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Hildreth, Richard

HILDRETH, RICHARD (1807-1865), American journalist and author, was born at Deerfield, Massachusetts, on the 28th of June 1807, the son of Hosea Hildreth (1782-1835), a teacher of mathematics and later a Congregational minister. Richard graduated at Harvard in 1826, and, after studying law at Newburyport, was admitted to the bar at Boston in 1830. He had already taken to journalism, and in 1832 he became joint founder and editor of a daily newspaper, the Boston Atlas. Having in 1834 gone to the South for the benefit of his health, he was led by what he witnessed of the evils of slavery (chiefly in Florida) to write the anti-slavery novel The Slave: or Memoir of Archy Moore (1836; enlarged edition, 1852, The White Slave). In 1837 he wrote for the Atlas a series of articles vigorously opposing the annexation of Texas. In the same year he published Banks, Banking, and Paper Currencies, a work which helped to promote the growth of the free banking system in America. In 1838 he resumed his editorial duties on the Atlas, but in 1840 removed, on account of his health, to British Guiana, where he lived for three years and was editor of two weekly newspapers in succession at Georgetown. He published in this year (1840) a volume in opposition to slavery, Despotism in America (and ed., 1854). In 1849 he published the first three volumes of his History of the United States, two more volumes of which were published in 1851 and the sixth and last in 1852. The first three volumes of this history, his most important work, deal with the period 1492-1789, and the second three with the period 1780-1821. The history is notable for its painstaking accuracy and candour, but the later volumes have a strong Federalist bias. Hildreth's Japan as It Was and Is (1855) was at the time a valuable digest of the information contained in other works on that country (new ed., 1906). He also wrote a campaign biography of William Henry Harrison (1839); Theory of Morals (1844) ; and Theory of Politics (1853), as well as Lives of Atrocious Judges (1856), compiled from Lord Campbell's two works. In 1 86 1 he was appointed United States consul at Trieste, but ill-health compelled him to resign and remove to Florence, where he died on the nth of July 1865.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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