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For the Member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts, see Richard Olney II; for the food and wine writer, see Richard Olney (food writer).
Richard Olney


In office
March 6, 1893 – April 7, 1895
Preceded by William H. H. Miller
Succeeded by Judson Harmon

In office
June 10, 1895 – March 5, 1897
Preceded by Walter Q. Gresham
Succeeded by John Sherman

Born September 15, 1835(1835-09-15)
Oxford, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died April 8, 1917 (aged 81)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Agnes Park Thomas
Alma mater Brown University
Harvard Law School
Profession Lawyer, Politician
Religion Presbyterian

Richard Olney (September 15, 1835 – April 8, 1917) was an American statesman. He served as both United States Attorney General and Secretary of State under President Grover Cleveland. Olney was the uncle of Massachusetts Congressman Richard Olney.

Olney was born in Oxford, Massachusetts, and studied at Brown University (Class of 1856), and Harvard Law School (Class of 1858). In 1859 he began practicing law in Boston, and attained a high position at the bar. He served as a member of the Board of Selectmen of West Roxbury, Massachusetts and in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1874.

In 1861 Olny married Agnes Park Thomas of Boston, Massachusetts.

In March 1893, Olney became U.S. Attorney General. During the Pullman strike in 1894, he instructed the district attorneys to secure from the Federal Courts writs of injunction restraining the strikers from acts of violence; thus setting a precedent for "government by injunction." He also advised the use of Federal troops to quell the disturbances in the city, on the ground that the government must prevent interference with its mails and with the general railway transportation between the states.

Upon the death of Secretary of State Walter Q. Gresham, Olney succeeded him on June 10, 1895. He quickly elevated U.S. foreign diplomatic posts to the title of Embassy, thus making it official that the U.S. would be regarded as an equal of the world's greater nations (up until that time, the United States had had only Legations, which diplomatic protocol dictated be treated as inferior to Embassies). He became specially prominent in the controversy with United Kingdom concerning the boundary dispute between the British and Venezuelan governments, and in his correspondence with Lord Salisbury gave an extended interpretation to the Monroe Doctrine which went considerably beyond previous statements on the subject.

In 1897, at the expiration of Cleveland's term, Olney returned to the practice of the law.

In March of 1913 Olney turned down President Wilson's offer to be the US Ambassador to Great Britain, and later when in May of 1914, President Wilson offered Olney the Appointment as Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, he declined that appointment. Olney was unwilling to take on new responsibilities at his advanced age .

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • George B. Young, "Intervention Under the Monroe Doctrine: The Olney Corollary," Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Jun., 1942), pp. 247-280 in JSTOR
  • The New York Times, RICHARD OLNEY DIES; VETERAN STATESMAN; Attorney General and Secretary of State in Cleveland's Second Term Expires in Boston at 81. UPHELD MONROE DOCTRINE His Demand Upon Great Britain Led to Her Arbitration of the Venezuelan Boundary Dispute. His Settlement of Mora Claim. Introduced by Cleveland. The 'Silent Statesman.' Offered Ambassadorship. Page 13, (April 10, 1917).
  • The New York Times, WILSON SEEKS HEAD OF RESERVE BOARD; Olney Declines and Secretary Houston Now Is Talked Of as Governor, Page 14, (May 6, 1914).
  • The New York Times, OLNEY REFUSES OFFER OF LONDON EMBASSY; Tells President Wilson He Is Too Old to Establish a Residence Abroad, Page 2, (March 16, 1913).
Legal offices
Preceded by
William H. H. Miller
United States Attorney General
1893–1895
Succeeded by
Judson Harmon
Political offices
Preceded by
Walter Q. Gresham
United States Secretary of State
Served under: Grover Cleveland

1895–1897
Succeeded by
John Sherman
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

RICHARD OLNEY (1835-),), American statesman, was born at Oxford, Massachusetts, on the 15th of September 1835. He graduated from Brown University in 1856, and from the Law School of Harvard University in 1858. In 1859 he began the practice of law at Boston, Massachusetts, and attained a high position at the bar. He served in the state house of representatives in 1874, and in March 1893 became attorney-general of the United States in the cabinet of President Cleveland. In this position, during the strike of the railway employes in Chicago in 1894, he instructed the district attorneys to secure from the Federal Courts writs of injunction restraining the strikers from acts of violence, and thus set a precedent for "government by injunction." He also advised the use of Federal troops to quell the disturbances in the city, on the ground that the government must prevent interference with its mails and with the general railway transportation between the states. Upon the death of Secretary W. Q. Gresham (1832-1895), Olney succeeded him as secretary of state on the 10th of June 1895. He became specially prominent in the controversy with Great Britain concerning the boundary dispute between the British and Venezuelan governments (see Venezuela), and in his correspondence with Lord Salisbury gave an extended interpretation to the Monroe Doctrine which went considerably beyond previous statements on the subject. In 1897, at the expiration of President Cleveland's term, he returned to the practice of the law.


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