American Abolitionists and Antislavery Activists:
Conscience of the Nation

Updated August 19, 2018

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

Whig Party (Anti-Slavery) - Part 2

The Whig Party (anti-slavery), also called conscience whigs faction of the Whig political party some from Massachusetts that was opposed to slavery on moral grounds.  Was opposed to “Cotton Whigs,” who supported the cotton manufacturing industry in the North.  Separated from Whig party in 1848.  Conscience Whigs aided in the creation and founding of the Free Soil Party in 1848.  Charles Francis Adams was the Free Soil candidate for president in 1848. (References)

Return to Top of Page

Officers, Members and Supporters - Part 2

Campbell, Lewis Davis

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

CAMPBELL, Lewis Davis, diplomatist, born in Franklin, Ohio, 9 August, 1811; died 26 November, 1882. On leaving school he was apprenticed to a printer in 1828, and was afterward assistant editor of the Cincinnati" Gazette." He published a Whig newspaper at Hamilton, Ohio, from 1831 till 1836, supporting Henry Clay, and was then admitted to the bar and began to practice at Hamilton. He was elected to Congress as a Whig, and served from 3 December 1849, till 25 May, 1858, being chairman of the Ways and Means Committee during his last term. He claimed to have been elected again in 1858, but the house gave the seat to C. L. Vallandigham. He served as colonel of an Ohio regiment of volunteer infantry from 1861 till 1862, when he on account of failing health. President Johnson appointed him minister to Mexico in December, 1865; but, before leaving for his post, he was a delegate to the Philadelphia union Convention and the Cleveland soldiers' Convention of 1866. He sailed for Mexico, in company with General Sherman, 11 November, 1866, authorized to tender to President Juarez the moral support of the United States, and to offer him the use of our military force to aid in the restoration of law. Mr. Campbell remained in Mexico until 1868, and from 1871 till 1873 was again a member of Congress.  Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I  p. 515.

studied law in Abingdon and Winchester, Virginia, was admitted to the bar in Tennessee, and practised in Carthage. He was chosen district attorney for the fourth District of his state in 1831, and a member of the legislature in 1835. He raised a cavalry company, and served as its captain in the Creek and Florida Wars of 1836, and from 1837 till 1843 was a Whig member of Congress from Tennessee. He was elected major-general of militia in 1844, and served in the Mexican War as colonel of the 1st Tennessee Volunteers, distinguishing himself in the battles of Monterey and Cerro Gordo, where he commanded a brigade after General Pillow was wounded. He was governor of Tennessee in 1851–3, and in 1857 was chosen, by unanimous vote of the legislature, judge of the state circuit court. He canvassed the state in opposition to secession in 1861, and on 30 June, 1862, without solicitation, was appointed by President Lincoln brigadier-general in the National Army. He resigned, 26 January, 1863, on account of failing health. At the close of the war he was again chosen to Congress, but was not allowed to take his seat until near the end of the first session in 1866. He served until 3 March, 1867, and was a member of the committee on the New Orleans riots.
Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 516.

Chandler, Zachariah, 1813-1879, statesman, abolitionist.  Mayor of Detroit, 1851-1852.  U.S. Senator 1857-1975, 1879.  Secretary of the Interior, 1875-1877. Active in Underground Railroad in Detroit area.  Helped organize the Republican Party in 1854.  Introduced Confiscation Bill in Senate, July 1861.  Was a leading Radical Republican senator.  Chandler was a vigorous opponent of slavery.  He opposed the Dred Scott U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Fugitive Slave Law.  In 1858, opposed the admission of Kansas as a slave state under the Lecompton Constitution.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 574-575; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. II, Pt. 1, p. 618; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

Zachariah, senator, born in Bedford, New Hampshire, 10 December, 1813; died in Chicago, Illinois, 1 November, 1879. After receiving a common-school education he taught for one winter, at the same time managing his father's farm. He was noted when a youth for physical strength and endurance. It is said that, being offered by his father the choice between a collegiate education and the sum of $1,000, he chose the latter. He moved to Detroit in 1833 and engaged in the dry-goods business, in which he was energetic and successful. He soon became a prominent Whig, and was active in support of the so-called “Underground Railroad,” of which Detroit was an important terminus. His public life began in 1851 by his election as mayor of Detroit. In 1852 he was nominated for governor by the Whigs, and, although his success was hopeless, the large vote he received brought him into public notice. He was active in the organization of the Democratic Party in 1854, and in January, 1857, was elected to the U. S. Senate to succeed General Lewis Cass. He made his first important speech on 12 March, 1858, opposing the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton constitution, and continued to take active part in the debates on that and allied questions. In 1858, when Senator Green, of Missouri, had threatened Simon Cameron with an assault for words spoken in debate, Mr. Chandler, with Mr. Cameron and Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio, drew up a written agreement, the contents of which were not to be made public till the death of all the signers, but which was believed to be a pledge to resent an attack made on any one of the three. On 11 February, 1861, he wrote the famous so-called “blood letter” to Governor Blair, of Michigan. It received its name from the sentence, “Without a little blood-letting this Union will not, in my estimation, be worth a rush.” This letter was widely quoted through the country, and was acknowledged and defended by Mr. Chandler on the floor of the Senate. Mr. Chandler was a firm friend of President Lincoln, though he was more radical than the latter in his ideas, and often differed with the president as to matters of policy. When the first call for troops was made, he assisted by giving money and by personal exertion. He regretted that 500,000 men had not been called for instead of 75,000, and said that the short-term enlistment was a mistake. At the beginning of the extra session of Congress in July, 1861, he introduced a sweeping confiscation-bill, thinking that stern measures would deter wavering persons from taking up arms against the government; but it was not passed in its original form, though Congress ultimately adopted his views. On 16 July, 1862, Mr. Chandler vehemently assailed General McClellan in the Senate, although he was warned that such a course might be politically fatal. He was, however, returned to the Senate in 1863, and in 1864 actively aided in the re-election of President Lincoln. He was again elected to the Senate in 1869. During all of his terms he was chairman of the committee on commerce and a member of other important committees, including that on the conduct of the war. In October, 1874, President Grant tendered him the post of secretary of the interior, to fill the place made vacant by the resignation of Columbus Delano, and he held this office until President Grant's retirement, doing much to reform abuses in the department. He was chairman of the Republican National committee in 1876, and took an active part in the presidential campaign of that year. He was again elected to the Senate in February, 1879, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Isaac P. Christiancy, who had succeeded him four years before. On 2 March, 1879, he made a speech in the Senate denouncing Jefferson Davis, which brought him into public notice again, and he was regarded in his own state as a possible presidential candidate. He went to Chicago on 31 October, 1879, to deliver a political speech, and was found dead in his room on the following morning. During the greater portion of his life Mr. Chandler was engaged in large business enterprises, from which he realized a handsome fortune. He was a man of commanding appearance, and possessed an excellent practical judgment, great energy, and indomitable perseverance. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 574-575.

Chase, Salmon Portland, 1808-1873, statesman, Governor of Ohio, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1864-1873, lawyer, abolitionist, member, Whig, Liberty Party, Free Soil Party, Anti-Slavery Republican Party.  “A slave is a person held, as property, by legalized force, against natural right.” – Chase.

“The constitution found slavery, and left it, a state institution—the creature and dependant of state law—wholly local in its existence and character.  It did not make it a national institution… Why, then, fellow-citizens, are we now appealing to you?...Why is it that the whole nation is moved, as with a mighty wind, by the discussion of the questions involved in the great issue now made up between liberty and slavery?  It is, fellow citizens—and we beg you to mark this—it is because slavery has overleaped its prescribed limits and usurped the control of the national government.  We ask you to acquaint yourselves fully with the details and particulars belonging to the topics which we have briefly touched, and we do not doubt that you will concur with us in believing that the honor, the welfare, the safety of our country imperiously require the absolute and unqualified divorce of the government from slavery.”

“Having resolved on my political course, I devoted all the time and means I could command to the work of spreading the principles and building up the organization of the party of constitutional freedom then inaugurated.  Sometimes, indeed, all I could do seemed insignificant, while the labors I had to perform, the demands upon my very limited resources by necessary contributions, taxed severely all my ability… It seems to me now, on looking back, that I could not help working if I would, and that I was just as really called in the course of Providence to my labors for human freedom as ever any other laborer in the great field of the world was called to his appointed work.”

(Blue, 2005, pp. 19, 30, 34, 61, 70-73, 76-78, 84, 123, 124, 177, 178, 209, 220, 225, 226, 228, 247, 248, 259; Dumond, 1961; Filler, 1960, pp. 142, 176, 187, 197-198, 229, 246; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 4-5, 8-9, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 33-36, 61-64, 67, 68, 70-72, 76, 87, 89, 94, 118, 129, 136, 156, 165, 166, 168-169, 177, 187, 191, 193, 195-196, 224, 228, 248; Pease, 1965, pp. 384-394; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 46, 56, 58, 136, 173, 298, 353-354, 421, 655-656; Wilson, 1872, pp. 167-173; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 585-588; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 34; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 4, p. 739; Hart, Albert Bushnell, Salmon Portland Chase, 1899)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

