Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KELLEY, William Darrah, congressman, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 12 April, 1814. His grandfather, John, was a Revolutionary officer, of Salem county, New Jersey William lost his father at an early age, and was apprenticed first to a printer and subsequently to a jeweller in Boston, where, while following his trade, he acquired a reputation as a writer and speaker. Returning to Philadelphia in 1840 he studied law, was admitted to the bar the next year, and while practising his profession devoted much time to literary pursuits. He was attorney-general of the state in 1845-'6, and a judge of the court of common pleas of Philadelphia from 1846 till 1856. Until 1848 Mr. Kelley was a Democrat and free-trader, but in 1854 he joined the Republican party, became a protectionist and an ardent abolitionist, and delivered in Philadelphia in 1854 an address on "Slavery in the Territories." that became widely known. In 1860 he was a delegate to the National Republican convention, and was elected to congress, where he has served till the present time (1887), and is the senior member of the house in continuous service. He has been a member of numerous committees, such as those on naval affairs, agriculture, and Indian affairs, was chairman of that on weights and measures in the 40th congress, and of that on the Centennial celebration. He is often called the "Father of the House," and is popularly known as " Pig-iron Kelley." In addition to many political speeches and literary essays, he has published "Address at the Colored Department of the House of Refuge " (Philadelphia, 1850)" "Reasons for abandoning the Theory of Free Trade and adopting the Principle of Protection to American Industry" (1872); "Speeches, Addresses"; "Letters on Industrial and Financial Questions" (1872); "Letters from Europe" (1880); and " The New South " (1887).
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