About George Gray, U.S. Senator
George Gray (May 4, 1840 - August 7, 1925) was an American lawyer, judge, and politician from New Castle, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served as Attorney General of Delaware, U.S. Senator from Delaware and Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.
Early life and family
Gray was born in New Castle, Delaware. He attended the common schools and graduated from Princeton University in 1859. After studying law with his father, Andrew C. Gray, he attended Harvard Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1863. He was in private practice in New Castle until 1879.
Professional and political career
Gray served as Delaware Attorney General from 1879 until March 18, 1885. He resigned this position upon election as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of U.S. Senator Thomas F. Bayard, Sr. Gray was reelected in 1887 and 1893, and served in the Senate from March 18, 1885, until March 3, 1899.
During his service as U.S. Senator, Gray was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Patents and the U.S. Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections in the 53rd Congress. In the 53rd Congress he was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Revolutionary Claims. He was a member of the Joint High Commission which met in Quebec in August 1898 to settle differences between the United States and Canada. He also served as a member of the commission to arrange terms of peace between the United States and Spain in 1898 to end the Spanish-American War.
After failing in his bid for reelection in 1899, President William McKinley made Gray a recess appointment to a new third seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, created by 30 Stat. 846. Appointed on March 29, 1899, he was later nominated, confirmed by the United States Senate, and commissioned on December 18, 1899. He served until his retirement on June 1, 1914. During this time he was chairman of the commission to investigate conditions of the coal strike in Pennsylvania in 1902, and was largely responsible for its settlement. He was also a member of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution from 1890 until 1925, and vice president and trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Gray was proposed as a nominee for the Presidency at the 1904 and 1908 Democratic Conventions. In 1904, he received only 12 votes, but in 1908 he received 50.5 votes from the delegates, finishing second behind the party nominee, William Jennings Bryan.
President William McKinley also appointed him to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in 1900, and he was subsequently reappointed in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, in 1912 by President William Taft, and in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson. He was also a member of several commissions established to arbitrate various international disputes.
Death and legacy
Gray died at Wilmington and is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery at New Castle, Delaware.
The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4, for a six year term. In this case he was initially completing the existing term, the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas F. Bayard.