Charles Cotesworth Pinckney: Wikis


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Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

In office
1796 – 1797
President George Washington
John Adams
Preceded by James Monroe
Succeeded by Robert Livingston

Born February 25, 1746(1746-02-25)
Charleston, South Carolina
Died August 16, 1825 (aged 79)
Charleston, South Carolina
Political party Federalist Party
Spouse(s) Sarah Middleton; Mary Stead
Children 3
Alma mater Christ Church College, Oxford
Occupation Lawyer, planter, statesman, soldier
Religion Episcopalian

Charles Cotesworth (C.C.) Pinckney (February 25, 1746 – August 16, 1825), was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as their presidential candidate, but he did not win either election.


Early life and family

Charles C. Pinckney was born into the Pinckney family of aristocratic planters in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 25, 1746. He was the son of Charles Pinckney, who would later serve as the chief justice of the Province of South Carolina, and the celebrated planter and agriculturalist, Eliza Lucas.[1] He was the elder brother of Thomas Pinckney, who served as Governor of South Carolina, as a U.S. Representative, and as a George Washington administration dipmomat. His first cousin once removed, Charles Pinckney, served as Governor of South Carolina, as a U.S. Senator, and as a Thomas Jefferson administration diplomat.

In 1753, Pinckney's father moved the family to London, England, to serve as the colony's agent (essentially as a lobbyist to protect South Carolina's commercial and political interests). Both Charles and his brother Thomas were enrolled in the Westminster School, where they remained after the rest of the family returned to South Carolina in 1758. Both brothers also studied at Oxford University. Pinckney graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford with degrees in science and law, and proceeded to further study law with the prestigious Middle Temple society. Pinckney was called to the bar in 1769, but he continued his education in France for another year, studying botany and chemistry. He also had a brief stint at the Royal Military College at Caen.

In 1773, Pinckney married Sarah Middleton, whose father Henry Middleton served as the second President of the Continental Congress and whose brother Arthur Middleton signed the Declaration of Independence. Sarah died in 1784. In 1786, he remarried to Mary Stead, who came from a wealthy family of planters in Georgia. Pinckney had three daughters.

Early political career

After returning to South Carolina from Europe, Charles C. Pinckney began to practice law in Charleston. He was first elected to a seat in the colonial legislature in 1770. In 1773 he served as a regional attorney general. When war erupted between the thirteen American colonies and Great Britain in 1775, Pinckney stood with the American Patriots; in that year he was a member of the first South Carolina provincial congress in 1775, which helped South Carolina transition from being a British colony to being an independent state.[1] During the American Revolutionary War he would serve in the lower house of the state legislature and as a member of the South Carolina Senate in addition to his military service.

Revolutionary War

A portrait from about 1773 by Henry Benbridge.

In 1775, after the American Revolutionary War had broken out, Pinckney volunteered for military service as a full-time regular officer in George Washington's Continental Army. As a senior company commander with the rank of captain, Pinckney raised and led the elite Grenadiers of the 1st South Carolina Regiment. He participated in the successful defense of Charleston in the Battle of Sullivan's Island in June 1776, when British forces under General Sir Henry Clinton staged an amphibious attack on the state capital. Later in 1776 Pinckney took command of the regiment, with the rank of colonel, a position he retained to the end of the war.

After this, the British Army shifted its focus to the Northern and Mid-Atlantic states. Pinckney led his regiment north to join General Washington's troops near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pinckney and his regiment then participated in the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown. Around this time he first met fellow officers and future Federalist statesmen Alexander Hamilton and James McHenry.

In 1778, Pinckney and his regiment, returning to the South, took part in a failed American expedition attempting to seize British East Florida. The expedition ended due to severe logistical difficulties and a British victory in the Battle of Alligator Bridge. Later that year, the British Army shifted its focus to the Southern theater, capturing Savannah, Georgia, that December. In October 1779, the Southern army of Major General Benjamin Lincoln, with Pinckney leading one of its brigades, attempted to re-take Savannah in the Siege of Savannah. This attack was disastrous for the Americans, who suffered numerous casualties.

