PALFREY, John Gorham, a Representative from Massachusetts; born in Boston, Mass., May 2, 1796;
completed preparatory studies in Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H., and was graduated from
Harvard University in 1815; studied theology and was ordained minister of Brattle Square Unitarian
Church, Boston, June 17, 1818; editor of the North American Review 1835-1843; member of the
State house of representatives in 1842 and 1843; secretary of state of Massachusetts 1844-1848;
elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1847-March 3, 1849); unsuccessful candidate
on the Free-Soil ticket for reelection in 1848 to the Thirty-first Congress; postmaster of Boston
1861-1867; devoted himself to literary pursuits; died in Cambridge, Mass., April 26, 1881; interment
in Mount Auburn Cemetery.
BibliographyGattell, Frank Otto. John Gorham Palfrey and
the New England Conscience. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963; Gattell,
Frank Otto. Palfreys Vote, the Conscience Whigs, and the Election of Speaker Winthrop. New England Quarterly 31 (June 1958): 218-31.