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Charles James Faulkner

FAULKNER, Charles James, lawyer, born in Martinsburg, Virginia, in 1806; died in Boydville, W. Virginia, 1 November 1884. He was graduated at Georgetown University, D. C., studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1829. Three years later he became a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, where he introduced a measure for the gradual abolition of slavery in Virginia, declaring that all children born of slave parents after 1 July 1840, should be free, but the proposition was defeated. Mr. Faulkner after this devoted himself with success to his profession, He served as a commissioner on the disputed boundary line between Virginia and Maryland. He was elected a state senator in 1841, but resigned in the following year. In 1848 he was elected to the House of Delegates, and introduced a bill that was passed and sent to congress, which became the famous fugitive slave law of 1850. He was a member of the convention for the revision of the State constitution in 1850.

The next year he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, and was reelected by the Democratic vote for four successive terms, serving from I December 1851, till 3 March 1859. When James Buchanan became president in 1857, he offered Mr. Faulkner the mission to France, which he at first declined, but accepted in 1859. Louis Napoleon was encouraged by him to sympathize with the south in the approaching contest, rather than with the nation, and accordingly President Lincoln recalled Mr. Faulkner, who, on his return to the United States was arrested and confined in Fort Warren as a disloyal citizen. When released in exchange for Alfred Ely, a member of congress who was imprisoned in Richmond, he joined the Confederate army, and served on the staff of General "Stonewall" Jackson until the death of that officer. For some years he was debarred the rights of citizenship on account of having borne arms against the government, but in 1872 his political disabilities were removed. He was a member of the State constitutional convention of West Virginia in 1872, and in 1874 was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives for the term that expired on 3 March 1877. He was an unsuccessful candidate subsequently for the U. S. Senate and for the governorship of West Virginia, after which he retired to private life.

His son, Charles James Faulkner, senator, born in Martinsburg, W. Virginia, about 1840, was graduated at the University of Virginia, served as a private in the Confederate army during the civil war, and after its close studied law, and rose rapidly in the profession. In 1880 he was appointed a circuit judge, to fill an unexpired term, and in 1882 was elected to the same office. On 5 May 1887, he was elected as a Democrat to the U. S. Senate from West Virginia.

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