BOUTWELL, George Sewel

BOUTWELL, George Sewel
Library of Congress


BOUTWELL, George Sewel, a Representative and a Senator from Massachusetts; born in Brookline, Mass., January 28, 1818; attended the public schools; taught school in Shirley, Mass.; engaged in mercantile pursuits in Groton, Mass., 1841; appointed postmaster of Groton 1841; studied law; member, State house of representatives 1842-1844, 1847-1850; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for election to both Congress and the governorship on several occasions between 1844 and 1850; State bank commissioner 1849-1851; Governor of Massachusetts 1851-1852; member of the State constitutional convention in 1853; secretary of the State board of education 1855-1861; member of the board of overseers of Harvard University 1850-1860; member of the peace convention of 1861 held in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war; served on the military commission under the War Department in 1862; first Commissioner of Internal Revenue in 1862 and 1863; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1863, to March 12, 1869, when he resigned; one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1868 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson; appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Ulysses Grant 1869-1873, when he resigned; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Henry Wilson and served from March 17, 1873, until March 3, 1877; chairman, Committee on the Revision of the Laws of the United States (Forty-fourth Congress); appointed by President Rutherford Hayes as commissioner to codify and edit the Statutes at Large in 1877; United States counsel before the French and American Claims Commission 1880; declined appointment as Secretary of the Treasury in 1884; practiced law in Washington, D.C.; counsel for Haiti in 1885, for Hawaii in 1886, and for Chile in 1893 and 1894; president of the Anti-Imperialist League 1898-1905; died in Groton, Middlesex County, Mass., February 27, 1905; interment in Groton Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

American Antiquarian Society

Worcester, MA
Papers: 1855-1905. 147 items. Political and family correspondence, chiefly letters to Boutwell relating to his stand against imperialism, his estrangement from the Republican party after 1895, the civil suit of Andrew Coe vs. William L. Bradley, the coinage of silver, his activities as a lawyer in Boston, and his family background.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 7 items.

Boston University

Boston, MA
Papers: 1 letter.

Harvard University
Houghton Library

Cambridge, MA
Papers: 37 items. Also correspondence in Francis William Bird papers, 1832-1924.

Indiana State Library

Indianapolis, IN
Papers: Correspondence in the Pierce-Krull family papers, 1834-1963.

Knox College
Seymour Library

Galesburg, IL
Papers: 1 letter (January 13, 1870) in Post family papers, 1857-1895.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1871-1873. 4 items. Letters and speeches.
Additional Papers: 1 microfilm reel of papers (1869-1873) at Ohio Historical Society; correspondence in Whiting Griswold papers, 1843-1874; and Nathaniel Prentice Banks papers, 1829-1911. Finding aid.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: 1850-1905. 1 box and 3 volumes. Papers and speeches.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in John Davis Long papers, 1820-1943; and 102 letters in various collections.

Massachusetts State Archives

Boston, MA
Papers: Ca. 21 items transferred from the State Library.

New York Public Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1875-1876. 125 items. Letters and telegrams. Official correspondence in the U.S. Senate, Select Committee on the Late Election in Mississippi. Finding aid.

Ohio Historical Society

Columbus, OH
Papers: 1869-1872. 36 items. Documents presented as evidence in a lawsuit against Boutwell regarding a plan to reduce the national debt.

Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, MA
Papers: 2 letters.

University of California, Berkeley
The Bancroft Library

Berkeley, CA
Papers: Correspondence as Treasury Secretary in the Alexander Lyman Churchill papers, 1865-1908.

Washington State University

Pullman, WA
Papers: 1851-1901. 22 items. Personal and official letters.
Research Libraries Information Network In addition to the institutions listed above, items are also cataloged in collections at: Johns Hopkins University Special Collections, Baltimore, MD; Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY; and University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, IA.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Boutwell, George S. The Constitution of the United States at the End of the First Century. 1895. Reprint. Littleton, CO: F.B. Rothman, 1987.

___. The Lawyer, the Statesman and the Soldier. New York: D. Appleton Co., 1887.

___. Reminiscences of Sixty Years in Public Affairs. 2 vols. 1902. Reprint. New York: Greenwood Press, 1968.

___. Speeches and Papers Relating to the Rebellion and the Overthrow of Slavery. Boston: Little, Brown, Co., 1867.

___. Why I Am A Republican. Hartford, CT: W.J. Betts Co., 1884.

Brown, Thomas H. George Sewall Boutwell, Human Rights Advocate. Groton, MA: Groton Historical Society, 1989.

Domer, Thomas. "The Role of George S. Boutwell in the Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson." New England Quarterly 49 (December 1976): 596-617.

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