Thomas Mifflin: Wikis


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Thomas Mifflin

Continental Congressman
1774—1775, 1782—1784

In office
November 3, 1783 – October 31, 1784
Preceded by Elias Boudinot
Succeeded by Richard Henry Lee

In office
1785 – 1787
Preceded by John Bayard
Succeeded by Richard Peters

In office
1778 – 1790
Preceded by Benjamin Franklin
Succeeded by himself, as 1st Governor of Pennsylvania

In office
1790 – 1799
Preceded by Himself, as 7th President of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by Thomas McKean

Born January 10, 1744(1744-01-10)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died January 20, 1800 (aged 56)
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Sarah Morris
Residence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Profession merchant, soldier, politician
Religion Lutheran

Thomas Mifflin (January 10, 1744 – January 20, 1800) was an American merchant and politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly, a Continental Congressman from Pennsylvania, fifth President of the U.S. Congress under the Articles of Confederation, and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He served as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, President of the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council and the first Governor of Pennsylvania.


Early life

Mifflin was born January 10, 1744 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of John Mifflin and Elizabeth Bagnall. He graduated from the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) in 1760, and joined the mercantile business of William Biddle. After returning from a trip to Europe in 1765, he established a commercial business partnership with his brother, George Mifflin, and married his cousin, Sarah Morris, on March 4, 1765.[1] He was a member of the American Philosophical Society.

American Revolution

Early in the Revolutionary War, Mifflin left the Continental Congress to serve in the Continental Army. Although his family had been Quakers for four generations, he was expelled from the Religious Society of Friends because his involvement with a military force contradicted his faith's pacifistic nature.[2] He was commissioned as a major, then became George Washington's aide-de-camp and, on August 14, 1775, became the army's first Quartermaster General. He was good at the job, but preferred to be on the front lines. His leadership in battle gained him promotions to colonel and then brigadier general. He asked to be relieved of the job of Quartermaster General, but was persuaded to resume those duties because Congress was having difficulty finding a replacement.

In Congress, there was debate regarding whether a national army was more efficient or if individual states should maintain their own forces. As a result of this debate the Congressional Board of War was created, on which Mifflin served from 1777 to 1778. He then rejoined the army but took little active role, following criticism of his service as quartermaster general. He was accused of embezzlement and welcomed an inquiry; however, one never took place. He resigned his commission—by then, as a major general—but Congress continued to ask his advice even after accepting his resignation.

Political career

Prior to Independence, Thomas Mifflin was a member of Pennsylvania's Provincial Assembly (1772–1776). He served two terms in the Continental Congress (1774–1775, and 1782–1784). He then served in the house of Pennsylvania General Assembly (1785–1788).

He was a delegate to the United States Constitutional Convention in 1787, as well as a signer of the Constitution[1] . He was 5th President of the United States in Congress Assembled from November 3, 1783 – October 31, 1784. One notable act as president was the signing of the ratification of the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784 (Ratification Day). This legislation marked the official end of the Revolutionary War and established the sovereignty of the United States[3].

He was a member of the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and on November 5, 1788 he was elected President of the Council, replacing Benjamin Franklin. He was unanimously reelected to the Presidency on November 11, 1789.[4] He presided over the committee that wrote Pennsylvania's 1790 State Constitution. That document did away with the Executive Council, replacing it with a single Governor. On December 21, 1790 Mifflin became the last President of Pennsylvania and the first Governor of the Commonwealth. He held the latter office until December 17, 1799, when he was succeeded by Thomas McKean. He then returned to the state legislature, where he served until his death the following month. Mifflin decreed that no less than six towns in Pennsylvania bear his name.

Death and legacy

Mifflin died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1800. He is buried in front of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster. A Commonwealth of Pennsylvania historical marker at the church commemorates both Thomas Wharton and Mifflin, the first and last Presidents of Pennsylvania under the 1776 State Constitution. The marker, dedicated in 1975, is located on Duke Street in Lancaster. His relatives live on in the area, but wish not to give their names.[5] It reads:

Holy Trinity Founded in 1730.
A session for an Indian treaty was held in the original church building in 1762.
The present edifice was dedicated in 1766.
Here are interred the remains of Thomas Wharton (1778) and Gov. Thomas Mifflin (1800).


Entities named after Mifflin

Political offices
Preceded by
Elias Boudinot
President of the United States in Congress Assembled
November 3, 1783 – October 31, 1784
Succeeded by
Richard Henry Lee
Preceded by
Benjamin Franklin
President of Pennsylvania
November 5, 2009 – December 21, 1790
Succeeded by
as Governor of Pennsylvania
Preceded by
as President of Pennsylvania
Governor of Pennsylvania
December 21, 1790–1799
Succeeded by
Thomas McKean
Legal offices
Preceded by
Henry Hill
Member, Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, representing the County of Philadelphia
October 20, 1788—December 21, 1790
Succeeded by
position dissolved


