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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Slade, Alfred M.

by Timothy L. Howerton, 1994

1799–25 Nov. 1840

Alfred M. Slade, legislator and diplomat, was the son of Jeremiah and Janet Bog Slade. Jeremiah Slade was a commissioner of Indian Affairs with the War Department in 1803 to deal with Indians in Bertie County. He also served over a dozen terms in the General Assembly and was a trustee of The University of North Carolina (1808–24). Alfred Slade grew up in Martin County and attended The University of North Carolina for a portion of one term in 1815–16. He was expelled for six months after he and some other students caused a disruption in Stewards Hall in support of a student who had disregarded President Robert Chapman's censorship of the student's speech. Slade did not return despite the fact that his father was a trustee, an avid supporter of the university, and a friend of its founder, William R. Davie.

Like his father, the younger Slade represented Martin County in the House of Commons (1822, 1834, and 1835) and held other local offices. He also was an active member of the Masonic order.

In 1838 Slade was appointed American consul to Buenos Aires. After a 63-day passage out of New York, he and his family arrived at Montevideo, where they learned that the French fleet had imposed a blockade of Buenos Aires. Proceeding by a different route, Slade arrived in Buenos Aires only to find the French blockade still in effect. In the absence of a chargé d' affaires, he assumed the duties of that office and immediately he set about aiding stranded American citizens and seamen, some of whom were in prison and in danger of being sold to anyone who paid their prison fee. Such financial assistance as Slade rendered came from his own personal resources. He died at age forty-one while still in Buenos Aires. An attempt two years later by his widow to be reimbursed for his expenditures was not successful. The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives refused to consider Slade's efforts on behalf of American citizens as sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Slade was accompanied to Buenos Aires by his wife, Elizabeth (Eliza) A. Sutton Slade, and their daughter, whose name is unknown.


Kemp P. Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1907).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

Faculty minutes, 1816 (University Archives, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924).

House Report 958, 27th Cong., 2d sess. (1842).

Shelby Jean Nelson Hughes, Martin County Heritage (1980).

Francis M. Manning and W. H. Booker, Martin County History, vol. 1 (1977).

Additional Resources:

"Senior Speech Controversy."  A Right to Speak and to Hear: Academic Freedom and Free Expression at UNC. University Libraries, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed May 6, 2014).


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