Philip Schuyler: Wikis


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Philip Schuyler

In office
July 16, 1789 – March 3, 1791
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Aaron Burr
In office
March 4, 1797 – January 3, 1798
Preceded by Aaron Burr
Succeeded by John Sloss Hobart

Born November 20, 1733
Albany, New York, USA
Died November 18, 1804 (aged 71)
Albany, New York, USA
Political party Pro-Administration,
Spouse(s) Catherine Van Rensselaer
Children Philip Jeremiah Schuyler,
Angelica Schuyler Church,
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton,
Margarita Schuyler Van Rensselaer
Profession Soldier, Statesman

Philip John Schuyler (November 20, 1733 – November 18, 1804) was a general in the American Revolution and a United States Senator from New York. He is usually known as Philip Schuyler, while his son is usually known as Philip J. Schuyler.


Early life

Philip Schuyler was born in Albany, New York, on November 20, 1733, to a wealthy colonial family. His family had gradually expanded their holdings and influence in the New World. His father, John Schuyler, Jr., was the third generation of the family in America, when he married Cornelia Van Cortlandt, connecting them with another prominent family. (A cousin of John Schuyler, Jr., was Peter Schuyler who commanded the Jersey Blues. Another Cousin of Philip Schuyler was Hester Schuyler married William Colfax, a veteran of George Washington's Life Guards and later a general in the New Jersey militia who also commanded the Jersey Blues {These were also the grandparents of Congressman Schuyler Colfax}. A nephew of Peter Schuyler was Loyalist Arent Schuyler De Peyster. A brother-in-law of Philip Schuyler was Director General of the Military Hospitals of the Continental Army, Dr. John Cochran (military physician).[1])

His father died on the eve of Philip's seventh birthday. After attending the public school at Albany he was educated by tutors at the Van Cortlandt family estate at New Rochelle. He joined the British forces in 1755 during the French and Indian War, raised a company, and was commissioned as its Captain by his cousin, Lt. Governor James Delancey. Later in that war, he served as a quartermaster, purchasing supplies and organizing equipment.

In September of 1755, he married Catherine Van Rensselaer[2] (1734-1803) at Albany. This cemented his relationship with another powerful New York family. Although the marriage was urgent (their first daughter Angelica was born in February, 1756), they were a devoted couple for the rest of their lives, and had fifteen children.

From 1761 to 1762, Schuyler made a trip to England to settle accounts from his work as quartermaster. During this time his home in Albany, later called Schuyler Mansion, was built. His country estate at Saratoga (which is now Schuylerville, New York) was also begun. After the war he also expanded his estate at Saratoga, expanding his holdings to tens of thousands of acres, adding slaves, tenant farmers, a store, mills for flour, flax, and lumber. His flax mill for the making of linen was the first one in America. If they had been situated in the South, Schuyler's holdings at Saratoga would have been called a plantation. He built several schooners on the Hudson River, and named the first Saratoga.

Schuyler began his political career as a member of the New York Assembly in 1768, and served in that body until 1775. During this time his views came to be more opposed to the colonial government. He was particularly outspoken in matters of trade and currency. He was also made a Colonel in the militia for his support of governor Henry Moore.

Revolutionary War

Schuyler's house during the Revolution in Schuylerville

Schuyler was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, and served until he was appointed a Major General of the Continental Army in June. General Schuyler took command of the Northern Department, and planned the Invasion of Canada (1775). His poor health required him to place Richard Montgomery in command of the invasion.

As department commanding General, he was active in preparing a defense against the Saratoga Campaign, part of the "Three Pronged Attack" strategy of the British to cut the American Colonies in two by invading and occupying New York State in 1777. In the summer of that year General John Burgoyne marched his British army south from Quebec over the valleys of Lakes Champlain and George. On the way he invested the small Colonial garrison occupying Fort Ticonderoga at the nexus of the two lakes. When General St. Clair surrendered Fort Ticonderoga in July, the Congress replaced Schuyler with General Horatio Gates, who had accused Schuyler of dereliction of duty.

The British invasion was eventually stopped and defeated at the Battle of Saratoga by Continental forces then under the command of Gates and Benedict Arnold. That victory, the first wholesale defeat of a large British army at the hands of the former colonials, brought France into the war on the American side. When Schuyler demanded a court martial to answer Gates' charges, he was vindicated but resigned from the army on April 19, 1779. He then served in two more sessions of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780.

Later career

He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1780 to 1784, and at the same time New York State Surveyor General from 1781 to 1784. Afterwards he returned to the State Senate from 1786 to 1790, where he actively supported the adoption of the United States Constitution.

In 1789, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York to the First United States Congress, serving from July 27, 1789, to March 3, 1791. After losing his bid for re-election in 1791, he returned to the State Senate from 1792 to 1797. In 1797, he was elected again to the U.S. Senate and served in the 5th United States Congress from March 4, 1797 until his resignation because of ill health on January 3, 1798.


Statue outside Albany City Hall

Philip's country home had been destroyed by British General John Burgoyne's forces in September, 1777. Starting later that year, he rebuilt on the same site, now located in southern Schuylerville, New York. The 1777 home is maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Saratoga National Historical Park, and is open to the public.

Schuyler died at his mansion in Albany on November 18, 1804, and is buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery at Menands, New York. His mansion in Albany is maintained by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is open to the public.Schuyler County, Illinois, and Schuyler County, New York, were named in his honor.

In 1833, construction of a fort began on the tip of the Throggs Neck peninsula in New York, to protect the western end of the Long Island Sound. The installation of armament was completed in 1856, and the fortification was named Fort Schuyler in his honor. Fort Schuyler now houses the Maritime Industry Museum and the State University of New York Maritime College.

Albany, New York erected a statue of Schuyler by sculptor J. Massey Rhind in 1925.


  1. ^ John Cochran Office of Medical History
  2. ^ Catherine Van Rensselaer Find A Grave


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
new office
New York State Surveyor General
1781 – 1784
Succeeded by
Simeon De Witt
United States Senate
Preceded by
United States Senator (Class 1) from New York
1789 - 1791
Served alongside: Rufus King
Succeeded by
Aaron Burr
Preceded by
Aaron Burr
United States Senator (Class 1) from New York
1797 - 1798
Served alongside: John Laurance
Succeeded by
John Sloss Hobart


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