Elias Boudinot 4th US President in Congress Assembled - A Stan Klos
4th President of the United States
in Congress Assembled
November 4, 1782 to November 3, 1783
philanthropist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 May 1740; died in
Burlington, New Jersey, 24 October 1821. His great-grandfather, Elias, was a
French Huguenot, who fled to this country after the revocation of the edict of
Nantes. After receiving a classical education, he studied law with Richard
Stockton, and became eminent in his profession, practicing in New Jersey. He was
devoted to the patriot cause, in 1777 appointed commissary-general of prisoners,
and in the same year elected a delegate to congress from New Jersey, serving
from 1778 till 1779, and again from 1781 till 1784.
He was elected President of
The United States in Congress Assembled on 4 November 1782:
Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, 1781-1789
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1782
The following members attended, from
New Hampshire, Mr. John Taylor Gilman, Phillips White, Massachusetts, Mr. Samuel
Osgood, Rhode Island, Mr. Jonathan Arnold, David Howell, Connecticut, Mr.
Benjamin Huntington, Eliphalet Dyer, New York, Mr. James Duane, Ezra L'Hommedieu,
New Jersey, Mr. Elias Boudinot, John Witherspoon, Pennsylvania, Mr. Thomas
Smith, George Clymer, Henry Wynkoop, Delaware, Mr. Thomas McKean, Samuel
Wharton, Maryland, Mr. John Hanson, Daniel Carroll, William Hemsley, Virginia,
Mr. James Madison, Theodorick Bland, North Carolina, Mr. Abner Nash, Hugh
Williamson, William Blount, South Carolina, Mr. John Rutledge, Ralph Izard,
David Ramsay, John Lewis Gervais. Their credentials being
read, the states proceeded to the election of a President; and the ballots being
taken, the hon. Elias Boudinot was elected.
As President, Boudinot and Congress expended a great deal of time and
consideration to ending the War with a favorable the Treaty of Peace
with England. Thankfully John Jay persuaded Benjamin Franklin and John
Adams to ignore Boundinot's instructions to include France in the negotiations
of The Treaty of Paris. The violation of the instructions of congress displeased
a part of that body but President Boudinot, once realizing the outcome, sided
with John Jay. Mr. Madison,
who had voted for the instruction, wrote: "In this business Jay has taken the
lead, and proceeded to a length of which you can form little idea. Adams has
followed with cordiality. Franklin has been dragged into it." Mr. Sparks, in
his "Life of Franklin," contended that the violation of their
instructions by the American commissioners, in concluding and signing their
treaty without the concurrence of the French government, was "unjustifiable."
Spain also presented challenges to this emerging new nation and in June
1783 Boudinot signed this appointment as President of the United States in
The United States In Congress Assembled,
To Oliver Pollock Esquire Greeting:
We reposing special trust and confidence in your abilities and integrity have
constituted and appointed, and by these presents do constitute and appoint you
our commercial agent during our pleasure, at the city and port of Havannah, to
manage the occasional concerns of Congress, to assist; the American traders with
your advice, and to solicit their affairs with the Spanish Government, and to
govern yourself according to the orders you may from time to time receive from
the United States in Congress assembled. And that you may effectually execute
the office to which you are appointed, we request the Governor, Judges and all
other officers of his Catholic Majesty to afford you all countenance and
In Testimony whereof we have caused the Seal of the United States of America
to be hereunto affixed. Witness his Excellency Elias
Boudinot, President of the United States in Congress assembled, the
second day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty
three, and of our Sovereignty and Independence the seventh.
In July 1783 while President Boudinot and Congress
struggled with the Treaty, massive debt, a corrupt court system, and a host of
other ills a now unthinkable blow to the new democracy struck a the seat of
Power. Lancaster, Pennsylvania soldiers mutinied and marched for Philadelphia,
for the stated purpose of compelling Congress to relinquish to their demands of
back pay, food and desperately needed supplies. The mutineers were reinforced by
the recruits in the barracks of Philadelphia, and, as they marched to the hall
where Congress was in session, they numbered three hundred.
Congress called out the Pennsylvania militia but it failed to come to the
rescue. The President of the United States and the Unicameral Congress were held
hostage in Philadelphia’s famed Independence Hall. The mutineers demands were
made in very dictatorial terms, that,
"unless their demand were complied with in twenty minutes, they would let in
upon them the injured soldiery, the consequences of which they were to abide."
