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Thomas Francis Bayard, Sr
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Thomas Francis Bayard (October 29, 1828 – September 28, 1898) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat from Wilmington, Delaware. A Democrat, he served three terms asUnited States Senator from Delaware and made three unsuccessful bids for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. In 1885, President Grover Cleveland appointed him Secretary of State. After four years in private life, he returned to the diplomatic arena asAmbassador to the United Kingdom. A Peace Democrat during the Civil War, Bayard spent his early years in the Senate in opposition to Republican policies, especially the Reconstructionof the defeated Confederacy. His conservatism extended to financial matters, as he became known as a staunch supporter of the gold standard and an opponent of greenbacks and silver coinage, which he believed would cause inflation. Bayard's conservative politics made him popular in the South and with Eastern financial interests, but never popular enough to obtain the Democratic nomination for President, which he attempted to win in 1876, 1880, and 1884. In 1885, President Cleveland appointed Bayard Secretary of State. Bayard worked with Cleveland to promote American trade in the Pacific while avoiding the acquisition of colonies at a time when many Americans clamored for them. He sought increased cooperation with Great Britain, working to resolve disputes over fishing and seal-hunting rights in the American-Canadian border waters. As ambassador, Bayard continued to strive for Anglo-American friendship. This brought him into conflict with his successor at the State Department, Richard Olney when Olney and Cleveland demanded more aggressive diplomatic overtures than Bayard wished in the Venezuela Crisis of 1895. His term at the American embassy ended in 1897, and he died the following year. Among the first foreign policy challenges Bayard and Cleveland faced was that concerning American influence in the Samoan Islands. The United States, Great Britain, and Germany all had treaties with the Samoan government that guaranteed their right to trade and establish naval bases there. In the 1880s, German chancellor Otto von Bismarck began to increase German influence in Samoa, and attempted to replace the Samoan king, Malietoa Laupepa, with Tamasese Titimaea, a claimant to the throne who favored German suzerainty. Bayard and Cleveland opposed any change that would undermine Samoan independence, as did the British government. Bayard filed a note of protest with the German government, and the three powers agreed to meet for a conference in Washington in June 1887, but they failed to achieve any agreement.Shortly thereafter, Tamasese's unpopularity led another claimant, Mata'afa Iosefo, to start a rebellion that led to the Samoan Civil War. When Tamasese's German guards were killed, Bismarck considered it an attack on Germany, and sent warships to Samoa. Cleveland dispatched three American warships, Nipsic, Trenton, and Vandalia, in response, and a British warship joined them. As the threat of war grew, Bismarck backed down and agreed to another conference in 1889; two weeks later, a hurricane struck the harbor and all of the German and American warships were damaged or sunk. As tempers cooled, the parties met in conference in Berlin. By that time, Cleveland had been defeated for re-election and James G. Blaine took Bayard's place as Secretary of State. The three powers agreed to a tripartite protectorate of Samoa with Malietoa Laupepa restored as king; that situation prevailed until 1899, when renewed civil war led to a second convention partitioning the islands between Germany and the United States. In the Kingdom of Hawaii, Bayard and Cleveland pursued a similar goal of maintaining the Hawaiian kingdom's independence while expanding access for American trade. As a Senator, Bayard had voted for free trade with Hawaii, but the treaty was allowed to lapse in 1884. As Secretary of State the following year, Bayard hoped to again have free trade with Hawaii, and also endorsed the idea of establishing an American naval base there, although he preferred Midway Atoll to the eventual location, Pearl Harbor. A treaty to that effect passed the Senate in 1887 by a 43–11 vote. As in Samoa, the administration sought to curb foreign influence, encouraging the Hawaiian government to reject a loan from Britain that would have required pledging future government revenues toward its repayment.Despite their agreement on Samoa, much of Bayard's term of office was taken up in settling disputes with Great Britain. The largest of these concerned the Canadian fisheries off the Atlantic coasts of Canada andNewfoundland. The rights of American fisherman in Canadian waters had been disputed since American independence, but the most recent disagreement stemmed from Congress's decision in 1885 to abrogate part of the 1871 treaty that governed the situation. Under that treaty, American fishermen had the right to fish in Canadian waters; in return, fishermen from Canada and Newfoundland had the right to export fish to the United States duty-free. Protectionists in Congress thought the arrangement hurt American fisherman, and convinced their colleagues to repeal it. In response, Canadian authorities fell back on an interpretation of the earlier Treaty of 1818, and began to seize American vessels. In 1887, the lame duck 49th Congress then passed the Fisheries Retaliation Act, which empowered the president to bar Canadian ships from American ports if he thought Canadians were treating American fishermen "unjustly;" Cleveland signed the bill, but did not enforce it and hoped he and Bayard would be able to find a diplomatic solution to the escalating trade war. Britain agreed to negotiate, and a six-member commission convened in Washington in June 1887. Bayard led the American delegation, joined by James Burrill Angell, president of the University of Michigan, and William LeBaron Putnam, a Maine lawyer and international law scholar. Joseph Chamberlain, a leading statesman in the British Parliament, led their delegation, which also included Lionel Sackville-West, the British ambassador to the United States, and Charles Tupper, a prominent politician from Nova Scotia. By February 1888, the commission agreed on a new treaty, which would create a mixed commission to determine which bays were open to American fishermen. Americans could purchase provisions and bait in Canada if they purchased a license, but if Canadian fisherman were allowed to sell their catch in the United States duty-free, then the Americans' licenses to fish in Canada would be free Bayard believed that the treaty, "if observed honorably and honestly, will prevent future friction ... between the two nations. The Senate, controlled by Republicans, disagreed, and rejected the treaty by a 27–30 vote. Following the defeat, Senate Republicans demanded Cleveland enforce the Retaliation Act, but he declined to do so. Instead, the two governments used the rejected treaty as a modus vivendi and put as many of its provisions into effect as possible.A similar dispute with Britain arose in the Pacific, over the rights of Canadians to hunt seals in waters off the Pribilof Islands, a part of Alaska. While only Americans had the right to take seals on the islands, the right to hunt in the waters around them was