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THIRTEENTH President of the United States, was born in Cayuga county, New York, January the 7th, 1800. His father, Nathaniel Fillmore, was a farmer, who, soon after Millard's birth, lost all his property, through some defective title. The narrow means of his father deprived Millard or any educational advantages beyond what were afforded by the ill-taught schools of the county. At the age of fifteen he was sent into the wilds of Livingston county, to learn the clothier trade. Four months afterwards he was placed with another person, to pursue the same business and woolcarding. Four years passed away while he was working a. this business, his leisure moments being given to reading and the improvement of his mind. At the age of nineteen, through the kindly aid of Judge Wood, Millard began the study of law. To defray his expenses he taught school three months in the year. In 1821, he removed to Buffalo; and, in 1823, was admitted to practice in the village of Aurora, in Erie county. In 1830, he returned to Buffalo, where he fixed his residence.
In 1829, Mr. Fillmore was elected to represent Erie county in the Legislature, to which office he was re-elected the two following years. In that body he particularly distinguished himself as the advocate of the bill abolishing imprisonment for debt. In 1832, he was elected to Congress. In 1836, he was again elected to Congress, in which body he distinguished himself by a strenuous opposition to the measures of the Van Buren administration. Mr. Fillmore was re-elected to the next Congress, and, his party being in the majority, placed at the head of the important committee of Ways and Means. In this arduous office he proposed and supported with great ability measures which were calculated to revive the drooping affairs of the country. In 1844, he became the Whig candidate for governor of New York, but was defeated. In 1847, he was elected Comptroller of that State by an unprecedented majority. In 1848. he was nominated upon the ticket with General
Taylor as the Whig candidate for Vice-president, and elected. By the death of the President, Mr. Fillmore succeeded to his office in July, 1850. In every station he has been distinguished for force of talert, energy of will, and urbanity of deportment His present high position he owes, in a great measure, io his own exertions, and his career is a model for the imitation of young Americans.
FRANKLIN PIERCE was born at Hillsborough, N. H., on the 23d of November, 1804. He was the fourth son of Benjamin Pierce, a brave soldier of th3 war of independence, a governor of New Hampshire, and till his death a leading man in the Granite State. For several years, Franklin attended school at Hancock and Traverstown. He then attended Exeter Academy, where he completed his preparatory studies, and at the age of sixteen he entered Bowdoin College. Among his classmates were Calvin E. Stowe (since Rev. Dr. Stowe), and others who have since become highly distinguished. During his first two years at college, Franklin was not a studious scholar, being rather given to levity and social amusement. But he was popular among the collegians. When his college course was about half finished, he was induced to teach a district school at Hebron, in Maine, for three months, it being very difficult to obtain any one to fill the situation. In 1824, Mr. Pierce took his degree at college, and then devoted himself to the study of law in the offices successively of Hon. Edmund Parker, at Amherst, Hon. Levi Woodbury, at Portsmouth, and in the law school of Judge Howe, at Northampton, Mass. In 1827, he was admitted to the bar, and he began the practice of the law in Hillsborough.
Mr. Pierce espoused the doctrines of the Democratic party. In the second year of his practice, when only twentyfive years old, he was elected to represent the town of Hillsborough in the State Legislature. The three successive years he was also elected to that body; and in 1831 and '32, he was made Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. Pierce was, like his father, an active and zealous supporter of General Jackson during this period.
In the summer of 1833, Mr. Pierce was elected from his native district to the lower house of Congress. At Washington he was punctual and earnest in attending to his duties, seldom speaking, but always voting. His speeches on the revolutionary claims, the deposit question, and the West Point Academy, are remarkable for their practical cast, and the earnest desire they express for economy in the national expenditure. Mr. Pierce continued in the House until 1837, when he was elected to a seat in the United States Senate. There he was known as a working member, and a thoroughgoing supporter of the financial measures of President Van Buren. In 1838, Mr. Pierce removed from Hillsborough to Concord. His friends of Hillsborough tendered him a public dinner as a mark of their esteem, but the honor was declined.
In 1842, Mr. Pierce was led by the ill health of his wife to resign his seat in the Senate, and retire to Concord, where he devoted himself to his profession with such success, as to rise to the foremost rank at the bar. For three years
he had but little visible connection with politics. In 1845, the governor of New Hampshire appointed him to fill the vacancy in the United States Senate occasioned by the resignation of Judge Woodbury. This honor was respectfully declined. About this time President Polk appointed Mr. Pierce District Attorney of New Hampshire. This office he accepted and held until 1847. In 1845, the Democracy of the State nominated him for governor, but this high office he declined. In the next year, President Polk offered him the post of Attorney-General of the United States, but this also he declined. 'Few men have declined to accept so many high appointments.
Mr. Pierce was now to appear upon a new scene. the breaking out of the Mexican war, he enlisted as a private in the Concord company. Soon after he was appointed Colonel of the Ninth Regiment, and then Brigadier-General.
Both these appointments he accepted, and on the 28th of June, 1847, he reached Vera Cruz, with his brigade of 2,400
There he was taken ill, but soon recovered, and set out at the head of his command to join General Scott. The march was exceedingly difficult. Fifteen miles from Vera Cruz, the brigade was attacked by guerrillas, but they were repulsed. At the National Bridge the guerrillas again atticked the brigade, and were again gallantly repulsed. After a very harassing march, Gen. Pierce joined Ġeneral Scott at Puebla, on the 6th of August. In the battles in the valley of Mexico, Gen. Pierce was not permitted to participate as fully as he desired on account of sickness and accident, but he displayed courage and activity. When it was ascertained that there would be no more fighting, Gen. Pierce returned to the United States, resigned his commission, and retired to Concord, where he was warmly welcomed, the Legislature presenting him with a splendid sword as a token of esteem.
Gen. Pierce now devoted himself to his profession. In November, 1850, he was elected president of the convention assembled to revise the constitution of New Hampshire. In January, 1852, the Democracy of New Hampshire presented Gen. Pierce as their candidate for the presidency of the United States. The General declined the honor ; but the National Convention of the Democratic party sanctioned the choice of New Hampshire, nominating Franklin Pierce for the presidency, on the 49th ballot, with singular unanimity. He accepted this unexpected honor with modest diffidence. William R. King, of Alabama was nominated upon the same ticket as the Democratic candidate for the vicepresidency. Throughout the exciting canvass, Gen. Pierce conducted himself with dignity and modesty. At the election in November, he received a tremendous majority over his opponent, Gen. Winfield Scott. Vermont, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Tennessee, were the only states in which the Pierce and King electoral tickets did not succeed. On the 4th of March, 1853, the President elect was inaugurated ander brighter auspices than had been known for many years in the United States.
In November, 1834, Gen. Pierce married Jane Means, the youngest child of the Rev. Dr. Appleton, late president of Bowdoin College. They have had three children. The first died in infancy, the second at the age of five years, and the third, Benjamin Pierce, eleven years old, was killed by an accident on the railroad, a short time after the father's election to the presidency. General Pierce is therefore childless.