The New International Encyclopædia/Burlingame, Anson
BUR′LINGAME, Anson (1820-70). An American politician and diplomatist. He was born at New Berlin, N. Y., but removed with his father to Ohio in 1823 and to Michigan ten years later. He graduated at the University of Michigan in 1841, and at the Harvard Law School in 1846, and subsequently practiced law in Boston. In 1852 he became a member of the State Senate, and in the following year was sent to the State Constitutional Convention. He was an enthusiastic worker in the Free-Soil Party, especially in the Presidential campaign of 1848; and in 1854 joined the American Party, and became one of its representatives in the Thirty-fourth Congress. His denunciation of Brooks's assault upon Senator Sumner provoked a challenge from Brooks, which he at once accepted, naming rifles as the weapons. Brooks did not fight. Burlingame was a Congressman until 1861, and in that year was sent as Minister to Austria, where the feeling against him, because he had favored Hungarian independence, led to a positive refusal to receive him as a diplomatic representative. He was then sent to China, where he remained as Minister until 1867, when, having completely gained the confidence of the Chinese Government, he was appointed special Chinese envoy to the United States and various European Powers. In 1868 he negotiated with the United States Government the “Burlingame Treaty,” notable as marking the first acceptance by China of the principles of international law, and as granting important reciprocal privileges to the two Powers. Subsequently he negotiated important treaties with Denmark, Sweden, Holland, and Prussia, and in 1870 he died in Saint Petersburg while arranging the terms of a treaty with Russia.