Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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KANE, John Kintzing, jurist, born in Albany, New York, 16 May, 1795; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 21 February, 1858. He was graduated at Yale in 1814, studied law with Joseph Hogkinson, was admitted to the bar in 1817, and practised in Philadelphia. At an early Period of his life he manifested an interest in public affairs as a member of the Federalist party. He was sent to the legislature in 1823, but shortly afterward joined the Democratic party. He filled the office of solicitor of Philadelphia in 1828-'30. In the electoral canvass of 1828 he ably supported Andrew Jackson. He was appointed in 1832 one of the three commissioners under the convention of indemnity with France of 4 July of the preceding year. He prepared the report of that commission, and was the author of "Notes" on questions decided by the board, which were published after the conclusion of its labors in 1836. The first printed attack on the United States bank was written by him, and passages in the messages and public utterances of President Jackson were supposed to have been of his composition. His enjoyment of the friendship of the president led to his being for a brief period subjected to social proscription in Philadelphia, the stronghold of the bank party. A memorable letter addressed by Jackson to James K. Polk during the campaign of 1844 was written by Kane, and during what is known as the " Buckshot war" in Pennsylvania he was the effective manoeuvrer of the Democratic party. He became attorney-general of Pennsylvania in 1845, but resigned in 1846 on being appointed United States judge for the district of Pennsylvania. He was distinguished for his attainments in the Roman and continental law, and his judicial decisions, especially in the admiralty and in the patent law, were much cited, His action in the case of Passmore Williamson, who was committed for contempt of court in a proceeding under the fugitive-slave law, was, however, violently assailed by the Abolition party. He led in the struggle of the first board of trustees to open Girard college, and took a prominent part in the controversy which divided the Presbyterian church into the new and old schools, he was one of the trustees and legal advisers of the Presbyterian church in the United States. From 1856 until he died he was President of the American Philosophical Society.--His son, Elisha Kent, arctic explorer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 20 February, 1820; died in Havana, Cuba, 16 February, 1857, was obliged, owing to illness, to leave, in his seventeenth year, an elective course at the University of Virginia. Improving in health, he applied himself so diligently to study that while but twenty-two years of age he graduated in medicine at the head of his class at the University of Pennsylvania. Kane entered the United States navy, 21 July, 1843. as assistant surgeon, and was promoted to be passed assistant surgeon, 14 September, 1848. He served as surgeon in China, on the coast of Africa, in Mexico, where he was wounded while on special service, in the Mediterranean, and on coast survey duty in the Gulf of Mexico, from which he was relieved, at his urgent request, for duty with the first Grinnell arctic expedition. In all his service he eagerly sought opportunity for travel, exploration, and adventure, and once, in descending into the crater of Teal, in the Philippines, he barely escaped with his life. His experiences included six months of practice as a physician in China, an encounter with Bedouin robbers in Egypt, and a visit to the king of Dahomey in Africa. Kane prepared for his arctic voyage in two days' time, and sailed as surgeon of the "Advance" under Lieutenant Edwin J. Dettaven, who commanded the squadron, the "Advance" and "Rescue." These vessels, purchased, strengthened, and fitted out through the liberality of Henry Grinnell, were accepted by the United States, under the joint resolution of congress, approved 5 May, 1850, for the purpose of assisting in the search for the English expedition under Sir John Franklin. The squadron discovered "Grinnell Land," an island north of Cornwallis island, which should not be confounded with the better known Grinnell Land bordering on the frozen sea. Failing to reach an advantageous point for further search, DeHaven decided to return home the same year, but his vessels were closely beset by the ice in Wellington's channel, and drifted from September, 1850, till June 1851, southeasterly into Baffin bay, where they finally escaped from the pack. Kane's exertions and medical skill did much to mitigate the hills of the scurvy-stricken squadron, and bring back the party with undiminished numbers. His reputation as an arctic explorer depends almost entirely on his second expedition, which was undertaken at the solicitation of Lady Franklin in a search for Franklin and his companions. The expedition contemplated an overland journey from Baffin bay to the shores of the polar sea. Kane sailed 30 May, 1853, from New York, in command of the brig " Advance," which Henry Grinnell had placed at his disposal. George Peabody contributed liberally, while various scientific societies of the country also fostered the undertaking. Kane not only spent much of his private means, but through