Richard Olney (September 15, 1835 –
April 8, 1917) was an
- For the Member of the United States House of
Representatives from Massachusetts, see Richard Olney II; for the food and wine
writer, see Richard
He served as both United States Attorney
and Secretary of State
President Grover Cleveland
. Olney was the uncle of
Massachusetts Congressman Richard
born in Oxford,
Massachusetts, and studied at Brown University (Class of 1856), and Harvard Law School (Class of 1858). In 1859 he began
practicing law in Boston, and
attained a high position at the bar. He served as a member
of the Board of Selectmen of West Roxbury, Massachusetts and in the Massachusetts House of
Representatives in 1874.
In 1861 Olny married Agnes Park Thomas of Boston,
In March 1893, Olney became U.S. Attorney General. During the
in 1894, he instructed
the district attorney
to secure from
the Federal Courts writs of
restraining the strikers from acts of violence; thus
setting a precedent for "government by injunction." He also advised
the use of Federal troops to quell the disturbances in the city, on
the ground that the government must prevent interference with its
mails and with the general railway transportation between the
Upon the death of Secretary of State Walter Q. Gresham
, Olney succeeded him on June 10
. He quickly
elevated U.S. foreign diplomatic posts to the title of Embassy,
thus making it official that the U.S. would be regarded as an equal
of the world's greater nations (up until that time, the United
States had had only Legations, which diplomatic protocol dictated
be treated as inferior to Embassies). He became specially
prominent in the controversy with United Kingdom concerning the boundary dispute between the British
and Venezuelan governments, and in his correspondence with
Salisbury gave an extended
interpretation to the Monroe
Doctrine which went considerably beyond previous statements on
In 1897, at the expiration of Cleveland's term, Olney returned to
the practice of the law.
In March of 1913 Olney turned down President Wilson's offer to be
the US Ambassador to Great Britain, and later when in May of 1914,
President Wilson offered Olney the Appointment as Governor of the
Federal Reserve Board, he declined that appointment. Olney was
unwilling to take on new responsibilities at his advanced age .
- George B. Young, "Intervention Under the Monroe Doctrine: The
Olney Corollary," Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 57,
No. 2 (Jun., 1942), pp. 247-280 in
- The New York Times, RICHARD OLNEY DIES; VETERAN STATESMAN;
Attorney General and Secretary of State in Cleveland's Second Term
Expires in Boston at 81. UPHELD MONROE DOCTRINE His Demand
Upon Great Britain Led to Her Arbitration of the Venezuelan
Boundary Dispute. His Settlement of Mora Claim.
Introduced by Cleveland. The 'Silent Statesman.'
Offered Ambassadorship. Page 13, (April 10, 1917).
- The New York Times, WILSON SEEKS HEAD OF RESERVE BOARD;
Olney Declines and Secretary Houston Now Is Talked Of as
Governor, Page 14, (May 6, 1914).
- The New York Times, OLNEY REFUSES OFFER OF LONDON EMBASSY;
Tells President Wilson He Is Too Old to Establish a Residence
Abroad, Page 2, (March 16, 1913).