Word was immediately sent to General St. Clair and his
presence requested. Arthur St. Clair hurried to the rescue and confronted the
mutineers. St. Clair reported to Congress and after hearing a report of the
facts by him, Congress directed him
" ... to endeavor to march
the mutineers to their barracks, and to announce to them that Congress would
enter into no deliberation with them; that they must return to Lancaster, and
that there, and only there, they would be paid.'
After this, Congress appointed a committee to confer
with the executive of Pennsylvania, and adjourned:
Saturday, June 21, 1783 –
Journals of the Continental Congress: The mutinous soldiers presented
themselves, drawn up in the street before the state-house, where Congress had
assembled. The executive council of the state, sitting under the same roof, was
called on for the proper interposition. President DICKINSON came in, and
explained the difficulty, under actual circumstances, of bringing out the
militia of the place for the suppression of the mutiny. He thought that, without
some outrages on persons or property, the militia could not be relied on.
General St. Clair, then in Philadelphia, was sent for, and desired to use his
interposition, in order to prevail on the troops to return to the barracks. His
report gave no encouragement.
In this posture of things, it was proposed
by Mr. IZARD, that Congress should adjourn. It was proposed by Mr. HAMILTON,
that General St. Clair, in concert with the executive council of the state,
should take order for terminating the mutiny. Mr. REED moved, that the general
should endeavor to withdraw the troops by assuring them of the disposition of
Congress to do them justice. It was finally agreed, that Congress should remain
till the usual hour of adjournment, but without taking any step in relation to
the alleged grievances of the soldiers, or any other business whatever. In the
mean time, the soldiers remained in their position, without offering any
violence, individuals only, occasionally, uttering offensive words, and wantonly
pointing their muskets to the windows of the hall of Congress. No danger from
premeditated violence was apprehended, but it was observed that spirituous
drink, from the tippling-houses adjoining, began to be liberally served out to
the soldiers, and might lead to hasty excesses. None were committed, however,
and, about three o'clock, the usual hour, Congress adjourned; the soldiers,
though in some instances offering a mock obstruction, permitting the members to
pass through their ranks. They soon afterwards retired themselves to the
Thanks to Arthur St. Clair the President of the United
States Elias Boudinot and the Congressional members passed through the files of
the mutineers, without being molested. The committee, with
Alexander Hamilton as chairman, waited on the State Executive Council; but,
still receiving no promise of protection by the Pennsylvania militia, on the
24th of June, advised an adjournment of the United States in Congress Assembled
to Princeton, NJ.
Elias Boudinot now in his home state of NJ and protected by their militia
wasted no time in dealing harshly with the mutineers. On June 30th,
the day after Congress's arrival in NJ, a resolution was passed ordering General
Howe to march fifteen hundred troops to Philadelphia to disarm the mutineers and
bring them to trial.
That Major General Howe be
directed to march such part of the force under his command as he shall judge
necessary to the State of Pennsylvania; and that the commanding officer in the
said State he be instructed to apprehend and confine all such persons, belonging
to the army, as there is reason to believe instigated the late mutiny; to disarm
the remainder; to take, in conjunction with the civil authority, the proper
measures to discover and secure all such persons as may have been instrumental
therein; and in general to make full examination into all parts of the
transaction, and when they have taken the proper steps to report to Congress
Before this force could reach Philadelphia, General St.
Clair and the Executive Council had succeeded in quieting the disturbance
without bloodshed. The principal leaders were arrested, obedience secured, and a
trial was set.
The congressional resolution directing General Howe to
move with the troops against the mutineers gave offense to General St. Clair.
The General regarded it as an attempt to supersede his command and undermined
his negotiations. Arthur St. Clair took it upon himself to write Congress a
scathing letter which was
answered by Elias Boudinot, President of the United States in Congress
Assembled from Princeton NJ in the July 9, 1783 letter exhibited below.
I duly recd your favor of yesterday but conceiving that you had mistaken the
Resolution of Congress, I showed it to Mr. Fitzsimmons and we have agreed not to
present it to Congress, till we hear again from you. Congress were so careful to
interfere one way or the other in the military etiquette, that we recommitted
the Resolution to have every thing struck out that should look towards any
determination as to the Command, and it was left so that the Commanding officer
be him who it might, was to carry the Resolution into Execution; and it can bear
no other Construction.
If on the second reading
you choose your Letter should be read in Congress, it shall be done without
Elias Boudinot, President
P. S., You may depend on
Congress having been perfectly satisfied with your conduct.
