of the United States
; born in Locke
(now Summerhill), Cayuga co., N. Y.
, June 7, 1800.
At the time of his birth Cayuga county
was a wilderness, with few settlements, the nearest house to that of the Fillmores being 4 miles distant. Mr. Fillmore
's early education was limited, and at the age of fourteen years he was apprenticed to a fuller.
He became fond of reading, and at the age of nineteen years desired to study law. He made an arrangement with his master to pay him $30 for the two years of the unexpired term of his apprenticeship, and studied law with Walter Wood
, who gave him his board for his services in his office.
In 1821 he went on foot to Buffalo
he arrived, an entire stranger, with $4 in his pocket.
There he continued to study law, paying his expenses by teaching school and assisting in the postoffice.
In 1823, although he had not completed the requisite period of study to be admitted to the bar, he was admitted, and began practice at Aurora, Cayuga co.
, where his father then resided.
In a few years he stood in the rank of the foremost lawyers in the State
He was admitted to practice in the highest courts of the State
in 1829; and the next year he moved to Buffalo
, where he practised until 1847, when he was chosen comptroller of the State
Then he retired from the profession.
His political life began in 1828, when he was elected to the legislature by the Anti-Masonic party
(q. v.). He served three successive terms, retiring in the spring of 1831. Mr. Fillmore
was particularly active in procuring the passage of a law abolishing imprisonment for debt.
It was mostly drafted by himself, and passed in 1831.
In 1832 he was elected to Congress as an opponent of Jackson
He was re-elected as a Whig in 1836, and retained his seat, by successive re-elections, until 1842, when he declined a renomination.
His career in Congress was marked by ability, integrity, and industry.
He acted in Congress with Mr. Adams
in favor of receiving petitions for the abolition of slavery.
He was opposed to the annexation of Texas
, and in favor of the abolition of the interstate slavetrade.
In September, 1844, Mr. Fillmore
was nominated by the Whigs
for governor of the State of New York
, but was defeated by Silas Wright
, the Democratic
Elected comptroller of his State in 1847, Mr. Fillmore
filled that responsible office with rare ability and fidelity.
In June, 1848, he was nominated by the Whig National Convention for the office of Vice-President
of the United States
, and was elected, with General Taylor
He resigned the office of comptroller in February following; and on the death of the President
(July, 1850), Mr. Fillmore
was inducted into that high office.
During his administration the slavery question was vehemently discussed, and was finally set at rest, it was hoped, by the passage of various acts which were parts of compromises proposed in the omnibus bill
(q. v.) of Mr. Clay
in the summer of 1850.
It was during his administration that difficulties with Cuba
occurred, diplomatic communications with Japan
were opened, measures were adopted looking towards the construction of a railway from the Mississippi
to the Pacific Ocean
, and other measures of great public interest occurred.
retired from office March 4, 1853, leaving the country in a state of peace within and without, and every department of industry flourishing.
In 1852 he was a candidate of the Whig convention for President
of the United States
, but did not get the nomination.
During the spring
of 1854 he made an extensive tour through the Southern
and Western States; and, in the spring of 1855, after an excursion in New England
, he sailed for Europe
, where he remained until June, 1856.
While at Rome
he received the news of his nomination for the Presidency by the native American party
(q. v.). He accepted it, but Maryland
alone gave him its electoral vote.
The remainder of his life was spent in Buffalo
, where he indulged his taste for historical studies, and where he died, March 8, 1874.
Texas boundary controversy.
On Aug. 6, 1850, President Fillmore
transmitted the following special message to the Congress
concerning the claims of Texas
to territory in dispute: