Louis McLane (May 28, 1786 – October 7, 1857) was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware, and Baltimore, Maryland. He was a veteran of the War of 1812 and a member of the Federalist Party and later the Democratic Party. He served as the U.S. Representative from Delaware, U.S. Senator from Delaware, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, U.S. Secretary of State, Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom, and President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. As a member of President Andrew Jackson's Cabinet, McLane was a prominent figure during the Bank War. McLane pursued a more moderate approach towards the Second Bank of the United States than the President, but agreed with Jackson's decision in 1832 to veto a Congressional bill renewing the Bank's charter. He also helped draft the Force Bill in 1833.
|United States Minister to the United Kingdom|
August 8, 1845 – August 18, 1846
|Preceded by||Edward Everett|
|Succeeded by||George Bancroft|
October 12, 1829 – June 13, 1831
|Preceded by||James Barbour|
|Succeeded by||Martin Van Buren|
|12th United States Secretary of State|
May 29, 1833 – June 30, 1834
|Preceded by||Edward Livingston|
|Succeeded by||John Forsyth|
|10th United States Secretary of the Treasury|
August 8, 1831 – May 29, 1833
|Preceded by||Samuel Ingham|
|Succeeded by||William Duane|
|United States Senator|
March 4, 1827 – April 16, 1829
|Preceded by||Thomas Clayton|
|Succeeded by||Arnold Naudain|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Delaware's at-large district
March 4, 1817 – March 3, 1827
|Preceded by||Thomas Clayton|
|Succeeded by||Kensey Johns|
|Born||May 28, 1786|
Smyrna, Delaware, U.S.
|Died||October 7, 1857 (aged 71)|
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Political party||Federalist (Before 1825)|
National Republican (1825–1827)
|Education||University of Delaware, Newark|
He married Catherine Mary Milligan (Kitty) in 1812, and they had 13 children, including Robert Milligan McLane (1815-1898), who became a notable American ambassador and Governor of Maryland and Lydia Milligan Sims McLane (1822–1887), wife of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston.
McLane's father, Allan McLane, was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and long time tax collector for the Port of Wilmington. He was well-known and a fervently loyal Federalist. As such he received the strong backing of James A. Bayard, who managed to see that the elder McLane was able to keep his lucrative position in spite of the accession of Thomas Jefferson to the presidency in 1801. In fact, he held the office until the administration of Andrew Jackson. Much of his income came from the seizure of contraband. Louis McLane inherited much of this wealth, along with legal issues that lasted well beyond the death of his father.
He studied law under James A. Bayard, and was admitted to the bar in 1807. He began a practice in Wilmington, Delaware.
During the War of 1812, McLane joined the Wilmington Artillery Company, formed for the purpose of defending Wilmington. When Baltimore was threatened, they marched to its defense, but were sent back due to lack of provisions for them in Baltimore. Ultimately, they saw no action, and McLane left the unit with the rank of first lieutenant.
Following the War of 1812, Delaware was unique in continuing to have a viable Federalist Party. Never tainted by the secessionist activities of the New England Federalists and adaptive enough to institute modern electioneering practices, they held the loyalty of the majority Anglican/Methodist downstate population against the seemingly more radical Presbyterians and Irish immigrants in New Castle County. They remained the dominant political force in the state well into the 1820s, when the party finally disappeared, split between an allegiances to Andrew Jackson or to John Quincy Adams and the "American system" of Henry Clay and the Whigs. New Castle County manufacturers joined most of the old Federalist Party leadership in making the Whigs the new majority in the state. This included McLane's mentor, James A. Bayard and various members of the Clayton family, especially Thomas Clayton and his cousin, John M. Clayton.
McLane was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by defeating Thomas Clayton for the Federalist nomination, as Clayton was politically damaged by having voted for a Congressional pay raise in the previous session. From then on the Clayton cousins became McLane's principle political opponents in Delaware. Nevertheless, McLane was elected six times as a Federalist to the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1816 through 1826. He had a most distinguished career in the U.S. House, serving five full terms from March 4, 1817 to March 3, 1827. In spite being a Federalist, he was Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and it was only his Federalist affiliation that prevented him from being elected Speaker.
