The New International Encyclopædia/Lawrence, Abbott
LAWRENCE, Abbott (1792-1855). An American merchant, legislator, and diplomat. He was born in Groton, Mass.; was educated in a district school, and at the Groton Academy (now the Lawrence Academy); removed to Boston in 1808, and there served an apprenticeship in the warehouse of his elder brother, Amos, with whom in 1814 he founded the famous firm of A. & A. Lawrence. Lawrence also took an active interest in several railroad enterprises; was president of the Essex Company, which in 1845 founded Lawrence, Mass. (named in his honor), and toward the latter part of his life was largely engaged in the China trade. From 1834 to 1837, and again from 1839 to 1840, when ill health forced him to resign, he was a member of Congress; and in 1842 he was one of the commissioners of Massachusetts, who coöperated with the commissioners of Maine, and with Daniel Webster, then Secretary of State, in negotiating the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (q.v.) concerning the northeast boundary of the United States, with England's representative, Lord Ashburton. He was United States Minister to England in President Taylor's Administration, in which capacity he rendered important services to the country, and became widely popular with the English people, though in 1852, wishing to devote his attention wholly to his business interests, he was recalled at his own request. He made many donations to charitable institutions, and in 1847 contributed $50,000 for the establishment of a scientific school at Harvard, which was named in his honor, and to which by will he subsequently contributed another $50,000. He left a like sum for the erection of model lodging-houses for the poor, the surplus income from which was to be forever applied to charitable purposes. Consult Hill, Memoir of Abbott Lawrence (Boston, 1883).