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Henry Clay Ide

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Name  Henry Ide

Education  Dartmouth College
Henry Clay Ide httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsaa
Role  Former Governor-General of the Philippines
Died  June 13, 1921, St. Johnsbury, Vermont, United States
Previous office  Governor-General of the Philippines (1906–1907)
Similar People  Arthur MacArthur - Jr, Theodore Roosevelt, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, William McKinley

Henry Clay Ide (September 18, 1844 – June 13, 1921) was a U.S. judge, colonial commissioner, ambassador, and Governor-General of the Philippines.


Early life, States Attorney, Senator, and Presidential Commissioner to Samoa

Born in Barnet, Vermont in 1844, Ide graduated from Dartmouth in 1866, where he was named valedictorian. He studied law, first with Benjamin H. Steele, and later with Jonathan Ross, and was admitted to the bar in 1870. He practiced law in St. Johnsbury, Vermont from then until 1891.

A Republican, from 1876 to 1878, Ide was State's Attorney for Caledonia County. From 1882 to 1885 he was a member of the Vermont State Senate.

President Benjamin Harrison appointed Ide Presidential Commissioner to Samoa in 1891. The formal title of the post was American Land Commissioner in Samoa, one of three representatives (of the United States, Germany, and Great Britain) responsible for adjudicating land claims by foreigners in the islands, as provided for in the Treaty of Berlin (1889). Ide reached Apia on May 16, 1891, but only held the office for six months, until he resigned because of a serious illness in his family and left the islands on November 12, 1891. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to him two days beforehand, saying "I hear with great regret of your departure. They say there are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it, but I doubt if they will come to our hook. It is not only that you have shown so much capacity, moderation, tact, and temper ; but you have had the talent to make these gifts recognized and appreciated among our very captious population. For my part, I always thought your presence the best thing that the treaty had brought us."

Ide returned to the islands in 1893 as Chief Justice, another position provided for by the Treaty of Berlin. He accepted the appointment in August, and sailed for the islands two months later. As Chief Justice, Ide presided over trials of both native Samoans and foreign nationals of the three Treaty of Berlin signatories. He also had the power to recommend criminal and taxation legislation to the government of Samoa. He remained Chief Justice until 1897. He resigned in 1896, but there was a delay in the arrival of his successor, requiring him to continue in office until 1897-05-13. The Samoa Weekly Herald noted him, upon his departure, as a just and able judge. Similarly, King Malietoa told Ide that "You will not be forgotten in Samoa, you will be remembered as the good Chief Justice who knew our ways and laws and customs and who was kind to us".

Ide was succeeded, in each of his positions as Land Commissioner and Chief Justice, by William Lea Chambers.

Presidential Commissioner to the Philippines

Ide was one of the Commissioners of the Taft Commission, appointed in 1900. Like the other Commissioners, he arrived in the Philippines in June of that year, and assumed official legislative power on 1900-09-01.

On 1901-01-01, like the four other remaining Commissioners (Commissioner Taft having been appointed Governor on 1901-07-04), Ide gained executive power as well, being appointed one of the members of Taft's cabinet. Ide was appointed Secretary of Finance and Justice. He held that position until 1904.

Ide was appointed Vice-Governor of the Philippines, a post first held by Luke Edward Wright and intended to have gubernatorial authority in the event of the absence or incapacity of the Governor, in 1904. In November 1905 he became Acting Governor General after Wright, then Governor General, as the position had then been renamed, had gone on leave and left the islands. Wright formally resigned his position, and Ide formally succeeded him as U.S. Governor-General of the Philippines on 1906-04-01, the date of effect of Wright's resignation.

Ide was Governor General for five months, until September of the same year, giving him a total of ten months as Governor General and Acting Governor General. Ide resigned on 1906-09-19, and was recalled to Washington D.C. In part, Ide's few months as Governor General were a political face-saving exercise (as was Wright's resignation). Taft had visited the Philippines in August 1905, and after that visit it had become apparent at least to the Americans in the government that heads would roll in the Philippine Commission. Wright and Ide were two of the Commissioners whose days as Commissioners had become numbered after Taft's visit. Wright effectively lost power, the resignation being a formality. Ide was permitted to assume the reins for ten months to save face.

The issue in part was a conflict between the Commission and the Federalistas. The Federalistas disagreed with and disliked both Wright and Ide. However, whilst they found Wright's Governor Generalship outright offensive, they were happier with Ide's ten months in office. Hailing his resignation from office La Democracia (as quoted in the 1906-09-05 Manila Times) praised Ide and his work, and stated that "in his social relations, Mr Ide has reestablished the good times of Taft, which the latter's successor tried to make us forget".


Ide served as minister to Spain 1909–1913.

Family, personal life, and business affairs

On 26 October 1871 Henry was married to Mary M., daughter of Joseph and Sophia Matcher (or Melcher), of Stoughton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, who died 13 April 1892. They had four children: Adelaide (Addie) M., Annie L., Harry J. and Mary M.

During his time on Samoa, Ide became friends with Robert Louis Stevenson, who was heavily engaged in the politics of the region and a frequent commentator on Samoan affairs to the world at large. One day, Ide mentioned to Stevenson the feelings of his daughter Annie about having been born on Christmas Day and so having no birthday celebration separate from the family's Christmas celebrations. Stevenson drew up a formal deed of gift, properly sealed and witnessed as a legal document, and then published in the press, donating his birthday to Ide's daughter. The daughter and Stevenson corresponded further on the matter in November 1891, with Stevenson assuring her that "I am sure [your father] will tell you this is sound law.". The affair was the root of a strong bond between the Ide and Stevenson families.

Anne H. Ide, who was known as "Levei-malo" to the Samoans, married William Bourke Cockran in 1906, becoming his third wife. In 1912, his daughter Marjorie married Shane Leslie, a first cousin of Winston Churchill.


Ide died in St. Johnsbury, Vermont on 13 June 1921. He was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in St. Johnsbury.


Henry Clay Ide Wikipedia