less well-defined, and Americans believed foreign sealers were depleting the herd too quickly by hunting off-shore. Bayard and Cleveland believed the waters around the islands to be exclusively American, but when Cleveland ordered the seizure of Canadian ships there, Bayard tried to convince him to search for a diplomatic solution instead. The situation remained unresolved when the administration left office in 1889, and remained so until the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911. Relations with Britain were also impaired when Sackville-West intervened in the 1888 election. A Republican, posing as a British immigrant to the United States, asked Sackville-West whether voting for Cleveland or his Republican opponent, Benjamin Harrison, would best serve British interests. Sackville-West wrote that Cleveland was better for Britain; Republicans published the letter in October 1888, hoping to diminish Cleveland's popularity among Irish-Americans. Cleveland's cabinet discussed the matter and instructed Bayard to inform the ambassador his services would no longer be required in Washington. Bayard attempted to limit the electoral damage, and gave a speech in Baltimore condemning Republicans for scheming to portray Cleveland as a British tool. Whether for this or for other reasons, Cleveland was defeated for re-election the following monthBayard's term as Secretary of State ended in March 1889 after Cleveland's defeat, and he returned to Wilmington to resume his law practice. He lived in "very comfortable circumstances" there, with a fortune estimated at $300,000, although his income from the law practice was modest. His wife having died in 1886, Bayard remarried in 1889 to Mary Willing Clymer, the granddaughter and namesake of the Philadelphia socialite Mary Willing Clymer. When Cleveland was re-elected in 1892, many assumed Bayard would resume his position in the cabinet. Instead, Cleveland selected Judge Walter Q. Gresham of Indiana for the State Department and appointed Bayard Ambassador to Great Britain, the first American envoy to Britain to hold that rank (his predecessors had been envoys. Bayard accepted the appointment, which the Senate quickly confirmedOn June 12, 1893, Lord Rosebury, the British Foreign Minister, received Bayard in London. Bayard began his tenure as ambassador with an "instinctive feeling of friendship for England," and a desire for peace and cooperation between the two nations. That desire was quickly impaired when Cleveland took the side of Venezuela when that nation insisted on taking a boundary disputebetween it and British Guiana to international arbitration. The exact boundary had been in dispute for decades, but Britain had consistently denied any arbitration except over a small portion of the line; Venezuela wished the entire boundary included in any arbitration. Bayard spent the summer of 1894 in the United States conferring with Gresham. The tension in the Venezuelan boundary dispute continued to escalate, while British disagreements with Nicaragua also threatened to involve the United States. Britain had once ruled the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua (the Mosquito Coast) but had abandoned it in 1860. Nicaragua had annexed the area while guaranteeing the inhabitants (the Miskito people) a degree of autonomy. When Nicaragua expanded their control of the area in 1894, the Miskito chief, Robert Henry Clarence, protested with the support of the British ambassador. Bayard agreed with Cleveland and Gresham that the British were not attempting to reestablish their colony, but Nicaraguans (and many Anglophobic Americans) saw a more sinister motive, including a possible British-controlled canal through Nicaragua. Returning to England, Bayard met with the new Foreign Minister, Lord Kimberley, to emphaisize Nicaragua's right to govern the area.The tension over Nicaragua soon abated, but the May 1895 death of Secretary Gresham, who like Bayard had favored cooperation with the British, led to increased disagreement over the Venezuela issue. Cleveland appointed Richard Olney to take over the State Department, and Olney soon proved more confrontational than his predecessor. Olney's opinion, soon adopted by Cleveland, was that the Monroe Doctrine not only prohibited new European colonies, but also declared an American national interest in any matter of substance within the hemisphere. Olney drafted a long dispatch on the history of the problem, declaring that "to-day the United States is practically sovereign on this continent, and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition. Bayard delivered the note to the British Prime Minister (Lord Salisbury, who was also serving as Foreign Minister) on August 7, 1895. Olney's note was met with vehement disagreement and delay, but when tempers cooled, the British agreed to arbitration later that year. Bayard disagreed with the bellicose tone of the message, which he attributed to an effort to satisfy Anglophobia among "Radical Republicans and the foolish Irishmen. Olney, for his part, thought Bayard soft-pedaled the note and asked Cleveland to remove Bayard from office, which Cleveland declined. The House of Representatives agreed with Olney, and passed a resolution of censure against Bayard in December 1895. Britain and Venezuela formally agreed to arbitration in February 1897, one month before the Cleveland administration came to an end. The panel's final judgement, delivered in 1899, awarded Britain almost all of the disputed territoryBayard remained in London until the arrival of his successor, John Hay, in April 1897. He returned to Wilmington that May and visited ex-President Cleveland at his home in Princeton the following month, remaining friendly with him despite their differences on the Venezuela question. Bayard's health had begun to decline in England, and he was often ill after his return to the United States. He died on September 28, 1898, while visiting his daughter Mabel Bayard Warren in Dedham, Massachusetts. Bayard was buried in the Old Swedes Episcopal Church Cemetery at Wilmington. He was survived by his second wife and seven of his twelve children, including Thomas F. Bayard, Jr., who would serve in the United States Senate from 1922 to 1929.Thirteen years after his death, the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica said of Bayard that "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 ... 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. In 1929, the Dictionary of American Biography described Bayard, as a Senator, as being "remembered rather for his opposition to Republican policies ... than for constructive legislation of the successful solution of great problems", and said that he had "the convictions of an earlier day ... and was never inclined, either politically or socially, to seek popularity with the country at large. Charles C. Tansill, a conservative historian, found much to praise in Bayard; he published a volume on Bayard's diplomatic career in 1940 and another about his congressional career in 1946, the only full-length biographies to appear since Bayard's death. Later historians took a dimmer view of Bayard's diplomatic career; in a 1989 book, Henry E. Mattox numbered Bayard among the Gilded Age foreign service officers who were "demonstrably incompetent."Thomas Francis Bayard: Sir, thank you for serving as United States Secretary of State from 1885 to 1889, may you rest in peace!
 Added: Sep. 28, 2014

