Larkin, Thomas Oliver

Larkin, Thomas Oliver,

1802–58, American merchant and diplomatic agent, b. Charlestown, Mass. He settled (1832) in Monterey, Calif., where he became a successful merchant trading with Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands. As U.S. consul in California (1844–48) and confidential agent of the U.S. government (1846–48), he waged an extensive propaganda campaign in favor of American acquisition of California that helped to bring about the U.S. seizure of California in the Mexican War. He also served (1847–49) as navy agent and was a delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1849.


See the collection of his papers, ed. by G. P. Hammond (10 vol., 1951–64); biography by R. L. Underhill (2d ed. 1946).

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Larkin, Thomas Oliver

(1802–58) merchant, diplomatic agent; born in Charlestown, Mass. He went to California in 1832 and became the U.S. consul to California (1844–48) and a confidential agent of the U.S. government (1845–48). On behalf of President James Polk, he launched a propaganda campaign to separate California from Mexico.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.