September 27: Thomas Francis Bayard (1898)

Thomas F. Bayard was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. Bayard was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1828. He attended law school in Flushing, New York, passed the bar in 1851, and thereafter began practicing law. Bayard was appointed U.S. District Attorney for Delaware in 1853, but resumed private practice in 1854. In 1869, Bayard was elected as U.S. Senator from Delaware, and served until March 6, 1885, when he became Secretary of State under President Grover Cleveland. While in the Senate, Bayard also served on the Hayes-Tilden Electoral Commission in 1877. While in Washington, Bayard became associated with Epiphany and served as a member of the vestry. Following his tenure as Secretary, Bayard served as U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain from 1893 to 1897.

As Secretary of State, Bayard moved away from patronage appointments, choosing instead to appoint diplomats known for their skill and expertise rather than their political loyalty. In foreign affairs, Bayard intervened in the ongoing disputes over U.S. fishing rights in Canada and Newfoundland. In addition to addressing fishing rights, Bayard also focused on Pacific affairs. In 1887, he oversaw the Senate’s ratification of the renewal of a reciprocity treaty with Hawaii. As Secretary, Bayard was also interested in increasing Japanese autonomy. After his tenure as Secretary of State, Bayard served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. As Ambassador, Bayard became involved in the Venezuela-Guyana boundary dispute. His public, pro-British pronouncements placed him at odds with then Secretary of State, Richard Olney, and President Grover Cleveland. Bayard remained as Minister until the end of Cleveland’s second term in 1897. Bayard retired, and died in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1898.

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