Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Whiting, Samuel

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WHITING, Samuel, clergyman, b. in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, 20 Nov., 1597; d. in Lynn., Mass., 11 Dec., 1679. His father, John, was mayor of his native city. The son was graduated at Cambridge in 1616, entered the ministry, and officiated at Lynn, in Norfolk, and in Skirbeck, near his native place, but, after two prosecutions for nonconformity, he emigrated to this country, where he was the first minister of Lynn, Mass., serving from 8 Nov., 1636, till his death. He was a close student and an accomplished Hebrew and Latin scholar. “In his preaching,” says Cotton Mather, “his design was not to please but to profit; to bring forth, not high things, but fit things.” He published “Oratio quam Comitiis Cantab. Americanis” (1649); “Treatise on the Last Judgment” (1664); and a volume of sermons on “Abraham Interceding for Sodom” (1666). His second wife was the daughter of Oliver St. John, chief justice of England under Cromwell, and their son, Samuel (1633-1713), was graduated at Harvard in 1653 and became the first minister of Billerica, Mass. An “Elegy on the Rev. Samuel Whiting, of Lynn,” by Benjamin Tompson, “ye renowned poet of New England,” is printed in Cotton Mather's “Magnalia.” See also “Memoirs of Rev. Samuel Whiting and of his Wife, Elizabeth St. John, with Reference to some of their English Ancestors and American Descendants,” by William Whiting, LL. D. (printed privately, Boston, 1871). — His descendant, William, lawyer, b. in Concord, Mass., 3 March, 1813; d. in Boston, Mass., 29 June, 1873, was graduated at Harvard in 1833, and, after teaching at Plymouth and Concord, studied law in Boston and at Harvard law-school, where he was graduated in 1838. He then began practice in Boston, where he soon attained eminence at the bar, and was engaged in many important cases. In 1862 he became solicitor of the war department in Washington, where he served three years. In 1868 he was a presidential elector, and in 1872 he was elected to congress as a Republican, but he died before he could take his seat. Colby university gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1872. He left $5,000 to Harvard for a scholarship. Mr. Whiting was for five years president of the New England historic-genealogical society. His principal work is “The War Powers of the President and the Legislative Powers of Congress in Relation to Rebellion, Treason, and Slavery” (Boston, 1862; 10th ed., with large additions, 1863; 43d ed., 1871). In this he formulated views that he had urged at the opening of the civil war, namely, that the U. S. government had full belligerent rights against the inhabitants of seceded states, and without going beyond the constitution could confiscate their property, emancipate their slaves, and treat them as public enemies. These opinions were at first received with caution by most public men, but they were finally sanctioned and adopted by the government. The book had a large sale in this country and abroad. Besides this, he published various pamphlets, chiefly legal arguments before the U. S. courts, and a “Memoir of Rev. Joseph Harrington,” prefixed to a volume of his sermons (Boston, 1854), and was the author of the privately printed memoir of his ancestor, Samuel, mentioned above.