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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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John Davis

DAVIS, John, statesman, born in Northborough, Massachusetts, 13 January 1787; died in Worcester, Massachusetts, 19 April 1854. He was graduated at Yale with honor in 1812, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1815, and practiced with success in Worcester. He was elected to congress as a Whig in 1824, and reelected for the four succeeding terms, sitting from December 1825, till January 1834, and taking a leading part as a protectionist in opposing Henry Clay's compromise tariff bill of 1833, and in all transactions relating to finance and commerce. He resigned his seat on being elected governor of Massachusetts. At the conclusion of his term as governor he was sent to the U. S. Senate, and served front 7 December 1835, till January 1841, when he resigned to accept the governorship a second time. In the senate he was a strong opponent of the administrations of Jackson and Van Buren, and took a conspicuous part in the debates as an advocate of protection for American industry, replying to the free trade arguments of southern statesmen in speeches theft were considered extremely clear expositions of the protective theories. A declaration in one of his speeches, that James Buchanan was in favor of reducing the wages of American workingmen to ten cents a day, was the origin of the epithet "'tencent Jimmy," which was applied to that statesman by his political opponents for several years. A short speech against the sub treasury, delivered in 1840, was printed during the presidential canvass of that year as an electioneering pamphlet, of which more than a million copies were distributed. He was again elected U. S. senator, and served from 24 March 1845, till 3 March 1853, but declined a reelection, and died suddenly at his home.

He protested vigorously against the war with Mexico. In the controversy that followed, over the introduction of slavery into the U. S. territories, he earnestly advocated its exclusion. The Wihnot proviso received his support, but the compromise acts of 1850 encountered his decided opposition, He enjoyed the respect and confidence of his constituents in an unusual degree, and established a reputation for high principles that gained for him the popular appellation of "honest John Davis." His wife, who was a sister of George Bancroft, the historian, died in Worcester, Massachusetts, 24 January 1872, at the age of eighty years.

His son, John 0handler Bancroft, diplomatist, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, 29 December 1822, was graduated at Harvard in 1840, studied law, and began practice. On 31 August 1849, when Mr. Bancroft left the English court, he succeeded John R. Brodhead as secretary of legation, and acted as charg5 d'affaires during the absence of the minister, Abbott Lawrence, for several months in that and the two succeeding years. He resigned on 30 November 1852, was American correspondent of the London " Times "from 1854 till 1861, and during that time practiced law in New York City. In 1868 he was elected to the New York legislature, and on 25 March 1869, appointed assistant secretary of state, which post he resigned in 1871 to act as agent of the U. S. government before the Geneva court of arbitration on the Alabama claims. On 24 January 1873, he was reappointed assistant secretary of state. While in the department of state he acted as arbitrator in a dispute between Great Britain and Portugal. In 1871 he was a member, and the secretary, of the high commission that concluded the treaty of Washington. He resigned his place on receiving the appointment of minister to the German empire. After his return from Berlin, in 1877, he was made a judge of the U. S. court of claims in Washington, D. C., and served from January 1878, till December 1881o In November 1882, he was again appointed to the same post, and on 5 November 1883 became reporter of the U. S. Supreme Court. He has published "The Massachusetts Justice" (Worcester, 1847); "The Case of the United States laid before the Tribunal of Arbitration a,t Geneva" (Washington, 1871); "Treaties of the United States, with Notes" (revised ed., 1873); and vols. 1081.18 of "United States Reports."

Another son, Hasbrouck Davis, soldier, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, 19 April 1827; drowned at sea, 19 October 1870, was graduated at Williams in 1845, and afterward studied in Germany. He taught in the Worcester high school for a year, and was settled as pastor of the Unitarian society in Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1849. He afterward studied law, was admitted to the Massachusetts bar' in 1854, and went to Chicago in 1855. He was mustered into the United States service in 1862 as lieutenant colonel of the 11th Illinois cavalry. He served with conspicuous gallantry in Stoneman's pursuit of the Confederates after their retreat from Yorktown in April 1862, and in the autumn distinguished himself at Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry, where he was in command of the Union cavalry, and led them, on the night of 14 September 1862, through the enemy's lines to Greencastle, Pennsylvania, capturing an ammunition train on the way. He was promoted colonel, 5 January 1864, and at, the close of the war was brevetted brigadier general. After returning to Chicago, he was elected City attorney. He was lost on the steamer "Cambria" in the voyage to Europe.

John, son of Hasbrouck, born in Newton, Massachusetts, 16 Sept,., 1851, studied in the universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, and Paris. After holding various posts in the department of state and the diplomatic service, he was appointed clerk to the court of Alabama claims in 1874. He practiced law in Washington and New York, and was assistant counsel for the United States before the Franco-American claims commission in 1881. On 7 July 1882, he became assistant secretary of state, and while holding that office was several times acting secretary. On 20 January 1885, he was appointed judge of the U. S. court of claims.

Another son, Horace, manufacturer, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, 16 March 1831. He was graduated at Harvard in 1849, and, after beginning the study of law, went to California in 1852, and engaged in manufacturing. He represented the San Francisco district in congress from 1877 to 1881. He contributed a paper to the American antiquarian society on the "Likelihood of an Admixture of Japanese Blood on the Northwest," which was afterward published separately. He also published "Dolor Davis, a Sketch of his Life" (1881), and " American Constitutions," in the Johns Hopkins series (Baltimore, 1885).Another son, Andrew McFarland, antiquarian and author, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, 30 December 1833. He was graduated at the Lawrence scientific school of Harvard University in 1854, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1859. After practicing a short time in Massachusetts he went to California, and was for several years a partner of his brother in the manufacturing business. He published articles in the "Overland" and "Atlantic Monthly" magazines, presented a paper on the "Journey of MoncachtAp5" to the American antiquarian society, afterward printed separately (Worcester, 1883), published a paper on "Indian Games " in the "Bulletin" of the Essex institute, which was also printed separately (Salem, 1886), and contributed to Justin Winsor's "Narrative and Critical History of America" the chapter on " Louisiana and Canada" and that on "Border Warfare during the Revolution."

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