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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Hannibal Hamlin

HAMLIN, Hannibal, statesman, born in Paris, Oxford County, Maine, 27 August, 1809. He was prepared for a collegiate education, but was compelled by the death of his father to take charge of the home farm until he was of age. He learned printing, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1838, and practised in Hampden, Penobscot County, until 1848. He was a member of the legislature from 1836 till 1840, and again in 1847, and was speaker of the lower branch in 1837-'9 and 1840. In 1840 he received the Democratic nomination for member of congress, and, during the exciting Harrison campaign, held joint discussions with his competitor, being the first to introduce that practice into Maine. In 1842 he was elected as a Democrat to congress, and reelected in 1844. He was chosen to the United States senate for four years in 1848, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of John Fairfield, and was re-elected in 1851, but resigned in 1857 to be inaugurated governor, having been elected to that office as a Republican. Less than a month afterward, on 20 February, he resigned the governorship, as he had again been chosen United States senator for the full term of six years. He served until January, 1861, when he resigned, having been elected vice president on the ticket with Abraham Lincoln. He presided over the senate from 4 March, 1861, till 3 March, 1865. In the latter year he was appointed collector of the port of Boston, but resigned in 1866. From1861 till 1865 he had also acted as regent of the Smithsonian institution, and was reappointed in 1870, continuing to act for the following twelve years, during which time he became dean of the board. He was again elected and re-elected to the United States senate, serving from 4 March, 1869, till 3 March, 1881. In June of that year he was named minister to Spain, but gave up the office the year following and returned to this country. He received the degree of LL.D. from Colby university, then Waterville college, of which institution he was trustee for over twenty years. Senator Hamlin, although a Democrat, was an original anti-slavery man, and so strong were his convictions that they finally led to his separation from that party. Among the significant incidents of his long career of nearly fifty years may be mentioned the fact that, in the temporary and involuntary absence of David Wilmot from the house of representatives, during the session of the 29th congress, at the critical moment when the measure, since known as "the Wilmot proviso," had to be presented or the opportunity irrevocably lost, Mr. Hamlin, while his anti-slavery friends were in the greatest confusion and perplexity, seeing that only a second's delay would be fatal, offered the bill and secured its passage by a vote of 115 to 106. In common, however, with Abraham Lincoln, Mr. Hamlin strove simply to prevent the extension of slavery into new territory, and did not seek to secure its abolition. In a speech in the United States senate, 12 June, 1856, in which he gave his reasons for changing his party allegiance, he thus referred to the Democratic convention then recently held at Cincinnati: " The convention has actually incorporated into the platform of the Democratic party that doctrine which, only a few years ago, met with nothing but ridicule and contempt here and elsewhere, namely, that the flag of the Federal Union, under the constitution of the United States, carries slavery wherever it floats. If this baleful principle be true, then that national ode, which inspires us always as on a battle-field, should be re-written by Drake, and should read: 'Forever float that standard sheet! Where breathes the foe but falls before us, With slavery's soil beneath our feet, And slavery's banner streaming o'er us.'" When he had been elected vice president on the ticket with Mr. Lincoln, he accepted an invitation to meet the latter at Chicago, and, calling on the president-elect, found him in a room alone. Mr. Lincoln arose, and, coming toward his guest, said abruptly: "Have we ever been introduced to each other, Mr. Hamlin? No, sir, I think not," was the reply. "That also is my impression," continued Mr. Lincoln; "but I remember distinctly while I was in congress to have heard you make a speech in the senate. I was very much struck with that speech, senator--particularly struck with it and for the reason that it was filled, chock up, with the very best kind of anti-slavery doctrine." " Well, now," replied Hamlin, laughing, " that is very singular, for my one and first recollection of yourself is of having heard you make a speech in the house, a speech that was so full of good humor and sharp points that I, together with others of your auditors, was convulsed with laughter." The acquaintance, thus cordially begun, ripened into a close friendship, and it is affirmed that during all the years of trial, war, and bloodshed that followed, Abraham Lincoln continued to repose the utmost confidence in his friend and official associate.