Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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YANCEY, William Lowndes, statesman, born in Ogeechee Shoals, Georgia, 10 August, 1814; died near Montgomery, Alabama, 28 July, 1863. He was the son of Benjamin C. Yancey, a lawyer of Abbeville, South Carolina, was educated at Williams college, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in Abbeville. In 1836 he removed to Alabama, and was admitted to the bar. He edited the "Cahawba Democrat" and the "Wetumpka Argus." He served in both branches of the legislature, and was elected to congress in 1844 to fill a vacancy, and re-elected in 1845, but resigned in 1847 to devote his entire attention to law. In 1845 he was challenged to a duel by General Thomas L. Clingman, but neither was injured in the encounter that ensued. He was a number of the National Democratic convention that met at Baltimore in May, 1848, a zealous opponent of the compromise measures of 1850, a Presidential elector in 1856, and one of the leaders of the extreme party in the south. In a letter written in June, 1858, and published in 1860, he advised the organization of committees of safety in all the cotton states to "fire the southern heart," and ultimately to precipitate those states into revolution ; and in 1859 he urged the calling of a convention by the state of Alabama, in the event of the election of the Republican candidate for president in 1860. He was a member of the Democratic convention at Charleston, 23 April, 1860, and withdrew with other southern extremists. During the presidential canvass he made a tour through the north and west, speaking at Faneuil hall, Boston, Cooper institute, New York, and elsewhere, urging the rejection of the Republican candidate on the ground that the platform adopted by that party would make the south hopeless of justice on the slavery question. In the Alabama convention, which met at Montgomery, 7 January, 1861, he reported the ordnance of secession, which was passed on 14 January On 27 February he was appointed a commissioner to the governments of Europe to obtain a recognition of the Confederate states, and left New York in March. He returned in February, 1862, and was a member of the Confederate senate at Richmond until the time of his death.
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