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John Langdon


In office
April 6, 1789 – August 9, 1789
November 5, 1792 – December 2, 1793
President George Washington
Preceded by None; first
Richard Henry Lee (1792)
Succeeded by Richard Henry Lee
Ralph Izard

In office
April 6, 1789 – March 4, 1801
Preceded by None; first
Succeeded by James Sheafe

2nd, 4th, 8th & 10th Governor of New Hampshire
In office
June 1, 1785 – June 7, 1786
June 4, 1788 – January 22, 1789
June 6, 1805 – June 8, 1809
1810 – June 5, 1812
Preceded by Meshech Weare
John Sullivan
John T. Gilman
Jeremiah Smith
Succeeded by John Sullivan (twice)
Jeremiah Smith
William Plumer

Born June 26, 1741
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Died September 18, 1819 (aged 78)
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Political party Pro-Administration
Anti-Administration
Democratic-Republican
Religion Congregationalist
Signature

John Langdon (June 26, 1741 – September 18, 1819) was a politician from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and one of the first two United States senators from that state. Langdon was an early supporter of the Revolutionary War and later served in the Continental Congress. After being in Congress for 12 years, including serving as the first president pro tempore of the Senate, Langdon became governor of New Hampshire. He turned down a nomination for vice presidential candidate in 1812, and later retired until his death in 1819.

Life and career

His father was a prosperous farmer and local politician, whose family had emigrated to America before 1660 from Sheviock, Caradon, Cornwall [1] and was among the first to settle near the mouth of Piscataqua River, a settlement which became Portsmouth, one of New England's major seaports. Langdon attended the local grammar school, run by a veteran of the 1745 siege against the French at Fortress Louisbourg in Canada. After finishing his primary education, Langdon served an apprenticeship as a clerk. He and his older brother, Woodbury Langdon, rejected the opportunity to join in their father's successful agricultural pursuits, and went to sea instead, apprenticed themselves to local naval merchants.

By age 22, Langdon was captain of a cargo ship called the Andromache, sailing to the West Indies. Four years later he owned his first merchantman, and would continue over time to acquire a small fleet of vessels, engaged in the triangular trade between Portsmouth, the Caribbean, and London. His older brother was even more successful in international trade, and by 1770 both young men were among Portsmouth's wealthiest citizens. British control of the shipping industries greatly hurt Langdon's business, motivating him to become a vigorous and prominent supporter of the revolutionary movement in the 1770s. He served on the New Hampshire Committee of Correspondence and a nonimportation committee, and also attended various patriot assemblies. In 1774, he participated in the seizure and confiscation of British munitions from Fort William and Mary.

Langdon served as a member of the First Continental Congress from 1775 to 1776. He resigned in June 1776 to become agent for the Continental forces against the British and superintended the construction of several warships including the Raleigh, the America, and the Ranger, which was captained by John Paul Jones. In 1777, he equipped an expedition against the British, participating in the Battle of Bennington and commanding Langdon's Company of Light Horse Volunteers at Saratoga and in Rhode Island. War ended in 1783.

In 1784, he built at Portsmouth the mansion known as the Governor John Langdon House. He was again a member of the Continental Congress in 1787 and became a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, serving as a member of the New Hampshire delegation. Langdon was elected to the U.S. Senate and served from March 4, 1789, to March 3, 1801. He was elected the first President pro tempore of the Senate on April 6, 1789, and also served as President pro tempore during the Second Congress.

Governor John Langdon House at Portsmouth, New Hampshire

During the 1787 Constitutional debates in Philadelphia, Langdon spoke out against James Madison's proposed "negative" on State laws simply because he felt that should the Senate be granted this power and not the House of Representatives, it would "hurt the feelings" of House members. [2]

Langdon later served as a member of the New Hampshire Legislature (1801-05), with the last two terms as speaker; he served as governor from 1805-11, with the exception of 1809. Langdon declined the nomination to be a candidate for vice president in 1812, and later retired. He died in his hometown of Portsmouth in 1819, and was interred at the Langdon Tomb in the North Cemetery.

The town of Langdon, New Hampshire is named after him, as well as Langdon Street in Madison, Wisconsin, a town with several streets named after founding fathers. [3]

References

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Meshech Weare
Governors of New Hampshire
1785–1786
Succeeded by
John Sullivan
Preceded by
John Sullivan
Governor of New Hampshire
1788–1789
Succeeded by
John Sullivan
Preceded by
John Taylor Gilman
Governor of New Hampshire
1805–1809
Succeeded by
Jeremiah Smith
Preceded by
Jeremiah Smith
Governor of New Hampshire
1810–1812
Succeeded by
William Plumer
Preceded by
none
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
April 6, 1789–August 9, 1789
Succeeded by
Richard Henry Lee
Preceded by
Richard Henry Lee
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
November 5, 1792–December 2, 1793
Succeeded by
Ralph Izard
United States Senate
Preceded by
None
United States Senator (Class 3) from New Hampshire
1789–1801
Served alongside: Paine Wingate, Samuel Livermore
Succeeded by
James Sheafe
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JOHN LANGDON (1741-1819), American statesman, was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the 25th of June 1741. After an apprenticeship in a counting-house, he led a seafaring life for several years, and became a shipowner and merchant. In December 1774, as a militia captain he assisted in the capture of Fort William and Mary at New Castle, New Hampshire, one of the first overt acts of the American colonists against the property of the crown. He was elected to the House of Representatives of the last Royal .Assembly of New Hampshire and then to the second Continental Congress in 1775, and was a member of the first Naval Committee of the latter, but he resigned in 1776, and in June 1776 became Congress's agent of prizes in New Hampshire and in 1778 continental (naval) agent of Congress in this state, where he supervised the building of John Paul Jones's "Ranger" (completed in June 1777), the "America," launched in 1782, and other vessels. He was a judge of the New Hampshire Court of Common Pleas in 17761 777, a member (and speaker) of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1776 until 1782, a member of the state Constitutional Convention of 1778 and of the state Senate in 1784-1785, and in1783-1784was again a member of Congress. He contributed largely to raise troops in 1777 to meet Burgoyne; and he served as a captain at Bennington and at Saratoga. He was president of New Hampshire in1785-1786and in 1788-1789; a member of the Federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, where he voted against granting to Congress the power of issuing paper money; a member of the state convention which ratified the Federal Constitution for New Hampshire; a member of the United States Senate in 178 9 -1801, and its president pro tem. during the first Congress and the second session of the second Congress; a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives in1801-1805and its speaker in 1803-1805; and governor of the state in1805-1809and in 1810-1812. He received nine electoral votes for the vice-presidency in 1808, and in 1812 was an elector on the Madison ticket. He died in Portsmouth on the 18th of September 1819. He was an able leader during the Revolutionary period, when his wealth and social position were of great assistance to the patriot party. In the later years of his life in New Hampshire he was the most prominent of the local Republican leaders and built up his party by partisan appointments. He refused the naval portfolio in Jefferson's cabinet.

His elder brother, Woodbury Langdon (1739-1805), was a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1779-1780, a member of the executive council of New Hampshire in 1781-1784, judge of the Supreme Court of the state in 1782 and in1786-1790(although he had had no legal training), and a state senator in 1784-1785.

Alfred Langdon Elwyn has edited Letters by Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Others, Written During and After the Revolution, to John Langdon of New Hampshire (Philadelphia, 1880), a book of great interest and value. See a biographical sketch of John Langdon by Charles R. Corning in the New England Magazine, vol. xxii. (Boston, 1897).


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