CHASE, Salmon Portland, statesman, born in Cornish, New Hampshire, 13 January, 1808; died in New York City, 7 May, 1873. He was named for his uncle, Salmon, who died in Portland, and he used to say that he was his uncle's monument. He was a descendant in the ninth generation of Thomas Chase, of Chesham, England, and in the sixth of Aquila Chase, who came from England and settled in Newbury, Massachusetts, about 1640. Salmon Portland was the eighth of the eleven children of Ithamar Chase and his wife Jannette Ralston, who was of Scottish blood. He was born in the house built by his grandfather, which still stands overlooking Connecticut River and in the afternoon shadow of Ascutney mountain. Of his father's seven brothers, three were lawyers, Dudley becoming a U. S. Senator; two were physicians; Philander became a bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church; and one, like his father, was a farmer. His earliest teacher was Daniel Breck, afterward a jurist in Kentucky. When the boy was eight years old his parents moved to Keene, where his mother had inherited a little property. This was invested in a glass-factory; but a revision of the tariff, by which the duty on glass was lowered, ruined the business, and soon afterward the father died. Salmon was sent to school at Windsor, and made considerable progress in Latin and Greek. In 1820 his uncle, the bishop of Ohio, offered to take him into his family, and the boy set out in the spring, with his brother and the afterward famous Henry R. Schoolcraft, to make the journey to what was then considered the distant west. They were taken from Buffalo to Cleveland by the “Walk-in-the-Water,” the first steamboat on the great lakes. He spent three years in Worthington and Cincinnati with his uncle, who attended to his education personally till he went to England in 1823, when the boy returned home, the next year entered Dartmouth as a junior, and was graduated in 1826. He at once established a classical school for boys in Washington, D. C., which he conducted with success, at the same time studying law with William Wirt. Mr. Chase gave much of his leisure to light literature, and a poem that was addressed by him to Mr. Wirt's daughters was printed and is still extant. In 1830, having completed his studies, he closed the school, was admitted to the bar in Washington, and settled in Cincinnati, where he soon obtained a large practice. In politics he did not identify himself with either of the great parties; but on one point he was clear from the first: he was unalterably opposed to slavery, and in this sentiment he was confirmed by witnessing the destruction of the “Philanthropist” office by a pro-slavery mob in 1836. In 1837 he defended a fugitive slave woman, claimed under the law of 1793, and took the highest ground against the constitutionality of that law. One of the oldest lawyers in the court-room was heard to remark concerning him: “There is a promising young man who has just ruined himself.” In 1837 Mr. Chase also defended his friend James G. Birney in a suit for harboring a Negro slave, and in 1838 he reviewed with great severity a report of the judiciary committee of the state senate, refusing trial by jury to slaves, and in a second suit defended Mr. Birney. When it became evident, after the brief administration of Harrison was over and that of Tyler begun, that no more effective opposition to the encroachments of slavery was to be expected from the Whig than from the Democratic Party, a Liberty Party was organized in Ohio in December, 1841, and Mr. Chase was foremost among its founders. The address, which was written by Mr. Chase, contained these passages, clearly setting forth the issues of a mighty struggle that was to continue for twenty-five years and be closed only by a bloody war: “The constitution found slavery, and left it, a state institution—the creature and dependant of state law—wholly local in its existence and character. It did not make it a national institution. . . . Why, then, fellow-citizens, are we now appealing to you? . . . Why is it that the whole nation is moved, as with a mighty wind, by the discussion of the questions involved in the great issue now made up between liberty and
slavery? It is, fellow-citizens—and we beg you to mark this—it is because slavery has overleaped its prescribed limits and usurped the control of the national government. We ask you to acquaint yourselves fully with the details and particulars belonging to the topics which we have briefly touched, and we do not doubt that you will concur with us in believing that the honor, the welfare, the safety of our country imperiously require the absolute and unqualified divorce of the government from slavery.” Writing of this late in life Mr. Chase said: “Having resolved on my political course, I devoted all the time and means I could command to the work of spreading the principles and building up the organization of the party of constitutional freedom then inaugurated. Sometimes, indeed, all I could do seemed insignificant, while the labors I had to perform, and the demands upon my very limited resources by necessary contributions, taxed severely all my ability. . . . It seems to me now, on looking back, that I could not help working if I would, and that I was just as really called in the course of Providence to my labors for human freedom as ever any other laborer in the great field of the world was called to his appointed work.” Mr. Chase acted as counsel for so many blacks who were claimed as fugitives that he was at length called by Kentuckians the “attorney-general for runaway Negroes,” and the colored people of Cincinnati presented him with a silver pitcher “for his various public services in behalf of the oppressed.” One of his most noted cases was the defence of John Van Zandt (the original of John Van Trompe in “Uncle Tom's Cabin”) in 1842, who was prosecuted for harboring fugitive slaves because he had overtaken a party of them on the road and given them a ride in his wagon. In the final hearing, 1846, William H. Seward was associated with Mr. Chase, neither of them receiving any compensation. 

When the Liberty Party, in a national convention held in Buffalo, New York, in 1843, nominated James G. Birney for president, the platform was almost entirely the composition of Mr. Chase. But he vigorously opposed the resolution, offered by John Pierpont, declaring that the fugitive-slave-law clause of the constitution was not binding in conscience, but might be mentally excepted in any oath to support the constitution. In 1840 the Liberty Party had cast but one in 360 of the entire popular vote of the country. In 1844 it cast one in forty, and caused the defeat of Mr. Clay. The Free-Soil Convention that met in Buffalo in 1848 and nominated Martin Van Buren for president, with Charles Francis Adams for vice-president, was presided over by Mr. Chase. This time the party cast one in nine of the whole number of votes. In February, 1849, the Democrats and the Free-Soilers in the Ohio legislature formed a coalition, one result of which was the election of Mr. Chase to the U. S. Senate. Agreeing with the Democracy of Ohio, which, by resolution in convention, had declared slavery to be an evil, he supported its state policy and nominees, but declared that he would desert it if it deserted the anti-slavery position. In the Senate, 26 and 27 March, 1850, he made a notable speech against the so-called “compromise measures,” which included the fugitive-slave law, and offered several amendments, all of which were voted down. When the Democratic Convention at Baltimore nominated Franklin Pierce for president in 1852, and approved of the compromise acts of 1850,
Senator Chase dissolved his connection with the Democratic Party in Ohio. At this time he addressed a letter to Hon. Benjamin F. Butler, of New York, suggesting and vindicating the idea of an independent democracy. He made a platform, which was substantially that adopted at the Pittsburg Convention, in the same year. He continued his support to the independent Democrats until the Kansas-Nebraska bill came up, when he vigorously opposed the repeal of the Missouri compromise, wrote an appeal to the people against it, and made the first elaborate exposure of its character. His persistent attacks upon it in the Senate thoroughly roused the north, and are admitted to have influenced in a remarkable degree the subsequent struggle. During his senatorial career Mr. Chase also advocated economy in the national finances, a Pacific Railroad by the shortest and best route, the homestead law (which was intended to develop the northern territories), and cheap postage, and held that the national treasury should defray the expense of providing for safe navigation of the lakes, as well as of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

In 1855 he was elected governor of Ohio by the opponents of the Pierce administration. His in
augural address recommended single districts for legislative representation, annual instead of biennial sessions of the legislature, and an extended educational system. Soon after his inauguration occurred the Garner tragedy, so called, in which a fugitive slave mother, near Cincinnati, attempted to kill all of her children, and did kill one, to prevent them from being borne back to slave-life in Kentucky. This and other slave-hunts in Ohio so roused and increased the anti-slavery sentiment in that place that Governor Chase was re-nominated by acclamation, and was re-elected by a small majority, though the American or Know-Nothing Party had a candidate in the field. In the National Republican Convention, held at Chicago in 1860, the vote on the first ballot stood: Seward, 173½; Lincoln, 102; Cameron, 50½; Chase, 49. On the third ballot Mr. Lincoln lacked but four of the number necessary to nominate, and these were given by Mr. Chase's friends before the result was declared. When Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated president, 4 March, 1861, he made Governor Chase secretary of the treasury. The difficulty that he was immediately called upon to grapple with is thus described by Mr. Greeley: “When he accepted the office of secretary of the treasury the finances were already in chaos; the current revenue being inadequate, even in the absence of all expenditure or preparation for war, his predecessor (Cobb, of Georgia) having attempted to borrow $10,000,000, in October, 1860, and obtained only $7,022,000—the bidders to whom the balance was awarded choosing to forfeit their initial deposit rather than take and pay for their bonds. Thenceforth he had tided over, till his resignation, by selling treasury notes, payable a year from date, at 6 to 12 per cent. discount; and when, after he had retired from the scene, General Dix, who succeeded him in Mr. Buchanan's cabinet, attempted (February, 1861) to borrow a small sum on twenty-year bonds at 6 per cent., he was obliged to sell those bonds at an average discount of 9½ per cent. Hence, of Mr. Chase's first loan of $8,000,000, for which bids were opened (2 April) ten days before Beauregard first fired on Fort Sumter, the offerings ranged from 5 to 10 per cent. discount; and only $3,099,000 were tendered at or under 6 per cent. discount—he, in the face of a vehement clamor, declining all bids at higher rates of discount than 6 per cent., and placing soon afterward the balance of the $8,000,000 in two-year treasury notes at par or a fraction over.” When the secretary went to New York for his first loan, the London “Times” declared that he had “coerced $50,000,000 from the banks, but would not fare so well at the London Exchange.” Three years later it said “the hundredth part of Mr. Chase's embarrassments would tax Mr. Gladstone's ingenuity to the utmost, and set the [British] public mind in a ferment of excitement.” In his conference with the bankers the secretary said he hoped they would be able to take the loans on such terms as could be admitted. “If you cannot,” said he, “I shall go back to Washington and issue notes for circulation; for it is certain that the war must go on until the rebellion is put down, if we have to put out paper until it takes a thousand dollars to buy a breakfast.” At this time the amount of coin in circulation in the country was estimated at $210,000,000; and it soon became evident that this was insufficient for carrying on the war. The banks could not sell the bonds for coin, and could not meet their obligations in coin, and on 27 December, 1861, they agreed to suspend specie payment at the close of the year. In his first report, submitted on the 9th of that month, Secretary Chase recommended retrenchment of expenses wherever possible, confiscation of the property of those in arms against the government, an increase of duties and of the tax on spirits, and a national currency, with a system of national banking associations. This last recommendation was carried out in the issue of “greenbacks,” which were made a legal tender for everything but customs duties, and the establishment of the national banking law. His management of the finances of the government during the first three years of the great war has received nothing but the highest praise. He resigned the secretaryship on 30 June, 1864, and was succeeded a few days later by William P. Fessenden. On 6 December, 1864, President Lincoln nominated him to be chief justice of the United States, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Roger B. Taney, and the nomination was immediately confirmed by the Senate. In this office he presided at the impeachment trial of President Johnson in 1868. In that year his name was frequently mentioned in connection with the Democratic nomination for the presidency, and in answer to a letter from the chairman of the Democratic National committee he wrote: 

“For more than a quarter of a century I have been, in my political views and sentiments, a Democrat, and I still think that upon questions of finance, commerce, and administration generally, the old Democratic principles afford the best guidance. What separated me in former times from both parties was the depth and positiveness of my convictions on the slavery question. On that question I thought the Democratic Party failed to make a just application of Democratic principles, and regarded myself as more democratic than the Democrats. In 1849 I was elected to the Senate by the united votes of the old-line Democrats and independent Democrats, and subsequently made earnest efforts to bring about a union of all Democrats on the ground of the limitation of slavery to the states in which it then existed, and non-intervention in these states by Congress. Had that union been effected, it is my firm belief that the country would have escaped the late Civil War and all its evils. I never favored interference by Congress with slavery, but as a war measure Mr. Lincoln's proclamation of emancipation had my hearty assent, and I united, as a member of his administration, in the pledge made to maintain the freedom of the enfranchised people. I have been, and am, in favor of so much of the reconstruction policy of Congress as based the re-organization of the state governments of the south upon universal suffrage. I think that President Johnson was right in regarding the southern states, except Virginia and Tennessee, as being, at the close of the war, without governments which the U.S. government could properly recognize—without governors, judges, legislators, or other state functionaries; but wrong in limiting, by his reconstruction proclamations, the right of suffrage to whites, and only
such whites as had the qualification he required. On the other hand, it seemed to me, Congress was right in not limiting, by its reconstruction acts, the right of suffrage to the whites; but wrong in the exclusion from suffrage of certain classes of citizens, and of all unable to take a prescribed retrospective oath, and wrong also in the establishment of arbitrary military governments for the states, and in authorizing military commissions for the trial of civilians in time of peace. There should have been as little military government as possible; no military commissions, no classes excluded from suffrage, and no oath except one of faithful obedience and support to the constitution and laws, and sincere attachment to the constitutional government of the United States. I am glad to know that many intelligent southern Democrats agree with me in these views, and are willing to accept universal suffrage and universal amnesty as the basis of reconstruction and restoration. They see that the shortest way to revive prosperity, possible only with contented industry, is universal suffrage now, and universal amnesty, with removal of all disabilities, as speedily as possible through the action of the state and national governments. I have long been a believer in the wisdom and justice of securing the right of suffrage to all citizens by state constitutions and legislation. It is the best guarantee of the stability of institutions, and the prosperity of communities. My views on this subject were well known when the Democrats elected me to the Senate in 1849. I have now answered your letter as I think I ought to answer it. I beg you to believe me—for I say it in all sincerity—that I do not desire the office of president, nor a nomination for it. Nor do I know that, with my views and convictions, I am a suitable candidate for any party. Of that my countrymen must judge.” 