strenuous exertions succeeded in sailing under the auspices of the United States navy department, although congress failed to aid him. Dr. Isaac I. Hayes (q. v.) went as surgeon of the expedition. The "Advance" touched at various Greenland ports, where Esquimau recruits were obtained, and finally, by following the bold coast of Smith sound, reached 78º 43' N., the highest latitude ever attained, even to this day, by a sailing vessel in that sea. Unable to proceed farther, Kane wintered in Van Rensselaer harbor, 78º 37' N., 70º 40' W. Short journeys that autumn resulted in the discovery of Humboldt glacier, which, issuing at its southern edge from the great mer-de-glace of Greenland in 79º 12', extends northward many miles. An attempt to push northward along this glacier in the spring of 1854 resulted only in the loss of two lives and the maiming of two other persons. Later, Morton, with Esquimau Hans, reached, by dog sledge, Cape Constitution in 80º 35' N., 21 June, 1854, from which point the southwesterly part of Kennedy channel was seen to be entirely open and free from ice. Dr. Hayes, with dog sledge, crossed Kane sea, and, reaching Cape Hawkes, Grinnell Land, pushed northward to the vicinity of Cape Frazier, 79º 45' N. The ice remaining unbroken near his winter quarters, Dr. Kane, in July, 1854, made an unsuccessful attempt by boat to visit Beechy island, about 400 miles distant, whence he hoped to obtain assistance. Later that year half of the party, under the command of Petersen, a Dane, abandoned Dr. Kane and the brig in an attempt to reach Upernavic, but, after three months of extreme hardship and suffering, were obliged to return to Kane, who received them kindly. In 1855 Kane was reluctantly forced to abandon the "Advance," which was yet frozen in. By indefatigable exertions he succeeded in moving his boats and sick some sixty miles to the open sea, losing one man on the way. During this journey he received much aid and kindness from the Etah Esquimaux. He reached Cape York, 21 July, and, crossing Melville bay successfully, arrived at Upernavik, 6 August, 1855. This second voyage of Kane's greatly enlarged the world's knowledge of the Etah Esquimaux, and added to geography the most northern lands of that day, while the scientific observations were more accurate and valuable than those of any preceding polar expedition. The explorer and his companions were received with enthusiasm on their return. Arctic medals were authorized by congress, and the queen's medal was presented to officers and men. Kane received the founder's medal of 1856 from the Royal geographical society, and the gold medal of 1858 from the Societe de geographie. His health had been much impaired by the sufferings of his second expedition. In the hope of recovering it he visited England, and then went to Havana, Cuba, where he died. His remains were taken to Philadelphia, and accorded civic and military honors. Dr. Kane published "The United States Grinnell Expedition" (New York, 1854); and" The Second Grinnell Expedition "(Philadelphia, 1856). See William Elder's "Biography of E. K. Kane" (Philadelphia, 1858).--Another son, Thomas Leiper, soldier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 January, 1822; died there, 26 December, 1883, was educated in Paris, where he associated with Auguste Comte and French Republicans, and contributed to "Le National," a democratic organ. After his return to Philadelphia he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1846, and held for several years the office of clerk of the United States district court, but resigned it on account of the passage of the fugitive-slave law. In 1847 he visited the Mormon settlements, and secured their confidence to such an extent, by befriending them during the miseries of their pilgrimage to Utah, that in 1858, after Brigham Young had called the people of Utah to arms to prevent the entrance of United States troops, and Governor Alfred Cumming (q. v.) had issued a proclamation declaring the territory to be in a state of rebellion, he went to Utah at his own expense with letters from President Buchanan, and arranged the basis of the settlement that was afterward concluded by peace commissioners. He founded and laid out the town of Kane in the northwestern part of Pennsylvania, where he raised, in April, 1861, a regiment of hunters and loggers known as the "Bucktails," which became famous for valor and endurance. He was wounded at Dranesville, where he led the advance, and at Harrisonburg he was sent to the rescue of a regiment that had fallen into an ambuscade, with 104 picked riflemen encountered three regiments of the enemy, and was wounded and taken prisoner. He was released on parole, and in August, 1869, exchanged. On 7 September, 1862, he was made a brigadier-general for gallant services in the field. At the beginning of the battle of Gettysburg he was absent on sick leave, yet he hastened to Washington for orders, took to General Meade the information that the National telegraphic cipher was known to the Confederates, joined his brigade on the morning of the second day, and held an important position on the extreme right. He resigned on 7 November, 1863, being disabled by wounds and exposure. He was the author of "The Mormons" (Philadelphia, 1850); "Alaska" (1868); and "Coahuila" (1877).
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