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John P. Hale

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Title: John P. Hale  
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Subject: Aaron H. Cragin, United States presidential election, 1852, Daniel Clark (New Hampshire), Free Soil Party, United States congressional delegations from New Hampshire
Collection: 1806 Births, 1873 Deaths, 19Th-Century American Diplomats, Ambassadors of the United States to Spain, American Abolitionists, American People of English Descent, American People of Irish Descent, Bowdoin College Alumni, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Free Soil Party United States Senators, Members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from New Hampshire, New Hampshire Democrats, New Hampshire Free Soilers, New Hampshire Lawyers, New Hampshire Oppositionists, New Hampshire Republicans, People from Strafford County, New Hampshire, People of New Hampshire in the American Civil War, Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni, Republican Party United States Senators, Speakers of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, United States Attorneys for the District of New Hampshire, United States Presidential Candidates, 1848, United States Presidential Candidates, 1852, United States Senators from New Hampshire
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John P. Hale

John P. Hale
United States Senator
from New Hampshire
In office
March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1853
Preceded by Joseph Cilley
Succeeded by Charles G. Atherton
In office
July 30, 1855 – March 3, 1865
Preceded by Jared W. Williams
Succeeded by Aaron H. Cragin
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1845
Preceded by Ira Allen Eastman
Succeeded by District eliminated
United States Minister to Spain
In office
March 10, 1865 – July 29, 1869
Appointed by Abraham Lincoln
Preceded by Gustav Koerner
Succeeded by Daniel Sickles
Personal details
Born John Parker Hale
(1806-03-31)March 31, 1806
Rochester, New Hampshire
Died November 19, 1873(1873-11-19) (aged 67)
Dover, New Hampshire
Political party Democrat, Free Soil, Oppositionist, Republican
Spouse(s) Lucy Hill Lambert
Profession Politician, Lawyer

John Parker Hale (March 31, 1806 – November 19, 1873) was an American politician and lawyer from New Hampshire. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 to 1845 and in the United States Senate from 1847 to 1853 and again from 1855 to 1865. He was one of the first senators to make a stand against slavery. Hale was a leading member of the Free Soil Party and was its presidential nominee in 1852.


  • Early years 1
  • Career in politics 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Early years

Hale was born in Rochester, Strafford County, New Hampshire, the son of John Parker Hale and Lydia Clarkson O'Brien. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated in 1827 from Bowdoin College, where he was a prominent member of the Athenian Society, a literary society. He began his law studies in Rochester with Jeremiah H. Woodman, and continued them with Daniel M. Christie in Dover, where, after passing the bar examination there in 1830, Hale lived and practiced law.[1] He married Lucy Lambert, the daughter of William Thomas Lambert and Abigail Ricker.

John P. Hale, photograph by Mathew Brady

Career in politics

John P. Hale

In March 1832, Hale was elected to the state house of representatives as a Democrat. In 1834, President Andrew Jackson appointed him to serve as a U.S. District Attorney. This appointment was renewed by President Martin Van Buren in 1838, but Hale was removed by President John Tyler in 1841 on party grounds.[1]

He was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth Congress, serving from March 4, 1843 to March 3, 1845. There he spoke out against the gag rule intended to put a stop to anti-slavery petitions.[2]

Hale supported the Democratic candidates Dallas in the campaign of 1844, and was renominated for his Congressional seat without opposition. Before the Congressional election, however, Texan annexation having been adopted by the Democratic Party as part of its platform, 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 in February 1845 his name was stricken from the ticket under the lead of Franklin Pierce. In the subsequent election, Hale ran as an independent candidate. As neither he, the regular Democratic candidate, nor the Whig candidate obtained a majority of the votes cast, the district was unrepresented.[1][2]

Statue of Hale outside the New Hampshire State House

In the face of an apparently invincible Democratic majority, Hale set out to win New Hampshire over to the anti-slavery cause. He addressed meetings in every town and village in the state, carrying on a remarkable campaign known as the “Hale Storm of 1845.” At a North Church meeting in Concord on 5 June 1845, there was a noted debate between Hale and Pierce. Hale was rewarded on 10 March 1846 with seeing the state choose a legislature in which the Whigs and Independent Democrats had a majority of the votes. A Whig governor, Anthony Colby, was also chosen. Hale wound up elected to the lower house of the legislature, and was chosen speaker.[1][2]

