Charles E. Dudley

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Charles Dudley
Charles E. Dudley bioguide.jpg
United States Senator
from New York
In office
January 29, 1829 – March 4, 1833
Preceded by Martin Van Buren
Succeeded by Nathaniel P. Tallmadge
Personal details
Born (1780-05-23)May 23, 1780
Johnson Hall, Staffordshire, England
Died January 23, 1841(1841-01-23) (aged 60)
Albany, New York
Nationality American
Political party Jacksonian Democrat
Spouse(s) Blandina Bleecker

Charles Edward Dudley (May 23, 1780 – January 23, 1841) was an American politician.

Life[edit]

Dudley was born in England during the American Revolution, the son of Loyalist parents. His father, Charles Dudley, an Englishman, was Collector of the King's Customs at Newport, Rhode Island, where he married Catherine Cooke, of a Rhode Island colonial family. The elder Charles Dudley was the son of Thomas Dudley and his wife Mary Levett of Staffordshire, England.[1] In November 1775, he abandoned his office at Newport and sought refuge on board a British ship of war. In the following year he took up his residence in England, where his wife joined him, and in 1780 at Johnson Hall, Staffordshire, their son, Charles Edward, was born. Ten years later the father died and in 1795 the mother returned to her native town, bringing with her the fifteen-year-old youth, who was schooled at Newport. Near the beginning of the nineteenth century, young Dudley worked as a clerk in a counting room and was making voyages from New York to the East Indies as supercargo. During the War of 1812, and probably several years earlier, he was engaged in the mercantile business and living in Albany, New York, where he married Blandina Bleecker, a member of a substantial Albany family. He entered public life in his late thirties. Dudley was a presidential elector in election of 1816 and voted for James Monroe and Daniel D. Tompkins. Known as a successful and generous man of affairs and an affable gentleman, Dudley was chosen by the Common Council for several terms as Mayor of Albany, serving from 1821 to 1824, and from 1828 to 1829. He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1820 to 1825.

As a steppingstone to a place of power in New York State politics, his membership in the "Albany Regency", headed by Martin Van Buren, was more important than any state or local office within his grasp. Like the other members of the Regency, he was a man of personal integrity and, unlike some of the most eminent among them, he had skill and adroitness in dealing with individuals. The details of troublesome patronage problems might safely be left to him, while Van Buren, Marcy, Wright, and other leaders were busied with the big question of public policy. Accordingly, Dudley became and long remained a useful member of the conclave. While he had a seat in the state Senate the Regency had to face the most critical situation in its career - the fight with DeWitt Clinton. Dudley and his fellow senator Silas Wright voted for the removal of Clinton from the Erie Canal Commission, and they also voted to postpone the provision for popular choice of presidential electors. Meanwhile, Dudley kept Van Buren, now a Senator at Washington, informed as to Albany developments.

When Van Buren resigned his seat in the United States Senate to become Governor of New York, Dudley, having been defeated for a seat in the House of Representatives, was elected to fill the vacancy. Dudley took his seat on January 29, 1829, and remained in office until March 4, 1833. He was an early example of the businessman in the Senate, where he played an inconspicuous role, but loyally supported the Jackson administration by his votes. He retired at the end of his term and spent the rest of his life in Albany, retaining his interest in Democratic politics and being buried in the Rural Cemetery. He received no public recognition from Van Buren as President. In 1856, fifteen years after his death, his widow, partly motivated by the interest in astronomy that Dudley had shown during his lifetime, provided funds for an astronomical observatory at Albany which received her husband's name.

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United States Senate
Preceded by
Martin Van Buren
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
1829–1833
Served alongside: Nathan Sanford, William L. Marcy, Silas Wright, Jr.
Succeeded by
Nathaniel P. Tallmadge