Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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VINCENT, Francis, journalist, born in Bristol, England, 17 March, 1822; died in Wilmington, Delaware, 23 June, 1884. He was partly educated in England, emigrated at an early age to Dover, Delaware, where he acquired a knowledge of the classics, was apprenticed to the proprietor of the "Delaware Gazette" in 1839, and on 22 August, 1845, began the publication in Wilmington of a newspaper which he called the "Blue Hen's Chicken," from a designation that was given to the Delaware soldiers in the Revolution on account of their fighting qualities. He advocated representation according to population, election of all officers by the people, simplification of legal procedure, the abolition of the whipping-post and of lotteries, universal common-school education, the submission of important laws to the popular vote, exemption of household goods and tools from seizure for debt, the ten-hour working-day, and other changes in the constitution and statute law of Delaware. His projects met with opposition from the leaders of parties, but gained ground among the people. In 1850 the Democrats accepted his proposition for a constitutional convention, which met on 4 March, 1853, and adopted the elective principle and other reforms, but left representation disproportionate. Many who approved revision voted against the instrument, with the expectation of ultimately securing a better one, but after Vincent sold his paper in 1856 the agitation ceased until he temporarily revived the question in 1862, when he had purchased the "Commonwealth," and changed its name to the "Blue Hen's Chicken." He was a member of the Republican party from its first organization in Delaware, and strongly supported the government in his journal until he disposed of it in September, 1864. He began the publication of "Vincent's Semi-Annual Register" in 1860, but discontinued it at the beginning of the war. He addressed to the Cobden club an "Essay recommending the Union of Great Britain and her Colonies and the United States, and the Final Union of the World into One Great Nation " (Wilmington, 1868). This scheme he discussed further in a paper that he presented to the European league of peace at its meeting at Paris in 1870. In July, 1871, he published a plan for a railroad from New York to London by way of Bering strait, which he also laid before the New York chamber of commerce and the National board of trade in Baltimore. He wrote a " History of Delaware" (Philadelphia, 1870-'1).
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