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William Bingham


In office
March 4, 1795 – March 3, 1801
Preceded by Robert Morris
Succeeded by Peter Muhlenberg

In office
February 16, 1797 – March 3, 1797
President George Washington
Preceded by Samuel Livermore
Succeeded by William Bradford

Born March 8, 1752
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died February 7, 1804 (aged 51)
Bath, England
Resting place Bath Abbey, Bath, England
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Ann Willing
Children Maria Matilda
Anne Louisa
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania

In office
1791 – 1792
Succeeded by Gerardus Wynkoop II

William Bingham (1752–1804) was an American statesman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788 and served in the United States Senate from 1795 to 1801. He helped to found the Bank of North America, the first bank of the new nation, in 1781.[1]

Contents

Early life and family

William was born on March 8, 1752 in Philadelphia. He graduated from the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) in 1768. He married Anne Willing, daughter of Thomas Willing, and they had two daughters. In 1798 his daughter Anne Louisa married English financier Alexander Baring, later 1st Baron Ashburton. His elder daughter, Maria Matilda married firstly a French aristocrat, Alexandre, comte de Tilly, and then married Henry Baring. His son, also named William, married one of the three beautiful heiresses of his friend Michel-Eustache-Gaspard-Alain Chartier de Lotbiniere.

By the beginning of the American Revolution, Bingham was regarded as one of the richest men in Pennsylvania, having made his fortune through joint ownership of privateers and trading.[1] He was sent on diplomatic missions by the American Congress to Martinique and St. Pierre. Returning to America, he represented Pennsylvania as a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788. In 1790 and 1791 he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving as its speaker in 1791. About this time he became a major land developer, purchasing lands in upstate New York and 2 million acres (8,000 km²) in Maine,later known as the Bingham Purchase.[2]

Politics

Memorial to Bingham in Bath Abbey

Bingham served in the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1793-1795.[3] He was named to the United States Senate where he served as a Federalist from 1795 to 1801. He was an active supporter of John Adams and when Adams was elected President, Bingham served as the Senate's President pro tem in the Fourth Congress. He was criticized by Jeffersonian politicians for "extravagance, ostentation and dissipation".[1] In 1813, nearly ten years after his death, John Quincy Adams said that the Presidency, the Capital and the Country had been governed by Bingham and his family connections.[1]

He was also a land surveyor, and looked to develop areas currently a part of Southern New York, and Northern Pennsylvania. One of his prime prospects was at the confluence of the Chenango River and Susquehanna River. Today that area is a city named in his honor, Binghamton, New York. Furthermore, Binghamton's resident university Binghamton University recognized Bingham through the naming of Bingham Hall.

Bingham died on February 7, 1804 in Bath, England and is interred in Bath Abbey. His estate was not settled until 1960.

Further reading

  • Robert C. Alberts, The Golden Voyage: The Life and Times of William Bingham, 1969, Houghton Mifflin.

External links

References

  1. ^ a b c d Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson. ed. Maine: A Guide 'Down East'. Rockland, Me: Courier-Gazette, Inc.. pp. 381–382.  
  2. ^ http://newenglandtowns.org/maine/franklin-county "Franklin County, Maine", New England Towns. Retrieved: 11-22-2007
  3. ^ Cox, Harold. "Senate Members B". Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University. http://staffweb.wilkes.edu/harold.cox/legis/SB.html.  
United States Senate
Preceded by
Robert Morris
United States Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
1795–1801
Served alongside: James Ross
Succeeded by
John Peter G. Muhlenberg
Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Livermore
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
February 16, 1797–March 3, 1797
Succeeded by
William Bradford
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