Lawrence, Abbott, 1792–1855, American manufacturer and statesman, b. Groton, Mass. Apprenticed (1808) to his brother Amos, a Boston merchant, Abbott became (1814) a partner with Amos in the firm known as A. & A. Lawrence, importers of English manufactures. As agent for the cotton mills at Lowell, he became interested in manufacturing and took the lead in founding (1845) the textile city of Lawrence, Mass. (named for the family), and setting up the mills. He was a reluctant convert to the protective tariff, along with other New England merchants turned manufacturers. His public career included two terms in the U.S. Congress (1835–37, 1839–40), service on the Northeast Boundary Commission (1842), and minister to Great Britain (1849–52). Lawrence supported the work of Louis Agassiz and other scientists, giving $100,000 to Harvard to establish the Lawrence Scientific School.
See biography by H. A. Hill (1884).