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See Hamilton Fish (disambiguation) for others with the same name
Hamilton Fish


In office
March 17, 1869 – March 12, 1877
Preceded by Elihu B. Washburne
Succeeded by William M. Evarts

In office
January 1, 1849 – December 31, 1850
Lieutenant George Washington Patterson
Preceded by John Young
Succeeded by Washington Hunt

Born August 3, 1808(1808-08-03)
New York City, New York
Died September 7, 1893 (aged 85)
Garrison, New York
Political party Whig, Republican
Spouse(s) Julia Kean Fish
Alma mater Columbia College of Columbia University
Profession Politician, Lawyer
Religion Episcopalian
Signature

Hamilton Fish (August 3, 1808 – September 7, 1893), born in New York City, was an American statesman who served as the 16th Governor of New York, United States Senator and United States Secretary of State.

Contents

Biography

Fish was born at what is now known as the Stuyvesant-Fish House in Greenwich Village, New York City, to Nicholas Fish and Elizabeth Stuyvesant (a great-great-granddaughter of New Amsterdam's Peter Stuyvesant), and his parents named him after their friend Alexander Hamilton. Nicholas Fish (1758-1833) was a leading Federalist politician and notable figure of the American Revolutionary War. Hamilton Fish married Julia Kean (a descendant of a New Yorker who was a New Jersey governor, William Livingston) in 1836. They would have three sons and five daughters, and multiple notable relatives.

Fish graduated from Columbia College in 1827 and was admitted to the New York bar in 1830, practicing briefly with William Beach Lawrence. He served as commissioner of deeds for the city and county of New York from 1832 through 1833, and was an unsuccessful candidate for New York State Assembly in 1834.

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Political career

Senator Hamilton Fish

As a member of the Whig party, Fish was elected to the House of Representatives, defeating Democrat John McKeon and serving in the 28th Congress from New York's 6th District between 1843 and 1845. After losing his bid for re-election, he returned to private practice as a lawyer. He was the Whig candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1846, but was defeated by Democrat Addison Gardiner who had been endorsed by the Anti-Rent Party. Gardiner was elected in May 1847 a judge of the New York Court of Appeals and vacated the office of lieutenant governor. Fish was then in November 1847 elected to fill the vacancy, and was Lieutenant Governor in 1848.

In November 1848, he was elected Governor of New York, defeating John A. Dix and Reuben H. Walworth, and served from January 1, 1849, to December 31, 1850.

On March 19, 1851, Fish was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, and he took his seat on December 1. In the United States Senate, he was a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations until the end of his term on March 3, 1857. He was a Republican for the latter part of his term and was part of a moderately anti-slavery faction. He opposed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. At the expiration of his term, he traveled with his family to Europe and remained there until shortly before the opening of the American Civil War, when he returned to begin actively campaigning for the election of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1861 and 1862 he was associated with John A. Dix, William M. Evarts, William E. Dodge, A.T. Stewart, John Jacob Astor and other New York men on the Union Defence Committee, which (from April 22, 1861, to April 30, 1862) co-operated with the New York City government in the raising and equipping troops, and disbursed more than $1 million for the relief of New York volunteers and their families.

He was also appointed in 1862 to serve with Edward Raymond Ames to visit the Union Army prisoners being held in the Confederate States of America capital in Richmond, Virginia. The Confederate government, however, refused to allow the commission to enter the city.

Secretary of State

Hamilton Fish in his elder years.

He also served as Secretary of State between March 17, 1869 and March 12, 1877 under Ulysses S. Grant. He was Grant's longest-serving Cabinet officer.

He conducted the negotiations with Great Britain which resulted in the Treaty of Washington of 1871, under which the Alabama claims and the San Juan Boundary Dispute (concerning the Oregon boundary line) were referred to arbitration. He also negotiated the reciprocity treaty of 1875 with the Kingdom of Hawaii.

In 1871 Fish presided at the peace conference at Washington between Spain and the allied republics of Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia, which resulted in a general truce between those countries.

It was chiefly due to his restraint and moderation that a satisfactory settlement of the Virginius Affair was reached by the United States and Spain in 1873.

Within the Department of State, he promoted testing job applicants to see if they were truly qualified for duty at a consulate.

Later life

After leaving the Cabinet, he returned to the law and managing his real estate in New York City.

He died at Glen Clyffe, his estate near Garrison, New York, in Putnam County, New York, in the Hudson River Valley, and is buried in Garrison at St. Philip's Church-in-the-Highlands Cemetery.

Other involvements

Notable relatives

Fish had many notable ancestors and descendants.

Trivia

References

Further reading

  • Nevins, Allan, Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration (Dodd) 1936. (1937 Pulitzer Prize winner in biography/autobiography category)

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James G. Clinton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

1843 - 1845
Succeeded by
William W. Campbell
Political offices
Preceded by
Albert Lester
Acting
Lieutenant Governor of New York
1848
Succeeded by
George W. Patterson
Preceded by
John Young
Governor of New York
1849 - 1850
Succeeded by
Washington Hunt
Preceded by
Elihu B. Washburne
United States Secretary of State
Served under: Ulysses S. Grant

1869 – 1877
Succeeded by
William M. Evarts
United States Senate
Preceded by
Daniel S. Dickinson
United States Senator (Class 1) from New York
1851 - 1857
Served alongside: William H. Seward
Succeeded by
Preston King

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HAMILTON FISH (1808-1893), American statesman, was born in New York City on the 3rd of August 1808. His father, Nicholas Fish (1758-1833), served in the American army during the War of American Independence, rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The son graduated at Columbia College in 1827, and in 1830 was admitted to the bar, but practised only a short time. In 1843-1845 he was a Whig representative in Congress. He was the Whig candidate for lieutenant-governor of New York in 1846, and was defeated by Addison Gardner (Democrat); but when in 1847 Gardner was appointed a judge of the state court of appeals, Fish was elected (November 1847) to complete the term (to January 1849). He was governor of New York state from 1849 to 1851, and was United States senator in 1851-1857, acting with the Republicans during the last part of his term. In 1861-1862 he was associated with John A. Dix, William M. Evarts, William E. Dodge, A. T. Stewart, John Jacob Astor, and other New York men, on the Union Defence Committee, which (from April 22, 1861, to April 30, 1862) co-operated with the municipal government in the raising and equipping of troops, and disbursed more than a million dollars for the relief of New York volunteers and their families. Fish was secretary of state during President Grant's two administrations (1869-1877). He conducted the negotiations with Great Britain which resulted in the treaty of the 8th of May 1871, under which (Article 1) the "Alabama claims" were referred to arbitration, and the same disposition (Article 34) was made of the "San Juan Boundary Dispute," concerning the Oregon boundary line. In 1871 Fish presided at the Peace Conference at Washington between Spain and the allied republics of Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia, which resulted in the formulation (April 12) of a general truce between those countries, to last indefinitely and not to be broken by any one of them without three years' notice given through the United States; and it was chiefly due to his restraint and moderation that a satisfactory settlement of the "Virginius Affair" was reached by the United States and Spain (1873). Fish was vice-presidentgeneral of the Society of the Cincinnati from 1848 to 1854, and president-general from 1854 until his death. He died in Garrison, New York, on the 7th of September 1893.

His son, Nicholas Fish (1846-1902), was appointed second secretary of legation at Berlin in 1871, became secretary in 1874, and was chargé d'af%aires at Berne in 1877-1881, and minister to Belgium in 1882-1886, after which he engaged in banking in New York City.


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