Judge Chase subsequently prepared a declaration of principles, embodying the ideas of his letter, and submitted it to those Democrats who desired his nomination, as a platform in that event. But this was not adopted by the convention, and the plan to nominate him, if there was such a plan, failed. In June, 1870, he suffered an attack of paralysis, and from that time till his death he was an invalid. As in the case of President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton, his integrity was shown by the fact that, though he had been a member of the administration when the government was spending millions of dollars a day, he died comparatively poor. His remains were buried in Washington; but in October, 1886, were removed, with appropriate ceremony, to Cincinnati, Ohio, and deposited in Spring Grove cemetery near that city. Besides his reports and decisions, Mr. Chase published a compilation of the statutes of Ohio, with annotations and an historical sketch (3 vols., Cincinnati, 1832). See “Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase,” by J. W. Schuckers
(New York, 1874). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 585-588.

Clark, Myron Holley, 1806-1892, Governor of New York State. Supported by the anti-slavery wings of the Democratic and Whig Parties.  (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 630; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 138)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

CLARK, Myron Holley, governor of New York, born in Naples, Ontario County, New York, 23 October, 1806. His grandfather, Colonel William Clark, moved from Berkshire county, Massachusetts, to Ontario county, New York, in 1790. Myron was educated in a District school at Naples, attending from three to four months annually, when between six and seventeen years old. After filling several offices in his native town, and becoming lieutenant-colonel of state militia, he was sheriff of Ontario county for two years, and, having moved to Canandaigua, was president of that village in 1850 and 1851, and state senator from 1852 till 1854. During Mr. Clark's first term as senator in 1852–’3, the law was consolidating the several railroads now forming the New York central, and it was largely by his persistent firmness that the provision limiting passenger fares to two cents a mile was adopted. As chairman of the committee on the subject he was influential in securing the of the prohibitory liquor law that was vetoed by Governor Seymour. In the anti-slavery wings of both the Whig and Democratic parties, the prohibitionists, and several independent organizations separately nominated Mr. Clark for governor, and he was elected by a small majority, his supporters in some of their state organizations taking the name of “Republicans." thus making him the earliest state candidate of that party. During his administration a new prohibitory law was passed, and signed by him. It remained in force about nine months, when it was set aside by the court of appeals. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 639.

Clay, Cassius Marcellus, 1810-1903, Madison County, Kentucky, anti-slavery political leader, emancipationist, large landowner, statesman, lawyer, diplomat, soldier, newspaper publisher. Granted land for Berea College, Berea, Kentucky.  Prominent anti-slavery activist with Kentucky State legislature and member of the Republican Party.  Published anti-slavery paper, True American, in Lexington, Kentucky.

(Blue, 2005, pp. 151, 171; Clay, 1896; Dumond, 1961, p. 258; Filler, 1960, pp. 213, 221, 248, 256, 272; Mabee, 1970, pp. 4, 237, 258-259, 327, 336, 372; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 5, 63, 64, 71, 107, 147, 156, 199; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 380, 619; Smiley, 1962; Wilson, 1872, pp. 628-635; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 503, 577, 639-640; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 18; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 171-173; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 4; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. II. New York: James T. White, 1892, pp. 311-312)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

CLAY, Cassius Marcellus,
politician, born in Madison county, Kentucky, 19 October, 1810, studied at Transylvania University, but afterward entered the junior class at Yale, and was graduated there in 1832. While in New Haven he heard William Lloyd Garrison, and, although his parents were slave-holders, became an earnest abolitionist. He began to practice law in his native county, and was elected to the legislature in 1835, but was defeated the next year on account of his advocacy of internal improvements. He was again elected in 1837, and in 1839 was a member of the convention that nominated General Harrison for the presidency. He then moved to Lexington, and was again a member of the legislature in 1840, but in 1841 was defeated, after an exciting canvass, on account of his anti-slavery views. The improved jury system and the common-school system of Kentucky are largely due to his efforts while in the legislature. Mr. Clay denounced the proposed annexation of Texas, as intended to extend slavery, and in 1844 actively supported Henry Clay for the presidency, speaking in his behalf in the northern states. On 3 June, 1845, he issued in Lexington the first number of an anti-slavery paper entitled “The True American.” Mob violence had been threatened, and the editor had prepared himself for it. He says in his memoirs: “I selected for my office a brick building, and lined the outside doors with sheet-iron, to prevent it being burned. I purchased two brass four-pounder cannon at Cincinnati, and placed them, loaded with shot and nails, on a table, breast high; had folding-doors secured with a chain, which could open upon the mob and give play to the cannon. I furnished my office with Mexican lances, and a limited number of guns. There were six or eight persons who stood ready to defend me. If defeated, they were to escape by a trap-door in the roof; and I had placed a keg of powder with a match, which I could set off and blow up the office and all my invaders; and this I should most certainly have done in case of the last extremity.” In August, while the editor was sick, his press was seized by the mob and taken to Cincinnati, and he himself was threatened with assassination; but, notwithstanding all opposition, he continued to publish the paper, printing it in Cincinnati and circulating it through Kentucky. This was not his only narrow escape. He was continually involved in quarrels, had several bloody personal encounters, and habitually spoke in political meetings, with a bowie knife concealed about him, and a brace of pistols in the mouth of his grip-sack, which he placed at his feet. When war with Mexico was declared, Mr. Clay entered the army as captain of a volunteer infantry company that had already distinguished itself at Tippecanoe in 1811. He took this course because he thought a military title necessary to political advancement in a “fighting state” like Kentucky. On 23 January, 1847, while in the van, more than 100 miles in advance of the main army, he was taken prisoner, with seventy-one others, at Encarnacion, and marched to the city of Mexico. On one occasion, after the escape of some of the captives, the lives of the remainder were saved by Captain Clay's gallantry and presence of mind. After being exchanged, he returned to Kentucky, and was presented by his fellow-citizens with a sword in honor of his services. He worked for General Taylor's nomination in the Convention of 1848, and carried Kentucky for him. He called a convention of emancipationists at Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1849, and in 1850, separating from the Whig Party, was an anti-slavery candidate for governor, receiving about 5,000 votes. He labored energetically for Frémont's election in 1856, and for Lincoln's in 1860, but took pains to separate himself from the “radical abolitionists,” holding that all interference with slavery should be by legal methods. On 28 March, 1861, he was appointed minister to Russia. He returned to this country in June, 1862, having been commissioned major-general of volunteers, and shortly afterward made a speech in Washington, declaring that he would never draw his sword while slavery was protected in the seceding states. He resigned on 11 March, 1863, and was again sent as minister to Russia, publicly supported the revolutionary movement in Cuba, and became president of the Cuban aid Society. In 1871 he delivered an address by invitation at the St. Louis fair, urging speedy reconciliation with the north, and at the same time attacking President Grant's administration. He was identified with the liberal republican movement in 1872, and supported his old friend Horace Greeley for the presidency. He afterward joined the Democratic Party, and actively supported Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, but advocated Blaine's election in 1884. In 1877 Mr. Clay shot and killed a Negro, Perry White, whom he had discharged from his service and who had threatened his life. Mr. Clay was tried, and the jury gave a verdict of “justifiable homicide.” A volume of his speeches was edited by Horace Greeley (1848), and he has published “The Life, Memoirs, Writings, and Speeches of Cassius M. Clay” (2 vols., Cincinnati, 1886). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 503, 577, 639-640.

Clay, Henry, 1777-1852, Kentucky, statesman, political leader, U.S. Senator, Congressman, Speaker of the House of Representatives, 12th, 13th, and 18th Congress, Presidential candidate.  Founder of the American Colonization Society and its President from 1837-1852, Vice President, 1833-1837. 

(Blue, 2005, pp. 11, 24, 27, 29, 47, 50-51, 55, 123-124, 166-167; Burin, 2005, pp. 1, 14, 17, 22, 23, 25, 27, 38; Campbell, 1971, pp. 7, 10, 203; Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 640; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 173; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 27-29, 30, 113, 116, 139, 143, 174, 184-187, 207, 245)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

CLAY, Henry, statesman, born in Hanover county, Virginia, in a district known as “The Slashes,” 12 April, 1777; died in Washington, D. C., 29 June, 1852. His father, a Baptist clergyman, died when Henry was four years old, leaving no fortune. Henry received some elementary instruction in a log school-house, doing farm and house work when not at school. His mother married again and moved to Kentucky. When fourteen years of age he was placed in a small retail store at Richmond, and in 1792 obtained a place in the office of Peter Tinsley, clerk of the high court of chancery. There he attracted the attention of Chancellor Whyte, who employed him as an amanuensis, and directed his course of reading. In 1796 he began to study law with Robert Brooke, attorney-general of Virginia, and in 1797, having obtained a license to practise law from the judges of the court of appeals, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky. During his residence in Richmond he had made the acquaintance of several distinguished men of Virginia, and became a leading member of a debating club. At Lexington he achieved his first distinction in a similar society. He soon won a lucrative practice as an attorney, being especially successful in criminal cases and in suits growing out of the land laws. His captivating manners and his striking eloquence made him a general favorite. His political career began almost immediately after his arrival at Lexington. A convention was to be elected to revise the constitution of Kentucky, and in the canvass preceding the election Clay strongly advocated a constitutional provision for the gradual emancipation of the slaves in the state; but the movement was not successful. He also participated vigorously in the agitation against the alien and sedition laws, taking position as a member of the Democratic Party. Several of his speeches, delivered in mass meetings, astonished the hearers by their beauty and force. In 1799 he married Lucretia Hart, daughter of a prominent citizen of Kentucky. In 1803 he was elected to a seat in the state legislature, where he excelled as a debater. In 1806 Aaron Burr passed through Kentucky, where he was arrested on a charge of being engaged in an unlawful enterprise dangerous to the peace of the United States. He engaged Clay's professional services, and Clay, deceived by Burr as to the nature of his schemes, obtained his release.

