The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Kendall, Amos

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KENDALL, Amos, American journalist and statesman: b. Dunstable, Mass., 16 Aug. 1789; d. Washington, D. C., 11 Nov. 1869. He was graduated from Dartmouth in 1811, studied law at Groton, Mass., in 1811-14, was admitted to the bar at Frankfort, Ky., in 1814, was postmaster and editor of the Patriot at Georgetown, Ky., in 1815-16, and in 1816-29 coeditor and part owner of the Argus of Western America at Frankfort. In 1829 he was appointed fourth auditor of the United States treasury, and during the Jackson administration he was extremely influential. He aided in the formation of the President's anti-bank policy (see Jackson, Andrew), was a special treasury agent to conduct negotiations with State banks, and is thought to have written several of Jackson's state papers. Appointed Postmaster-General by Jackson in 1835, he was retained by Van Buren, but in 1840 resigned because of ill health. He cleared the Post-Office Department of debt, and introduced numerous reforms. He established Kendall's Expositor, bi-weekly, in 1841, and the Union Democrat, weekly, in 1842, but both journals shortly ceased publication. In 1845 he became associated with S. F. B. Morse (q.v.) in the ownership and management of the Morse electric telegraph patents, and by his able direction ensured their commercial success and a fortune for himself. He gave largely in Washington for philanthropic purposes. Though calling himself a Jackson Democrat, he strongly opposed secession. He wrote an incomplete ‘Life of Andrew Jackson, Private, Military, and Civil’ (1843); ‘Full Exposure of Dr. C. T. Jackson's Pretensions to the Invention of the Electromagnetic Telegraph’ (1867), and an ‘Autobiography’ (posthumously published, 1872).