- Tracey Reid
 Added: Oct. 29, 2013
Thomas Francis Bayard: Sir, thank you for serving as United States Secretary of State from 1885 to 1889, happy birthday!
 Added: Oct. 29, 2012

- Daryl & Barbara (Biggs) Mallett
 Added: Dec. 13, 2011
Thomas Francis Bayard: Sir, thank you for serving as United States Secretary of State from 1885 to 1889, happy birthday!
 Added: Oct. 29, 2011
Thomas Francis Bayard: Sir, thank you for serving as United States Secretary of State from 1885 to 1889, happy birthday!
 Added: Oct. 29, 2009
Happy Birthday
- Republican
 Added: Oct. 29, 2009
Thomas Francis Bayard: Sir, thank you for serving as United States Secretary of State from 1885 to 1889, may you rest in peace!
 Added: Sep. 28, 2009

- Mellissa Lake Co. Illinois
 Added: May. 30, 2009
Thomas Francis Bayard: Sir, thank you for serving as United States Secretary of State from 1885 to 1889,may you rest in peace]
 Added: Sep. 28, 2008
Thomas Francis Bayard: Sir, thank you for serving as United States Secretary of State from 1885 to 1889, happy birthday!
 Added: Oct. 29, 2007

- Kat
 Added: Oct. 29, 2007
Happy Birthday!
- Jackie Howard
 Added: Oct. 29, 2007

- Mellissa Lake Co. Illinois
 Added: Oct. 29, 2006

- Mellissa Lake Co. Illinois
 Added: Sep. 28, 2006
- quebecoise
 Added: May. 20, 2006
Politics/Diplomat, s/o James A. & Ann (Francis), m1. 10/1856 Louisa Lee, m2. 11/7/1889 Mary W. Clymer, Children: Thomas Jr., possibly others; grandson of James; passed DE bar 1851
- Judy Reamy
 Added: Mar. 11, 2006
R. I. P.
 Added: Oct. 29, 2005
May you rest in happiness forever
- A Marine's Daughter
 Added: Sep. 28, 2005
Happy Birthday.
- Libby Talley
 Added: Oct. 29, 2004
God bless you.
Rest in Peace
- Trisha W.
 Added: Sep. 28, 2004

- God Bless & R.I.P. ~ Daughter Of An Angel ~
 Added: Sep. 26, 2004

- quebecoise
 Added: Dec. 24, 2003
feliz cumpleaños, un abrazo grande y espero seas muy feliz donde quiera que estés.
 Added: Oct. 29, 2003

- Tony Smith SCV Camp 38, North Charleston S.C.
 Added: Oct. 2, 2002

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