Pinckney then participated in 1780 defense of Charleston against British siege. Major General Lincoln surrendered his 5,000 men to the British on May 12, 1780, whereupon Pinckney became a prisoner of war. As a prisoner of war, he played a major role in maintaining the troops' loyalty to the Patriots' cause. During this time, he famously said, "If I had a vein that did not beat with the love of my Country, I myself would open it. If I had a drop of blood that could flow dishonourable, I myself would let it out." He was kept in close confinement until his release in 1782. In November 1783, he was commissioned a brevet Brigadier General in the Continental Army shortly before the southern regiments were disbanded.[1]

Constitutional Convention

Pinckney, who had returned to the lower house of the state legislature, represented South Carolina at the constitutional convention of 1787, where he was an influential member. Pinckney advocated the idea that slaves be counted as a basis of representation and opposing abolition of the slave trade. He also advocated a strong national government (albeit one with a system of checks and balances) to replace the weak one of the time. He opposed as impracticable the election of representatives by popular vote. He also opposed paying senators, who, he thought, should be men of independent wealth. Pinckney played a key role in requiring treaties to be ratified by the Senate and in the compromise that resulted in the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade. He also opposed placing a limitation on the size of a federal standing army.[2]

Pinckney played a prominent role in securing the ratification of the Federal constitution in the South Carolina convention of 1788, and in framing the South Carolina Constitution in the convention of 1790. After this he announced his retirement from politics.

U.S. Minister to France

During the 1790s, President George Washington offered Pinckney several offices in his administration. Pinckney declined them all until 1796, when he accepted an appointment as U.S. Minister to France. France was in turmoil due to the French Revolution, and the French revolutionaries had been seizing American trading ships bound for Great Britain. The French republican government rejected Pinckney's credentials upon his arrival. Three French agents then demanded a large bribe in exchange for allowing Pinckney and fellow diplomats Elbridge Gerry and John Marshall to see French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. Pinckney famously replied, "No! No! Not a sixpence!" After this incident, which later came to be known as the XYZ Affair, Pinckney broke off all discussion and returned home, resigning from his position. President John Adams, a Federalist, appointed Pinckney to one of the highest posts in the new Provisional Army which Congress had voted to raise in response to the diplomatic rupture with France. However, a peaceful solution to the Quasi-War with France was negotiated by 1800 and Pinckney's active military service ended.

Later political career

In the 1800 presidential election, Pinckney was the Federalist candidate for vice-president, running with the incumbent president, John Adams. They were defeated by the Democratic-Republicans Thomas Jefferson (who became president) and Aaron Burr (who became vice president). In 1804, the Federalist Party nominated Pinckney to run for the presidency against Jefferson. Jefferson, who was very popular due to the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase and booming trade defeated Pinckney in a landslide, winning only 27.2% of the popular vote and carrying only two states. In 1808 he was again the Federalist nominee for president, running against Jefferson's Secretary of State, James Madison. Pinckney did not fare much better against Madison, carrying only five states and winning 32.4% of the popular vote.

From 1805 until his death, Pinckney was president-general of the Society of the Cincinnati. Pinckney died on August 16, 1825 and was buried in St. Michael's Churchyard in Charleston, South Carolina. His tombstone reads, "One of the founders of the American Republic. In war he was a companion in arms and friend of Washington. In peace he enjoyed his unchanging confidence."[3]



PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ a b c DeConde, Alexander (1976). "Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth". in William D. Halsey. Collier's Encyclopedia. 19. New York: Macmillan Educational Corporation. pp. 51–52.  
  2. ^ Fields, William and Hardy, David. "The Third Amendment and the Issue of the Maintenance of Standing Armies: A Legal History," American Journal of Legal History (1991), volume 35, page 393:

    Elbridge Gerry...proposed that the Constitution contain express language limiting the size of the standing army to several thousand men. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, ostensibly at the instigation of Washington, responded that such a proposal was satisfactory so long as any invading force also agreed to limit its army to a similar size."

  3. ^

Pinckneyville Illinois was also named after him.

