 August, 1852, just after the Democratic and Whig national Conventions had acquiesced in the compromises of 1850, that Sumner delivered his first important speech, “Freedom National, Slavery Sectional.” It treated the relations of the national government to slavery, and the true nature of the constitutional provision in regard to fugitives. The speech made a profound impression. The general view was accepted at once by the anti-slavery party as sound. The argument seemed to the anti-slavery sentiment to be unanswerable. Seward and Chase both described it as “great,” and it was evident that another warrior thoroughly equipped was now to be encountered by the slave power. On 23 January, 1854, Stephen A. Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, by which the Missouri Compromise was repealed, and on 21 February, 1854, Sumner opposed it in a speech characteristically comprehensive and exhaustive, reviewing the history of the restriction of slavery. On the eve of the passage of the bill he made a solemn and impressive protest, and his reply to assailants, 28 June, 1854, stung his opponents to madness. He was now the most unsparing, the most feared, and the most hated opponent of slavery in Congress. On 17 March, 1856, Mr. Douglas introduced a bill for the admission of Kansas as a state. On 19 and 20 May, Sumner delivered a speech on the “Crime against Kansas,” which again aroused the country, and in which he spoke, in reference to the slave and free-soil factions in Kansas, of “the fury of the propagandists and the calm determination of their opponents,” who through the whole country were “marshalling hostile divisions, and foreshadowing a conflict which, unless happily averted by freedom, will become war—fratricidal, parricidal war.” It provoked the bitterest rejoinders in the Senate, to which Sumner replied contemptuously. In his speech he had sharply censured Senator Butler, of South Carolina, and Senator Douglas, and two days after the delivery of the speech, as Sumner was sitting after the adjournment writing at his desk alone in the Senate-chamber, Preston Smith Brooks, a relative of Butler's and a representative from South Carolina, entered the chamber, and, after speaking a few words
to Sumner, struck him violently upon the head with a bludgeon, and while Sumner was trying in vain to extricate himself from the desk and seize his assailant, the blows continued until he sank bloody and senseless to the floor. This event startled the country as a presage of civil war. The excitement was universal and profound. The House of Representatives refused to give the two-third vote necessary to expel Brooks, but he resigned and appealed to his constituents, and was unanimously re-elected. Sumner was long incapacitated for public service. On 3 November, 1856, he returned to Boston to vote, and was received with acclamation by the people and with the highest honor by the state and city authorities. On 13 January, 1857, he was re-elected senator, receiving all but ten votes, and on 7 March, 1857, he sailed for Europe, where he submitted to the severest medical treatment. With characteristic energy and industry, in the intervals of suffering, he devoted himself to a thorough study of the art and history of engraving.

For nearly four years he was absent from his seat in the Senate, which he resumed on 5 December, 1859, at the opening of the session. He was still feeble, and took no part in debate until the middle of March, and on 4 June, 1860, on the question of admitting Kansas as a free state, he delivered a speech upon “The Barbarism of Slavery,” which showed his powers untouched and his ardor unquenched.
Mr. Lincoln had been nominated for the presidency, and Sumner's speech was the last comprehensive word in the parliamentary debate of freedom and slavery. The controversy could now be settled only by arms. This conviction was undoubtedly the explanation of the angry silence with which the speech was heard in the Senate by the friends of slavery. During the winter of secession that followed the election Sumner devoted himself to the prevention of any form of compromise, believing that it would be only a base and fatal surrender of constitutional principles. He made no speeches during the session. By the withdrawal of southern senators the Senate was left with a Republican majority, and in the reconstruction of committees on 8 March, 1861, Sumner was made chairman of the committee on foreign affairs. For this place he was peculiarly fitted. His knowledge of international law, of the history of other states, and of their current politics, was comprehensive and exact, and during the intense excitement arising from the seizure of the “Trent” he rendered the country a signal service in placing the surrender of Slidell and Mason upon the true ground. (See MASON, JAMES MURRAY.) While there was universal acquiescence in the decision of the government to surrender the commissioners, there was not universal satisfaction and pride until on 9 January, 1862, Sumner, in one of his ablest speeches, showed incontestably that our own principles, constantly maintained by us, required the surrender. One of the chief dangers throughout the Civil War was the possible action of foreign powers, and especially of England, where iron-clad rams were being built for the Confederacy, and on 10 September, 1863, Sumner delivered in New York a speech upon “Our Foreign Relations,” which left nothing unsaid. Happily, on 8 September, Lord Russell had informed the American minister, Charles Francis Adams, that the rams would not be permitted to leave English ports.