  1. ^ a b Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission entry for Thomas Mifflin, accessed May 2, 2007.
  2. ^ entry for Thomas Mifflin
  3. ^ Anniversaries and Holidays - p.9 by Bernard Trawicky, Ruth Wilhelme Gregory, 2000
  4. ^ Minutes of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, from its organization to the termination of the Revolution. [March 4, 1777 - December 20, 1790]. Harrisburg, Pub. by the State, 1852-53.
  5. ^ Pennsylvania State Historical Marker for Thomas Mifflin


  • Taffe, Stephen R. (2003). The Philadelphia Campaign 1777-1778. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1267.  
  • Boatner, Mark M. III (1974). Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York: David Mckay Company, Inc.. ISBN 0-679-50440-0.  
  • Thomas Mifflin at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Rowe, G. S., Thomas Mifflin: The Shaping of an American Republican (Boulder:University of Colorado Press, 1978).
  • Tinckom, Harry M., The Republicans and Federalists in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg:Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1950): 113-134.
  • Rossum, Kenneth R., Thomas Mifflin and the Politics of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,, 1952).

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

THOMAS MIFFLIN (1744-1800), American soldier and politician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 10th of January 1744, of Quaker parentage. He graduated at the college of Philadelphia (now the university of Pennsylvania): in 1760. As a member of the Pennsylvania house of representatives in 1772-1775, he was an ardent Whig, and in 1774 was a member of the first Continental Congress. After the outbreak of the War of Independence he devoted himself chiefly to the enlisting and drilling of troops, and was chosen major of a regiment. In June 1775 he entered the continental service as Washington's first aide-de-camp, and in August was chosen quartermaster-general. He became a brigadier-general in May 1776 and a major-general in February 1777. On the 5th of June 1776 he was succeeded as quartermaster-general by Stephen Moylan. Moylan, however, proved incompetent, and Mifflin resumed the office on the 1st of October. In the autumn of 1 777 Mifflin was a leader in the obscure movement known as the Conway Cabal, the object of which was to replace Washington by General Horatio Gates. On the ground of ill health Mifflin tendered his resignation on the 8th of October, and on the 7th of November Congress accepted his resignation as quartermaster general, but continued him in rank as major-general without pay. On the same day he was appointed a member of the new board of war, and on the following day was asked to continue' as quartermaster-general until his successor should be appointed.. On the 21st of November he urged before the old board of war and ordnance that Gates should be made president of the new board of war " from a conviction that his military skill would`. suggest reformations in the different departments of the army essential to good discipline, order and economy, and that his, character and popularity in the army would facilitate the execution of such reformations when adopted by Congress. The attacks on Washington failed, and in March 1778 Mifflin was finally superseded as quartermaster-general by General Nathanael Greene. In October of the same year he was removed from the board of war. The sufferings of the troops at Valley Forge having been charged to his mismanagement as quarter XVIII. 14a master-general, Congress, in June 1778, ordered an investigation; but before this inquiry had proceeded far, Congress granted him $1,000,000 to settle all claims against the office during his administration. In February 1779 he resigned his commission as major-general. During the war his eloquence was repeatedly of assistance to Congress in recruiting soldiers. He was a delegate in Congress in 1782-1784, and from November 1783 to November 1784 was president, in which office he received Washington's resignation of the command of the army and made a congratulatory address. In1785-1788he was speaker of the Pennsylvania general assembly (then consisting of only one house); he was a member of the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787, and president of the state supreme executive council (or chief executive officer of the state) in 1788-1790. He was president of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1789-1790; was the first governor of the state, from 1790 to 1 799, after the adoption of the new state constitution; and during the Whisky Insurrection assumed personal command of the Pennsylvania militia. Towards the close of his last term as governor he was elected a member of the state assembly, but died during the first session, at Lancaster, on the 10th of January 1800.

See William Rawle, " Sketch of the Life of Thomas Mifflin," in Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (vol. 2, part 2, Philadelphia, 1830); and J. H. Merrill, Memoranda relating to the Mifflin Family (Philadelphia, 1890).

i' Mignard, Pierre (1610-1695), called - to distinguish him from his brother Nicholas - Le Romain, French painter, was born at Troyes in 1610, and came of a family of artists. In 1630 he left the studio of Simon Vouet for Italy, where he spent twenty-two years, and made a reputation which brought him a summons to Paris. Successful with his portrait of the king, and in favour with the court, Mignard pitted himself against Le Brun, declined to enter the Academy of which he was the head, and made himself the centre of opposition to its authority. The history of this struggle is most important, because it was identical, as long as it lasted, with that between the old gilds of France and the new body which Colbert, for political reasons, was determined to support. Shut out, in spite of the deserved success of his decorations of the cupola of Val de Grace (1664), from any great share in those public works the control of which was the attribute of the new Academy, Mignard was chiefly active in portraiture. Turenne, Moliere, Bossuet, Maintenon (Louvre), La Valliere, Sevigne, Montespan, Descartes (Castle Howard), all the beauties and celebrities of his day, sat to him. His readiness and skill, his happy instinct for grace of arrangement, atoned for want of originality and real power. With the death of Le Brun (1690) the situation changed; Mignard deserted his allies, and succeeded to all the posts held by his opponent. These late honours he did not long enjoy; in 1695 he died whilst about to commence work on the cupola of the Invalides. His best compositions have been engraved by Audran, Edelinck, Masson, Poilly and others.

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