During these sessions the Federalist Party was so small and weak that partisan divisions mattered much less than the personal relationships that developed among the members. McLane quickly became a friend and admirer of William H. Crawford and Martin Van Buren, and at the same time became an opponent of Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams. These friendships were based more on personality than policy agreement, and were so important that McLane was one of Crawford's strongest proponents in the presidential election of 1824. Once Crawford returned to Georgia, McLane, Van Buren, and the other Crawford supporters fell into the party of Andrew Jackson. This was all the easier for him given his existing friendship with Martin Van Buren, who became his mentor and advocate.
McLane moved to the U.S. Senate and served there from March 4, 1827 until April 29, 1829, when he resigned. Leading up to the presidential election of 1828, he worked very hard in a losing effort to win Delaware for Andrew Jackson. In doing so he completely cut his ties to the Claytons and the dominant political faction in the state. Clearly he would have little hope of reelection to the U.S. Senate or any future in Delaware politics. All his considerable hopes for a prestigious position rested with an appointment from the new president. But a former Federalist from an inconsequential opposition state would have to wait until Jackson met other obligations. Having failed to become a part of the initial cabinet, as he had hoped, McLane reluctantly accepted appointment as Minister to England, arranged by his friend Martin Van Buren, now U.S. Secretary of State.
McLane resigned from the Senate in 1829 to serve as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom. McLane was instructed to inform the English that his appointment signaled a break from the John Quincy Adams administration, and that issues of dispute under the Adams Administration would no longer be issues in a Jackson administration. His main assignment was to open up trade between the United States and the British West Indies. In this effort he was well received by Lord Aberdeen, the Foreign Secretary, and successfully accomplished his mission. During his tenure, his personal secretary was Washington Irving, who was thereafter a close and loyal family friend.
Two years later, McLane finally received the appointment he had so longed for. When U.S. President Andrew Jackson decided he needed to purge his Cabinet of supporters of U.S. Senator John C. Calhoun, the always helpful Martin Van Buren was able to convince the president to appoint McLane to be the Secretary of the Treasury. He returned from England and served as Secretary from August 8, 1831 to May 28, 1833. The major issues confronting McLane in this new role were the tariffs rates and the status of the Second Bank of the United States.
When McLane entered Jackson's cabinet he immediately assumed a position of leadership. Articulate, persuasive and energetic, he had mastered the issues under debate and was confident he could lead the others in the administration, including the President. Recognizing there was a difference of opinion with Jackson over the Bank, he sought to work out a plan with the bank president, Nicholas Biddle, to provide for the upcoming renewal of the bank's charter in return for the accomplishment of a key objective of the President, the retirement of the national debt. On December 7, 1831 he proposed a sweeping plan to accomplish that and more. Acclaimed for its Hamiltonian creativity, McLane had taken the initiative on the administration's agenda, and was acting very much in the role of a Prime Minister. With enough time he was certain Jackson would soften his position and consent to the approach.
Events conspired to frustrate the plan, however. First of all, Attorney General Roger B. Taney sought to convince Jackson that McLane's plan was really a new packaging of the old Federalist program and in contradiction with Jackson's own past positions. At the time Jackson was somewhat flexible on the issue, and McLane wanted to postpone the decision until after the presidential election of 1832. But Henry Clay decided that renewal of the bank charter was an issue he could use to defeat Jackson and convinced bank president Biddle to press for an immediate re-charter. By itself, this crystallized Jackson's opposition to re-chartering, which he vetoed when passed by the Congress. This caused him to view his eventual victory in the presidential election as a popular endorsement of his bank policy.
Liking McLane personally and unwilling to make more controversial Cabinet changes so quickly, Jackson removed the bank issue from McLane's purview. However, when McLane refused to remove the governments deposits from the Second Bank of the United States, Jackson had to replace him with someone that would, and offered McLane the prestigious U. S. Secretary of State instead. As his replacement, Jackson settled on William J. Duane, a man as unwilling as McLane to withdraw the deposits. The appointment was a great embarrassment to Jackson, and many blamed McLane for urging it.
While all this was going on, McLane negotiated what seemed to be a satisfactory tariff bill, but when South Carolina continued to object and triggered the Nullification Crisis, McLane prepared the important Force Bill of 1833 to provide for the tariff's enforcement.
By shuffling his cabinet, Jackson hoped to keep the talented McLane in his service by removing from him the obligation to implement his planned permanent destruction of the Second Bank of the United States. Appointed U.S. Secretary of State in a recess appointment, McLane served from May 29, 1833 until June 30, 1834. He quickly managed the first major reorganization of the department, by establishing seven new bureaus. He also managed a dispute with France, over what were known as the "Spoliation Claims". In 1832 France had agreed to reimburse the United States for certain shipping losses incurred during the Napoleonic Wars. However, successive French governments had failed to appropriate the funds required, all the while maintaining their desire to do so. Jackson was impatient to resolve the issue and worked with McLane to develop a hard line policy, confronting the French. Martin Van Buren was now Vice President and felt otherwise. Without consulting McLane, he intervened directly and convinced Jackson to give the French more time. McLane was furious with his old mentor for this intervention, and resigned his position, recognizing his apparent lack of authority in a direct area of responsibility. The incident also ended his friendship with Van Buren, and they never spoke again.
Although he had some inherited wealth from his father, with 13 children McLane always needed to provide additional earned income in his own right. With his managerial talents, resume and connections, he was quickly sought out. The first to find him was the Morris Canal and Banking Company. A New Jersey corporation, largely based in New York City, it operated a canal from Phillipsburg to Newark, New Jersey, primarily to carry coal from Pennsylvania to New York City. It was also a bank and had a charter that provided banking opportunities. McLane was President for one year, implemented many improvements, and produced one of the few profitable years the company had. But his beloved family was in Wilmington and at their second home, "Bohemia," was in Cecil County, Maryland. New York City was too far away.
Therefore, when an offer to assume the Presidency of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was made, it was quickly accepted. This company operated a railroad between Baltimore and Washington, but its ambition was built a route to the Ohio River, and move commerce from the west through the City of Baltimore. In 1837 the western tracks went only as far as Harpers Ferry, Virginia and McLane's great accomplishment was seeing to the extension of the "main line" as far as Cumberland, Maryland. This brought the route into proximity with enough coalfields to provide a regular profit. The profits were not substantial, however, and McLane was consumed with financing rearrangements and negotiations with Pennsylvania and Virginia over possible routes west. Ultimately Wheeling and an all Virginia route was decided upon, but it was left to McLane's immediate successor to see the goal realized. McLane never seemed to appreciate the value of this work and ultimately retired on September 13, 1848.
In spite of his political setbacks McLane never lost his ambition for high political office. One of his last remaining political friends from the congressional days was James K. Polk, who was now President of the United States. While he dreamed of something much greater, McLane took a leave of absence from the railroad in 1845 and 1846 to return to England as Minister Plenipotentiary, primarily for the purpose of coordinating negotiations over the Oregon boundary. McLane was remembered fondly from his previous service, and renewed his old friendships. The basis of the settlement was easily established, but the hard line public position of Polk was shaken only by outbreak of the Mexican–American War. McLane succeeded in keeping the British agreeable to the eventual settlement until the administration came to the same conclusion, even if he risked suggesting the president was posturing when he insisted on "54-40 or Fight." McLane never received the higher appointment desired and reluctantly returned to the railroad.
