Alexander Hill Everett

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Alexander Hill Everett

Alexander Hill Everett (March 19, 1792 – June 28, 1847) was a noted American diplomatist, politician, and Boston man of letters.[1] His brother was Edward Everett.

Everett was born in Boston, Massachusetts to the Rev. Oliver Everett and Lucy (Hill) Everett, and graduated at age 14 from Harvard College in 1806 with the highest honors of his class. After leaving College he was an assistant teacher in Phillips Exeter Academy for one year, then studied law in the office of John Quincy Adams. In 1809 he accompanied Adams to Russia, where he lived for two years as Adam's personal secretary in the legation.

At the close of the War of 1812, Governor of Massachusetts William Eustis was appointed minister to the Netherlands, and Everett accompanied him as secretary of legation, but after a year of service returned home. On the retirement of Governor Eustis from the legation, however, Everett was appointed his successor, with the rank of chargé d'affaires to The Hague, which post he held from 1818 till 1824. After Adams became president in 1825, he appointed Everett minister to Spain from 1825–1829.

After his service in Spain, he returned to Boston and obtained a controlling interest in North American Review (to which he had been an active contributor while his brother was editor) and shortly afterward succeeded Jared Sparks as principal editor. The venture was not financially rewarding. Everett's government service was not yet over, though, and he sat in the legislature of Massachusetts from 1830 till 1835. His political fortunes in Massachusetts plummeted when, after serving in the state legislature, Everett switched parties from Whig to Democrat and was blamed for his brother Edward's loss in his bid for reelection as governor in 1839. In 1840 Everett served in Cuba as a Special Diplomatic Agent of the United States. While in Cuba he was appointed president of Jefferson College, Louisiana, but was soon obliged by failing health to return to New England.

On the return of Caleb Cushing from his mission to China, Everett was appointed the next commissioner and sailed for Canton on July 4, 1845. He was detained by illness at Rio de Janeiro, and returned home. In the summer of 1846 he made a second and more successful attempt to reach his destination, but died in Canton shortly after his arrival, on June 28, 1847. He was buried at the foreigners' cemetery on Danes Island, Canton, China.


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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Hugh Nelson
U.S. Minister to Spain
Succeeded by
Cornelius P. Van Ness