The New International Encyclopædia/Forney, John Weiss

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

FOR'NEY, John Weiss (1817-81). An American journalist and politician. He was born at Lancaster, Pa., and at the age of sixteen entered the printing-office of the Lancaster Journal. Four years later he purchased the Lancaster Intelligencer, and in 1840 he became proprietor of the Journal, and combined the two papers under the name of the Intelligencer and Journal. In 1845 his appointment by President Polk as deputy surveyor of the port of Philadelphia took him to that city, where he purchased a half interest in the Pennsylvanian, a Democratic paper of great influence, which under his editorial control attained a national importance. In 1851 he was chosen clerk of the United States House of Representatives, serving until 1855. During his service at Washington he edited the Union, the organ of the Northern Democrats. In 1855 he headed the Pennsylvania delegation to the National Convention at Cincinnati, and was largely instrumental in securing the nomination of Pennsylvania's candidate, Buchanan. In August, 1857, he established the Philadelphia Press. Though at first a Douglas Democrat, Forney became, in the latter days of the Buchanan Administration, a pronounced Republican, and contributed largely to the organization of that party and its early successes. Elected a second time clerk of the National House of Representatives in 1859, he removed to Washington, and began the publication of the Sunday Morning Chronicle, which in 1862 was changed to a daily, and was throughout the Civil War looked upon as the particular organ of the Lincoln Administration. After serving as secretary of the United States Senate from 1861 to 1868, he disposed of his interest in the Chronicle and returned to Philadelphia, where in 1871 he was made Collector of the Port by President Grant. He was an earnest promoter of the Centennial Exposition, and visited Europe in its interest in 1875. In 1877 he sold the Press and established a weekly, the Progress, which he edited until his death. In 1880 he left the Republican Party and supported Hancock for the Presidency. He published Letters from Europe (1860); What I Saw in Texas (1872); Anecdotes of Public Men (2 vols. 1873); Forty Years of American Journalism (1877); Life of Winfield Scott Hancock (1880); and The New Nobility (1882).