John Parker Hale, an American statesman, born in Rochester, N. XL, March 31, 1800, died in Dover, N. H., Nov. 19, 1873. He graduated at Bowdoin college in 1827, and took up his residence at Dover, where he was admitted to the bar in 1830. In 1832 he represented that town in the state legislature, and in 1834 President Jackson appointed him United States attorney for the district of New Hampshire. This office he held till 1841, when President Tyler removed him on political grounds. In 1843 he was elected as a democrat to congress, where he sided with the opponents of slavery. In the presidential canvass of 1844 he opposed the scheme for annexing Texas, and was renominated for congress. The New Hampshire legislature having passed a resolution instructing the congressional delegation from that state to support the annexation measure, Mr. Hale addressed a letter to the people of New Hampshire, in which he declared that the annexation of Texas was demanded for the purpose of strengthening and perpetuating slavery, and that if the people wished their representatives to support such a measure they must choose another man than himself to represent them. The state convention struck his name from the ticket and placed another nominee in his stead.
Mr. Hale ran as an independent candidate, supported chiefly by the "independent democrats," but was defeated. In June, 1845, he attempted to make a speech in the Old North church at Concord, vindicating his course; but frequent interruptions soon turned it into a sharp debate between himself and Franklin Pierce, which lasted from 2 P. M. till sundown, and is still the most memorable in the history of New Hampshire. The popular verdict gave the victory to Hale. In the following year he was elected to the legislature, became speaker of the house, and before the close of the session was chosen United States senator for six years from March, 1847. In the senate he steadily maintained the position he had taken on the slavery question, and opposed the compromise measures of Clay. In 1851 ho was counsel for the defendants in the trials which grew out of the rescue of the fugitive slave Shadrach. In 1847 the liberty party convention at Cleveland gave him a nomination for president, which he declined, and supported the Van Buren and Adams ticket in 1848. In 1852 he was nominated at Pittsburgh by the free-soil party, and received 157,-685 votes.
From 1853 to 1855 he practised law in the city of New York, and in the latter year was again elected as United States senator from New Hampshire, to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Atherton, deceased. In 1858 he was reelected for a full term of six years. To the administration of President Lincoln he gave a hearty support, speaking frequently on the most important subjects of legislation during the civil war. On retiring from the senate in March, 18G5, he was appointed minister to Spain. He had discharged the duties of this office for about three years, when a quarrel arose between himself and Mr. Perry, his secretary of legation. Mr. Hale was charged with evading the revenue laws of Spain by importing, under his privilege as a minister, goods which were put upon the market and sold as ordinary merchandise. He averred that the secretary was the real culprit, and that he had used the signature of the minister without his knowledge for illegal purposes. The result was that both minister and secretary were recalled by President Grant. Returning from Europe in 1870, Mr. Hale was prostrated by paralysis, and in the summer of 1873 his hip was dislocated by a fall, which was the immediate cause of his death.