United States Congressman from Massachusetts
President Abraham Lincoln's & President Andrew Johnson's Minister to China
(1820-70) Born in New Berlin, New York, he attended the University of Michigan, graduated from the law department of Harvard University in 1846, was admitted to the bar and practiced in Boston. He served in the Massachusetts State Senate in 1852; was a member of the Massachusetts constitutional convention in 1853; and served as a U.S. Congressman, 1855-61. In May 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivered an abusive denunciation of President Franklin Pierce and Southerners who sympathized with the pro-slavery violence in Bleeding Kansas. In particular, Sumner lambasted Senator Andrew Butler, a cousin of Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina. Three days later, Congressman Brooks advanced upon Sumner while he worked at his desk in the Senate chamber. Using his cane, Brooks beat Sumner into unconsciousness. Brooks received no official censure from the House of Representatives, and was instead hailed as a hero in much of the pro-slavery South. Shortly afterwards, Congressman Burlingame delivered what The New York Times referred to as "the most celebrated speech" of his career; a scathing denunciation of Preston Brooks' assault on Sumner, branding him as "the vilest sort of coward" on the House floor. In response, Brooks challenged Burlingame to a duel, stating he would gladly face him "in any Yankee mudsill of his choosing." Burlingame eagerly accepted; as the challenged party, he had his choice of weapons and location. A well-known marksman, he selected rifles as the weapons, and the Navy Yard on the Canadian side of the U.S. border in Niagara Falls as the location (in order to circumvent the U.S. ban on dueling). Brooks, reportedly dismayed by both Burlingame's unexpectedly enthusiastic acceptance and his reputation as a crack shot, neglected to show up, instead citing unspecified risks to his safety if he were to cross "hostile country" (the northern United States) in order to reach Canada. Burlingame's solid defense of a fellow Bostonian greatly raised his stature throughout the North. He was appointed Minister to China by President Lincoln on June 14, 1861, and served throughout the Lincoln administration, and into the Johnson presidency retiring from this post on November 21, 1867. He then served as China's envoy to the U.S. which resulted in the 1868 landmark "Burlingame Treaty."
Authentic, original vintage engraving of Burlingame, 4 x 5 1/2, tipped to an album page with black ink lined borders around his likeness. Overall size is 6 x 9 1/4. Excellent.