Captain, 1st South Carolina Regiment
Governor of South Carolina
Minister to Great Britain
Envoy Extraordinary to Spain
Federalist Party nominee for Vice President
Congressman from South Carolina
Major General, U.S. Army, War of 1812.
(Editor's Note - For a change of pace this winter we will do profiles of some of the Federalists who helped create this great nation. They gave us Liberty. But would they even recognize the centralized authoritarian and socialistic Big Brother nation that calls itself the United States?)
Thomas Pinckney (October 23, 1750 – November 2, 1828) was an early American statesman, diplomat and veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Early life in the military
Pinckney was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where his father, Charles Pinckney, was a prominent colonial official. When Pinckney was 3, his father brought the family to Great Britain on colonial business, and after his father's death in 1758, Pinckney continued his education in Great Britain and France.
He returned to South Carolina in 1774 and became an ardent Patriot in the American Revolution. In 1775 he was commissioned as captain in the 1st South Carolina Regiment of the Continental Army.
During the War of Independence his early training at the French military college at Caen enabled him to render effective service to General Benjamin Lincoln in 1778-79, to Count d'Estaing (1779), to General Lincoln in the defence of Charleston and afterwards he became an aide-de-camp to General Horatio Gates.
In the disastrous Battle of Camden in 1780 Pinckney was badly wounded and captured. He remained a prisoner of war with the British for more than a year.
After recovering from his wounds, he was released in a prisoner exchange. In 1781 he fought under Lafayette in Virginia.
Postbellum and Politics
After the war, Pinckney spent some years running his plantations before he returned to politics. Pinckney was the 36th Governor of South Carolina from 1787 to 1789, most notably presiding over the state convention that ratified the new U.S. Constitution, and then served in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1791.
He was appointed by President George Washington to be the U.S. minister (ambassador) to Great Britain in 1792. While there, he was unable to get British concessions on issues such as impressment or the Northwest frontier forts, so that Washington sent John Jay as a special envoy to negotiate the controversial Jay Treaty. For part of his tenure (1794–1795) as ambassador in Britain, Pinckney also served as Envoy Extraordinary to Spain.
Pinckney arranged the Treaty of San Lorenzo, also known as Pinckney's Treaty, with Spain in 1795. By that treaty the boundary between the United States and East and West Florida and between the United States and "Louisiana" was settled (Spain relinquishing all claims east of the Mississippi above 31 degrees north latitude), and the United States secured the freedom of navigation of the Mississippi to its mouth with the right of deposit at New Orleans for three years, after which the United States was to have the same right either at New Orleans or at some other place on the Mississippi to be designated by Spain.
Pinckney's diplomatic success with Spain made him popular at home, and on his return the Federalist Party made him their candidate in the 1796 presidential election (as the intended running-mate of John Adams). While Adams won the presidential election, complicated scheming to ensure that Pinckney would have more presidential votes than Adams ended up making their opponent Thomas Jefferson vice-president and Pinckney finish in third place in the presidential race. At the time, there were no distinct electoral votes for President and Vice-President.
Pinckney was elected as a Federalist to the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William L. Smith, and he served from November 1797 to March 1801. While in Congress, Pinckney served as one of the managers appointed by the House in 1798 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against William Blount.
Pinckney served as a major general in the United States Army during the War of 1812. His last public role before his death in Charleston was as president general of the Society of the Cincinnati (1825–1828).
Pinckney died in Charleston, South Carolina and is interred in St. Philip’s Churchyard.
His father, Charles Pinckney, was Chief Justice of South Carolina and his mother, Eliza Lucas, was prominent for introducing the cultivation of Indigo to the colonies.
His brother Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and his cousin Charles Pinckney were signers of the United States Constitution.
He was married twice, first to Elizabeth Motte and second to her sister, Frances, the widow of John Middleton, a cousin of Arthur Middleton. Both Elizabeth and Frances were daughters of Rebecca Brewton Motte.
(www.nndb.com) (Thomas Pinckney)
The Federalist Party was the first American political party. The Federalists operated from the early 1790s to 1816, the era of the First Party System. Remnants of the Party lasted into the late 1820s. The Federalists totally controlled the Federal government until 1801.
The party was formed by Alexander Hamilton, who, during George Washington's first term, built a network of supporters, largely urban bankers and businessmen, to support his Conservative fiscal policies. These supporters grew into the Federalist Party committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government. The United States' only Federalist President was John Adams; although George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, he remained an independent his entire presidency.
Read some profiles of the great Federalist leaders who helped build a free United States.
THE FEDERALIST - Josiah Quincy III - Federalist Patriot
THE FEDERALIST - Robert Goodloe Harper - "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."
THE FEDERALIST - Edmund Randolph - Founding Father
THE FEDERALIST - Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge - George Washington's Spy
THE FEDERALIST - Colonel John Hoskins Stone
THE FEDERALIST - Revolutionary War General Henry Lee
THE FEDERALIST - John Quincy Adams
THE FEDERALIST - Thomas Jefferson and political attack ads