Rives, William Cabell, son of Robert Rives, of Sussex county, one of the richest merchants of Virginia, and
Margaret Cabell, his wife, daughter of Colonel William Cabell, of "Union Hill," was born in Nelson county,
May 4, 1793. He was first schooled under private tutors, entered HampdenSidney College in 1807. and was graduated
at. William and Mary College in 1809. He studied law under the direction of Thomas Jefferson. 1809-11; served in
the defence ot Virginia as aide de camp to General John H. Cooke. 1814-15, and engaged in the practice of law in
Nelson county. He represented Nelson county in the Virginia house of delegates, 1817-19, and was married, March
24, 1819, to Judith Page, daughter of the Hon. Francis and Jane Byrd (Page) Walker of Albemarle county, Virginia.
He removed to Albemarle county in 1821; represented that county in the Virginia house of delegates. 1822-23, and
was a Republican rcpresentative in the Eighteenth. Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses. 18231829, He was a member
of the board of visitors of the University of Virginia, 1828-29; and United States minister to France by appointment
of President Jackson. from April 18, 1829. to September 27, 1832, negotiating the indemnity treaty of July 4. 1831.
He was elected to the United States senate to till vacancy caused by resignation of Littleton W. Tazewell, and
served from January 4, 1833, until February 22, 1834 when he resigned, having refused to follow the instructions
of the Virginia legislature to vote to censure President Jackson for removing government deposits from the Bank
of the United States. He was reelected to the United States senate in place of John Tyler, resigned February 29,
1836, and was returned 1840-45. He joined the Whigs in 1840, but did not approve of the course of Mr. Clay in bringing
forward the bank bills in 1841. He was appointed United States minister to France by President Fillmore. serving
1849-53, and in the latter year retired to private life at his residence. "Castle Hill" Albemarle county.
He was one of the five commissioners sent from Virginia to the peace congress at Washington, D. C., in February.
1861, and elected chairman of the Virginia delegates chosen at Richmond, April 17. 1861, to represent Virginia
in the provisional congress at Montgomery, Alabama, April 29, 1861. He represented his district in the second Confederate
congress. February 22, 1864, to February 22. 1865. He was made president of the Virginia Historical Society, 1847,
and received the degree of Doctor of Laws from the College of William and Mary. He was the author of: "The
Life and Character of John Hampden" (1845); "Ethics of Christianity" (1855) ; "The Life and
Times of James Madison (3 vols., 1859-69). He died at "Castk Hill." Virginia, April 25, 1868.
Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915
Vol. 2 Prominent Persons in Virginia
Vol. 2 Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals
Vol. 2 United States Senators
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