In the winter of 1806 Clay was appointed to a seat in the U. S. Senate to serve out an unexpired term. He was at once placed on various committees, and took an active part in the debates, especially in favor of internal improvements. In the summer of 1807 his county sent him again to the legislature, where he was elected speaker of the assembly. He opposed and defeated a bill prohibiting the use of the decisions of British courts and of British works on jurisprudence as authority in the courts of Kentucky. In December, 1808, he introduced resolutions expressing approval of the embargo laid by the general government, denouncing the British orders in council, pledging the general government the active aid of Kentucky in anything determined upon to resist British exactions, and declaring that President Jefferson was entitled to the thanks of the country. He offered another resolution, recommending that the members of the legislature should wear only clothes that were the product of domestic manufacture. This was his first demonstration in favor of the encouragement of home industry. About this resolution he had a quarrel with Humphrey Marshall, which led to a duel, in which both parties were slightly wounded. In the winter of 1809 Clay was again sent to the U. S. Senate to fill an unexpired term of two years. He made a speech in favor of encouraging home industries, taking the ground that the country should be enabled to produce all it might need in time of war, and that, while agriculture would remain the dominant interest, it should be aided by the development of domestic manufactures. He also made a report on a bill granting a right of pre-emption to purchasers of public lands in certain cases, and introduced a bill to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontier, a subject on which he expressed very wise and humane sentiments. During the session of 1810-’1 he defended the administration of Mr. Madison with regard to the occupation of West Florida by the United States by a strong historical argument, at the same time appealing, in glowing language, to the national pride of the American people. He opposed the renewal of the charter of the U. S. bank, notwithstanding Gallatin's recommendation, on the ground of the unconstitutionally of the bank, and contributed much to its defeat.

On the expiration of his term in the Senate, Clay was sent to the national House of Representatives by the Lexington District in Kentucky, and immediately upon taking his seat, 4 November, 1811, was elected speaker by a large majority. Not confining himself to his duties as presiding officer, he took a leading part in debate on almost all important occasions. The difficulties caused by British interference with neutral trade were then approaching a crisis, and Clay put himself at the head of the War Party in Congress, which was led in the second line by such voting statesmen as John C. Calhoun, William Lowndes, Felix Grundy, and Langdon Cheves, and supported by a strong feeling in the south and west. In a series of fiery speeches Clay advocated the calling out of volunteers to serve on land, and the construction of an efficient navy. He expected that the war with Great Britain would be decided by an easy conquest of Canada, and a peace dictated at Quebec. The Madison administration hesitated, but was finally swept along by the war furor created by the young Americans under Clay's lead, and war under the young Americans under Clay's lead, and war against Britain was declared in June, 1812. Clay spoke at a large number of popular meetings to fill volunteer regiments and to fire the national spirit. In Congress, while the events of the war were unfavorable to the United States in consequence of an utter lack of preparation and incompetent leadership, Clay vigorously sustained the administration and the war policy against the attacks of the federalists. Some of his speeches were of a high order of eloquence, and electrified the country. He was re-elected speaker in 1813. On 19 January, 1814, he resigned the speakership, having been appointed by President Madison a member of a commission, consisting of John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and Albert Gallatin, to negotiate peace with Great Britain. The American commissioners met the commissioners of Great Britain at Ghent. in the Netherlands, and, after five months of negotiation, during which Mr. Clay stoutly opposed the concession to the British of the right of navigating the Mississippi and of meddling with the Indians on territory of the United States, a treaty of peace was signed, 21 December, 1814. From Ghent Clay went to Paris, and thence with Adams and Gallatin to London, to negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain.

After his return to the United States, Mr. Clay declined the mission to Russia, offered by the administration. Having been elected again to the House of Representatives, he took his seat on December 4, 1815, and was again chosen speaker. He favored the enactment of the protective tariff of 1816, and also advocated the establishment of a U. S. bank as the fiscal agent of the government, thus reversing his position with regard to that subject. He now pronounced the bank constitutional because it was necessary in order to carry on the fiscal concerns of the government. During the same session he voted to raise the pay of representatives from $6 a day to $1,500 a year, a measure that proved unpopular, and his vote for it came near costing him his seat. He was, however, re-elected, but then voted to make the pay of representatives per diem of $8, which it remained for a long period. In the session of 1816-’ he, together with Calhoun, actively supported an internal improvement bill, which President Madison vetoed. In December, 1817, Clay was re-elected speaker. In opposition to the doctrine laid down by Monroe in his first message, that Congress did not possess, under the constitution, the right to construct internal improvements, Clay strongly asserted that right in several speeches. With great vigor he advocated the recognition of the independence of the Spanish American colonies, then in a state of revolution, and severely censured what he considered the procrastinating policy of the administration in that respect. In the session of 1818-’9 he criticised, in an elaborate speech, the conduct of General Jackson in the Florida Campaign, especially the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister by Jackson's orders. This was the first collision between Clay and Jackson, and the ill feelings that it engendered in Jackson's mind were never extinguished. At the first session of the 16th Congress, in December, 1819, Clay was again elected speaker almost without opposition. In the debate on the treaty with Spain, by which Florida was ceded to the United States, he severely censured the administration for having given up Texas, which he held to belong to the United States as a part of the Louisiana purchase. He continued to urge the recognition of the South American colonies as independent republics.

In 1819-’20 he took an important part in the struggle in Congress concerning the admission of Missouri as a slave state, which created the first great political slavery excitement throughout the country. He opposed the “restriction” clause making the admission of Missouri dependent upon the exclusion of slavery from the state, but supported the compromise proposed by Senator Thomas, of Illinois, admitting Missouri with slavery, but excluding slavery from all the territory north of 30° 30', acquired by the Louisiana purchase. This was the first part of the Missouri compromise, which is often erroneously attributed to Clay. When Missouri then presented herself with a state constitution, not only recognizing slavery, but also making it the duty of the legislature to pass such laws as would be necessary to prevent free Negroes or mulattoes from coming into the state, the excitement broke out anew, and a majority in the House of Representatives refused to admit Missouri as a state with such a constitution. On Clay's motion, the subject was referred to a special committee, of which he was chairman. This committee of the house joined with a Senate committee, and the two unitedly reported in both houses a resolution that Missouri be admitted upon the fundamental condition that the state should never make any law to prevent from settling within its boundaries any description of persons who then or thereafter might become citizens of any state of the Union. This resolution was adopted, and the fundamental condition assented to by Missouri. This was Clay's part of the Missouri compromise, and he received general praise as “the great pacificator.”

After the adjournment of Congress, Clay retired to private life, to devote himself to his legal practice, but was elected to the 18th Congress, which met in December, 1823. and was again chosen speaker. He made speeches on internal improvements, advocating a liberal construction of constitutional powers, in favor of sending a commissioner to Greece, and in favor of the tariff law, which became known as the tariff of 1824, giving his policy of protection and internal improvements the name of the “American system.”

He was a candidate for the presidency at the election of 1824. His competitors were John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and William H. Crawford, each of whom received a larger number of electoral votes than Clay. But, as none of them had received a majority of the electoral vote, the election devolved upon the House of Representatives. Clay, standing fourth in the number of electoral votes received, was excluded from the choice, and he used his influence in the house for John Quincy Adams, who was elected. The friends of Jackson and Crawford charged that there was a corrupt understanding between Adams and Clay, and this accusation received color from the fact that Adams promptly offered Clay the portfolio of Secretary of State, and Clay accepted it. This was the origin of the “bargain and corruption ” charge, which, constantly repeated, pursued Clay during the best part of his public life, although it was disproved by the well-established fact that Clay, immediately after the result of the presidential election in 1824 became known, had declared his determination to use his influence in the house for Adams and against Jackson. As Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams, Clay accepted an invitation, presented by the Mexican and Colombian ministers, to send commissioners of the United States to an international congress of American republics, which was to meet on the Isthmus of Panama, to deliberate upon subjects of common interest. The commissioners were appointed, but the Panama Congress adjourned before they could reach the appointed place of meeting. In the course of one of the debates on this subject, John Randolph, of Roanoke, denounced the administration, alluding to Adams and Clay as a “combination of the Puritan and the blackleg.” Clay thereupon challenged Randolph to a duel, which was fought on 8 April, 1826, without bloodshed. He negotiated and concluded treaties with Prussia, the Hanseatic republics, Denmark, Colombia, Central America, and Austria. His negotiations with Great Britain concerning the colonial trade resulted only in keeping in force the conventions of 1815 and 1818. He made another treaty with Great Britain, extending the joint occupation of the Oregon country provided for in the treaty of 1818; another referring the differences concerning the northeastern boundary to some friendly sovereign or state for arbitration; and still another concerning the indemnity to be paid by Great Britain for slaves carried off by British forces in the war of 1812. As to his commercial policy, Clay followed the accepted ideas of the times, to establish between the United States and foreign countries fair reciprocity as to trade and navigation. He was made president of the American Colonization Society, whose object it was to colonize free Negroes in Liberia on the coast of Africa.

In 1828 Andrew Jackson was elected president, and after his inauguration Clay retired to his farm of Ashland, near Lexington, Kentucky. But, although in private life, he was generally recognized as the leader of the party opposing Jackson, who called themselves “National Republicans,” and later “Whigs,” Clay, during the years 1829-’31, visited several places in the south as well as in the state of Ohio, was everywhere received with great honors, and made speeches attacking Jackson's administration, mainly on account of the sweeping removals from office for personal and partisan reasons, and denouncing the nullification movement, which in the meantime had been set on foot in South Carolina. Yielding to the urgent solicitation of his friends throughout the country, he consented in 1831 to be a candidate for the U. S. Senate, and was elected. In December, 1831, he was nominated as the candidate of the National Republicans for the presidency, with John Sergeant, of Pennsylvania, for the vice-presidency. As the impending extinguishment of the public debt rendered a reduction of the revenue necessary, Clay introduced in the Senate a tariff bill reducing duties on unprotected articles, but keeping them on protected articles, so as to preserve intact the “American system.” The reduction of the revenue thus effected was inadequate, and the anti-tariff excitement in the south grew more intense. The subject of public lands having, for the purpose of embarrassing him as a presidential candidate, been referred to the committee on manufactures, of which he was the leading spirit, he reported against reducing the price of public lands and in favor of distributing the proceeds of the lands' sales, after certain reductions, among the several states for a limited period. The bill passed the Senate, but failed to pass the house. As President Jackson, in his several messages, had attacked the U. S. bank. Clay induced the bank, whose charter was to expire in 1836, to apply for a renewal of the charter during the session of 1831-’2, so as to force the issue the presidential election. The bill renewing the charter passed both houses, but Jackson vetoed it, denouncing the bank in his message as a dangerous monopoly. In the presidential election Clay was disastrously defeated, Jackson receiving 219 electoral votes, and Clay only 49.