Throughout the war, both in Congress and upon the platform, Sumner was very urgent for emancipation, and when the war ended he was equally anxious to secure entire equality of rights for the new citizens. But while firm upon this point, and favoring the temporary exclusion of recent Confederates from political power, he opposed the proposition to change the jury law for the trial of Jefferson Davis, and disclaimed every feeling of vengeance. He was strong in his opposition to President Andrew Johnson and his policy. But the great measure of the Johnson administration, the acquisition of Alaska by treaty, was supported by Sumner in a speech on 9 April, 1867, which is an exhaustive history of Russian America. He voted affirmatively upon all the articles of impeachment of President Johnson, which in a long opinion he declared to be one of the last great battles with slavery.

Early in the administration of President Grant, 10 April, 1869, Sumner opposed the Johnson-Clarendon Treaty with England, as affording no means of adequate settlement of our British claims. In this speech he asserted the claim for indirect or consequential damages, which afterward was proposed as part of the American case at the Geneva arbitration, but was discarded. In his message of 5 December, 1870, President Grant, regretting the failure of the treaty to acquire Santo Domingo, strongly urged its acquisition. Sumner strenuously opposed the project on the ground that it was not the wish of the “black republic,” and that Baez, with whom, as president of the Dominican Republic, the
negotiation had been irregularly conducted, was an adventurer, held in his place by an unconstitutional use of the navy of the United States. Sumner's opposition led to a personal rupture with the president and the Secretary of State, and to alienation from the Republican senators, in consequence of which, on 10 March, 1871, he was removed, by the Republican majority of the Senate, from the chairmanship of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was assigned the chairmanship of the Committee on Privileges and Elections; but, upon his own motion, his name was stricken out. On 24 March he introduced resolutions, which he advocated in a powerful speech, severely arraigning the president for his course in regard to Santo Domingo. In December, 1871, he refused again to serve as chairman of the Committee on Privileges and Elections. Early in 1872 he introduced a supplementary civil-rights bill, which, since January, 1870, he had vainly sought to bring before the Senate. It was intended to secure complete equality for colored citizens in every relation that law could effect; but it was thought to be unwise and impracticable by other Republican senators, and as drawn by Sumner it was not supported by them. He introduced, 12 February, 1872, resolutions of inquiry, aimed at the administration, into the sale of arms to France during the German War. An acrimonious debate arose, during which Sumner's course was sharply criticised by some of his party colleagues, and he and Senators Trumbull, Schurz, and Fenton were known as anti-Grant Republicans.

Sumner was urged to attend the Liberal or anti-Grant Republican
Convention, to be held at Cincinnati, 1 May, which nominated Horace Greeley for the presidency, and the chairmanship, and authority to write the platform were offered to him as inducements. But he declined, and in the Senate, 31 May, declaring himself a Republican of the straitest sect, he denounced Grantism as not Republicanism in a speech implying that he could not support Grant as the presidential candidate of the party. The Republican Convention, 5 June, unanimously renominated Grant, and the Democratic Convention, 9 June, adopted the Cincinnati platform and candidates. In reply to a request for advice from the colored citizens of Washington, 29 July, Sumner, in a long letter, advised the support of Greeley, on the general ground that principles must be preferred to party. In a sharp letter to Speaker Blaine, 5 August, he set forth the reasons of the course he had taken.

