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JOHN PARKER HALE (1806–1873)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 833 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN PARKER HALE (1806–1873), American statesman, was born at Rochester, New Hampshire, on the 31st of March 18o6. He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1827, was admitted to the New Hampshire bar in 183o, was a member of the state House of Representatives in 1832, and from 1834 to 1841 was United States district attorney for New Hampshire. In 1843–1845 he was a Democratic member of the national House of Representatives, and, though his earnest co-operation with John Quincy Adams in securing the repeal of the " gag rule " directed against the presentation to Congress of anti-slavery petitions estranged him from the leaders of his party, he was renominated without opposition. In January 1845, however, he refused in a public statement to obey a resolution (28th of December 1844) of the state legislature directing him and his New Hampshire associates in Congress to support the cause of the annexation of Texas, a Democratic measure which Hale regarded as being distinctively in the interest of slavery. The Democratic State convention was at once reassembled, Hale was denounced, and his nomination withdrawn. In the election which followed Hale ran independently, and, although the Democratic candidates were elected in the other three congressional districts of the state, his vote was large enough to prevent any choice (for which a majority was necessary) in his own. Hale then set out in the face of apparently hopeless odds to win over his state to the anti-slavery cause. The remarkable canvass which he conducted is known in the history of New Hampshire as the " Hale Storm of 1845." The election resulted in the choice of a legislature controlled by the Whigs and the independent Democrats, he himself being chosen as a member of the state House of Representatives, of which in 1846 he was speaker. He is remembered, however, chiefly for his long service in the United States Senate, of which he was a member from 1847 to 1853 and again from 1855 to 1865. At first he was the only out-and-out anti-slavery senator,—he alone prevented the vote of thanks to General Taylor and General Scott for their Mexican war victories from being made unanimous in the Senate (February r848)—but in 1849 Salmon P. Chase and William H. Seward, and in 1851 Charles Sumner joined him, and the anti-slavery cause became for the first time a force to be reckoned with in that body. In October 1847 he had been nominated for president, by the Liberty party, but he withdrew in favour of Martin Van Buren, the Free Soil candidate, in 1848. In 1851 he was senior counsel for the rescuers of the slave Shadrach in Boston. In 1852 he was the Free Soil candidate for the presidency, but received only 156,149 votes. In 185o he secured the abolition of flogging in the U.S. navy, and through his efforts in 1862' the spirit ration in the navy was abolished. He was one of the organizers of the Republican party, and during the Civil War was an eloquent supporter of the Union and chairman of the Senate naval committee. From 1865 to 1869 he was United States minister to Spain. He died at Dover, New Hampshire, on the 19th of December 1873. A statue of Hale, presented by his son-in-law William Eaton Chandler (b. 1835), U.S. senator from New Hampshire in 1887-1901, was erected in front of the Capitol in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1892.
End of Article: JOHN PARKER HALE (1806–1873)
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