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, William, jurist, born in the island of Antigua, 17 January, 1790; died in South Carolina, 10 October, 1847. His father, an English Methodist, had been sent to Antigua as a missionary by John Wesley, but came to Baltimore, Maryland, and afterward removed to Columbia, South Carolina, where William was graduated at South Carolina college in 1808. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and in 1818 emigrated to Missouri. In 1819 he was elected chancellor, and was a member of the convention that adopted the state constitution of 1821. In 1823 he resigned, and, returning to Columbia, South Carolina, was made state reporter. After performing the duties of the office for two years, he was appointed United States senator to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John Galliard, and served from 28 March till 7 December, 1826. He then removed to Charleston, South Carolina, and practised his profession until 1828, when he was elected to the state house of representatives and chosen speaker. The same year he was elected chancellor, and retained the office until 1830, when he was made one of the judges of the court of appeals. On the abolition of that court in 1835 he was again chosen chancellor. In November, 1832, he was a member of the convention that passed the ordinance of nullification, and met with the same body in March, 1833, to rescind it. He is the author of an article on "Colonization" in the" Southern Review," a speech in congress on the "Panama Mission," a eulogy on Chancellor de Saussure, and several addresses in favor of nullification.
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