Thomas Francis Bayard - Encyclopedia

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THOMAS FRANCIS BAYARD (1828-1898), American diplomatist, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on the 29th of October 1828. His great-grandfather, Richard Bassett (1745-1815), governor of Delaware; his grandfather, James Asheton Bayard (1767-1815), a prominent Federalist, and one of the United States commissioners who negotiated the treaty of Ghent with Great Britain after the War of 1812; his uncle, Richard Henry Bayard (1796-1868); and his father, James Asheton Bayard (1799-1880), a well-known constitutional lawyer, all represented Delaware in the United States Senate. Intending to go into business, he did not receive a college education; but in 1848 he began the study of law in the office of his father, and was admitted to the bar in 1851. Except from 1855 to 1857, when he was a partner of William Shippen in Philadelphia, he practised chiefly in Wilmington. He was a United States senator from Delaware from 1869 to 1885, and in 1881 was (October 10th to 13th) president pro tempore of the Senate. His abilities made him a leader of the Democrats in the Senate, and his views on financial and legal questions gave him a high reputation for statesmanship. He was a member of the electoral commission of 1877. In the Democratic national conventions of 1872, 1876, 1880 and 1884 he received votes for nomination as the party candidate for the presidency. He was secretary of state, 1885-1889, during the first administration of President Cleveland, and pursued a conservative policy in foreign affairs, the most important matter with which he was called upon to deal being the Bering Sea controversy. As ambassador to Great Britain, 1893-1897, his tall dignified person, unfailing courtesy, and polished, if somewhat deliberate, eloquence made him a man of mark in all the best circles. He was considered indeed by many Americans to have become too partial to English ways; and, for the expression of some criticisms regarded as unfavourable to his own countrymen, the House of Representatives went so far as to pass, on the 7th of November 1895, a vote of censure on him. The value of Mr Bayard's diplomacy was, however, fully recognized in the United Kingdom, where he worthily upheld the traditions of a famous line of American ministers. He was the first representative of the United States in Great Britain to hold the diplomatic rank of an ambassador. He died in Dedham, Massachusetts, on the 28th of September 1898.

See Edward Spencer, Public Life and Services of T. F. Bayard (New York, 1880).1880).

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