Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Hale, John Parker

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HALE, John Parker, senator, b. in Rochester, N. H., 31 March, 1806; d. in Dover, N. H., 19 Nov., 1873. He studied at Phillips Exeter academy, and was graduated at Bowdoin in 1827. He began his law studies in Rochester with Jeremiah H. Woodman, and continued them with Daniel M. Christie in Dover, where he was admitted to the bar, 20 Aug., 1830. In March, 1832, he was elected to the state house of representatives as a Democrat. On 22 March, 1834, he was appointed U. S. district attorney by President Jackson, was reappointed by President Van Buren, 5 April, 1838, and was removed, 17 June, 1841, by President Tyler on party grounds. On 8 March, 1842, he was elected to congress, and took his seat, 4 Dec., 1843. He opposed the 21st rule suppressing anti-slavery petitions, but supported Polk and Dallas in the presidential canvass of 1844, and was nominated for re-election on a general ticket with three associates. The New Hampshire legislature, 28 Dec., 1844, passed resolutions instructing their representatives to vote for the annexation of Texas, and President Polk, in his message of that year, advocated annexation. On 7 Jan., 1845, Mr. Hale wrote his noted Texas letter, refusing to support annexation. The State convention of his party was reassembled at Concord, 12 Feb., 1845, and under the lead of Franklin Pierce struck Mr. Hale's name from the ticket, and substituted that of John Woodbury. Mr. Hale was supported as an independent candidate. On 11 March, 1845, three Democratic members were elected, but there was no choice of a fourth. Subsequent trials, with the same result, took place 23 Sept. and 29 Nov., 1845, and 10 March, 1846. During the repeated contests, Mr. Hale thoroughly canvassed the state. At his North Church meeting in Concord, 5 June, 1845. Mr. Pierce was called out to reply, and the debate is memorable in the political history of New Hampshire. At the election of 10 March, 1846, the Whigs and Independent Democrats also defeated a choice for governor, and elected a majority of the state legislature. On 3 June, 1846, Mr. Hale was elected speaker; on 5 June, the Whig candidate, Anthony Colby, was elected governor; and on 9 June. Mr. Hale was elected U. S. senator for the term to begin 4 March, 1847. In a letter from John G. Whittier, dated Andover, Mass., 3d mo., 18th, 1846, he says of Mr. Hale: “He has succeeded, and his success has broken the spell which has hitherto held reluctant Democracy in the embraces of slavery. The tide of anti-slavery feeling, long held back by the dams and dykes of party, has at last broken over all barriers, and is washing down from your northern mountains upon the slave-cursed south, as if Niagara stretched its foam and thunder along the whole length of Mason and Dixon's line. Let the first wave of that northern flood, as it dashes against the walls of the capitol, bear thither for the first time an anti-slavery senator.” On 20 Oct., 1847, he was nominated for president by a National liberty convention at Buffalo, with Leicester King, of Ohio, for vice-president, but declined, and supported Mr. Van Buren, who was nominated at the Buffalo convention of 9 Aug., 1848. On 6 Dec., 1847, he took his seat in the senate with thirty-two Democrats and twenty-one Whigs, and remained the only distinctively anti-slavery senator until joined by Salmon P. Chase, 3 Dec., 1849, and by Charles Sumner, 1 Dec., 1851. Mr. Hale began the agitation of the slavery question almost immediately upon his entrance into the senate, and continued it in frequent speeches during his sixteen years of service in that body. He was an orator of handsome person, clear voice, and winning manners, and his speeches were replete with humor and pathos. His success was due to his powers of natural oratory, which, being exerted against American chattel-slavery, seldom failed to arouse sympathetic sentiments in his audiences. Mr. Hale opposed flogging and the spirit-ration in the navy, and secured the abolition of the former by law of 28 Sept., 1850, and of the latter by law of 14 July, 1862. He served as counsel in 1851 in the important trials that arose out of the forcible rescue of the fugitive slave Shadrach from the custody of the U. S. marshal in Boston. In 1852 he was nominated at Pittsburg, Pa., by the Free-soil party for president, with George W. Julian as vice-president, and they received 157,685 votes. His first senatorial term ended, and he was succeeded by Charles G. Atherton, a Democrat, on 4 March, 1853, on which day Franklin Pierce was inaugurated president. The following winter Mr. Hale began practising law in New York city. But the repeal of the Missouri compromise measures again overthrew the Democrats of New Hampshire; they failed duly to elect U. S. senators in the legislature of June, 1854, and in March, 1855, they completely lost the state. On 13 June, 1855, James Bell, a Whig, was elected U. S. senator for six years from 3 March, 1855, and Mr. Hale was chosen for the four years of the unexpired term of Mr. Atherton, deceased. On 9 June, 1858, he was re-elected for a full term of six years, which ended on 4 March, 1865. On 10 March, 1865, he was commissioned minister to Spain, and went immediately to Madrid. Mr. Hale was recalled in due course, 5 April, 1869, took leave, 29 July, 1869, and returned home in the summer of 1870. Mr. Hale, without sufficient cause, attributed his recall to a quarrel between himself and Horatio J. Perry, his secretary of legation, in the course of which a charge had been made that Mr. Hale's privilege, as minister, of importing free of duty merchandize for his official or personal use, had been exceeded and some goods put upon the market and sold. Mr. Hale's answer was, that he had been misled by a commission-merchant, instigated by Mr. Perry. The latter was removed 28 June, 1869. Mr. Hale had been one of the victims of the “National hotel disease,” and his physical and mental faculties were much impaired for several years before his death. Immediately upon his arrival home he was prostrated by paralysis, and shortly afterward received a fracture of one of the small bones of the leg when thrown down by a runaway horse. In the summer of 1873 his condition was further aggravated by a fall that dislocated his hip.