The son of a Scots-Irish adventurer and politician from Delaware, McLane had married into the Eastern shore gentry of Maryland and ever longed for the idyllic plantation life seemingly promised. Acquiring Milligan Hall from his wife's family gave him a beautiful seat on the Bohemia River that became his favorite home. Called Bohemia, by the McLane family, it was always their gathering place and favorite retreat. Further, with his adherence to the party of Andrew Jackson and resignation from the United States Senate in 1829, McLane effectively admitted his political career in Delaware was over. So it was only natural for McLane to move his primary residence to Baltimore when he joined the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He remained there after his retirement and entered the political life of his new home. Most notably he was an active participant in the Maryland constitutional convention of 1850.
McLane died in Baltimore, Maryland and is buried in Green Mount Cemetery.
McLane's biographer, Professor John A. Monroe, describes him as follows: "the problem was that few people could love Louis McLane...He was intelligent and able, clear-minded and efficient, but to the average man and even to some of his children, he was not lovable. He was almost sinfully ambitious, as his father had encouraged him to be. He was often meanly suspicious, and life had encouraged him to be ever mindful of his welfare and that of the large family dependent on him. He was easily affronted and held grudges almost with glee against those who crossed him. He was immensely persuasive, but in the long run he abandoned in disgust each of the successive scenes of his triumphs. It was to Kitty and the children that he was true, and the children learned to admire but not to love this stern, busy, handsome, sensitive man."
Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who also took office March 4, but for a six-year term.
|Office||Type||Location||Began office||Ended office||notes|
|U.S. Representative||Legislature||Washington||March 4, 1817||March 3, 1819|
|U.S. Representative||Legislature||Washington||March 4, 1819||March 3, 1821|
|U.S. Representative||Legislature||Washington||March 4, 1821||March 3, 1823|
|U.S. Representative||Legislature||Washington||March 4, 1823||March 3, 1825|
|U.S. Representative||Legislature||Washington||March 4, 1825||March 3, 1827|
|U.S. Senator||Legislative||Washington||March 4, 1827||April 16, 1829|
|Minister Plenipotentiary||Executive||London||October 12, 1829||June 13, 1831||United Kingdom|
|U.S. Secretary of the Treasury||Executive||Washington||August 8, 1831||May 28, 1833||resigned|
|U.S. Secretary of State||Executive||Washington||May 29, 1833||June 30, 1834||resigned|
|Minister Plenipotentiary||Executive||London||August 8, 1845||August 18, 1846||United Kingdom|
|United States Congressional service|
|1817–1819||15th||U.S. House||Republican||James Monroe||Commerce and Manufacturers||1st at-large|
|1819–1821||16th||U.S. House||Republican||James Monroe||Commerce (1st session)
Ways and Means (2nd session)
|1821–1823||17th||U.S. House||Republican||James Monroe||Naval Affairs (1st session)
Ways and Means (2nd session)
|1823–1825||18th||U.S. House||Republican||James Monroe||Ways and Means||at-large|
|1825–1827||19th||U.S. House||National Republican||John Quincy Adams||Ways and Means||at-large|
|1827–1829||20th||U.S. Senate||Democratic||John Quincy Adams||Commerce, Finance||class 1|
|1829–1831||21st||U.S. Senate||Democratic||Andrew Jackson||Commerce, Finance||class 1|
|1816||U.S. Representative||Louis McLane
Caesar A. Rodney
|1818||U.S. Representative||Louis McLane
George Read, Jr.