He was later elected as a Free Soil candidate to the United States Senate in 1846 and served from March 4, 1847, to March 3, 1853. He was among the strongest opponents of the Mexican-American War in the Senate and is considered "the first U.S. Senator with an openly anti-slavery (or abolitionist) platform".[3] He alone refused to vote in favor of the resolution tendering the thanks of Congress to Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor for their victories in the Mexican-American War. In 1849 he was joined in the Senate by co-advocates of the anti-slavery cause Salmon P. Chase and William H. Seward, and in 1851 he was joined by Charles Sumner.[2] Hale also opposed flogging and the spirit ration in the United States Navy, and secured the abolition of the former by a law of 28 September 1850, and of the latter by a law of 14 July 1862. He served as counsel in 1851 in the trials that arose out of the forcible rescue of the fugitive slave Shadrach Minkins from the custody of the United States Marshal in Boston.[1]

Hale was an unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States on the Free Soil ticket in 1852, losing to Democrat Franklin Pierce, a staunch political enemy of Hale's, and also his schoolmate at Bowdoin.[4] (See U.S. presidential election, 1852.) Hale was succeeded in the Senate by Charles G. Atherton, a Democrat, and began practicing law in New York City.[1]

Following the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the Democrats were again overthrown in New Hampshire. Hale was elected to the Senate in 1855 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Atherton; James Bell, a Whig, was elected to New Hampshire's other Senate seat in the same election. Hale was re-elected Senator in 1859, in total serving from July 30, 1855, to March 4, 1865. He became a Republican and served as the chair of the Senate Republican Conference until 1862.

President Lincoln nominated Hale to the post of minister to Spain and he served in that capacity 1865–1869.[5] Hale attributed his 5 April 1869 recall to a quarrel between himself and Horatio J. Perry, his secretary of legation, in the course of which a charge had been made that Hale's privilege, as minister, of importing free of duty merchandice for his official or personal use, had been exceeded and some goods put upon the market and sold. Hale's answer was that he had been misled by a commission merchant instigated by Perry. Perry was removed 28 June 1869.[1]

The picture of Lucy Hale found on the body of John Wilkes Booth

Hale's daughter Lucy Lambert Hale was betrothed in 1865 to John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin.[6] Booth had a picture of Lucy Hale with him when he was killed by pursuing Federal troops on April 26, 1865.[6][7] Lucy Hale eventually married Senator William E. Chandler. Today, portraits of President Lincoln and John Hale hang next to each other in the chambers of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

John Parker Hale is buried in Dover at the Pine Hill Cemetery. His Federal style house, built in 1813, is now part of the Woodman Institute Museum.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g  Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1892). "Hale, John Parker".  
  2. ^ a b c d  "Hale, Joseph Parker".  
  3. ^ J. Dennis Robinson
  4. ^  "Pierce, Franklin".  
  5. ^ United States Department of State list of ambassadors
  6. ^ a b Kunhardt, Dorothy and Philip, Jr. (1965). Twenty Days. North Hollywood, Calif.: Newcastle. pp. 178–179.  
  7. ^ Ford’s Theater National Historic Site – National Park Service

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles G. Atherton, Edmund Burke, Ira A. Eastman, John R. Reding, Tristram Shaw
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1845
Served alongside: Edmund Burke, Moses Norris, Jr., John R. Reding
Succeeded by
James H. Johnson, Mace Moulton, Moses Norris, Jr.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Joseph Cilley
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1853
Served alongside: Charles G. Atherton, Moses Norris, Jr.
Succeeded by
Charles G. Atherton
Preceded by
Jared W. Williams
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
July 30, 1855 – March 3, 1865
Served alongside: James Bell, Daniel Clark
Succeeded by
Aaron H. Cragin
Party political offices
Preceded by
Martin Van Buren
Free Soil Party presidential candidate
Party dissolved
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Gustavus Koerner
U.S. Minister to Spain
March 10, 1865 – July 29, 1869
Succeeded by
Daniel Sickles
Political offices
Preceded by
Harry Hibbard
Speaker of the
New Hampshire House of Representatives

Succeeded by
Moses Norris, Jr.
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