The New International Encyclopædia/Hale, John Parker

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HALE, John Parker (1800-73). An American statesman and orator, born in Rochester, N. H. He studied at Phillips Exeter Academy, graduated at Bowdoin College in 1827, and three years later was admitted to the bar. His political career began in 1832, when, as a strong Jacksonian Democrat, he was elected to the New Hampshire State Legislature. In 1834 he was appointed by President Jackson United States District Attorney for New Hampshire, was reappointed by Van Buren in 1838, and served until removed by Tyler in 1841. His nomination and election to Congress in 1842 followed naturally. Once in Congress, however, he soon asserted his independence, and spoke and voted against the adoption of the ‘gag rule’ (q.v.), intended to put a stop to anti-slavery petitions. He still remained a stanch Democrat, however, supported Polk and Dallas in the campaign of 1844, and was renominated without opposition. Before the Congressional election, however, Texan annexation having been adopted by the Democratic Party as one of the main features of its programme, the New Hampshire Legislature, in December, 1844, passed resolutions instructing its Senators and Congressmen to favor that policy. Hale, however, came out with a public statement opposing annexation on anti-slavery grounds. The Democratic State Convention was thereupon hastily reassembled at Concord. Hale was branded as a traitor to the party, and his name was stricken from the ticket. In the subsequent election he ran as an independent candidate, and as neither he, the regular candidate, nor the Whig candidate obtained a majority of the votes cast, the district was unrepresented. In the face of an apparently invincible Democratic majority, he set out to win the State over to the anti-slavery cause, addressed meetings in every town and village in New Hampshire, carrying on a remarkable canvass known as the ‘Hale Storm of 1845,’ and was rewarded with seeing the State choose a Legislature in which the Whigs and Independent Democrats had a majority of the votes. He himself was elected to the Lower House, and was chosen Speaker, and in 1847 was elected to the United States Senate. True to his convictions, he alone refused to vote in favor of the resolution tendering the thanks of Congress to Scott and Taylor for their victories in the Mexican War. In 1849 he was joined in the Senate by Chase and Seward, and in 1851 by Sumner, as co-advocates of the anti-slavery cause. In 1848 he supported Van Buren for the Presidency. In 1851 he was counsel for the rescuers of the slave Shadrach in Boston. At the national convention of Free-Soil Democrats, held at Pittsburg in 1852, Hale was nominated for President, and George W. Julian, of Indiana, for Vice-President. The ticket polled 157,685 votes. At the expiration of his Senatorial term in 1853, Hale was succeeded by Charles G. Atherton; but after two years, which he spent in law practice in New York, the Legislature of New Hampshire having again an anti-slavery majority, he was elected to fill the vacancy caused by Senator Atherton's death. In 1858 he was reëlected, as a Republican, for a full term, and served until 1865, completing, in all, a service of sixteen years in the Senate. During the war he was a consistent supporter of President Lincoln's policy, and upon his retirement from the Senate he was appointed Minister to Spain, where he remained for four years.