But the strain of the situation was too severe. His physicians ordered him to seek recreation in Europe, and he sailed early in September, leaving the manuscript of a speech he had proposed to deliver in Faneuil Hall at a meeting of Liberal Republicans. He opposed the election of Grant upon the ground that he was unfaithful to the constitution and to Republican principles, and otherwise unfitted for the presidency; and he supported Greeley as an original and unswerving Republican, nominated by Republicans, whose adoption as a candidate by the Democratic Party proved the honest acquiescence of that party in the great results of the Civil War. He returned from Europe in time for the opening of the session, 2 December, 1872. The Republican majority omitted him
altogether in the arrangement of the committees, leaving him to be placed by the Democratic minority. But Sumner declined to serve upon any committee, and did not attend the Republican caucus. On the first day of the session he introduced a bill forbidding the names of battles with fellow-citizens to be continued in the army register or placed on the regimental colors of the United States. From this time he took no party part and made no political speech, pleading only for equality of civil rights for colored citizens. At the next session, 1 December, 1873, he was placed on several committees, not as chairman, but as one of the minority, and he did not refuse to serve, but attended no meetings. During this session the cordial relations between Sumner and the Republicans were almost wholly restored, and in Massachusetts the Republican feeling for him was very friendly. Again, promptly but vainly, 2 December, 1873, he asked consideration of the civil-rights bill. On 27 January, 1874, he made for the bill a last brief appeal, and on 11 March, 1874, after a short illness, he died. The bill that was his last effort to serve the race to whose welfare his public life had been devoted was reported, 14 April, 1874, substantially as originally drawn, and passed the Senate, 22 May. But it failed in the house, and the civil-rights bill, approved 1 March, 1875, was a law of less scope than his, and has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Sumner's death was universally lamented. One of the warmest and most striking eulogies was that of Lucius Q. C. Lamar, then a representative in Congress from Mississippi, who had been a sincere disciple of Calhoun and a Confederate officer, but who recognized in Sumner a kindred earnestness and fidelity. The later differences with his party were forgotten when Sumner died, and only his great service to the country in the most perilous hour, and his uncompromising devotion to the enslaved race, were proudly and enthusiastically remembered. Among American statesmen his life especially illustrates the truth he early expressed, that politics is but the application of moral principles to public affairs. Throughout his public career he was the distinctive representative of the moral conviction and political purpose of New England. His ample learning and various accomplishments were rivalled among American public men only by those of John Quincy Adams, and during all the fury of political passion in which he lived there was never a whisper or suspicion of his political honesty or his personal integrity. He was fortunate in the peculiar adaptation of his qualities to his time. His profound conviction, supreme conscientiousness, indomitable will, affluent resources, and inability to compromise, his legal training, serious temper, and untiring energy, were indispensable in the final stages of the slavery controversy, and he had them all in the highest degree. “There is no other side,” he said to a friend with fervor, and Cromwell's Ironsides did not ride into the fight more absolutely persuaded that they were doing the will of God than Charles Sumner. For ordinary political contests he had no taste, and at another time and under other circumstances he would probably have been an all-accomplished scholar or learned judge, unknown in political life. Of few men could it be said more truly than of him that he never lost a day. He knew most of the famous men and women of his time, and he was familiar with the contemporaneous political, literary, and artistic movement in every country. In public life he was often accounted a man of one idea; but his speeches upon the “Trent” case, the Russian treaty, and our foreign relations showed the fulness of his knowledge and the variety of his interest. He was dogmatic, often irritable with resolute opposition to his views, and of generous self-esteem, but he was of such child-like simplicity and kindliness that the poisonous sting of vanity and malice was wanting. During the difference between Sumner and his fellow-Republicans in the Senate, one of them said that he had no enemy but himself, and Sumner refused to speak to him for the rest of the session. But the next autumn his friend stepped into an omnibus in New York in which Sumner was sitting, and, entirely forgetting the breach, greeted him with the old warmth. Sumner responded as warmly, and at once the old intimacy was completely restored. From envy or any form of ill-nature he was wholly free. No man was more constant and unsparing in the warfare with slavery and in the demand of equality for the colored race; but no soldier ever fought with less personal animosity. He was absolutely fearless. During the heat of the controversy in Congress his life was undoubtedly in danger, and he was urged to carry a pistol for his defence. He laughed, and said that he had never fired a pistol in his life, and, in case of extremity, before he could possibly get it out of his pocket he would be shot. But the danger was so real that, unknown to himself, he was for a long time under the constant protection of armed friends in Washington. The savage assault of Brooks undoubtedly shortened Sumner's life, but to a friend who asked him how he felt toward his assailant, he answered: “As to a brick that should fall upon my head from a chimney. He was the unconscious agent of a malign power.” Personally, in his later years, Sumner was of commanding presence, very tall, and of a stalwart frame. His voice was full, deep, and resonant, his elocution declamatory, stately, and earnest. His later speeches in the Senate he read from printed slips, but his speech upon Alaska, which occupied three hours in the delivery, was spoken from notes written upon a single sheet of paper, and it was subsequently written out. Few of the bills drawn by him became laws, but he influenced profoundly legislation upon subjects in which he was most interested. He was four times successively elected to the Senate, and when he died he was the senior senator of the United States in consecutive service. In October, 1866, when he was fifty-five years old, Sumner married Mrs. Alice Mason Hooper, of Boston, daughter-in-law of his friend, Samuel Hooper, representative in Congress. The union was very brief, and in September, 1867, Mr. and Mrs. Sumner, for reasons that were never divulged, were separated, and they were ultimately divorced. Of the “Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner,” written by his friend and literary executor, Edward L. Pierce, two volumes, covering the period to 1845, have been published (Boston, 1877). His complete works in fifteen volumes are also published (Boston, 1870-'83). The notes by himself and his executors supply a chronology of his public career. There are several portraits of Sumner. A crayon drawing by Eastman Johnson (1846) hung in Longfellow's study, and is engraved in Pierce's memoir. A large daguerreotype (1853) is also engraved in the memoir. A crayon by William W. Story (1854) for Lord Morpeth is now at Castle Howard, Yorkshire. An oil portrait by Moses Wight (1856) is in the Boston public library, another by Morrison (1856) in the library of Harvard College. A portrait by Edgar Parker was painted several years before his death. There is a photograph in the “Memorial History of Boston”; a photograph (1869) engraved in his works; another (1871) engraved in the city memorial volume of Sumner; a full-length portrait by Henry Ulke (1873) for the Haytian government—copy presented to the state of Massachusetts by James Wormely (1884), now in the State library; a photograph (1873), the last likeness ever taken, engraved in the state memorial volume; Thomas Crawford's bust (1839) in the Boston art museum; Martin Milmore's bust (1874) in the state-house, a copy of which is in the Metropolitan art museum, New York; a bronze statue by Thomas Ball (1878) in the Public garden, Boston; and a statuette in plaster by Miss Whitney (1877), an admirable likeness. The illustration on page 747 represents Mr. Sumner's tomb in Mt. Auburn cemetery, near Boston. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 744-750.



