Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen (August 4, 1817–May 20, 1885) was a member of the United States Senate from New Jersey and a United States Secretary of State.
Born in Millstone, New Jersey, his grandfather, Frederick Frelinghuysen (1753–1804), was an eminent lawyer, one of the framers of the first New Jersey constitution, a soldier in the American Revolutionary War and a member (1778–1779 and 1782–1783) of the Continental Congress from New Jersey, and from 1793 to 1796 a member of the United States Senate. His uncle, Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787-1862), was Attorney General of New Jersey from 1817 to 1829, was a U.S. Senator from New Jersey from 1829 to 1835, was the Whig candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Henry Clay ticket in the U.S. presidential election, 1844, and was Chancellor of the University of New York from 1839 until 1850 and president of Rutgers College from 1850 to 1862.
Frederick T. Frelinghuysen was a delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1860, the New Jersey state attorney general, 1861-66, and a U.S. Senator from New Jersey, 1866 to 1869 and 1871 to 1877.
Frederick Theodore, left an orphan at the age of three, was adopted by his uncle, graduated at Rutgers in 1836, and studied law in Newark with his uncle, to whose practice he succeeded in 1839, soon after his admission to the bar. He became attorney for the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Morris Canal and Banking Company and other corporations.
A delegate to the Republican National Convention from New Jersey in 1860 and from 1861 to 1867 was Attorney General of New Jersey. In 1861 he was a delegate to the Peace Congress at Washington, and in 1866 was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey, as a Republican, to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. In the winter of 1867 he was elected to fill the unexpired term, but a Democratic majority in the New Jersey State Legislature prevented his re-election in 1869.
In 1870 he was nominated by President Ulysses S. Grant, and confirmed by the Senate, as United States minister to England to succeed John Lothrop Motley, but declined the mission. From 1871 to 1877 he was again a member of the United States Senate, in which he was prominent in debate and in committee work, and was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs during the Alabama Claims negotiations. He was a strong opponent of the Reconstruction measures of President Andrew Johnson, for whose conviction he voted (on most of the specific charges) in the impeachment trial. He was a member of the joint committee which drew up and reported (1877) the Electoral Commission Bill, and subsequently served as a member of the commission. He was a member of the Electoral Commission that decided the 1876 Presidential election. As a Republican, he voted with the eight-member majority on all counts.
On the December 12, 1881 he was appointed United States Secretary of State by President Chester Arthur to succeed James G. Blaine, and served until the inauguration of President Grover Cleveland in 1885. Retiring, with his health impaired by overwork, to his home in Newark, he died there in May less than three months after retiring. He was buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: FRELINGHUYSEN, Frederick Theodore, 1817-1885 (http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=F000369)