On 19 November, 1832, a state convention in South Carolina passed an ordinance nullifying the tariff laws of 1828 and 1832. On 10 December, President Jackson issued a proclamation against the nullifiers, which the governor of South Carolina answered with a counter-proclamation. On 12 February, 1833, Clay introduced, in behalf of union and peace, a compromise bill providing for a gradual reduction of the tariff until 1842, when it should be reduced to a horizontal rate of 20 per cent. This bill was accepted by the nullifiers, and became a law, known as the compromise of 1833. South Carolina rescinded the nullification ordinance, and Clay was again praised as the “great pacificator.” In the autumn of 1833, President Jackson, through the secretary of the treasury, ordered the removal of the public deposits from the U. S. bank. Clay, in December, 1833, introduced resolutions in the Senate censuring the president for having “assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the constitution and laws.” The resolutions were adopted, and President Jackson sent to the Senate an earnest protest against them, which was severely denounced by Clay. During the session of 1834-’5 Clay successfully opposed Jackson's recommendation that authority be conferred on him for making reprisals upon French property on account of the non-payment by the French government of an indemnity due to the United States. He also advocated the enactment of a law enabling Indians to defend their rights to their lands in the courts of the United States; also the restriction of the president's power to make removals from office, and the repeal of the four-years act. The slavery question having come to the front again, in consequence of the agitation carried on by the abolitionists, Clay, in the session of 1835-”6, pronounced himself favor of the reception by the Senate of anti-slavery petitions, and against the exclusion of anti-slavery literature from the mails. He declared, however, his opposition to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. With regard to the recognition of Texas as an independent state, he maintained a somewhat cold and reserved attitude. In the session of 1836-’7 he reintroduced his land bill without success, and advocated international copyright. His resolutions censuring Jackson for the removal of the deposits, passed in 1834, were, on the motion of Thomas H. Benton, expunged from the records of the Senate, against solemn protest from the Whig minority in that body.

Martin Van Buren was elected president in 1836, and immediately after his inauguration the great financial crisis of 1837 broke out. At an extra session of Congress, in the summer of 1837, he recommended the introduction of the sub-treasury system. This was earnestly opposed by Clay, who denounced it as a scheme to “unite the power of the purse with the power of the sword.” He and his friends insisted upon the restoration of the U. S. bank. After a struggle of three sessions, the sub-treasury bill succeeded, and the long existence of the system has amply proved the groundlessness of the fears expressed by those who opposed it. Clay strongly desired to be the Whig candidate for the presidency in 1840, but failed. The Whig national Convention, in December, 1839, nominated Harrison and Tyler. Clay was very much incensed at his defeat, but supported Harrison with great energy, making many speeches in the famous “log-cabin and hard-cider ” campaign. After the triumphant election of Harrison and Tyler, Clay declined the office of Secretary of State offered to him. Harrison died soon after his inauguration. At the extra session of Congress in the summer of 1841, Clay was the recognized leader of the Whig majority. He moved the repeal of the sub-treasury act, and drove it through both houses. He then brought in a bill providing for the incorporation of a new bank of the United States, which also passed, but was vetoed by President Tyler, 16 August, 1841. Another bank bill, framed to meet what were supposed to be the president's objections, was also vetoed. Clay denounced Tyler instantly for what he called his faithlessness to Whig principles, and the Whig Party rallied under Clay's leadership in opposition to the president. At the same session Clay put through his land bill, containing the distribution clause, which, however, could not go into operation because the revenues of the government fell short of the necessary expenditures. At the next session Clay offered an amendment to the constitution limiting the veto power, which during Jackson's and Tyler's administrations had become very obnoxious to him; and also an amendment to the constitution providing that the secretary of the treasury and the treasurer should be appointed by Congress; and a third forbidding the appointment members of Congress, while in office, to executive positions. None of them passed. On 31 March, 1842, Clay took leave of the Senate and retired to private life, as he said in his farewell speech, never to return to the Senate.

During his retirement he visited different parts the country, and was everywhere received with great enthusiasm, delivering speeches, in some of which he pronounced himself in favor not of a “high tariff,” but of a revenue tariff with incidental protection repeatedly affirming that the protective system had been originally designed only a temporary arrangement to be maintained until the infant industries should have gained sufficient strength to sustain competition with foreign manufactures. It was generally looked upon as certain that he would be the Whig candidate for the presidency in 1844. In the meantime the administration had concluded a treaty of annexation with Texas. In an elaborate letter, dated 17 April, 1844, known as the “Raleigh letter,” Clay declared himself against annexation, mainly because it would bring on a war with Mexico, because it met with serious objection in a large part of the Union, and because it would compromise the national character. Van Buren, who expected to be the Democratic candidate for the presidency, also wrote a letter unfavorable to annexation. On 1 May, 1844, the Whig national Convention nominated Clay by acclamation. The Democratic National Convention animated not Van Buren, but James K. Polk for the presidency, with George M. Dallas for the vice-presidency, and adopted a resolution recommending the annexation of Texas. A convention of anti-slavery men was held at Buffalo, New York, which put forward as a candidate for the presidency James G. Birney. The Senate rejected the annexation treaty, and the Texas question became the main issue in the presidential canvass. As to the tariff and the currency question, the platforms of the Democrats and Whigs differed very little. Polk, who had the reputation of being a free-trader, wrote a letter apparently favoring a protective tariff, to propitiate Pennsylvania, where the cry was raised. “Polk, Dallas, and the tariff of 1842.” Clay, yielding to the entreaties of southern Whigs, who feared that his declaration against the annexation of Texas might injure his prospects in the south, wrote another letter, in which he said that, far from having any personal objection to the annexation of Texas, he would be “glad to see it without dishonor, without war, with the common consent of the Union, and upon fair terms.” This turned against him many anti-slavery men in the north, and greatly strengthened the Birney movement. It is believed that it cost him the vote of the state of New York, and with it the election. It was charged, apparently upon strong grounds, that extensive election frauds were committed by the Democrats in the city of New York and in the state of Louisiana, the latter becoming famous as the Plaquemines frauds; but had Clay kept the anti-slavery element on his side, as it was at the beginning of the canvass, these frauds could not have decided the election. His defeat cast the Whig Party into the deepest gloom, and was lamented by his supporters like a personal misfortune.

Texas was annexed by a joint resolution which passed the two houses of Congress in the session of 1844-’5, and the Mexican War followed. In 1846, Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, moved, as an amendment to a bill appropriating money for purposes connected with the war, a proviso that in all territories to be acquired from Mexico slavery should be forever prohibited, which, however, failed in the Senate. This became known as the “Wilmot proviso.” One of Clay's sons was killed in the battle of Buena Vista. In the autumn of 1847, when the Mexican Army was completely defeated, Clay made a speech at Lexington, Kentucky, warning the American people of the dangers that would follow if they gave themselves up to the ambition of conquest, and declaring that there should be a generous peace, requiring no dismemberment of the Mexican republic, but “only a just and proper fixation of the limits of Texas.” and that any desire to acquire any foreign territory whatever for the purpose of propagating slavery should be “positively and emphatically” disclaimed. In February and March, 1848, Clay was honored with great popular receptions in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, and his name was again brought forward for the presidential nomination. But the Whig national Convention, which met on 7 June, 1848, preferred General Zachary Taylor as a more available man, with Millard Fillmore for the vice-presidency. His defeat in the convention was a bitter disappointment to Clay. He declined to come forward to the support of Taylor, and maintained during the canvass an attitude of neutrality. The principal reason he gave was that Taylor had refused to pledge himself to the support of Whig principles and measures, and that Taylor had announced his purpose to remain in the field as a candidate, whoever might be nominated by the Whig Convention. He declined, on the other hand, to permit his name to be used by the dissatisfied Whigs. Taylor was elected, the Free-Soilers, whose candidate was Martin Van Buren, having assured the defeat of the Democratic candidate, General Cass, in the state of New York. In the spring of 1849 a convention was to be elected in Kentucky to revise the state constitution, and Clay published a letter recommending gradual emancipation of the slaves. By a unanimous vote of the legislature assembled in December, 1848, Clay was again elected a U. S. Senator, and he took his seat in December, 1849.

By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, New Mexico and California, including Utah, had been acquired by the United States. The discovery of gold had attracted a large immigration to California. Without waiting for an enabling act, the inhabitants of California, in convention, had framed a constitution by which slavery was prohibited, and applied to Congress for admission as a state. The question of the admission of California as a free state, and the other question whether slavery should be admitted into or excluded from New Mexico and Utah, created the intensest excitement in Congress and among the people. Leading southern men threatened a dissolution of the Union unless slavery were admitted into the territories acquired from Mexico. On 29 January, 1850, Clay, who was at heart in favor of the Wilmot proviso, brought forward in the Senate a “comprehensive scheme of compromise,” which included (1) the speedy admission of California as a state; (2) the establishment of territorial governments in New Mexico and Utah without any restriction as to slavery; (3) a settlement of the boundary-line between Texas and New Mexico substantially as it now stands; (4) an indemnity to be paid to Texas for the relinquishment of her claims to a large portion of New Mexico; (5) a declaration that slavery should not be abolished in the District of Columbia; (6) the prohibition of the slave-trade in the district; and (7) a more effective fugitive-slave law. These propositions were, on 18 April, 1850, referred to a special committee, of which Clay was elected chairman. He reported three bills embodying these different subjects, one of which, on account of its comprehensiveness, was called the “omnibus bill.” After a long struggle, the omnibus bill was defeated; but then its different parts wore taken up singly, and passed, covering substantially Clay's original propositions. This was the compromise of 1850. In the debate Clay declared in the strongest terms his allegiance to the Union as superior to his allegiance to his state, and denounced secession as treason. The compromise of 1850 added greatly to his renown; but, although it was followed by a short period of quiet, it satisfied neither the south nor the north. To the north the fugitive-slave law was especially distasteful. In January, 1851, forty-four senators and Representatives, Clay's name leading, published a manifesto declaring that they would not support for any office any man not known to be opposed to any disturbance of the matters settled by the compromise. In February, 1851, a recaptured fugitive slave having been liberated in Boston, Clay pronounced himself in favor of conferring upon the president extraordinary powers for the enforcement of the fugitive-slave law, his main object being to satisfy the south, and thus to disarm the disunion spirit.

