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Amos Kendall

KENDALL, Amos, journalist, born in Dunstable, Massachusetts, 16 August, 1789; died in Washington, D. C., 11 November, 1869. His ancestor, Francis, came from England to Woburn, Massachusetts, about 1640. His parents were poor, and, after working on his father's farm till he was sixteen years old, he entered Dartmouth with a year's preparation, and was graduated in 1811 at the head of his class, although He had been absent much during his course that he might support himself by teaching. He then studied law, and in 1814 removed to Lexington, Kentucky, where he practised, and was also tutor in the family of Henry Clay during the latter's absence to negotiate the treaty of Ghent. He was then postmaster and editor of a local paper at Georgetown, Kentucky, and in 1816 became co-editor and part owner of the "Argus of Western America," the state journal at Frankfort. He actively supported the Democratic party, and also secured the passage by the legislature of an act setting apart half the profits of the Bank of the common wealth as a school fund. He warmly supported Jackson in 1824, and the latter at the beginning of his term in 1829 appointed Kendall fourth auditor of the treasury. He acquired great influence with the administration, and became one of the readiest and most powerful political writers in the capital. Some of Jackson's ablest state papers were attributed to Kendall's pen. He aided in shaping the president's anti-bank policy, was appointed a special treasury-agent to negotiate with state banks, and during the quarrel with Calhoun, foreseeing the disaffection of the "Telegraph," the administration organ, advised the president to invite Francis P. Blair to establish the "Globe" in Washington. Harriet Martineau wrote of him at this time: "I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the invincible Amos Kendall, one of the most remarkable men in America. He is supposed to be the moving spring of the administration; the thinker, planner, and doe, '; but it is all in the dark." he was made postmaster-general in 1835, and introduced many reforms in the department, also freeing it from debt. His action in 1835 in refusing to punish the postmaster of Charleston, South Carolina, for allowing the destruction by a mob of northern newspapers, which it was alleged contained "abolition documents," created much excitement. In his next annual report He urged the passage of a law forbidding' the circulation in the mails of anything touching the subject of slavery He retired from the cabinet in 1840, and afterward refused a foreign mission that was tendered to him by President Polk. He was for several years embarrassed by a suit that was brought against him by certain mail-contractors, and which he chose to defend at his own expense, but it was finally decided in his favor, he established a bi-weekly called "Kendall's Expositor" in 1841, and the " Union Democrat," a weekly, in 1842, but both were soon discontinued. Kendall became associated with Samuel F. B. Morse in 1845 in the ownership of the latter's telegraph patents, and by his ability and enterprise aided in insuring their success. His conncetion with their management, after years of trial and defeat, made him a rich man, and he spent the rest of his life in Washington and at his country-seat, Kendall Green, near that city. He was active in works of philanthropy, contributed $100,000 toward building the Calvary Baptist church in Washington in 1864, and after its destruction by fire in 1867 gave largely toward rebuilding it. Ire was the founder of the Washington deaf and dumb asylum and its first president, and gave it $20,000. Among his other gifts were $25,000 to two mission schools, and several scholarships to Columbian college, of whose board of trustees he was for some time president. In 1860 Mr. Kendall published in the Washington "Evening Star" a series of protests against secession, and during the civil war he earnestly supported the administration by his pen, though He still called himself a Jackson 'Democrat. He was the author of "Life of Andrew Jackson, Private, Military, and Civil" (New York, 1843, uncompleted)" and a pamphlet entitled "Full Exposure of Dr. Charles T. Jackson's Pretensions to the Invention of the American Electro-magnetic Telegraph," which was republished with prefatory remarks by Professor Morse (Paris, 1867). After his death appeared his autobiography, edited by William Stickney (Boston, 1872).

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