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Salma Hale

HALE, Salma, historian, born in Alstead, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, 7 March, 1787; died in Somerville, Massachusetts, 19 November, 1866. His father, David Hale, joined the American army after the battle of Lexington, and served throughout the Revolutionary war. Salma, the third of fourteen children, was apprenticed to a printer in Walpole, New Hampshire At seventeen he wrote an English grammar (Worcester, Massachusetts, 1804), which was afterward rewritten under the title "A New Grammar of the English Language" (New York, 1831). At the age of eighteen he became editor of "The Political Observatory," at Walpole, New Hampshire He then studied law, became clerk of the court of common pleas for Cheshire county, and removed to Keene, New Hampshire, in 1813. In 1817-'34 he was clerk of the supreme judicial court, and in the latter year was admitted to the bar. In 1816 he was elected to congress as a Republican, but declined a re-election. He subsequently devoted himself to the preparation of a "History of the United States," which gained a prize of $400 and a gold medal that had been offered by the American academy of belles-lettres of New York "for the best-written history of the United States, which shall contain a suitable exposition of the situation, character, and interests, absolute and relative, of the American republic, calculated for a class-book in academies and schools." This was first published under the title of "The History of the United States of America, from their First Settlement as Colonies to the Close of the War with Great Britain in 1815" (1821). It was afterward continued to 1845, and went through many editions. Mr. Hale was a trustee of Dartmouth in 1816, and of the University of Vermont in 1823, and received honorary degrees from each. He was secretary to the commissioners for determining the northeastern boundary-line of the United States, was president of the New Hampshire historical society in 1830, a member of the New Hampshire house of representatives in 1828 and 1844, and of the senate in 1824 and 1845. He was a contributor to newspapers and periodicals, was instrumental in organizing the first agricultural society in New Hampshire, and in promoting temperance, education, the abolition of slavery, and the Unitarian movement. While in congress he opposed the Missouri compromise. His works include "The Administration of John Q. Adams and the Opposition by Algernon Sidney" (Concord, New Hampshire, 1826);" Conspiracy of the Spaniards against Venice, translated from Abbe Real, and of John Lewis Fiesco against Genoa, translated from Cardinal De Retz" (Boston, 1828); "Annals of the Town of Keene, from its First Settlement in 1734 to 1790" (Concord, New Hampshire, 1826, and a continuation to 1815, Keene, 1851); "An Oration on the Character of Washington" (Keene, New Hampshire, 1832); "Address on the Connection of Chemistry and Agriculture," delivered before the Cheshire county agricultural society (Keene, 1848): and an "Address before the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1828" (Concord, 1832; Manchester, 1870).--His son, George Silsbee, lawyer, born in Keene, New Hampshire, 24 September, 1825, was graduated at Harvard in 1844, studied at the law school there, and taught in Richmond, Virginia He was admitted to the bar in Boston in 1850, where he has since been engaged in the practice of his profession. He has been a trustee of various institutions and in the city government of Boston, is a member of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire historical and of the New England historic genealogical societies, president of the American Unitarian association, and has taken active interest in philanthropic and charitable movements. He edited, in connection with George P. Sanger, and later with John Codman, the 16th, 17th, and 18th volumes of the "Boston Law Reporter," was the sole editor of the 16th, 17th, and 18th volumes of the "United States Digest," and of the 19th with H. Farnam Smith. He has written "Memoirs of Joel Parker," some time chief justice of New Hampshire (Boston, 1876), and of "Theron Metcalf," of the Supreme judicial court of Massachusetts (Boston, 1876). The "Memorial History of Boston" also contains an historical sketch by him of the charities of that city.

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