--Hannibal's cousin, Cyrus, educator, born in Waterford, Maine, 5 January. 1811, was graduated at Bowdoin in 1834, and at the Congregational theological seminary, Bangor, Maine, in 1837. He was a missionary of the American board in Turkey in 1837-'60, and in the latter year became president of Robert" college, Constantinople, which he succeeded in organizing after a seven years' contest with the Turkish authorities, finally obtaining an imperial edict that committed the college to the United States. He introduced into Constantinople the making of bread with hop yeast, in order to give employment to persecuted Armenians who had been expelled from their guilds. At the beginning of the Crimean war there arose a great demand for this bread, and at its close Dr. Hamlin had made $25,000, which he devoted to building churches and school houses. He resigned the presidency of Robert college in 1876, was professor of dogmatic theology in Bangor seminary in 1877-'80, president of Middlebury college in 1880-'5, and since then has resided in Lexington, Massachusetts Harvard gave him the degree of D. D. in 1861, and the University of the city of New York that of LL. D. in 1870. His writings, which are mostly in Armenian and published in Constantinople, include a translation of Upham's "Mental Philosophy," "Papists and Protestants" (1847); an "Arithmetic for Armenians" (1848; Turkish translation, 1870); and a critique on the writings of Archbishop Matteos (1863). He has published in English a letter on "Cholera and its Treatment," which was several times reprinted and widely circulated (Boston, 1865), and "Among the Turks" (New York, 1877), besides numerous articles in reviews and lectures on "Free-Trade and Protection."--Hannibal's son, Charles, lawyer, born in Hampden, Maine, 13 September, 1837, was graduated at Bowdoin in 1857, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1858. He became major of the 181h Maine regiment in August, 1862, was appointed assistant adjutant-general of volunteers, 26 April, 1863, and served in the field with the Army of the Potomac from Chancellorsville through the Gettysburg campaign to that of the Wilderness, after which he was put on duty as inspector of artillery, and also served at Harper's Ferry in 1864. He was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers, 13 March, 1865. General Hamlin was city solicitor of Bangor in 1867, has been register in bankruptcy since that year, and was a member of the legislature in 1883 and 1885, serving in the latter year as speaker. He has published "The Insolvent Laws of Maine" (Portland, Maine, 1878).--Another son, Cyrus, soldier, born in Hampden, Maine, 26 April, 1839; died in New Orleans, Louisiana, 28 August, 1867, was educated at Hampden academy and Waterville college (now Colby university), but was not graduated, he entered the army as captain and aide-de-camp in 1862, and served on the staff of General Fremont, whose favorable notice he attracted by his conduct at Cross Keys. He afterward became colonel of the 80th regiment of colored troops, serving in the Department of the Gulf, and on 3 December, 1864, was made brigadier-general of volunteers. He commanded the military district of Port Hudson in 1864-'5, and on 13 March, 1865, was brevetted major-general of volunteers. General Hamlin was among the first to advocate raising colored troops and the first that was appointed from Maine to command a colored regiment. After the war he practised law in New Orleans, where he took an active part in the movements of the reconstruction period. His death was caused by disease contracted in the army.--Hannibal's nephew, Augustus Choate, physician, born in Columbia, Maine, 28 August, 1828, was graduated at Bowdoin in 1851, and studied medicine in Paris and at Harvard, where he received his degree in 1854. He was surgeon in the army in 1861-'5, became medical director of the 11th corps, and was medical inspector during the campaign at Fort Wagner, at Nashville, and elsewhere. In 1865 he removed to Bangor, Maine, and engaged in general practice. He has contributed articles on "Allmentation," "Transfusion," "Transmission of Diseases," "Tetanus," and other subjects to the medical journals, and is the author of "History of Andersonville "(Boston, 1866); "The Tourmaline" (1873); and "Leisure Horn's Among the Gems" (1884).

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