After the adjournment of Congress, on 4 March, 1851, his health being much impaired, he went to Cuba for relief, and thence to Ashland. He peremptorily enjoined his friends not to bring forward his name again as that of a candidate for the presidency. To a committee of Whigs in New York he addressed a public letter containing an urgent and eloquent plea for the maintenance of the Union. He went to Washington to take his seat in the Senate in December, 1851, but, owing to failing health, he appeared there only once during the winter. His last public utterance was a short speech addressed to Louis Kossuth, who visited him in his room, deprecating the entanglement of the United States in the complications of European affairs. He favored the nomination of Fillmore for the presidency by the Whig national Convention, which met on 16 June, a few days before his death. Clay was unquestionably one of the greatest orators that America ever produced; a man of incorruptible personal integrity; of very great natural ability, but little study; of free and convivial habits; of singularly winning address and manners; not a cautious and safe political leader, but a splendid party chief, idolized by his followers. He was actuated by a lofty national spirit, proud of his country, and ardently devoted to the Union. It was mainly his anxiety to keep the Union intact that inspired his disposition to compromise contested questions. He had in his last hours the satisfaction of seeing his last great work, the compromise of 1850, accepted as a final settlement of the slavery question by the national conventions of both political parties. But only two years after his death it became evident that the compromise had settled nothing. The struggle about slavery broke out anew, and brought forth a Civil War, the calamity that Clay had been most anxious to prevent, leading to general emancipation, which Clay would have been glad to see peaceably accomplished. He was buried in the cemetery at Lexington, Kentucky, and a monument consisting of a tall column surmounted by a statue was erected over his tomb. The accompanying illustrations show his birthplace and tomb. See “Life of Henry Clay,” by George D. Prentice (Hartford, Connecticut, 1831); “Speeches,” collected by R. Chambers (Cincinnati, 1842); “Life and Speeches of Henry Clay,” by J. B. Swaim (New York, 1843); “Life of Henry Clay,” by Epes Sargent (1844, edited and completed by Horace Greeley, 1852); “Life and Speeches of Henry Clay,” by D. Mallory (1844; new ed., 1857); “Life and Times of Henry Clay,” by Reverend Calvin Colton (6 vols., containing speeches and correspondence, 1846-’57; revised ed., 1864); and “Henry Clay,” by Carl Schurz (2 vols., Boston, 1887). — His brother, Porter, clergyman, born in Virginia in March, 1779; died in 1850. He moved to Kentucky in early life, where he studied law, and was for a while auditor of public accounts. In 1815 he was converted and gave himself to the Baptist ministry, in which he was popular and useful. — Henry's son, Henry, lawyer, born in Ashland, Kentucky, 10 April, 1811; killed in action at Buena Vista, Mexico, 23 February, 1847, was graduated at Transylvania University in 1828, and at the U.S. Military Academy in 1831. He resigned from the army and studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1833, and was a member of the Kentucky legislature in 1835-’7. He went to the Mexican War in June, 1846, as lieutenant-colonel of the 2d Kentucky Volunteers, became extra aide-de-camp to General Taylor, 5 October, 1846, and was killed with a lance while gallantly leading a charge of his regiment. — Another son, James Brown, born in Washington, D. C., 9 November, 1817; died in Montreal, Canada, 26 January, 1864, was educated at Transylvania University, was two years in a counting-house in Boston, 1835-’6, emigrated to St. Louis, Missouri, which then contained only 8,000 inhabitants, settled on a farm, then engaged in manufacturing for two years in Kentucky, and afterward studied law in the Lexington law-school, and practised in partnership with his father till 1849, when he was appointed chargé d'affaires at Lisbon by President Taylor. In 1851-’3 he resided in Missouri, but returned to Kentucky upon becoming the proprietor of Ashland, after his father's death. In 1857 he was elected to represent his father's old district in Congress. He was a member of the peace Convention of 1861, but afterward embraced the secessionist cause, and died in exile.  [Appleton’s 1900].

Clayton, John Middleton

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

CLAYTON, John Middleton, jurist, born in Dagsborough, Sussex County, Delaware, 24 July, 1796; died in Dover, Delaware, 9 November, 1856. He was the eldest son of James Clayton (a descendant of Joshua of that name, who came to America with William Penn) and Sarah Middleton, of Virginian ancestry. The pecuniary disasters consequent upon the war of 1812 reduced his father from affluence to comparative poverty, and it was only by making the greatest sacrifices that he was able to send his son to college. He was graduated at Yale in 1815, studied law at the Litchfield Law-School, began to practise in 1818, and soon attained eminence in is profession. In 1824 he was sent to the Delaware Legislature, and was Secretary of State. In 1829 he was sent to the U. S. Senate, and in 1831 appointed a member of the convention to revise the constitution of Delaware. In 1835 he was again returned to the Senate as a Whig, but resigned in 1837 to become Chief Justice of Delaware, an office which he held for three years. From 1845 till 1849 he was again U. S. Senator, and at the latter date became Secretary of State under President Taylor. He was elected a senator for the third time, and served in that capacity from March, 1851, until his death. He early distinguished himself in the Senate by a speech the debate on the Foote resolution, which, thou merely relating to the survey of the public lands, introduced into the discussion the whole question of nullification. His argument in favor of paying the claims for French spoliations was also a fine instance of senatorial oratory. One of his most noted speeches delivered in the Senate was that made in 1855 against the message of President Pierce vetoing the act ceding public lands for an insane asylum. While Secretary of State he negotiated in 1850 the treaty with the British government, known as the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, which guaranteed the neutrality and encouragement of lines of interoceanic travel across the American isthmus. In 1851 he zealously defended that treaty in the Senate and vindicated President Taylor's administration. From 1844 Mr. Clayton cultivated a tract of land near Newcastle, which in a few years he made one of the most fruitful estates in that fertile region. Mr. Clayton was always accessible, and was noted for his genial disposition and brilliant conversational powers. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1887, Vol. I, p. 646.

Colfax, Schuyler, 1823-1885, Vice President of the United States, statesman, newspaper editor. Active in Whig Party. Member of Congress, 1854-1869.  Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana.  Secretary of State.  Opposed slavery as a Republican Member of Congress. Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.  Strongly opposed the extension of slavery in the territories.  (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 687-688; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 297; Congressional Globe; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 5, p. 297)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

COLFAX, Schuyler,
statesman, born in New York City, 23 March, 1823; died in Mankato, Minnesota, 13 January, 1885. His grandfather was General William Colfax, who commanded the life-guards of Washington throughout the Revolutionary war. His father died a short time before the son's birth, and in 1834 his mother married George W. Matthews. After attending the public schools till he was ten years of age, and serving three years as clerk in his step-father's store, Schuyler went with the family to Indiana in 1836, and settled in New Carlisle, St. Joseph County, where Mr. Matthews soon became postmaster. The boy continued to serve as his clerk, and began a journal to aid himself in composition, contributing at the same time to the county paper. His step-father retired from business in 1839, and Colfax then began to study law, but afterward gave it up. In 1841 Mr. Matthews was elected county auditor, and moved to South Bend, making his step-son his deputy, which office Colfax held for eight years. In 1842 he was active in organizing a temperance society in South Bend, and continued a total abstainer throughout his life. At this time he reported the proceedings of the state senate for the Indianapolis “Journal” for two years. In 1844 he made campaign speeches for Henry Clay. He had acted as editor of the South Bend ”Free Press” for about a year when, in company with A. W. West, he bought the paper in September, 1845, and changed its name to the “St. Joseph Valley Register.” Under his management, despite numerous mishaps and business losses, the “Register” quadrupled its subscription in a few years, and became the most influential journal, in support of Whig politics, in that part of Indiana: Mr. Colfax was secretary of the Chicago Harbor and River Convention of July, 1847, and also of the Baltimore Whig Convention of 1848, which nominated Taylor for president. The next year he was elected a member of the convention to revise the constitution of the state of Indiana, and in his place, both by voice and vote, opposed the clause that prohibited free colored men from settling in that state. He was also offered a nomination for the state senate, but declined it. In 1851 he was a candidate for Congress, and came near being elected in a district that was strongly democratic. He accepted his opponent's challenge to a joint canvass, travelled a thousand miles, and spoke seventy times. He was again a delegate to the Whig National Convention in 1852, and, having joined the newly formed Democratic Party, was its successful candidate for Congress in 1854, serving by successive re-elections till 1869. In 1856 he supported Fremont for president, and during the canvass made a speech in Congress on the extension of slavery and .the aggressions of the slave-power. This speech was used as a campaign document, and more than half a million copies were circulated. He was chairman of several important committees of Congress, especially that on post-offices and post-roads, and introduced many reforms, including a bill providing for a daily overland mail-route from St. Louis to San Francisco, reaching mining-camps where letters had previously been delivered by express at five dollars an ounce. Mr. Colfax favored Edward Bates as the Republican candidate for the presidency in 1860. His name was widely mentioned for the office of postmaster - general in Lincoln's cabinet, but the president selected C. B. Smith, of Indiana, on the ground, as he afterward wrote Colfax, that the latter was “a young man running a brilliant career, and sure of a bright future in any event.” In the latter part of 1861 he ably defended Fremont in the house against the attack of Frank P. Blair. In 1862 he introduced a bill, which became a law, to punish fraudulent contractors as felons, and continued his efforts for reform in the postal service. He was elected speaker of the house on 7 December, 1863, and on 8 April, 1864, descended from the chair to move the expulsion of Mr. Long, of Ohio, who had made a speech favoring the recognition of the southern confederacy. The resolution was afterward changed to one of censure, and Mr. Colfax's action was widely commented on, but generally sustained by Union men. On 7 May, 1864, he was presented by citizens of Indiana then in Washington with a service of silver, largely on account of his course in this matter. He was twice re-elected as speaker, each time by an increased majority, and gained the applause of both friends and opponents by his skill as a presiding officer, often shown under very trying circumstances. In May, 1868, the Republican National Convention at Chicago nominated him on the first ballot for vice-president, General Grant being the nominee for president, and, the Republican ticket having been successful, he took his seat as President of the Senate on 4 March, 1869. On 4 August, 1871, President Grant offered him the place of Secretary of State for the remainder of his term, but he declined. In 1872 he was prominently mentioned as a presidential candidate, especially by those who, later in the year, were leaders in the liberal Republican movement, and, although he refused to join them, this was sufficient to make administration men oppose his renomination for the vice-presidency, and he was defeated in the Philadelphia Convention of 1872. In December, 1872; he was offered the chief editorship of the New York “Tribune,” but declined it. In 1873 Mr. Colfax was implicated in the charger of corruption brought against members of Congress who had received shares of stock in the credit mobilier of America. The house judiciary committee reported that there was no ground for his impeachment, as the alleged offence, if committed at all, had been committed before he became vice-president. These charges cast a shadow over the latter part of Mr. Colfax's life. He denied their truth, and his friends have always regarded his character as irreproachable. His later years were spent mostly in retirement in his home at South Bend, Indiana, and in delivering public lectures, which he did frequently before large audiences. His first success in this field had been in 1865 with a lecture entitled “Across the Continent,” written after his return from an excursion to California. The most popular of his later lectures was that on “Lincoln and Garfield.” Mr. Colfax was twice married. After his death, which was the result of heart disease, public honors were paid to his memory both in Congress and in Indiana. See “Life of Colfax” by O. J. Hollister (New York, 1886). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 687-688.