|1820||U.S. Representative||Louis McLane
|Caesar A. Rodney
|1822||U.S. Representative||Louis McLane||Federalist||4,110||54%||Arnold Naudain||Republican||3,466||46%|
|1824||U.S. Representative||Louis McLane||Federalist||3,387||52%||Arnold Naudain||Republican||3,163||48%|
|1826||U.S. Representative||Louis McLane||Federalist||4,630||54%||Arnold Naudain||Republican||3,931||46%|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's at-large congressional district
| Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee
| U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Delaware
Served alongside: Henry M. Ridgely, John M. Clayton
| United States Minister to the United Kingdom
Martin Van Buren
| United States Minister to the United Kingdom
| United States Secretary of the Treasury
| United States Secretary of State
Delaware elected its members October 5, 1818.1820 United States House of Representatives election in Delaware
Delaware elected its members October 3, 1820.1822 United States House of Representatives election in Delaware
Delaware was reduced once more from two back to one seat after the Fourth Census, which number has remained constant to the present day. At the time of the 1822 election, the second seat in Delaware's at-large district was vacant, so there was only one incumbent going into the election.1824 United States House of Representatives election in Delaware
Delaware elected its member October 5, 1824.1826 United States House of Representatives election in Delaware
Delaware elected its member October 3, 1826.1827 Delaware's at-large congressional district special election
A special election was held October 2, 1827 in Delaware's at-large congressional district to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Louis McLane (J) before the start of Congress, after being elected to the SenateAllan McLane Hamilton
Allan McLane Hamilton (October 6, 1848 – November 23, 1919) was an American psychiatrist of Scots descent, specialising in suicide and the impact of accidents and trauma upon mental health, and in criminal insanity, appearing at several trials.He was a founder of the New York Psychiatrical Society. He was a Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College in New York. He was the grandson of Louis McLane and Alexander Hamilton, and in 1910 he wrote The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton, a biography of his paternal grandfather.Bohemia Farm
Bohemia Farm, also known as Milligan Hall, is a historic home located on the Bohemia River at Earleville, Cecil County, Maryland. It is a five bays wide, Flemish bond brick Georgian style home built about 1743. Attached is a frame, 19th century gambrel-roof wing. The house interior features elaborate decorative plasterwork of the Rococo style and the full "Chinese Chippendale" staircase. It was "part-time" home of Louis McLane.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.Hamilton family
The Hamiltons of the United States are a family of Scottish origin, whose most prominent member was Alexander Hamilton (1755/57–1804), one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Their ancestors and relations in Scotland included the Lairds of Kerelaw Castle in Stevenston, North Ayrshire, of the Cambuskeith branch of Clan Hamilton.Louis McLane Hamilton
Louis McLane Hamilton (1844–1868) was a cavalry officer in the United States Army during the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars. He served as a captain under General George Armstrong Custer in the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, where he died at the age of 24 while leading a charge in the Battle of Washita River.Louis McLane House
Louis McLane House was a historic home located at Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware. It was built before 1792, and is an example of an 18th-century urban residence. It is a 3 1/2-story, three-bay, brick dwelling with a gable roof later modified for commercial uses. It was the home of Congressman Louis McLane (1786–1857) and the birthplace of American politician, military officer, and diplomat Robert Milligan McLane (1815–1898) and Lydia Milligan Sims McLane (1822–1887), wife of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston.It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and demolished in 2014.McLane
McLane is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Allen McLane (1746–1829), officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolution
Ann McLane Kuster (born 1956), American lawyer and author
David McLane, Las Vegas promoter
David McLane (merchant) (ca. 1767–1797), a merchant from Providence, RI
Derek McLane (born 1958), English born American set designer
Drayton McLane, Jr. (born 1936), American entrepreneur
Ed McLane (1881–1975), American baseball player
Eddie McLane (1899–1980), American sports coach
Harvey McLane, Canadian provincial politician
James McLane (born 1930), former United States swimmer
John McLane (1852–1911), American furniture maker and politician
Kim McLane Wardlaw (born 1954), U.S. federal judge in California
Louis McLane (1786–1857), American lawyer and politician, son of Allen McLane
Malcolm McLane (1924-2008), American lawyer, businessman, and politician
M. Jean McLane (1878–1964), American portraitist
Patrick McLane (1875–1946), American politician
