John Gorham Palfrey, an American author, born in Boston, May 2,1796. He graduated at Harvard college in 1815, studied theology, and in June, 1818, was ordained minister of the Congregational church in Brattle square, Boston. From 1831 to 1839 he was professor of sacred literature in Harvard university, and from 1835 to 1842 was editor of the " North American Review." In 1842 he delivered before the Lowell institute in Boston a course of lectures on the " Evidences of Christianity," which were afterward published (2 vols., 1843). This was followed by " Lectures on the Jewish Scriptures and Antiquities" (4vols., 1838-52). He had previously published " Harmony of the Gospels " (1831), " Sermons " (1834), and "Academical Lectures" (1838), besides occasional sermons, etc. In 1842-3 he was a member of the Massachusetts legislature, and from 1844 for several years secretary of state of Massachusetts. In 1846 he wrote a series of newspaper articles on " The Progress of the Slave Power," which were collected into a volume. He was elected to congress as a whig in 1846; but having in December, 1847, refused on anti-slavery grounds to vote for Robert C. Win-throp as speaker, he was defeated at the next election (1848), after an animated contest in which there were 17 ballotings.
Meanwhile he had become a leader of the freesoilers, and in 1851 was one of the editors of the " Commonwealth," the chief organ of that party in New England. He was also the unsuccessful candidate of the party for governor of the state. He afterward devoted himself to literature, but from 1861 to 1866 was postmaster at Boston. In 1852 he published a review of Lord Mahon's " History of England," and in 1854 " Remarks on the proposed Constitutional Amendments," and " The Relation between Judaism and Christianity." The first volume of his " History of New England" was published in 1858, the second in 1860, and the third in 1865, bringing it down to 1688. - His daughter, Sarah Hammond, under the nom de plume of E. Fox-ton, has published " Premices," a volume of poems (1855), "Herman" (1866), and "Agnes Wentworth" (1869).