Boudinot, doubtless, trusted St. Clair’s judgment and spared him the
embarrassment of making his letter known to Congress. Peace once again reigned
and as a result of the mutiny the accused ringleaders were sentenced to death,
but were pardoned by Congress in September 1783. After the war General St. Clair
returned to his neglected Ligonier estate finding the mill which he had opened
for communal use to be in ruins.
Despite problems on many fronts President Boudinot steered Congress
through the final intricacies of the Treaty of Paris
which was finally ratified in January 1784 and signed by his successor
President Thomas Mifflin. The Chronology of Boudinot's presidency is as
Convenes new Congress; elects Elias Boudinot president.
November 7 Orders Washington to free
Charles Asgill. November 8 Requests
British officials to continue investigation of the death of Joshua Huddy.
November 12 Renews appointment of
Thomas Jefferson as peace commissioner.
November 14 Debates report on Vermont's
seizure of New York citizens. November 18
Appoints Thomas Barclay commissioner to settle the accounts of Continental
officials abroad. November 19 Adopts new
rules for carrying out the reorganization of the Continental Army.
November 20 Debates Pennsylvania petitions
on providing for the state's public creditors.
November 21 Debates salaries of officials abroad.
November 25-26 Debates propriety of
exchanging Henry Laurens for Earl Cornwallis.
November 27 Orders seizure of two
Vermonters reported to be in correspondence with the enemy.
Accepts resignation of secretary for foreign affairs.
December 4 Grants
John Paul Jones' request to serve with French navy.
December 5 Censures Vermont officials;
appoints appeals court judges. December 6
Directs superintendent of finance to exhort states to comply with fiscal
quotas; appoints deputation to go to Rhode Island to secure ratification of
impost amendment. December 11 Authorizes
hiring out of prisoners of war. December 12
Receives Rhode Island explanation of rejection of impost amendment.
December 13 David Howell acknowledges
authorship of published letter violating congressional secrecy rules.
December 16 Adopts response to Rhode
Island's rejection of impost amendment. December 17
Reaffirms determination to send deputation to Rhode Island.
December 21 Postpones resignation of
secretary for foreign affairs; grants secretary leave of absence.
December 24 Amends Post Office ordinance to
extend franking privilege. December 25-26
Observes Christmas. December 31
Instructs peace commissioners to seek commercial reciprocity with Britain.
January 1 & 2 Thanks France for military
aid and naval protection. January 3
Records Trenton trial decree in Connecticut Pennsylvania boundary dispute (first
settlement of interstate dispute under Articles of Confederation)
January 6 Receives army petition on pay
arrears; appoints committees to inquire into the management of the
executive departments. January 7
Debates setting exchange rate for redeeming old Continental emissions.
January 10 Learns that superintendent of
finance has over drawn bills of exchange on "the known funds procured in
Europe"; army deputation meets with grand committee on Continental Army
grievances. January 13 Debates
expediency of negotiating additional foreign loans.
January 14 Acquiesces in Rhode Island
delegates' request to share intelligence from abroad with state's officials;
debates land valuation formula in grand committee.
January 17 Thanks General Greene and
the southern army; declares inexpediency of seeking additional foreign loans.
January 21 Receives U.S.-Dutch treaty
negotiated by John Adams.
January 22 Ratifies Franco-American
contract negotiated by Benjamin Franklin.
January 23 Ratifies Dutch treaty.
January 24 Orders investigation of abuses of flag of truce by the Amazon;
rejects report recommending establishment of a library for Congress.
January 25 Directs the superintendent of
finance to pay the Continental Army. January 27-31 Debates proposals for funding the public debt.
January 30 Rejects Pennsylvania proposal to pay interest due on Continental
securities owned by its own citizens.
Receives Vermont remonstrance against threatened Continental intervention.
February 4-8 Debates proposals for funding
the public debt and setting state quotas. February
10-14 Debates proposals for funding the public debt and setting
state quotas. February 17 Adopts plan to
appoint commissioners for estimating land values and setting state quotas.
February 18 Orders superintendent of
finance to estimate the public debt, and each executive department to report a
comprehensive civil list. February 21
Exhorts states to maintain their representation in Congress.
February 25-28 Debates proposals for
commutation of Continental officers' half pay.
Amends ordinance "for establishing courts for the
trial of piracies." March 6-7
Receives report on funding the public debt. March
10 Debates commutation of Continental officers' half pay.
March 11 Debates revenue proposals.
Receives the preliminary treaty of peace. March
12-15 Reads treaty and foreign dispatches.
March 17 Receives
Washington's report on the army crisis at
Newburgh. March 18 Debates report on the
public credit. March 19 Debates proposal
to censure ministers for ignoring negotiating instructions.
