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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ASHMUN, George, statesman, born in Blandford, Massachusetts, 25 December 1804; died in Springfield, Massachusetts, 17 July 1870. He was graduated at Yale in 1823, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1828 at Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1833, 1835, 1836, and 1841 he was elected a member of the lower branch of the Massachusetts legislature, and during the last term he was speaker of the house. He was a state senator in '38-'9. He was elected to congress in 1845, and served continuously until 1851, being a member of the committees on the judiciary, Indian affairs, and rules. He was a great admirer of Daniel Webster, and although he did not follow the latter in his abandonment of the Wilmot proviso, defended him in the ensuing quarrels ; his replies to Charles J. Ingersoll, of Pennsylvania, and Charles Allen, of Massachusetts, when they assailed Webster with personal and political bitterness, were among the strongest efforts of his career in congress. Subsequent to his retirement from political life he devoted his attention to the practice of his profession. In 1860 he was president of the Chicago convention that nominated Lincoln for president, it is said to have been through his influence that in 1861 Senator Douglas, of Illinois, was won over to the support of the administration, and the results of a subsequent interview at the White house between Lincoln, Douglas, and Ashmun, were of great importance to the country. In 1866 he was chosen a delegate to the national union convention, held in Philadelphia, but he took no part in its deliberations. He was also for some time a director of the Union Pacific railroad.
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