Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HAWLEY, Joseph Roswell, statesman, born in Stewartsville, North Carolina, 31 October, 1826. He is of English-Scotch ancestry. His father, Reverend Francis Hawley (descended from Samuel, who settled in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1639), was born in Farmington, Connecticut he went south early and engaged in business, but afterward entered the Baptist ministry. He married Mary McLeod, a native of North Carolina, of Scotch parentage, and the family went to Connecticut in 1837, where the father was an active anti-slavery man. The son prepared for college at the Hartford grammar school and the seminary in Cazenovia, New York, whither the family removed about 1842. He was graduated at Hamilton in 1847, with a high reputation as a speaker and debater. He taught in the winters, studied law at Cazenovia and Hartford, and began practice in 1850. He immediately became chairman of the Free-soil state committee, wrote for the Free-soil press, and spoke in every canvass. He stoutly opposed the Know-Nothings, and devoted his energies to the union of all opponents of slavery. The first meeting for the organization of the Republican party in Connecticut was held in his office, at his call, 4 February, 1856. Among those present were Gideon Welles and John M. Niles. Mr. Hawley gave three months to speaking in the Fremont canvass of 1856. In February, 1857, he abandoned law practice, and became editor of the Hartford "Evening Press," the new distinctively Republican paper. His partner was William Faxon, afterward assistant secretary of the navy. He responded to the first call for troops in 1861 by drawing up a form of enlistment, and, assisted by Drake, afterward colonel of the 10th regiment, raising rifle company A, 1st Connecticut volunteers, which was organized and accepted in twenty-four hours, Hawley having personally engaged rifles at Sharp's factory. He became the captain, and is said to have been the first volunteer in the state. He received special praise for good conduct at Bull Run from General Erastus D. Keyes, brigade commander. He directly united with Colonel Alfred H. Terry in raising the 7th Connecticut volunteers, a three years' regiment, of which he was lieutenant-colonel. It went south in the Port Royal expedition, and on the capture of the forts was the first sent ashore as a garrison. It was engaged four months in the siege of Fort Pulaski, and upon the surrender was selected as the garrison. Hawley succeeded Terry, and commanded the regiment in the battles of James Island and Pocotaligo, and in Brannan's expedition to Florida. He went with his regiment to Florida, in January, 1863, and commanded the post of Fernandina, whence in April he undertook an unsuccessful expedition against Charleston. He also commanded a brigade on Morris Island in the siege of Charleston and the capture of Fort Wagner. In February, 1864, he had a brigade under General Truman Seymour iv the battle of Olustee, Florida, where the whole National force lost 38 per cent. His regiment was one of the few that were armed with the Spencer breech-loading rifle. This weapon, which he procured in the autumn of 1863, proved very effective in the hands of his men. He went to Virginia in April, 1864, having a brigade in Terry's division, 10th corps, Army of the James, and was in the battles of Drewry's Bluff, Deep Run, Derbytown Road, and various affairs near Bermuda Hundred and Deep Bottom. He commanded a division in the fight on the New market road, and engaged in the siege of Petersburg. In September, 1864, he was made a brigadier-general, having been repeatedly recommended by his immediate superiors. In November, 1864, he commanded a picked brigade sent to New York city to keep the peace during the week of the presidential election. He succeeded to Terry's division when Terry was sent to Fort Fisher in January, 1865, afterward rejoining him as chief of staff, 10th corps, and on the capture of Wilmington was detached by General Schofield to establish a base of supplies there for Sherman's army, and command southeastern North Carolina. In June he rejoined Terry as chief of staff for the Department of Virginia. In October he went home, was brevetted major-general, and was mustered out, 15 January, 1866. In April, 1866, he was elected governor of Connecticut, but he was defeated in 1867, and then, having united the "Press" and the "Courant," he resumed editorial life, and more vigorously than ever entered the political contests following the war. He was always in demand as a speaker throughout the country. He was president of the National Republican convention in 1868, secretary of the committee on resolutions in 1872, and chairman of that committee in 1876. He earnestly opposed paper money theories. In November, 1872, he was elected to fill a vacancy in congress caused by the death of Julius L. Strong. He was re-elected to the 43d congress, defeated for the 44th and 45th, and re-elected to the 46th (1879-'81). He was elected senator in January, 1881, by the unanimous vote of his party, and re-elected in like manner in January, 1887, for the term ending 4 March, 1893. In the house he served on the committees on claims, banking and currency, military affairs, and appropriations; in the senate, on the committees on coast defences, railroads, printing, and military affairs. He is chairman of the committee on civil service, and vigorously promoted the enactment of civil service reform legislation. He was also chairman of a select committee on ordnance and warships, and submitted a long and valuable report, the result of careful investigation into steel production and heavy gun making in England and the United States. In the National convention of 1884 the Connecticut delegation unanimously voted for him for president in every ballot. He was president of the United States centennial commission from its organization in 1872 until the close of its labors in 1877, gave two years exclusively to the work, was ex-officio member of its committees, and appointed all save the executive. He received the degree of LL. D. from Hamilton in 1875, and from Yale in 1886. Of the former institution he is a trustee. Ecclesiastically he is a Congregationalist. General Hawley is an ardent Republican, one of the most acceptable extemporary orators in the republic, a believer in universal suffrage, the American people and the: "American way," is a "hard money" man, would adjust the tariff so as to benefit native industries, urges the reconstruction of our naval and coast defences, demands a free ballot and fair count everywhere, opposes the tendency to federal centralization, and is a strict constructionist of the constitution in favor of the rights and dignity of the individual states.
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