Edward Everett, an American statesman, orator, and author, brother of the preceding, born in Dorchester, Mass., April 11, 1794, died in Boston, Jan. 15, 1865. He entered Harvard college in 1807, and graduated in 1811, at the age of 17, with the highest honors. While an undergraduate he was the principal conductor of a magazine published by the students, called the "Harvard Lyceum." He became a tutor in the college, and at the same time pursued his studies in divinity. In 1812 he delivered a poem before the Phi Beta Kappa society on American poets. In 1813 he was settled as pastor over the Brattle street church in Boston, and immediately won reputation by the eloquence and power of his discourses. In 1814 he published a " Defence of Christianity," in reply to the work of George Bethune English entitled "The Grounds of Christianity Examined, by comparing the New Testament with the Old." In the same year he was chosen Eliot professor of Greek in Harvard college, and to qualify himself for his duties, in the spring of 1815 he entered upon an extended course of European travel and study. After a brief stay in England, he went to the university of Gottingen, where he remained for two years.
In the winter of 1817-'18 he was at Paris. In the spring of 1818 he went to England, where he became acquainted with many of the leading men of the day, including Scott, Jeffrey, Campbell, Mackintosh, Romilly, and Davy. Returning to the continent, he passed the winter in Italy, and thence made a journey into Greece, returning through Wallachia and Hungary to Vienna. During his residence in Europe, his range of study embraced the ancient classics, the modern languages, the history and principles of the civil and public law, and a comprehensive examination of the existing political systems of Europe. Upon his return home, in 1819, he entered upon the duties of his professorship, and delivered to the students a series of lectures upon Greek literature and ancient art, which were afterward repeated before large audiences in Boston. He also became editor of the "North American Review," which he conducted till 1824, contributing to it about 50 articles, to which may be added about 60 more contributed while the " Review " was edited by his brother and others succeeding him.
He also prepared a translation of Buttmann's Greek grammar, and a Greek reader based upon that of Jacobs. In 1824 he delivered a discourse before the Phi Beta Kappa society on the "Circumstances favorable to the Progress of Literature in America," at which Lafayette sat by his side. This was the first of a series of discourses pronounced by him on public occasions, embracing every variety of topic connected with our national history, character, and prospects, and combining in an eminent degree the peculiar charm of popular oratory with the substantial merits of thought and style. His public life began in 1824, when he was elected to congress, and he served by successive reelections ten years. During the whole period he was a member of the committee on foreign affairs, and in the 20th congress he was chairman of that committee. He also held a place on all the most important select committees, and in every instance he drew either the majority or minority report. He wrote the minority report of the committee on foreign relations upon the controversy with France in the spring of 1835, and took a leading part in the debate upon the subject.
He made two or three reports on the claims of American citizens on foreign powers, for spoliations committed on our commerce during the French continental system, and continued the discussion in the "North American Review." He always served on the library committee, and generally on that for public buildings. In 1827 he addressed a series of letters to Mr. Canning on the colonial trade. Besides occasional elaborate public addresses, he prepared several articles of high merit for the "North American Review;" among others a paper in the number for October, 1830, in which the South Carolina doctrine of nullification is discussed and controverted. In the autumn of 1834 he declined a renomination to congress, and in 1835 he was elected governor of Massachusetts. He was afterward three times reelected, holding the office four years, and was defeated in 1839 by a majority of one vote. The election of Gen. Harrison in 1840, with the appointment of Daniel "Webster as secretary of state, led to the selection of Mr. Everett as minister plenipotentiary to England. The relations of the United States with England at that time were grave.
The controversy touching the northeastern boundary, which for half a century had been a subject of difference, seemed to have reached a point beyond which an amicable adjustment was hopeless. The recent burning of the Caroline and the arrest of McLeod had inflamed the public mind in both countries. The case of the Creole, and questions connected with Oregon and Texas, we,re also elements of irritation. American vessels had been seized and detained by British cruisers on the coast of Africa. Though the settlement of the northeastern boundary and of the Oregon question was transferred to Washington by the appointment on the part of England of Lord Ashburton as special ambassador, yet many important questions were left to Mr. Everett's judgment, unfettered by special instructions. Among the most important was that involving the construction of the first article of the convention between the two countries on the subject of the fisheries. He secured for American fishermen the long disputed right to take fish in the bay of Fundy, and procured the release from the penal colony of Van Dienien's Land of 60 or 70 American citizens convicted of participation in the Canadian rebellion.
In the spring of 1843 he was appointed commissioner to China, with a view to establish commercial relations with that country, but he was compelled to decline. Immediately upon his return to the United States in the autumn of 1845, he was chosen president of Harvard university. He entered upon the duties of this new trust with characteristic energy and enthusiasm, but ill health compelled him to resign the post at the end of three years. He afterward prepared a collected edition of his orations and speeches (2 vols. 8vo, 1850). He also superintended the publication of the new edition of the works of Webster, at his special request, and prepared an elaborate memoir, which was prefixed to the first volume. Upon the death of that statesman, in October, 1852, Everett was appointed secretary of state, and held the office during the last four months of President Fillmore's administration. During his brief term of office he adjusted the perplexing affairs of the Crescent City steamer and the Lobos islands, prosecuted with energy the difficult negotiations pertaining to the fisheries, concluded an international copyright convention with Great Britain and a consular convention with France, reviewed the whole subject of Central American affairs in their relations to the government of the United States and Great Britain, and induced congress to establish a mission of the first class to Central America. A prominent question during his administration of the department of state was the joint proposition of Great Britain and France to enter with the United States into a tripartite convention, guaranteeing to Spain in perpetuity the exclusive possession of Cuba. This proposition was declined by the United States, in a diplomatic note drawn up by Mr. Everett. In 1853 he prepared an address for the annual meeting of the American colonization society in Washington, in exposition and defence of the objects of that association.
