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1775 to 1777. This work has since been published. He also reported bills, which were passed, making liberal provision for the asylums for the deaf and dumb, and for the blind, in the city of New York. He also reported a long and important bill, making extensive changes in the laws respecting common schools. This bill, as originally reported, was almost exclusively the work of John C. Spencer, then Secretary of State and Superintendent of Common Schools, and the labors of Mr. Duer were mainly confined to explaining and defending it on the floor of the House.
At the same session, an application was made by the North River Bank for a renewal of its charter. This Mr. Duer opposed, as leading to a renewal of the system of chartered bank. ing under the safety-fund institution, which he believed injuri. ous in its effects not only on the currency, but on the character of the Legislature. He had confidence, however, in the free banking system under the law of 1838. The application of the bank failed by a few votes. The bank, being a sound one, has since organized under the general banking law, and is, we have reason to believe, well satisfied with the change.
The case of Alexander M Lcod, charged with the murder of an American citizen at Schlosser, excited great interest at this time. Mr. Hoflinan moved that the Committee on the Ju(liciary be instructed to report a bill providing that a nolle prosequi be entered, M'Leod being then under indictment and in prison. This brought up the interesting and important question, which has since been so ably discussed, whether or not the burning of the Caroline was an act of war, and the parties concerned in it were consequently to be treated as soldiers, their government only being responsible. Mr. Duer took the ground that this was a question which ought to be judicially determin. od; and that the dignity of the state, as well as considerations connected with the peace of the frontier, required that it should not be thus summarily disposed of. It is well known that M'Leod was tried and acquitted.
Mr. Duer also brought forward a proposition, making the ability to read the English language the sole qualification of an elector, with the exception of age and residence. He was prevented by severe illness, at the latter part of the session from urging this measure as he had desired and intended
In 1842 he was the Whig candidate for Congress in the district of Oswego and Madison, but was defeated. In 1844 he was a delegate to the National Convention that nominated Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen for President and Vice-President. In the spring of 1846 he was a candidate for the Convention to amend the State Constitution, and was defeated by about ninety votes. For several years he held the office of district attorney for Oswego county, and in the fall of 1846 was nominated and elected, on the Whig ticket, to represent in Congress the twenty-third Congressional District of New York.
In person Mr. Duer is about five feet ten and a half inches high, of a strong mold, with dark hair, and of dark complexion. ABBOTT, AMOS,
MV AS born at Andover, Massachusetts, where he now re. siiles, on the 10th of September, 1786. He is a direct lineal descendant of the family of George Abbott, one of the first settlers of that ancient town, who emigrated from Hampshire, En. gland, about the year 1640. He was educated at the district school while living at home on his father's farm. A severe sickness in early life impaired his constitution so materially that it never wholly recovered from the shock. This circumstance ad. monished him of the necessity of directing his attention to some pursuit in life imposing less physical labor than that of farming. He attended for some time the academy at Bradford, in Essex county, and subsequently became a trader and merchant, in which business be continued until within a few years past. An interesting genealogical register of this ancient family, compil. ed by the Reverend Abiel Abbot and the Reverend Ephraim Abbott, has been recently published by Munroe and Company, of Boston.
He always engaged more or less in town affairs, and has been director, trustee, and president of various business, moneyed, and literary institutions. He has never ceased to take particular interest in the cause of education. In 1835 he was elected a member of the State Legislature, and from that time until 1844 he continued a member of one or the other branch of that body. During three years of this time he represented the county of Essex in the Senate.
Though taking an active part in public matters generally, he took special interest, while a member of the Senate, in the public charities of the commonwealth. As chairman of the
Committee on Public and Charitable Institutions, he introduced and advocated some important improvements, and exerted all his influence toward the promotion of the great cause of Christian benevolence. He took a deep interest, also, in the cause of internal improvements—as to rail-roads especially. Throughout the whole of his legislative career he supported with zeal the earliest as well as the later projects which have been the means of intersecting the state in every direction with iron pathways, and giving a lasting impetus to her material prosperity. He was one of the first board of directors of one of the earliest roads, now become one of the principal routes in the country—the Boston and Maine Rail-road. He continued a member of the board for many years. This project, in fact, was started by himself and two or three other gentlemen, was pushed through at much private risk and labor, and after a great struggle.
In 1844 he was elected by the Whig party to represent, in the twenty-eighth Congress, the third Congressional district of Massachusetts. His immediate predecessor was Brigadiergeneral Caleb Cushing. The district is composed of parts of the counties of Essex and Middlesex, and contains within its limits the large and populous towns of Newburyport, Haverhill, and Andover, the city of Lowell, and the new manufacturing town of Lawrence, &c. He was re-elected a member of the twenty-ninth, and subsequently of the thirtieth Congress.
His appearance is that of a plain, unostentatious gentleman, in the autumn-not yet in the winter—of life. His manners are quiet and unobtrusive, and he is known more by his votes and his close attention to his public duties than by his speeches. We have, indeed, no recollection of having heard him make what is known as a set speech, but he offers his views occasionally, briefly and off-hand, on different topics as they present themselves. He manifests a deep interest in all measures of a national character, and more especially those of Whig policy. From early life he has been firmly and uniformly attached to the conservative school of politics. He is not a politician by profession or natural inclination, his habits leading him rather to seek retirement, and to avoid the confusion and strife of a public career. And it has been his constant aim to make his political conduct a matter of moral duty.