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Monroe
U.S. Minister to France
1796 – 1797
Succeeded by
Robert R. Livingston
Party political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Pinckney(1)
Federalist Party vice presidential candidate
1800 (lost)(1)
Succeeded by
Rufus King
Preceded by
John Adams
Federalist Party presidential candidate
1804 (lost), 1808 (lost)
Succeeded by
DeWitt Clinton
Notes and references
1. Technically, Thomas Pinckney in 1796 and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in 1800 were both presidential candidates. Prior to the passage of the Twelfth Amendment in 1804, each presidential elector would cast two ballots; the highest vote-getter would become President and the runner-up would become Vice President. Thus, in 1796 and 1800, the Federalist party fielded two presidential candidates, Adams and Thomas Pinckney in 1796 and Adams and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in 1800, with the intention that Adams be elected President and either Pinckney be elected Vice President.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY (1746-1825), Ameri can statesman, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on the 25th of February 1746, the son of Charles Pinckney (d. 1758),2 by his second wife, the celebrated girl planter, Eliza Lucas. When a child he was sent to England, like his brother Thomas after him, to be educated. Both of them were at Westminster and Oxford and were called to the bar, and for a time they studied in France at the Royal Military College at Caen. Returning to America in 1769, C. C. Pinckney began the practice of law at Charleston, and soon became deputy attorney-general of the province. He was a member of the first South Carolina provincial congress in 1775, served as colonel in the South Carolina militia in 1776-1777, was chosen president of the South Carolina Senate in 1779, took part in the Georgia expedi tion and the attack on Savannah in the same year, was captured at the fall of Charleston in 1780 and was kept in close confinement until 1782, when he was exchanged. In 1783 he was commissioned a brevet brigadier-general in the continental army. He was an influential member of the constitutional convention of 1787, advocating the counting of all slaves as a basis of representation and opposing the abolition of the slavetrade. He opposed as "impracticable" the election of representatives by popular vote, and also opposed the payment of senators, who, he thought, should be men of wealth. Subsequently Pinckney bore a prominent part in securing the ratification of the Federal constitution in the South Carolina convention called for that purpose in 1788 and in framing the South Carolina State Constitution in the convention of 1790. After the organization of the Federal government, President Washington offered him at different times appointments as associate justice of the Supreme Court (1791), secretary of war (1795) and secretary the document sent by Pinckney to Adams in 1818 is a genuine copy of his original plan.

Charles Pinckney, the father, was long prominent in colonial affairs; he was attorney-general of the province in 1733, speaker of the assembly in 1736-1738 and in 1740, chief justice of the province in 1752-1753, and agent for South Carolina in England in 1 7531758. He was the uncle of Charles Pinckney (1731-1784), and the great-uncle of Charles Pinckney (1757-1824). Eliza Lucas Pinckney (c. 1722-1793) was the daughter of Lieut.-Colonel George Lucas of the British army, who about 1738 removed from Antigua to South Carolina, where he acquired several plantations. He was almost immediately recalled to Antigua, and his daughter undertook the management of the plantations with conspicuous success. She is said to have been the first to introduce into South Carolina (and into continental North America) the cultivation and manufacture of indigo, and she also imported silkworms-in 1753 she presented to the princess of Wales a dress made of silk from her plantations. She was married to Charles Pinckney in 1744. See Harriott H. Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney (New York, 1896), in the "Women of Colonial and Revolutionary Times" series.

of state (1795), each of which he declined; but in 17 9 6 he succeeded James Monroe as minister to France. The Directory refused to receive him, and he retired to Holland, but in the next year, Elbridge Gerry and John Marshall having been appointed to act with him, he again repaired to Paris, where he is said to have made the famous reply to a veiled demand for a "loan" (in reality for a gift), "Millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute," - another version is, "No, not a sixpence." The mission accomplished nothing, and Pinckney and Marshall left France in disgust, Gerry (q.v.) remaining. When the correspondence of the commissioners was sent to the United States Congress the letters "X," "Y" and "Z," were inserted in place of the names of the French agents with whom the commission treated - hence the "X Y Z Correspondence," famous in American history. In 1800 he was the Federalist candidate for vice-president, and in 1804 and again in 1808 for president, receiving 54 electoral votes in the former and 47 in the latter year. From 1805 until his death, on the 16th of August 1825, he was president-general of the Society of the Cincinnati.

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