Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Bayard, James Asheton (Jr.)

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BAYARD, James Asheton, statesman, b. in Wilmington, Del., 15 Nov., 1799; d. there, 13 June, 1880. He was a son of the preceding, and the younger brother of Richard Henry Bayard. He received a classical education, studied law, and practised in Wilmington, taking a high rank in his profession. During the administration of President Van Buren was U. S. attorney for Delaware. In 1851 he was elected by the democrats a U. S. senator to succeed John Wales, a whig, and was re-elected in 1857, and again in 1862. In 1863, on taking his seat in the senate, when required to take the “iron-clad” oath, he resented it as an indignity and an invasion of the sovereign rights of the states; but, after uttering a protest against its constitutionality, he took the oath, and immediately resigned his seat. George R. Riddle, who was elected in his place, died soon afterward, and Mr. Bayard consented to serve through his own unexpired term, from 1 April, 1867, to 3 March, 1869. In 1869 his son, Thomas F. Bayard, succeeded him as senator from Delaware. After his retirement from public life he resided in Wilmington. Mr. Bayard was for a long time chairman of the committee on the judiciary in the senate. He was eminent as a constitutional lawyer, and was highly esteemed for his refined sense of public honor, which was manifested in a noted instance upon his receiving an offer of stock of the Credit Mobilier in 1868, in reply to which he wrote: “I take it for granted that the corporation has no application to make to congress on which I should be called upon to act officially, as I could not, consistently with my views of duty, vote upon a question in which I had a pecuniary interest.”