COLLAMER, Jacob, 1791-1865, lawyer, jurist. Whig Congressman, U.S. Senator from Vermont.  U.S. Senator, 1854-1865.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. I, p. 689; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 297; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

senator, born in Troy, New York, 8 January, 1791; died in Woodstock, Vermont, 9 November, 1865. In childhood he moved with his father to Burlington, and, earning his own support, was graduated at the University of Vermont in 1810, studied law at St. Albans, made the frontier campaign as a lieutenant of artillery in the militia, and was admitted to the bar at St. Albans in 1813. Until 1833 he practised law in Washington, Orange, and Windsor counties, Vermont, and in 1821-'2 and 1827-'8 represented the town of Royalton in the Assembly. In 1833 he was elected an associate justice of the supreme court of Vermont, and continued on the bench until 1842, when he declined a re-election. In 1843 he was chosen as a Whig to represent the 2d District in Congress, was re-elected in 1844 and 1846, but in 1848 declined to be again a candidate. In March, 1849, he was appointed Postmaster-General by President Taylor, but on the death of the president resigned with the rest of the cabinet. He was soon afterward again elected judge of the supreme court of Vermont, holding that office until 1854, when he was chosen U. S. Senator, which office he held at the time of his death. He served as chairman of the committee on post-offices and post-roads, and was also chairman of that on the library. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 689. 

Cooper, James

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

COOPER, James, senator, born in Frederick county, Maryland, 8 Mav, 1810; died in Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio," 28 March, 1863. He studied at St. Mary's College, and was graduated at Washington College. Pennsylvania, in 1832, after which he studied law with Thaddeus Stevens. In 1834 he was admitted to the bar, and began to practice in Gettysburg. Pennsylvania He was elected to Congress as a Whig, and served for two terms, from 2 December, 1839, till 3 March, 1843. He was a member of the state legislature during the years 1843, 1844, 1846, and 1848, and its speaker in 1847. In 1848 he was made attorney-general of Pennsylvania, and he was elected to the U. S. Senate as a Whig, holding office from 3 December, 1849, till 3 March, 1855. On the expiration of his term he settled in Philadelphia, and later in Frederick City, Maryland. Soon after the beginning of the Civil War he took command of all the volunteers in Maryland, and organized them into regiments. On 17 May, 1861, He was made brigadier-general in the volunteer service, his appointment being among the first that were made during the war. Later he was placed in command of Camp Chase, where he served until his death. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 724.

Corwin, Thomas, 1794-1865, Lebanon, Ohio, attorney, statesman, diplomat, opposed slavery, U.S. Congressman, Governor of Ohio, U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Treasury.  Director of the American Colonization Society, 1833-1834.  (Mitchell, 2007, p. 33, 35, 160, 172, 173, 266n; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 403; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 751; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 457; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 5, p. 549; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 138, 207)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

CORWIN, Thomas, statesman, born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, 29 July, 1794; died in Washington, D. C., 18 December, 1865. In 1798 his father, Matthias, moved to what is now Lebanon, Ohio, and for many years represented his district in the legislature. The son worked on the home farm till he was about twenty years old, and enjoyed very slender educational advantages, but began the study of law in 1815, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1818. His ability and eloquence as an advocate soon gained him an extensive practice. He was first chosen to the legislature of Ohio in 1822, serving seven years, and was chosen to Congress in 1830, from the Miami District as a Whig, of which party he was an enthusiastic member. His wit and eloquence made him a prominent member of the House of Representatives, to which he was re-elected by the strong Whig constituency that he represented for each successive term till 1840, when he resigned to become the Whig candidate for governor of Ohio, and canvassed the state with General Harrison, addressing large gatherings in most of the counties. He was unsurpassed as an orator on the political platform or before a jury. At the election he was chosen by 16,000 majority, General Harrison receiving over 23,000 in the presidential election that soon followed. Two years later, Governor Corwin was defeated for governor by Wilson Shannon, whom he had so heavily beaten in 1840. In 1844 the Whigs again carried the state, giving its electoral vote to Mr. Clay, and sending Mr. Corwin to the U. S. Senate, where he made in 1847 a notable speech against the war in Mexico. He served in the Senate until Mr. Fillmore's accession to the presidency in July, 1850, when he was called to the head of the treasury. After the expiration of Mr. Fillmore's term he returned to private life and the practice of law at Lebanon, Ohio. In 1858 he was returned once more a representative in Congress by an overwhelming majority, and was re-elected with but slight opposition in 1860. On Mr. Lincoln's accession to the presidency he was appointed minister to Mexico, where he remained until the arrival of Maximilian, when he came home on leave of absence, and did not return, remaining in Washington and practicing law, but taking a warm interest in public affairs, and earnestly co-operating in every effort to restore peace. His style of oratory was captivating, and his genial and kindly nature made him a universal favorite. His intemperate speech against the Mexican War hindered his further political advancement. He was a faithful public servant, led a busy life, lived frugally, and, although he had been secretary of the U. S. treasury, failed to secure a competency for his family. See the “Life and Speeches” of Thomas Corwin, edited by Isaac Strohn (Dayton. 1859).—His brother, Moses B., born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, 5 January, 1790; died in Urbana, Ohio, 7 April, 1872, received a common-school education, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1812, and practised at Urbana. He was a member of the legislature in 1838-'9, and was elected as a Whig to Congress in 1848, against his son, John A., who was nominated as a Democrat. He was again elected in 1854.  Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I. pp. 751.

Covode, John, 1808-1871, abolitionist.  U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania, serving 1855-1863, representing the 35th District and the Republican Party.  (Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 756; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 2, Pt. 2, p. 470)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

COVODE, John, Congressman, born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, 17 March, 1808; died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 11 January, 1871. He was of Dutch descent, spent his early years on a farm, and, after serving a short apprenticeship to a blacksmith, engaged in the coal trade. He afterward became a large woollen manufacturer, and a stockholder and director in several railroad lines. After two terms in the legislature, he was elected to Congress as an anti-masonic Whig in 1854, and re-elected as a Republican in 1856, serving four terms, from 1855 till 1863. In his second term he made a national reputation by his vigor and penetration as chairman of the special committee appointed to investigate charges against President Buchanan. His report, published by order of Congress (Washington, 1860), attracted much attention. He earnestly supported President Lincoln's administration, being an active member of the joint committee on the conduct of the war. President Johnson sent Mr. Covode south to aid in the reconstruction of the disaffected states; but he did not see matters as the president desired, and was recalled. Mr. Covode was again elected to Congress in 1868, his seat being unsuccessfully contested by his opponent, and was active in opposing the president. He was chairman of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania in 1869, and declined a renomination to Congress in 1870. He was recognized in his state as a strong political power. His unthinking impetuosity made him many bitter enemies, but his honesty and geniality won him innumerable friends. He was known as “Honest John Covode.” Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, p. 756.

Cowen, Benjamin S.

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

COWEN, Benjamin S., physician, born in Washington County, New York, in 1793; died in St. Clairsville, Ohio, 27 September, 1869. He was educated in his native place and studied medicine. In 1820 he moved to Moorefield, Harrison County, Ohio, subsequently studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1829. He moved to St. Clairsville in 1832, and after a time edited the Belmont " Chronicle," of which he was proprietor and principal editor until 1852, when he relinquished it to his son, now Brigadier General B. R. Cowen. In 1839 he was a delegate to the convention that nominated General Harrison for president, and in 1840 was elected to Congress by the Whigs, where he succeeded Joshua R. Biddings as Chairman of the Committee on Claims. He took strong ground in favor of the tariff of 1842, and throughout his Congressional career was looked upon as a consistent anti-slavery man. During 1845-6 he was a member of the Ohio legislature, and from 1847 till 1852 was presiding judge of the court of common pleas. At the beginning of the war he was active in raising men and money, and during its continuance his efforts to aid the government never relaxed. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. I, pp. 757.

Foot, Solomon, 1802-1866, lawyer, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator.  Opposed war with Mexico.  Opposed slavery and its extension into new territories.  Founding member of the Republican Party.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Congressional Globe; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 495; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 3, Pt. 2, p. 498)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

FOOT, Solomon, senator, born in Cornwall, Addison County, Vermont., 19 November, 1802; died in Washington. D. C, 28 March, 1866. He was graduated at Middlebury in 1820, was principal of Castleton, Vermont, seminary in 1826-'8, tutor in Vermont University in 1827,'and in 1828-31 held the chair of natural philosophy in the Vermont Academy of Medicine, Castleton. He was admitted to the bar in the latter year, and began practice in Rutland, where he lived until his death. He was a member of the legislature in 1833, 1830-'8, and 1847, speaker of the house in 1837-'8 and 1847, delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1830, and state attorney for Rutland in 1830-42. He was then elected to Congress as a Whig, and served from 1843 till 1847. He was an unsuccessful candidate for clerk of the house in 1849.  He was then chosen U. S. Senator from Vermont, and served from 1851 till his death, becoming a Republican in 1854. He was chairman of important committees, and was president pro tempore of the Senate during a part of the 30th Congress and the whole of the 37th. Senator Foot was prominent in debate, and took an active part in the discussions on the admission of Kansas to the Union in 1858. He was chosen president of the Brunswick and Florida Railroad Company about 1854, and visited England to negotiate the bonds of the company.  Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 495.

