"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jonathan Dayton - Founding Father

Jonathan Dayton
Founding Father of the United States
Captain, Continental Army
New Jersey delegate, Continental Congress
Delegate, Constitutional Convention
Speaker, New Jersey General Assembly
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senator from New Jersey
Federalist Party

(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?)

Founding Father Jonathan Dayton (October 16, 1760 – October 9, 1824) was from New Jersey. He was the youngest person to sign the United States Constitution.

He served as the fourth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives representing the Federalist Party, and later served as a U.S. Senator.

Dayton was born in Elizabethtown (now known as Elizabeth) in New Jersey. He was the son of Elias Dayton, a merchant who was prominent in local politics and had served as a militia officer in the French and Indian War.

He graduated from the local academy, run by Tapping Reeve and Francis Barber, where he was classmates with Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

He then attended the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University). He left the College of New Jersey in 1775 to fight in the revolution, though he would later receive an honorary degree in 1776.

3rd New Jersey Regiment
Founding Father Jonathan Dayton dropped out of school and enlisted
in the 3rd New Jersey Regiment at the age of 15. 
Above are re-enactors of that regiment.
See more at Jersey Blues.org

Soldier in the Revolution

Dayton was only 15 years old at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775.  He served under his father (Elias ) in the 3rd New Jersey Regiment as an ensign. On Jan. 1, 1777 he was commissioned a lieutenant and served as paymaster.

He saw service under Washington fighting, at both the battles of Brandywine Creek and Germantown.  Dayton remained with Washington at Valley Forge, and helped push the British from their position in New Jersey into the safety of New York City at the Battle of Monmouth.

In October 1780, Dayton along with an uncle were captured by loyalists who held him captive for the winter.  They were released in the coming year. They again served under Dayton's father Elias in the New Jersey Brigade.

Now only 19, Dayton was promoted to rank of captain on March 30, 1780 and transferred to the 2nd New Jersey Regiment.  With that unit he took part in the ensuing Yorktown Campaign and fought at the Battle of Yorktown.

The Revolutionary War Pension files also state that he served as Aid-de-Camp to General Sullivan on his expedition against the Indians from May 1 to Nov 30, 1779.

Battle of Yorktown
American troops storming the redoubt (above).  Dayton also served with the 
2nd New Jersey Regiment where he took part in the Battle of Yorktown.
Also see British Battles.com

A Founding Father and Politician

After the war, Dayton studied law and established a practice, dividing his time between land speculation, law, and politics.

He served as a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress.  Then in 1787 at the age of 26 he became the youngest member of Constitutional Convention.

Dayton went on to become a prominent Federalist legislator.  He was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 1786–1787, and again in 1790, and served in the New Jersey Legislative Council (now the New Jersey Senate) in 1789.

Dayton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1789, but he did not take his seat until he was elected again in 1791.

During his last two terms he was Speaker of the House. He was the elected to the US Senate and served from 1799 to 1805.

Like most Federalists, he supported the fiscal policies of Alexander Hamilton, and helped organize the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. He supported the Louisiana Purchase and opposed the repeal of the Judiciary Act of 1801.

He became wealthy from his heavy investments in Ohio where the city of Dayton would later be named after him.

Dayton Arrested for Treason

One of the most interesting and under reported chapters of our history is the phony political "show trial" of Aaron Burr conducted in a Stalinist manner by a vindictive and paranoid Thomas Jefferson.

Vice President Aaron Burr
Both Burr and Dayton were arrested by
the military on Jefferson's personal order.

From day one of Jefferson's presidency he conducted endless attacks against anyone who might challenge his power starting with his own Republican Vice President, Aaron Burr.

In an effort to intimidate the Federal Courts, in a party line vote Jefferson's Republicans in Congress voted to impeach Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase who had been appointed by George Washington himself. 

Burr as Vice President conducted a fair impeachment trial rather than a witch hunt.  Chase was acquitted by the Senate thus infuriating Jefferson.

An rather loony Jefferson worked with James Madison to personally destroy Burr.  He had been thrown out as Jefferson's Vice President and was crushed in his race for governor of New York by Jefferson's hand picked candidate.

Doing a fast forward, Jonathan Dayton lent money to Vice President Aaron Burr thus becoming involved by association in the so-called Burr "conspiracy".

The Stalinist attacks on Burr started.  In 1805 the Federal District Attorney for Kentucky, brought charges against Burr, claiming that he intended to make war with Mexico. With the help of his young attorney, Henry Clay, Burr was able to have the entire case dismissed.

