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Burlingame, Anson, 1820-

Diplomatist; born in New Berlin, Chenango co., N. Y., Nov. 14, 1820. His father, a farmer, removed to Seneca county, Ohio, when Anson was three years of age. Ten years later the family were in Michigan. Anson entered the University of Michigan in 1837, and was graduated at Harvard in 1846. He began the practice of law in Boston, and subsequently became an active member of the free soil party (q. v.), acquiring a wide reputation as an effective speaker. In 1849-50 he was in Europe. In 1852 he was chosen a member of the Massachusetts Senate, and became an active supporter of the American party in 1854, by which he was elected to Congress the same year. Mr. Burlingame assisted in the formation of the Republican party in 1855-56; and he was regarded as one of the ablest debaters in Congress on that side of the House. Severely criticising Preston S. Brooks for his attack upon Charles Sumner (q. v.), the South Carolinian challenged him to fight a duel. He promptly accepted the challenge, proposed rifles as the weapons, and Navy Island, just above Niagara Falls, as the place of conflict. Brooks declined to go there, and the matter was dropped. In March, 1861, President Lincoln appointed Mr. Burlingame minister to Austria. He having spoken in favor of Hungarian independence, the Austrian government refused to receive him, and he was sent as ambassador to China. There he carried forward important negotiations; and when, in 1867, he announced to the Chinese government his intention of returning home, Prince Kung, the regent of the empire, offered to appoint him special ambassador to the United States and the great European powers, for the purpose of [485] framing treaties of amity with those nations. This high honor Mr. Burlingame accepted; and at the head of a retinue of Chinese officials, he arrived in the United States in March, 1868. From his own country Mr. Burlingame proceeded on his mission to England, France, Denmark, Sweden. Holland, and Prussia. He was well received, and he negotiated treaties with all but France. He had just entered upon negotiations at St. Petersburg, early in 1870, when he died of pneumonia after an illness of only a few days, Feb. 23, 1870.

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