Ralph McLane (1907–1951), American clarinetist
Robert Milligan McLane (1815–1898), American politician, military officer, and diplomat
S. Brooks McLane, American physicist
Susan McLane (1929-2005), American politician
Val McLane (born 1943), English actress, scriptwriter and director
William McLane (Pennsylvania), 20th century American politician
William McLane (Washington state), 19th century American politicianPhilip Hamilton (the second)
Philip Hamilton (June 1 or 2, 1802 – July 9, 1884) was the youngest child of Alexander Hamilton, who was the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was named in memory of his oldest brother, also Philip Hamilton.Smyrna, Delaware
Smyrna is a town in Kent and New Castle counties in the U.S. state of Delaware. It is part of the Dover, Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the Census Bureau, as of 2010, the population of the town is 10,023.The international jurist John Bassett Moore was born in Smyrna, as were politicians Louis McLane and James Williams.Thomas Clayton
Thomas Clayton (July 1777 – August 21, 1854) was an American lawyer and politician from Dover in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party and later the Whig Party. He served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Attorney General of Delaware, as Secretary of State of Delaware, as Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, as U.S. Representative from Delaware, and as U.S. Senator from Delaware. In 1846 he was one of two members of the United States Senate to vote against declaring war on Mexico.USRC McLane (1832)
The United States Revenue Cutter McLane was one of 13 cutters of the Morris-Taney Class to be launched. Named after Secretaries of the Treasury and Presidents of the United States, these cutters were the backbone of the Service for more than a decade. Samuel Humphreys designed these cutters for roles as diverse as fighting pirates, privateers, combating smugglers and operating with naval forces. He designed the vessels on a naval schooner concept. They had Baltimore Clipper lines. The vessels built by Webb and Allen, designed by Isaac Webb, resembled Humphreys' but had one less port.Named for the Louis McLane, the tenth Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, USRC McLane was noted for her beautiful deck finish and cabinet work. An early historian of the Service, Revenue Captain Horatio D. Smith, USRCS, wrote of her:
The Revenue Cutter McLane when finished in 1832 was ordered to Washington, and while at the Navy Yard was visited by many people, especially members of Congress, and was admired by all for her beauty, symmetry and elegance of finish. Her armament was four brass 9-pounders on elegant carriages, with small arms to correspond. Other vessels were built of larger dimensions, but the McLane excelled them all in beauty and sailing qualities. She was the crack vessel of her time. Subsequently many of [those cutters in her class] were sold ... to Cubans, who used them for slavers.
The McLane served in Charleston, South Carolina in 1832 and in 1833 sailed to New Bedford, Massachusetts for revenue duty there. She capsized in Hadley Harbor in Massachusetts during a tornado in 1837, was raised and put back in duty until 1840, when she was sold.USS Delaware (1861)
USS Delaware (1861) was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy for use during the American Civil War. She had a very active naval career as a gunboat for over three years, and after the war served as a revenue cutter for over 37 years. The steamer was sold to the private sector in 1909, and disappeared from shipping registers in 1919.United States congressional delegations from Delaware
This is a chronological listing, in timeline format, of the United States Congressional Delegations from Delaware to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.
U.S Senators are elected by popular vote for a six-year term, beginning January 3. Since 1831, elections in Delaware have been held in the first week of November of the year noted. Before 1914 United States Senators were chosen by the Delaware General Assembly and before 1935 all Congressional terms began March 4.
The dates for the various Congress represent the range of dates they could have been in session, rather than the actual dates of the sessions. Congressional terms began on March 4 through 1933. Since 1935 they have begun on January 3. The juxtaposition of the terms with the sessions is approximate; see the footnotes for actual dates of special appointments, elections, resignations or deaths.William J. Duane
William John Duane (May 9, 1780 – September 27, 1865) was an American politician and lawyer from Pennsylvania.
Duane served a brief term as United States Secretary of the Treasury in 1833. His refusal to withdraw Federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States led to his dismissal by President Andrew Jackson.
Government of Delaware
|Secretary of Foreign Affairs|
|Secretary of State|
|Ministers Plenipotentiary to|
the Court of St. James's
|Envoys Extraordinary and |
Ministers Plenipotentiary to
the Court of St. James's
and Plenipotentiary to
the Court of St. James's
Italics indicates acting chairman
|Secretary of State|
|Secretary of the Treasury|
|Secretary of War|
|Secretary of the Navy|