Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ORTH, Godlove Stoner, statesman, born near Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, 22 April, 1817; died in Lafayette, Indiana, 16 December, 1882. He was a descendant of Balthazer Orth, a German, who in 1742 purchased of John Thomas and Richard Petal, the proprietors of Pennsylvania, 282 acres of land in Lebanon county, whereon the birthplace of Godlove Orth was soon afterward built and still stands. His Christian name is a translation of the German Gottlieb, which was borne by many of his ancestors, he was educated at Pennsylvania college, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1839, and began to practise in Indiana. He was a member of the senate of that state from 1842 till 1848, and served one year as its presiding officer. In the latter year ha was presidential elector on the Taylor and Fillmore ticket. He represented Indiana in the Peace conference of 1861. Tim part that he took in its debates gave him a wide reputation, and his definitions of "state rights" and "state sovereignty" have been quoted by Hermann von Holst with approval. In 1862, when a call was made for men to defend Indiana from threatened invasion, he organized a company in two hours, and was made captain and placed in command of the United States ram "Horner," in which he cruised in the Ohio river, and did much to restore order on the borders of Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. He was elected and re-elected to congress as a Republican, serving from 7 December, 1863, till 3 March, 1871. Two years later he was chosen a member of the 43d congress, and served from 1 December, 1873, till 3 March, 1875. During his long congressional career he was the chairman and member of many important committees. He urged the vigorous prosecution of the war, and voted for the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the constitution. After his return to congress in 1866 he began to labor to secure from European governments the recognition of the right of expatriation, and lived to see it recognized in the treaties of the United States with most of the other powers. In 1868, at, the request of the administration, he undertook the management of the legislation that looked to the annexation of Santo Domingo. At the same session he framed the " Orth bill," which reorganized the diplomatic and consular system, and much of which is still in force. Early in 1871 a recommendation, urging his appointment as minister to Berlin, was signed by every member of the United States senate and house of representatives, and President Grant at one time intended to comply with the request, but circumstances arose that rendered the retention of George Bancroft desirable. Mr. Orth soon afterward declined the office of commissioner of internal revenue. In 1872 he was defeated as Republican candidate for governor of Indiana. He had frequently been a member of the congressional committee on foreign affairs, and in March, 1875, was appointed minister to Austria, after declining the mission to Brazil. He returned to the United States in 1877, and was again elected and re-elected to congress, serving from 18 March, 1879, until his death.
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