Thomas F. Bayard: Wikis


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Thomas F. Bayard

In office
March 7, 1885 – March 6, 1889
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen
Succeeded by James G. Blaine

In office
March 4, 1869 – March 6, 1885
Preceded by James A. Bayard, Jr.
Succeeded by George Gray

In office
1893 – 1897
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Robert Todd Lincoln
Succeeded by John Hay

Born October 29, 1828(1828-10-29)
Wilmington, Delaware
Died September 29, 1898 (aged 69)
Dedham, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Louise Lee
Mary W. Clymer
Children Thomas F. Bayard, Jr.
Residence Wilmington, Delaware
Profession Lawyer
Religion Episcopalian

Thomas Francis Bayard (October 29, 1828 – September 29, 1898) was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served three terms as U.S. Senator from Delaware, and as U.S. Secretary of State, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.


Early life and family

Bayard was born in Wilmington, Delaware, son of U.S. Senator James A. Bayard, Jr. and Anne Francis, and grandson of U.S. Senator James A. Bayard, Sr. The Bayards were a wealthy and aristocratic family in Delaware at that time, claiming descent and inheriting some of the wealth of Richard Bassett and Augustine Herrman, the Lord of Bohemia Manor. Thomas Bayard was the fourth generation of the family to serve in the U.S. Senate. He was considered a prominent Bourbon Democrat.

Bayard studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1851 and worked as his father’s assistant. He was appointed United States District Attorney for Delaware from 1853 until 1854 and then practiced law in Philadelphia with his friend, William Shippen, from 1854 until 1858, before returning permanently to his father’s practice in Wilmington. In 1856 Bayard married Louise Lee. She died in 1886, and in 1889 he married Mary W. Clymer.

Civil War


As determined Peace Democrats, Thomas Bayard and his father were very much opposed to the Lincoln policy of coercion to prevent the secession of the Southern states, although they seemed equally in favor of remaining in the Union. While many of their actions raised questions from their opponents about their loyalty towards the Union, no evidence of treason has ever been established. Thomas Bayard was himself the First Lieutenant of a group known as the Delaware Guard, widely considered to be one of the military arms of pro-Southerners in Delaware. When the Delaware Guard was finally disarmed, Bayard was arrested for resisting the seizure, but was later paroled. However others may have felt, on January 2, 1861, Bayard is widely credited for convincing the Delaware General Assembly to drop, once and for all, any thought of secession.

United States Senator

Bayard was elected to his father’s seat in the United States Senate in 1868, and would serve there from March 4, 1869 until March 6, 1885. At various times he served as President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, Chairman of the Finance Committee, a member of the Judiciary Committee, Committee on Engrossed Bills, Committee on Private Land Claims, Library Committee and the Committee on the revision of laws. During his time as a senator, he was also a member of the Electoral Commission that decided the 1876 Presidential election in favor of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. As a Democrat, Bayard voted with the seven-member minority on all counts. Bayard was a candidate for President of the United States in 1876, ran second to Winfield Scott Hancock for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1880, and second to Grover Cleveland in 1884.

Diplomatic career


Bayard resigned from the U.S. Senate to become U.S. Secretary of State in the first administration of U.S. President Grover Cleveland. He was in office from March 7, 1885 until March 6, 1889, and was best known for negotiating the Fishery Treaty, settling fishing rights between the United States and Canada in the North Atlantic. He was also known for having paved the way for settlement of the Samoan question with Great Britain and Germany, and for upholding the special interest of the United States in the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, there was a dispute with Russia, known as the Bering Sea controversy, and an agreement with Spain abolishing certain tariffs.

After four years in private practice he was appointed the Ambassador to Great Britain during the second administration of U.S. President Grover Cleveland. He was the first person with that title, and served from 1893 until 1897. Bayard is sometimes credited for building the first strong links between the United States and the United Kingdom. His term was controversial, however, because while Ambassador, Bayard condemned the American policy of protectionism in trade, which he deemed "state socialism."

The Encyclopedia Britannica notes “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 unfavorable to his own countrymen, the House of Representatives went so far as to pass, on the November 7, 1895 a vote of censure on him. The value of Bayard's diplomacy was, however, fully recognized in the United Kingdom where he worthily upheld the traditions of a famous line of American ministers.”

Death and legacy

Bayard died at his daughter’s home in Dedham, Massachusetts, and is buried in the Old Swedes Episcopal Church Cemetery at Wilmington. U.S. Senator Thomas F. Bayard, Jr. was his son. There is a Thomas F. Bayard Elementary School in Wilmington and a statue on Kentmere Parkway in Brandywine Park, also in Wilmington.


The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4th, for a six year term. The U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassadors are appointed by the President of the United States with the consent of the U.S. Senate.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1869 March 3, 1875
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1875 March 3, 1881
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1881 March 6, 1885
Secretary of State Legislature Washington March 7, 1885 March 6, 1889 United States
Ambassador Legislature London 1893 1897 United Kingdom
United States Congressional Service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1869-1871 41st Senate Republican Ulysses S. Grant class 1
1871-1873 42nd Senate Republican Ulysses S. Grant class 1
1873-1875 43rd Senate Republican Ulysses S. Grant Engrossed Bills class 1
1875-1877 44th Senate Republican Ulysses S. Grant Engrossed Bills class 1
1877-1879 45th Senate Republican Rutherford B. Hayes Engrossed Bills class 1
1879-1881 46th Senate Democratic Rutherford B. Hayes Finance, Chair
class 1
1881-1883 47th Senate Democratic James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Private Land Claims class 1
1883-1885 48th Senate Republican Chester A. Arthur Private Land Claims class 1
1885-1887 49th Senate Republican Grover Cleveland class 1


  • Tansill, Charles Callan (1961). The Congressional Career of Thomas F. Bayard. Washington: Georgetown University Press..  
  • Hancock, Harold Bell (1946). Delaware During the Civil War. Wilmington, Delaware: Historical Society of Delaware.. ISBN 0-924117-24-9.  
  • Tansill, Charles Callan (1940). The Foreign Policy of Thomas F. Bayard. New York: Fordham University Press..  
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols.. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co..  
  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware, 3 vols.. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company.  
  • Spencer, Edward (1880). The Public Life and Services of T. F. Bayard.. New York.  

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