The Honorable Eugene Hale
The senior Senator from Maine comes from the oldest New England stock His father, James Sullivan Hale, II of Turner, where the Senator was born, was the son of David Hale, who came from Old Newbury in Massachusetts and who was one of the pioneers in Turner, where he settled upon a farm which is still in the possession of the family. The line of descent is clearly traced to Thomas Hale, of Walton, at Stone, Hertfordshire, England, who came with his wife, Thomasine, to Newbury in 1635, bringing a letter of introduction to Governor John Winthrop from Francis Kirby, a maternal relative, a copy of which letter is found in Volume VII of the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Senator Hale’s mother was Betsey Staples, who came from an old Turner family. The children of James Sullivan and Betsey Hale were Eugene, Hortense, who married Dr. John T. Cushing and now lives on the homestead, Frederick, who was a lawyer and partner of Senator Hale and who died in 1868, Augusta, the wife of George Gifford, United States Consul at Basle, Switzerland, and Clarence, who is a leading lawyer in Portland.
Eugene Hale was born in Turner, June 9, 1836; attended the village district school and the grammar school endowed by the town, and went from Hebron Academy into the office of Howard & Strout in Portland, where he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in January, 1857.
At the age of twenty he commenced the practice of law in Orland, but soon removed to Ellsworth and became a member of the firm of Robinson & Hale. Mr. Robinson soon died, and Mr. Hale for ten years devoted himself closely to his profession and built up a large practice He was a sound counselor and one of the most successful lawyers with both court and jury. He was for nine successive years County Attorney for Hancock County. For many years he was senior member of the firm of Hale & Emery, and, since the latter’s elevation to the bench of the Supreme Court, the firm has consisted of Mr. Hale and Hannibal E. Hamlin, a son of the late and venerated Hannibal Hamlin.
In December, 1871, Mr. Hale was married in Washington to Mary Douglas Chandler, the only daughter of Hon. Zachariah Chandler, long time a Senator from Michigan and afterwards Secretary of the Interior. Their children are three sons, Chandler, Frederick, and Eugene, Jr.
Mr. Hale was a member of the Maine Legislature in 1867, 1868, and 1880. In that body he soon proved a ready debater and to be remarkably well versed in the political questions of the time. In 1880 he was appointed chairman of the committee of the Legislature to investigate what has since become familiarly known as the “State Steal,” and it is recognized as largely through his efforts that this scheme was thwarted and exposed.
He was elected to the Forty-first Congress in 1868 and afterwards to the Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses; was appointed Postmaster-General by President Grant in 1874, but declined ; was re-elected to the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses ; was tendered a cabinet appointment as Secretary of the Navy by President Hayes, and declined ; was chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee for the Forty-fifth Congress ; was a delegate to the National Convention in 1868 and the Cincinnati and Chicago Conventions in 1876 and 1880, leading the Blaine forces in both conventions ; was elected to the United States Senate to succeed Hannibal Hamlin and took his seat March 4, 1881, and was re-elected in 1887 and in 1893. For the three elections he received the unanimous nomination of his party in the Legislature.
He was a member of important committees in the House of Representatives, and upon his coming to the Senate, in 1891, he was given a place on the committees on Appropriation and Naval Affairs. He was also made chairman of the Committee on the Census, which position he continued to occupy till the Democrats gained control of that body in 1893. He is at present a member of the Committee on Appropriations, Naval Affairs, Census, Canadian Relations, and chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims.
Senator Hale has always taken a prominent part in the legislation of the Senate. Several of the more important appropriation bills have been made under his management. Representing both the Appropriation and Naval Committees, he has reported and managed every bill which has passed the Senate for the building of the new navy. He introduced the first amendment favoring reciprocity with the countries of Central and South America, which he supported with speeches that received wide circulation. His political speeches in the Senate are sharp, but never ill natured. His speech upon the Free Trade attitude of the Democratic Convention in 1882 was as widely circulated as any speech during the campaign. He has taken a prominent part in the debates relating to the affairs of the District of Columbia; has favored suitable appropriations for the necessary buildings for the public business there, and has persistently opposed the introduction of overhead wires in the street railways of the capital city.
Senator Hale is always recognized as a wise counselor in party politics. He is an easy and forcible speaker; his words are carefully selected, and his extemporaneous speeches require no revision. He is a popular after-dinner speaker; and on these occasions, both where great subjects are presented and where wit and merriment abound, he is in his element.
He is a wide reader, keeping alive his love for books, and delights especially in poetry. His style has been formed on the best of models in English Literature. He has received the degree of LL D. from Hates College and from Colby University.
Senator Hale is a believer in Maine and her future. His investments testify to this, commencing with his beautiful home on the heights at Ellsworth, surrounded by several hundred acres of field and woodland, and continuing in extensive purchases of timber lands and sea-shore property, interests in cotton, woolen and pulp mills, and other manufactories.
Senator Hale is known throughout the State and Nation as a man of broad and genial social nature; and this perhaps accounts for the close and cordial personal feeling which binds him to his friends. He is a liberal entertainer both in Washington and in Ellsworth. At his home, “The Pines,” during the summer vacation, many friends, both from within and without the State, gladly accept his hospitalities. Mrs. Hale is an accomplished hostess and delights in nothing more than in looking after a house full of friends.