Hugh S. Legaré

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Hugh S. Legaré
Hugh S. Legaré.jpg
16th United States Attorney General
In office
September 13, 1841 – June 20, 1843
President John Tyler
Preceded by John J. Crittenden
Succeeded by John Nelson
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1839
Preceded by Henry L. Pinckney
Succeeded by Isaac E. Holmes
1st United States Chargé d'Affaires to Belgium
In office
September 25, 1832 – June 9, 1836
President Andrew Jackson
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Virgil Maxcy
7th Attorney General of South Carolina
In office
November 27, 1830 – November 29, 1832
Governor James Hamilton, Jr.
Preceded by James L. Petigru
Succeeded by S. Barnwell Smith
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. Philip's and St. Michael's Parish
In office
November 22, 1824 – November 25, 1830
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. John's Parish, Colleton District
In office
November 27, 1820 – November 25, 1822
Personal details
Born (1797-01-02)January 2, 1797
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Died June 20, 1843(1843-06-20) (aged 46)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater College of South Carolina
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Hugh Swinton Legaré (local /lˈɡr/ LA-gree; January 2, 1797 – June 20, 1843) was an American lawyer and politician.

Life and career

Legaré was born in Charleston, South Carolina, of Huguenot and Scottish ancestry.

Partly due to his inability to share in the amusements of his fellows as a result of a deformity due to a vaccine poisoning suffered before he was five (the poison permanently arresting the growth and development of his legs), Legaré was an eager student and was president of the Clariosophic Society at the College of South Carolina (now University of South Carolina at Columbia), from which he graduated in 1814 with the highest rank in his class and with a reputation for scholarship and eloquence.

After graduation he studied the law for three years, did advanced work in Paris and Edinburgh in 1818 and 1819 and in 1822 was admitted to the South Carolina bar.

After practicing for a time in Charleston, he became a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, serving between 1820 and 1821 and then again between 1824 and 1830. He also founded and edited the Southern Review between 1828 and 1832.

From 1830 until 1832 he was the attorney general of South Carolina, and he supported states' rights, he strongly opposed nullification. He was Attorney General until he was appointed chargé d'affaires to Brussels in 1832, serving there until 1836.

On his return he was elected to the 25th Congress as a Democrat, but failed in a re-election bid the following term. In 1841 President John Tyler named him Attorney General of the United States and he served in that office until his death. He also served as Secretary of State ad interim from May 8, 1843, until his death.

He died in Boston while attending ceremonies for the unveiling of the Bunker Hill Monument. He was first interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was later re-interred in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston. The USCGC Legare, which is a medium endurance cutter, was named in his honor.

See also


Further reading

  • The Writings of Hugh Swinton Legaré, South Carolina, 1846. (2 vols.)
  • Hollis, Daniel Walker (1951) University of South Carolina, volume I: South Carolina College, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
John J. Crittenden
U.S. Attorney General
Served under: John Tyler

Succeeded by
John Nelson
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry L. Pinckney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Isaac E. Holmes
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Position established
U.S. Chargé d'Affaires to Belgium
Succeeded by
Virgil Maxcy