March 20-21 Debates report on the public
credit. March 22 Adopts resolve to
commute Continental officers' half pay for life to full pay for five years.
March 24 Recalls all Continental ships on
cruise. March 27-28 Debates report on
the public credit. March 29 Rejects
proposal for increasing congressional oversight of the office of finance.
March 31 Renews committee for overseeing
the office of finance.
Recommends that states revise formula for setting Continental quotas; learns
of call for an economic convention at Hartford; receives invitation to locate
Continental capital in Kingston, N.Y. April 4
Orders suspension of enlistments in Continental Army; debates report on the
public credit. April 7 Revises
Continental quotas. April 11 Adopts
cease-fire proclamation. April 15
Ratifies preliminary treaty of peace. April 17
Orders sale of Continental horses. April 18
Asks states for authority to levy revenue duties.
April 23 Authorizes Washington to discharge Continental troops.
April 24 Directs Washington to confer with
Gen. Guy Carleton on the evacuation of New York.
April 26 Adopts Address to the States on new revenue plan.
April 28 Requests Robert Morris to continue
as superintendent of finance until the reduction of the Continental Army.
April 30 Rejects motion to hold debates in
Directs secretary at war to negotiate cease-fire with hostile Indian nations;
authorizes American ministers to negotiate treaty of commerce with Great
Britain. May 2 Appeals to states for
collection of taxes for payment of discharged troops; recommends that states
adopt copyright laws for protection of authors. May
9 Asks states to convene assemblies to adopt fiscal
recommendations. May 15 Revises rules to
appoint committees by secret ballot. May 19-20
Debates treaty article on restitution of confiscated loyalist property.
May 22 Instructs Francis Dana on
negotiating treaty with Russia. May 26
Instructs American ministers on peace terms concerning evacuation of American
posts and carrying off of American slaves; instructs Washington on furloughing
Continental troops. May 29-30 Debates
treaty articles on British debts and loyalist property.
Appoints Oliver Pollock commercial agent to Cuba.
June 4 Debates Virginia cession of western land claims; refers
offers to locate the Continental capital at Kingston, N.Y., or Annapolis, Md.,
to the states (to be debated October 6). June 10
Receives report of the mutiny of a troop of Virginia dragoons.
June 11 Directs furlough of Delaware,
Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia troops. June 12
Instructs American ministers on avoiding treaties of armed neutrality.
June 13 Receives "mutinous memorial"
from Continental Army sergeants. June 17
Commends the conduct of business in the office of finance.
June 19 Receives notice of the mutiny of
Continental troops at Carlisle; appoints committee to confer with Pennsylvania
officials on the mutiny. June 20 Debates
Virginia cession of western land claims. June 21
Confronts mutineers of the Pennsylvania Line; authorizes president to
reconvene Congress at Trenton or Princeton, NJ.
June 21 President Boudinot issues proclamation reconvening Congress
at Princeton. June 30 Reconvenes at
Directs Gen. Robert Howe to suppress mutiny; adopts report explaining
congressional response to the mutiny. July 2
Thanks New Jersey officials for their reception of Congress.
July 9-11 Debates proposals for paying
arrears due Continental troops. July 16
Orders recall of commissioners investigating British embarkations from New
York; directs Secretary Thomson to maintain record of unrepresented states.
July 23 Receives Philadelphia address
inviting Congress' return. July 28
Returns noncommittal response to Philadelphia address; directs General
Washington to attend Congress; relieves General Howe's detachment ordered to
suppress Pennsylvania mutiny. July 29
Ratifies treaty of amity and commerce with Sweden.
July 30 Directs superintendent of finance to publish regulations
for receiving "Morris notes" in payment of taxes.
Rejects motion to adjourn to Philadelphia. August 6
Authorizes distribution of "necessities" to Delaware Indians and
friendly "northern nations." August 7
Orders preparation of "an equestrian statue of the Commander in Chief."
August 9 Authorizes furloughing additional
Continental troops and continuation of subsistence for Hazen's Canadian
regiment. August 13-14 Debates motion
for returning to Philadelphia. August 15
Receives proceedings of the court-martial of the Philadelphia mutineers.
August 18 Directs superintendent of finance
to report estimate of the Continental debt. August
26 Conducts audience with General Washington.
August 28 Debates ordinance for prohibiting
settlement of Indian lands.
Receives Pennsylvania Assembly resolves for re turning to Philadelphia.
