John Parker Hale, Jr., U.S. Senator

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John Parker Hale, Jr. (Hale), Hon.

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Rochester, NH, United States
Death: November 19, 1873 (67)
Dover, NH, United States
Place of Burial: Dover, NH, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Parker Hale, Sr. and Lydia Clarkson Hale
Husband of Lucy Hill Lambert Hale
Father of Elizabeth Hale Jaques and Lucy Lambert Hale Chandler
Brother of Eliza Clarkson Parker Hale Cushing; Jeremiah O'Brien Hale; William Parker Hale; Mary Jane Parker Hale Wentworth; Samuel Agustus Hale and 6 others

Occupation: U.S. Senator
Managed by: Daniel Chandler Monroe
Last Updated:

About John Parker Hale, Jr., U.S. Senator

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 the first senator 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

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 Peucinian 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. He married Lucy Lambert, the daughter of William Thomas Lambert and Abigail Ricker.

Career in politics

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.

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

Hale supported the Democratic candidates Polk and 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.

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.

He was later elected as a Free Soil candidate to the United States Senate in 1846 and served from March 4, 1847, to March 4, 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". 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. 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.

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. Hale was succeeded in the Senate by Charles G. Atherton, a Democrat, and began practicing law in New York City.

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. 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.

Hale's daughter Lucy Lambert Hale was betrothed in 1865 to John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin. Booth had a picture of Lucy Hale with him when he was killed by pursuing Federal troops on April 26, 1865. 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.

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John Parker Hale, Jr., U.S. Senator's Timeline

March 31, 1806
Rochester, NH, United States
June 17, 1835
Age 29
Dover, NH, United States
January 1, 1841
Age 34
Dover, NH, United States
November 19, 1873
Age 67
Dover, NH, United States
Dover, NH, United States