Swayne, Noah Haynes, 1804-1884, lawyer, jurist, anti-slavery activist.  Represented former slaves in fugitive slave cases.  Appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as a justice to the U. S. Supreme Court.  (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 5-6; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 2, p. 239)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SWAYNE, Noah Haynes,
jurist, born in Culpeper County, Virginia, 7 December, 1804; died in New York City, 8 June, 1884. H.is ancestor, Francis Swayne, came to this country with William Penn, and the farm on which he settled near Philadelphia is still in possession of his descendants. Noah's father, Joshua, moved to Virginia, and the son, after receiving a good education in Waterford, Virginia, studied law in Warrenton, was admitted to the bar in 1823, moved to Ohio, and in 1825 opened an office in Coshocton. In 1826-'9 he was prosecuting attorney of the county, and he then entered the Ohio legislature, to which he was elected as a Jefferson Democrat. He was appointed U. S. district attorney for Ohio in 1831, moved to Columbus, and served until 1841. In 1833 he declined the office of presiding judge of the common pleas. Subsequently he practised law until he was appointed, with Alfred Kelly and Gustavus Swan, a fund commissioner to restore the credit of the state. He also served on the commission that was sent by the governor to Washington to effect a settlement of the boundary-line between Ohio and Michigan, and in 1840 was a member of the committee to inquire into the condition of the blind. The trial of William Rossane and others in the U. S. circuit court at Columbus in 1853 for burning the steamboat “Martha Washington,” to obtain the insurance, was one of his most celebrated cases. He also appeared as counsel in fugitive-slave cases, and, owing to his anti-slavery opinions, joined the Republican Party on its formation, liberating at an early date the slaves that he received through his marriage in 1832. In 1862 he was appointed by President Lincoln a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and he served until 1881, when he resigned on account of advanced age. The degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by Dartmouth and Marietta in 1863, and by Yale in 1865.—His son, Wager, lawyer, born in Columbus, Ohio, 10 November, 1834, was graduated at Yale in 1856, and at the Cincinnati law-school in 1859. On his admission to the bar he practised in Columbus. He was appointed major of the 43d Ohio Volunteers on 31 August, 1861, became lieutenant-colonel on 14 December, 1861, colonel on 18 October, 1862, served in all the marches and battles of the Atlanta Campaign, lost a leg at Salkahatchie, South Carolina, and was brevetted brigadier- general, U. S. volunteers, on 5 February, 1865, becoming full brigadier-general on 8 March, 1865, and major-general on 20 June, 1865. He was made colonel of the 45th regular Infantry on 28 July, 1866, and on 2 March, 1867, was brevetted brigadier-general, U. S. Army, for gallant and meritorious services in the action of. Rivers Bridges, South Carolina, and major-general for services during the war. He was mustered out of the volunteer service on 1 September, 1867. General Swayne was a commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau in Alabama, where he commanded the U. S. forces, and was also intrusted with the administration of the Reconstruction Acts of Congress, organizing an extensive system of common schools for colored children, who had none, and establishing at Montgomery, Selma, and Mobile important high-schools, which still remain, and also Talladega College. He retired on 1 July, 1870, and practised law in Toledo, Ohio, but in 1880 he moved to New York City, where he is counsel for railroad and telegraph corporations. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, pp. 5-6.


Swift, John L.