Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BIDDLE, Clement, " Quaker soldier," born in Philadelphia, 10 May 1740; died there, 14 July 1814. Descended from one of the early Quaker settlers of New Jersey*refugees, for the most part, from Protestant intolerance*he was brought up in the strict order of the sect, and engaged in commercial pursuits in Philadelphia. In 1764 some friendly Indians sought refuge in Philadelphia from a band of desperadoes known as the " Paxton Boys," who had recently murdered some unoffending Conestoga Indians at Lancaster. These ruffians, powerful enough in numbers to defy the authorities, ad-ranted to within six miles of the City, threatening vengeance upon all who offered resistance. But the vigor of the military preparations, including a company of Quakers headed by Biddle. was so manifest that the outlaws retreated. Close upon this local disturbance came the resolution of the British house of commons to charge stamp duties in the colonies, and the subsequent passage of the act induced the adoption of the "non-importation resolutions" in Philadelphia, 25 October 1765. Among the signers of this agreement were Mr. Biddle and his brother Owen. When actual hostilities became imminent he entered into projects for defense, and was active in organizing that military anomaly the "Quaker" company of volunteers, of which he was elected an officer in 1775 before it joined the army. In June 1776, congress authorized the formation of a "flying camp" of 10,000 men, and on 8 July 1777, elected Colonel Biddle its deputy-quartermaster.- After the battle of Trenton, Washington sent him to receive the swords of the Hessian prisoners. He was present at the battles of Princeton, Germantown, Brandywine, and Monmouth, and he also shared in the sufferings of the army at Valley Forge. He remained in the military service until 1780, when the pressure of his private affairs compelled his resignation. In the early political movements of the state and nation he took an active parts alike in the revolutionary state constitution of 1776 and in the organization of the federal constitution in 1787. At this time he was appointed by Washington United States marshal of Pennsylvania. In 1794 the whiskey rebellion in western Pennsylvania called him again into the field, and, as quartermaster-general of the state (to which office he was appointed 11 September 1781), he accompanied the expedition for the suppression of that formidable insurrection. He was the warm personal friend of Washington, as well as of the best of his generals.*His son, Clement Cornell, soldier, was born in Philadelphia, 24 October 1784; died 21 August 1855. Prior to the war of 1812 he entered the navy, but soon resigned, taking up the study of law, and gaining admission to the bar. On the occurrence of the "Chesapeake " outrage in 1807, he anticipated war with England, and entered the army, on appointment of the president, as captain of dragoons. When the British disavowed the attack on the "Chesapeake," Captain Biddle resigned, having no taste for other than active military life. War actually came, however, and in 1812 he raised a company of volunteers*" the State Fencibles "*was elected its captain, and subsequently was colonel of the 1st Pennsylvania infantry. At the conclusion of hostilities he devoted himself to the study of political economy, and annotated an edition of Say's treatise on that science. He took part in the free-trade convention in Philadelphia in September 1831. and was an influential adviser of the government as to its financial policy at that time.
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