Before leaving the department of state he was elected by the legislature of Massachusetts to the senate of the United States. He took his seat in the special executive session in March, 1853, and made an able and elaborate speech on the Central American question. In the summer and autumn of 1853, besides an address before the New York historical society on colonization and emigration, and a reply to the protest of Lord John Russell against the doctrines asserted by our government in the note declining the tripartite convention, he spoke more than once in opposition to the proposed new constitution in Massachusetts. The 33d congress was signalized by the introduction of the bill for the repeal of the Missouri compromise, commonly called the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Mr. Everett delivered a speech against the bill, Feb. 8, 1854, characterized by his usual moderate and conservative views, as well as by good taste and good temper. His health, under the pressure of official toil and excitement, now broke down, and in the following May, under the advice of his physician, he resigned his seat. A few months of rest and quiet restored him; and now there began a new phase in his life, and the opening of a new and peculiar sphere of action.
In the year 1853 the project of purchasing Mount Vernon by private subscription was first started by Miss Ann Pamela Cunningham, in an address to the women of the United States, under the signature of "A Southern Matron." The proposal was favorably received, and associations of ladies began to be formed in several of the states for the purpose of collecting funds. Mr. Everett had already prepared for the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" a life of Washington, afterward separately printed (12mo, New York, 1860); and having been applied to by the mercantile library association of Boston to deliver a lecture during their course of 1855-6, he proposed that the association should celebrate the next anniversary of the birthday of Washington, and offered to prepare for that occasion a discourse upon his character, the proceeds to be applied to some commemorative purpose. The offer was accepted; and on Feb. 22, 1856, he pronounced his oration on Washington for the first time, before an immense audience at the music hall in Boston. It was immediately repeated at New York, New Haven, and Baltimore, and the proceeds were applied to various objects.
It was delivered for the first time for the benefit of the Mount Vernon fund at Richmond, Va., on March 19, 1856; and subsequently it was repeated in different towns and cities nearly 150 times, always, except in a few instances, for the benefit of the Mount Vernon fund. In 1858 he entered into an engagement with Robert Bonner, editor and proprietor of the " New York Ledger," to furnish an article weekly for that paper for one year in consideration of $10,000 to be paid in advance to the Mount Vernon fund. These articles were republished as "The Mount Vernon Papers " (12mo, New York, 1861). The entire amount raised by Mr. Everett, who gave also his time and expenses freely, exceeded $100,-000. On Dec. 22, 1857, he delivered in Boston an address on charity and charitable associations for the benefit of the Boston provident association, which was repeated in different parts of the country 15 times, with an aggregate net receipt, for the benefit of various charitable associations, of about $13,500. On Jan. 17, 1859, he delivered an address in Boston on the "Early Days of Franklin," at the invitation of the association of the Franklin medallists of that city, which was repeated five times, yielding about $4,000 for the benefit of various charitable and public associations.
On Dec. 7,1858, he pronounced a eulogy on Thomas Dowse, before the Dowse institute, at Cambridge, Mass., which was afterward repeated before the Massachusetts historical society. In 1860 he was nominated as vice president, with John Bell of Tennessee as president, on a "union" ticket, which received 590,631 votes in a popular vote of 4,662,170. On the outbreak of the civil war in 1861 Mr. Everett made several patriotic speeches in the principal cities of the north. At the consecration of the national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa., Nov. 19, 1863, he delivered the address, afterward published (8vo, Boston, 1864). In the presidential election of 1864 his name was at the head of the Massachusetts ticket as an elector at large, and his vote in the electoral college for Lincoln and Johnson was the closing act of his political career. His last appearance in public was on Jan. 9, 1865, when he made an address in Faneuil hall, Boston, in aid of sending provisions to the suffering people of Savannah. He died on the following Sunday. By direction of President Lincoln, the several executive departments caused appropriate honors to be paid to his memory at home and abroad, and he was the subject of eulogies in public meetings in the leading cities of the Union, several of which were published, including a " Memorial from the City of Boston " and "Proceedings of the Thursday Evening Club [Boston] on the Occasion of the Death of Everett." Besides his addresses, reports, reviews, and other works above enumerated, Everett wrote "The Dirge of Alaric the Visigoth," "Santa Croce," and other poems, and a life of Gen. Stark in Sparks's "American Biography." A collection of his principal public efforts has been published (" Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions," 4 vols. 8vo, Boston, 1869). A statue of Everett by Ball has been placed in the Boston public library, and one by Story in the public garden.