Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HALLETT, Benjamin, ship-master, born in Barnstable, Massachusetts, 18 January, 1760; died there, 31 December, 1849. As a young man he served by sea and land in the Revolutionary war. He established the coasting trade between Boston and Albany in 1788, and in 1808 had built the sloop "Ten Sisters," which was long the favorite packet sailing between New York and Boston. On her decks the sailors' meetings were held, which resulted in the opening of the first Bethel chapel in New York, and subsequently in Boston. Captain Hallett was an earnest Christian, but found it difficult to engage the clergy in holding religious meetings on board of ships in port, Dr. Gardiner Spring, of New York, being the first to join. In Boston he experienced still greater difficulty. After several refusals, Captain Hallett found a large vessel lying near his own, the owner of which consented to have a meeting on her deck the Sunday evening following his arrival in the city. With the exception of the owner of the vessel, there was no professing Christian present besides Captain Hallett, who was obliged to lead the services. He also sang his " Sailor's Song," which he subsequently found most effective in attracting" the attention of seafaring men. The Bethel movement did not thrive as well in Boston as in other cities, being discouraged by ship-owners on the ground that too much religion would make sailors idle. When Captain Hallett retired from the sea to reside on his farm, he transferred his Bethel flag, which he had brought front New York, to the Seaman's chapel, Central Wharf, Boston, from which it floated for many years.---His son, Benjamin Franklin, statesman, born in Barnstable, Massachusetts, 2 December, 1797; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 30 September, 1862, was graduated at Brown in 1816, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. He then became connected with the press in Providence, Rhode Island, but soon went to Boston, where, on the organization of the anti-masonic party, he became editor-in-chief of its mouth-piece, "The Boston Advocate." In 1827 he transferred his services to the " Boston Daily Advertiser," in which journal he enunciated anti-masonic and temperance principles with great earnestness, besides setting forth the views of the emancipationists. His uncompromising attitude made hint many enemies, and finally the "Advertiser" became so unpopular that he resigned the editorial chair in 1831. Failing to obtain from Henry Clay the pledges that would have given the latter the anti-masonic vote, he became and continued one of the bitterest opponents of that statesman. After the anti-masonic excitement had subsided, Mr. Hallett joined the Democratic party, on which, although seldom in office, he exerted a powerful influence, he was a delegate at most of its national conventions, and the chairman for many years of its national committee. He was instrumental in bringing about the nomination of Pierce and Buchanan, and was the author of the Cincinnati platform of 1856. President Pierce appointed him United States district attorney in 1853.
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