Foster, Lafayette Sabine, 1806-1880, statesman, Connecticut State Representative, Mayor of Norwich, Connecticut, U.S. Senator 1854-1867, Republican Party, opposed to slavery.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 512-513; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 3, Pt. 2, p. 553; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

FOSTER, Lafayette Sabine, statesman, born in Franklin, Connecticut, 22 November, 1806: died in Norwich, Connecticut, 19 September, 1880. His father, Captain Daniel, was an officer of the Revolution, who was descended on his mother's side from Miles Standish, and served with distinction at the battles of White Plains, Stillwater, and Saratoga. The son earned the means for his education by teaching, was graduated with the first honors at Brown in 1828, studied law, and was admitted to the Bar at Centreville, Maryland, while conducting an academy there in 1830. He returned to Connecticut, completed his legal studies in the office of Calvin Goddard, who had been his first preceptor, was admitted to the Connecticut Bar in November, 1831, and opened an office in Hampton in 1833, but in 1834 settled at Norwich. He took an active interest in politics from the outset of his professional life, was the editor of the Norwich " Republican," a Whig journal, in 1835, and in 1839 and 1840 was elected to the legislature. He was again elected in 1846 and the two succeeding years, and was chosen speaker. In 1851 he received the degree of LL. D. from Brown University. In 1851-'2 he was mayor of Norwich. He was twice defeated as the Whig candidate for governor, and in 1854 was again sent to the assembly, chosen speaker, and elected to the U. S. Senate on 19 May, 1854, by the votes of the Whigs and Free- Soilers. Though opposed by conviction to slavery, he resisted the efforts to form a Free-Soil Party until the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. He delivered a notable speech in the Senate on 25 June, 1850, against the repeal of the Missouri compromise, and opposed the Lecompton Constitution for Kansas in 1858. He was a member of the Republican Party from its organization in 1856, and in 1860 was again elected to the Senate. In December, 1860, he spoke in approval of the Powell resolution to inquire into the distracted state of the country, though he was one of the few who at that time believed that the southern leaders would force a disruption of the Union, and was in favor of resisting the extension of slavery beyond the limits recognized in the constitution, even at the cost of Civil War. Mr. Foster was intimately connected with the administration, and was often a spokesman of Mr. Lincoln's views. On 11 March, 1861, he moved the expulsion of Senator Lewis T. Wigfall, of Texas. In 1863 he advocated an appropriation for the gradual manumission of slaves in Missouri. In 1864, on the question of the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, he spoke in favor of preserving the earlier law of 1793, and thereby incurred the reproaches of the radical members of his party. He also opposed the bill granting the voting franchise to colored citizens of the District of Columbia without an educational qualification. He served on the committees on Indian affairs and land claims, and was chairman of the committee on pensions, and during the Civil War of that on foreign relations. In 1865 he was chosen president of the Senate pro tempore. After Andrew Johnson became president, Mr. Foster was acting vice-president of the United States. During the subsequent recess he travelled on the plains as member of a special commission to investigate the  condition of the Indians. His senatorial term of office expired in March, 1867, and he was succeeded by Benjamin F. Wade in the office of vice-president. On account of his moderate and conservative course in the Senate his re-election was opposed by a majority of the Republicans in the Connecticut Legislature, and he withdrew his name, though he was urged to stand as an independent candidate, and was assured of the support of the Democrats. He declined the professorship of law at Yale in 1869, but after his retirement from the bench in 1876 delivered a course of lectures on "Parliamentary Law and Methods of Legislation." In 1870 he again represented the town of Norwich in the assembly, and was chosen speaker. He resigned in June of that year in order to take his seat on the bench of the supreme court, having been elected by a nearly unanimous vote of both branches of the legislature. His most noteworthy opinion was that in the case of Kirtland against Hotchkiss, in which he differed from the decision of the majority of the court (afterward confirmed by the U. S. Supreme Court) in holding that railroad bonds could not be taxed by the state of Connecticut when the property mortgaged was situated in Illinois. In 1872 he joined the liberal Republicans and supported Horace Greeley as a candidate for the presidency. In 1874 he was defeated as a Democratic candidate for Congress. He was a judge of the Connecticut superior court from 1870 till 1876, when he was retired, having reached the age of seventy years, and resumed the practice of law. In 1878-'9 he was a commissioner from Connecticut to settle the disputed boundary question with New York, and afterward one of the three commissioners to negotiate with the New York authorities for the purchase of Fisher's Island. He was also a member of the commission appointed in 1878 to devise simpler rules and forms of legal procedure for the state courts. By his will he endowed a professorship of English law at Yale, bequeathed his library to the town of Norwich, and gave his home for the free academy there. See "Memorial Sketch" (printed privately. Boston, 1881).  Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 512-513.

Fowler, Orin, 1791-1852, Lebanon, Connecticut, clergyman.  Free-Soil U.S. Congressman, temperance activist, strong opponent of slavery.  (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 517; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 3, Pt. 2, p. 565)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

FOWLER, Orin, clergyman, born in Lebanon, Connecticut, 29 July, 1791; died in Washington, D. C., 3 September, 1852. He was graduated at Yale in 1815, studied theology under President Dwight, taught in the academy in Fairfield, Connecticut, for a year, was licensed to preach on 14 October, 1817, made a missionary tour in the Mississippi valley in 1818, and in 1819 was settled over a Congregational Church in Plainfield, Connecticut. He was dismissed by this society in 1831, but was immediately called to a church in Fall River, of which he remained pastor until he entered Congress. In 1841 he delivered three discourses containing a history of Fall River since 1620, and an account of the boundary dispute between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He was appointed by a committee of citizens to defend the interests of the town before the boundary commissioners, published a series of articles on the subject in the Boston “Atlas,” and was elected in 1847 to the state senate, where he secured the rejection of the decision of the boundary commission by a unanimous vote. His constituents were so pleased with his ability as a legislator that they elected him in 1848 as a Free-Soil Whig to the National House of Representatives, and re-elected him for the following term. He was an advocate of temperance laws, and a strong opponent of slavery. In March, 1850, he replied to Daniel Webster's speech in justification of the Fugitive-Slave Law. He was the author of a “Disquisition on the Evils attending the Use of Tobacco” (1833), and “Lectures on the Mode and Subjects of Baptism” (1835). His “History of Fall River, with notices of Freeborn and Tiverton,” was republished in 1862 (Fall River). Appletons’ Cycolpædia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 517.

Frelinghuysen, Theodore, 1787-1862, Franklin, Somerset County, Newark, New Jersey, attorney, jurist, statesman, opposed slavery.  U.S. Senator, 1829-1836.  Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.  Chancellor of the University of New York.  Whig Vice Presidential candidate.  American Colonization Society, Vice-President, 1833-1841.  Member of the board of the African Education Society.  (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 543-544; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 16; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 16, 86, 128, 189-190, 207, 225, 228)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

FRELINGHUYSEN, Theodore, lawyer, born in Franklin, Somerset County, New Jersey, 28 March 1787; died in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 12 April 1861, was sent at the age of eleven to the grammar school connected with Queen's College (now Rutgers), where he remained two years, but, on the resignation of the rector of the school, returned to his home at Millstone. Having no great disposition to apply himself to study, he persuaded his father to give him the privilege of remaining at home and becoming a farmer. But consent to this plan had been only partially obtained when his father was called away on public business. His stepmother, a wise and estimable woman, believing that this arrangement would not be a judicious one, packed young Theodore's trunk and sent him to the classical academy recently established at Baskingridge, New Jersey, by the Reverend Dr. Robert Findley. Here he completed his preparatory studies, and in 1802 was admitted to the junior class of the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, from which he was graduated with high honors in 1804. In the meantime, his father having died, his elder brother, John a lawyer, had taken charge of the homestead at Millstone. In the office of this brother he began the study of law, and, after being admitted to the bar, moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he married, and entered upon the practice of his profession, in which he soon attained eminence. In 1817 he was appointed attorney general by a legislature whose majority was opposed to him in politics. Twice afterward he was reappointed on the expiration of his term of office, and finally resigned it in 1829, having been elected a senator of the United States. Prior to this, however, he had declined the office of justice of the Supreme Court tendered to him in 1826. The first important matter on which he addressed the Senate was the bill for the removal of the Indians beyond the Mississippi River. This speech availed nothing, however, except to bring its author prominently before the nation, and to give to him the title of the “Christian statesman.” He also took an active part in the discussion of the pension bill, the president's protest, the removal of the deposits from the U. S. bank, the compromise, and the tariff. His senatorial term expired in 1835 when he resumed his professional labors in Newark. In 1836 Newark was incorporated as a City. In the following year Mr. Frelinghuysen was elected its mayor, and in 1838 he was re-elected to the same position. In 1839 he was unanimously chosen chancellor of the University of New York, and while in the occupancy of this office was, in May 1844, nominated by the Whig National Convention at Baltimore for the vice-presidency of the United States on the same ticket with Henry Clay. He continued in the discharge of his duties as chancellor of the University until 1850, when he accepted the presidency of Rutgers College, and in the same year was formally inducted into that office, continuing in it until the day of his death. Mr. Frelinghuysen was an earnest advocate of the claims of organized Christian benevolence, and it is said of him that no American layman was ever associated with so many great national organizations of religion and charity. He was president of no less than three of these during some period of their existence, while his name may be found on the lists of officers of all the rest with scarcely an exception. For sixteen years he was president of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions. From April, 1846, till his death he was president of the American Bible Society; from 1842 till 1848, of the American tract Society; from 1826 till near the close of his life, vice president of the American Sunday School union; and for many years vice president of the American colonization Society. In the work of all these institutions he took an active part. His remains were buried in the grounds of the 1st Reformed Dutch Church in New Brunswick, N.J. See a memoir of him by Reverend Talbot W. Chambers, D.D. (1863). [General Frederick Frelinghuysen’s second son; Appleton’s, 1900].

French, Robert, 1802-1882, politician, abolitionist, Temperance activist.  Mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Massachusetts State Senator.  Co-founder and President of the New Bedford Young Man’s Anti-Slavery Society.  Member of the Whig and Free Soil parties.  Opposed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and successfully passed legislation to oppose it in New Bedford.

Return to Top of Page


(Blue, 2005, pp. 9, 52, 52n33, 53, 196, 198, 204; Drake, 1950, p. 137; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 20, 22, 32-34, 37, 40-41, 43, 47-49, 54, 61, 67, 72, 136; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 513-514; Wilson, 1872, pp. 123-128; Braver, Kinney J. Cotton versus Conscience: Massachusetts Whig Politics and Southwestern Expansion, 1843-1848. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1967; Formisano, Ronald P. The Transformation of Political Culture: Massachusetts Parties 1790’s-1840’s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983; O’Connor, Thomas. Lords of the Loom: The Cotton Whigs and the Coming of the Civil War. New York: Scribner’s, 1968)