Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LEAR, Tobias, diplomatist, born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 19 September, 1762; died in Washington, D. C., 11 October, 1816. He was graduated at Harvard in 1783, and in 1785 became private secretary to General Washington. For several years he attended to the details of Washington's domestic affairs, and was liberally remembered by him in his will. In 1802 Mr. Lear was consul-general at Santo Domingo, and in 1804 was made consul-general at Algiers. In 1805 he was appointed commissioner to conclude a peace with Tripoli, but discharged this duty in a manner that gave umbrage to General William Eaton (q. v.), who, in concert with Isaac Hull and Hamet Caramelli, the deposed bey, had gained important advantages over the reigning bey. It was thought that to accept terms of peace at this juncture was to throw away the fruits of hard-earned success, but Mr. Lear's conduct was approved by his government, though much censured by a part of the public. He returned shortly afterward to the United States, and was employed in Washington as accountant for the war department until the time of his death by his own hand.
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