1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Olney, Richard

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OLNEY, RICHARD (1835–), American statesman, was born at Oxford, Massachusetts, on the 15th of September 1835. He graduated from Brown University in 1856, and from the Law School of Harvard University in 1858. In 1859 he began the practice of law at Boston, Massachusetts, and attained a high position at the bar. He served in the state house of representatives in 1874, and in March 1893 became attorney-general of the United States in the cabinet of President Cleveland. In this position, during the strike of the railway employés in Chicago in 1894, he instructed the district attorneys to secure from the Federal Courts writs of injunction restraining the strikers from acts of violence, and thus set a precedent for “government by injunction.” He also advised the use of Federal troops to quell the disturbances in the city, on the ground that the government must prevent interference with its mails and with the general railway transportation between the states. Upon the death of Secretary W. Q. Gresham (1832–1895), Olney succeeded him as secretary of state on the 10th of June 1895. He became specially prominent in the controversy with Great Britain concerning the boundary dispute between the British and Venezuelan governments (see Venezuela), and in his correspondence with Lord Salisbury gave an extended interpretation to the Monroe Doctrine which went considerably beyond previous statements on the subject. In 1897, at the expiration of President Cleveland’s term, he returned to the practice of the law.