Joseph Stalin had nothing on Thomas Jefferson.  Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested by the military, not civilian authorities.

The Burr arrest was based on a "warrant" personally signed by Thomas Jefferson, not a warrant issued by any court.  He was charged with the trumped up accounts of treason and trying to overthrow the government.  The charges were punishable by the death penalty.

Having charges dismissed in Kentucky, Jefferson had the military take Burr to Jefferson's home sate of Virginia for a quick trial and conviction by a "friendly" jury.

The Burr trial was a national sensation.  All the old Federalist charges that Jefferson was a French radical authoritarian were back in the news.  An American President was personally seeking the death penalty against his own Vice President.
Jonathan Dayton

Both Federalists and Republicans were coming to Burr's defense.  Joining Burr's defense team were George Washington's first and third Attorneys General Edmund Randolph and Charles Lee.  Former Republican Senator Andrew Jackson attended the trial and threatened to fight any man who insulted Burr.
To make sure of a conviction Jefferson gave Prosecutor George Hay a stack of pre-signed, blank Presidential Pardons.  Anyone who would testify against Burr would get a pardon . . . those who refused to testify would be open to Federal prosecution by Jefferson.  One key witness against Burr was even "reimbursed" with a $10,000 check from the Jefferson Administration for "services rendered."
In the middle of the trial Dayton was arrested for treason on Jefferson's orders.

In his paranoid madness Jefferson was going all out by arresting for treason (a death penalty offense) a Founding Father and former Federalist Speaker of the House.

Burr ended up being acquitted of all charges.  Only at that point were all treason charges against Dayton dismissed.

Late life and family

He married Susan Williamson and had two daughters. Susan's Revolutionary War Pension Application W.6994 states that the marriage occurred on the twenty-eighth day of March, in the year 1779.

A supporting letter, written by Aaron Ogden, a Captain in the New Jersey Brigade, states that he "was present at the marriage of the said Jonathan Dayton and Susan his wife ; which marriage ceremony was performed by the Reverent Mr. Hoyt, a Presbyterian Clergyman... in the fore part of spring of the year seventeen hundred and seventy nine (1779) while the New Jersey Brigade lay at Elizabethtown in the Borough of Elizabeth and state of new Jersey."

After the Burr trial he resumed his political career and was elected to the New Jersey Assembly 1814-1815.

Dayton died Oct. 9, 1824 in his New Jersey hometown and was interred in an unmarked grave now under the present St. John's Episcopal Church in Elizabeth which replaced the original church in 1860.

Shortly before his death, the Marquis de Lafayette visited him, as reported in an obituary: In New-Jersey, Hon. JONATHAN DAYTON, formerly Speaker of the House of Representatives of Congress, and a Hero of the Revolution. When the Nation's Guest lately passed New-Jersey, he passed the night with General Dayton, and such were the exertions of this aged and distinguished federalist, to honor the Guest, and gratify the wishes of his fellow citizens to see, that he sunk under them ; and expired, without regret, a few days after (Columbian Centinel (Boston, MA), Oct 20, 1824, p. 2).

(Burr, Ogden and Dayton -The Original Jersey Boys)   (Jonathan Dayton)   (artworkoriginals.com)  


The Federalist eagle prevents Jefferson from burning the Constitution on
the alter of despotism and mob rule.

Life, Liberty and Property.
“Citizens choose your sides. You who are for French notions of government; for the tempestuous sea of anarchy and misrule; for arming the poor against the rich; for fraternizing with the foes of God and man; go to the left and support the leaders, or the dupes, of the anti-federal junto. But you that are sober, industrious, thriving, and happy, give your votes for those men who mean to preserve the union of the states, the purity and vigor of our excellent Constitution, the sacred majesty of the laws, and the holy ordinances of religion.” - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - A New York Federalist Newspaper (Spring of 1800)

The Federalist Party was the first American political party. In Presidential politics the Federalists operated from the early 1790s to 1816, the era of the First Party System. Remnants of the Party lasted until 1830. 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 Revolution of American Conservatism - The Federalist Party in the Era of Jeffersonian Democracy

THE FEDERALIST - General Philip Schuyler - Revolutionary War Patriot

THE FEDERALIST - Founding Father Jared Ingersoll

THE FEDERALIST - General William Richardson Davie

THE FEDERALIST - General Thomas Pinckney

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

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