Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HARPER, Robert Goodloe, senator, born near Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1765; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 15 January, 1825. He was the son of poor parents, who, during his childhood, removed to Granville, N.C. At the age of fifteen he served, under General Greene, in a troop of horse, composed of the youth of the neighborhood, during the closing scenes of the southern campaign of the Revolution. He was graduated at Princeton in 1785, studied law in Charleston, South Carolina, and was admitted to the bar in 1786. He soon removed to the interior of the state, where he became known through a series of articles on a proposed change in the constitution, he was elected to the legislature and subsequently sent to congress, serving from 9 February, 1795, till 3 March, 1801, and warmly supporting the administrations of Washington and Adams. He served in the war of 1812, being promoted from the rank of colonel to that of major-general. Soon after the defeat of the Federalists he married the daughter of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and removed to Baltimore, Maryland, where he attained eminence at the bar. He was employed with Joseph Hopkinson as counsel for Judge Samuel Chase, of the United States supreme court, in his impeachment trial. At a dinner given at Georgetown, D. C., 5 June, 1813, in honor of the recent Russian victories, he gave as a toast "Alexander the Deliverer," following it with a speech eulogizing the Russians. On the publication of the speech, Robert Walsh addressed the author a letter in which he expressed the opinion that the oration underrated the military character of Napoleon, and failed to point out the danger of Russian ascendency. To this letter Harper made an elaborate reply, Walsh responded, and the correspondence was then (1814) published in a volume. Harper was elected to the United States senate from Maryland to serve from 29 January, 1816, till 3 March, 1821, but resigned in the former year to become one of the Federalist candidates for vice president. In 1819-'20 he visited Europe with his family, and after his return employed himself chiefly in the promotion of schemes of internal improvements. He was an active member of the American colonization society, and the town of Harper, near Cape Palmas, Africa, was named in his honor. His pamphlet, entitled "Observations on the Dispute between the United States and France" (1797), acquired great celebrity. He also printed "An Address on the British Treaty" (1796); "Letters on the Proceedings of Congress"; and "Letters to His Constituents" (1801). A collection of his various letters, addresses, and pamphlets was published with the title "Select Works" (Baltimore, 1814).
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