Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Anthony, Henry Bowen

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ANTHONY, Henry Bowen, statesman, b. of Quaker parents, in Coventry, R. I., 1 April, 1815; d. in Providence, 2 Sept., 1884. He was descended in a direct line from John Anthony, who came from England about 1640 and settled on the island of Rhode Island. He was graduated at Brown university in 1833, and devoted himself to literary pursuits. He became editor of the Providence “Journal” in 1838, and in 1840 was admitted into partnership, the paper being published under the name of Knowles, Vose & Anthony till the death of Mr. Vose in 1848, when it was continued under the name of Knowles & Anthony till 1 Jan., 1863, when it became Knowles, Anthony & Danielson. Mr. Anthony gave himself up to his newspaper with all the energy and enthusiasm of his nature. No amount of work staggered him; early and late he was in his office, and for many years he had around him a brilliant circle of young men. He early developed poetical taste, and there are several pieces of merit that bear his name. His mind was quick and accurate, and he had a wonderful memory; and his editorial labors contributed largely to the growth of the art of journalism in New England. He had many offers to go to other cities and take charge of newspapers, but declined them all. In 1837 he married Sally Rhodes (daughter of the late Christopher Rhodes, of Pawtuxet), who died in 1854. In 1849, and again in 1850, he was elected governor of Rhode Island. As a whig at the first election he had a majority of 1,556; at the second, fewer than 1,000 votes were cast against him. He declined a third election, and gave himself once more entirely to his editorial work. This continued till 1859, when he was elected, as a republican, to the U. S. senate, where he remained by reëlections till his death. During his service in the senate he still contributed largely to his paper. Three times he was elected president pro tem. of the senate — in March, 1863, in March, 1871, and in January, 1884; but the last time his failing health prevented him from accepting. He was exceedingly popular in Washington, and often spoken of as “the handsome senator.” He served on many important committees, and was twice the chairman of the committee on printing, his practical knowledge of that subject enabling him to introduce many reforms in the government printing. He was at different times a member of the committees on claims, on naval affairs, on mines and mining, and on post-offices and post-roads. On the trial of President Johnson he voted for impeachment. He was not a frequent or brilliant speaker in the senate, but always talked to the point, and commanded attention. He shone more as a writer than as a speaker. His memorial and historical addresses were models of composition. A volume of these addresses, printed privately in 1875, contains a tribute to Stephen A. Douglas, delivered 9 July, 1861; one to John R. Thompson, 4 Dec., 1862; one to William P. Fessenden, 14 Dec., 1869; and three different addresses on Charles Sumner — the first on the announcement of his death in the senate; the second when Mr. Anthony, as one of the committee appointed by the senate, gave up the body of Mr. Sumner to the governor of Massachusetts; and the third when Mr. Boutwell presented in the senate resolutions of respect for Mr. Sumner's memory. Mr. Anthony also spoke in the senate on the death of William A. Buckingham, and on 21 Jan., 1876, delivered a short address on the death of Henry Wilson, vice-president of the United States. When the statues of Gen. Greene and Roger Williams were presented to congress by the state of Rhode Island, Mr. Anthony made the addresses, and he also made a short address at the presentation of the statues of Trumbull and Sherman. One of his best efforts was when he introduced the bill providing for repairing and protecting the monument erected in Newport, R. I., to the memory of the chevalier de Tiernay, commander of the French naval forces sent out in 1780 to aid the American revolution. Mr. Anthony had a warm and affectionate nature, genial manner, a commanding figure, and was a perfect specimen of a man. In his last days, with manly courage, he calmly waited for the end. As soon as his death was known, Gov. Bourn and Mayor Doyle issued proclamations to that effect, and called upon the people to attend the funeral, which took place from the first Congregational church in Providence on Saturday, 6 Sept. It was the largest funeral ever known in Rhode Island. Mr. Anthony bequeathed a portion of his library, known as the “Harris Collection of American Poetry,” to Brown university. It consists of about 6,000 volumes, mostly small books, and many of them exceedingly rare. It was begun half a century ago by the late Albert G. Greene, continued by Caleb Fiske Harris, and, after his death, completed by his kinsman, the late senator. The Rev. Dr. J. C. Stockbridge, a member of the board of trustees of the university, is preparing an annotated catalogue of the collection.