September 10 Orders renewal of committees
to oversee the executive departments. September 13
Adopts stipulations concerning the cession of Virginia's western land claims;
confirms acquittal of leaders of the Philadelphia mutiny.
September 16-19 Debates Massachusetts' call for retrenchment of
Continental expenses. September 22
Adopts proclamation regulating the purchase of Indian lands.
September 24 Adopts secret order
authorizing Washington to discharge Continental troops "as he shall deem
proper and expedient." September 25
Reaffirms commitment to commutation of half pay claims; proclaims treaty with
Sweden; debates report on federal jurisdiction over site of congressional
residence. September 29 Lifts injunction
of secrecy on most foreign dispatches. September 30
Promotes Continental officers not promoted since 1777.
Debates instructions for ministers abroad.
October 3 Debates Indian affairs.
October 6-9 Debates location of the
Continental capital. October 8 Receives
Quaker petition for suppression of the slave trade.
October 10 Resolves to leave Princeton;
debates location of the capital. October 15
Adopts resolves regulating Indian affairs. October
17 Debates location of the capital.
October 18 Adopts Thanksgiving proclamation.
October 21 Adopts two capital
locations-Congress to meet alternately "on the banks of the Delaware and
Potomac." October 22 Orders
distribution of the peace treaty to the states.
October 23-24 Debates peacetime military arrangements.
October 27-28 Fails to convene quorum.
October 29 Adopts instructions for
negotiating commercial treaties. October 30
Authorizes Pennsylvania to negotiate Indian lands purchase.
October 31 Ratifies fiscal contract with
France; holds audience with Dutch minister van Berckel.
After the Presidency Boudinot resumed the practice of law, but, after the adoption of
the constitution, was elected to the 1st, 2d, and 3d congresses, serving from 4
March 1789, till 3 March 1795. He was appointed by Washington in 1795 to succeed Rittenhouse as director of the mint at Philadelphia, and held the office till
July 1805, when he resigned, and passed the rest of his life at Burlington, New
Jersey, devoted to the study of biblical literature. He had an ample fortune,
and gave liberally.
He was a trustee of Princeton College, and in 1805 endowed it with a
cabinet of natural history, valued at $3,000. In 1812 he was chosen a member of
the American board of commissioners for foreign missions, to which he gave £100
in 1813. He assisted in founding the American Bible society in 1816, was its
first president, and gave it $10,000. He was interested in attempts to educate
the Indians, and when three Cherokee youth were brought to the foreign mission
school in 1818, he allowed one of them to take his name. This boy became
afterward a man of influence in his tribe, and was murdered on 10 June 1839, by
Indians west of the Mississippi. Dr. Boudinot was also interested in the
instruction of deaf-mutes, the education of young men for the ministry, and
efforts for the relief of the poor.
He bequeathed his property to his only
daughter, Mrs. Bradford, and to charitable uses. Among his bequests were one of
$200 to buy spectacles for the aged poor, another of 13,000 acres of land to the
mayor and corporation of Philadelphia, that the poor might be supplied with wood
at low prices, and another of 3,000 acres to the Philadelphia hospital for the
benefit of foreigners. Dr. Boudinot published "The Age-of Revelation," a reply
to Paine (1790); an oration before the Society of the Cincinnati (1793); "Second
Advent of the Messiah" (Trenton, 1815); and "Star in the West, or An Attempt to
Discover the Long-lost Tribes of Israel" (1816), in which he concurs with James
Adair in the opinion that the Indians are the lost tribes. He also wrote, in
"The Evangelical Intelligencer" of 1806, an anonymous memoir of the Rev. William Tennent.
In closing one should note that the US Mint, in 1999, began to release a
redesigned quarter under The 50 State Quarter Program. The US Mint’s website
The 50 State Quarters™
Program is 'changing' the 'state' of coin collecting. Approximately every 10
weeks, from 1999 to 2008, there will be a new state quarter to collect. Each
quarter's reverse will celebrate one of the 50 states with a design honoring
its unique history, traditions, and symbols.
The quarters are released in the same order that the
states joined the union.
On January 1, 1999 the United States Mint, despite our protests, unveiled
its first George Washington State Quarter with the mark of Delaware on its
reverse. The Delaware Quarter was release first because the US Mint An Act of
Congress recognized Delaware as the first state due to its ratification of the
US Constitution on December 7, 1787. The US Congress is mistaken. Delaware
actually joined the Perpetual Union of the United States of America when it
ratified the Articles of Confederation on 1 February 1779. Delaware was the 12th
state to join the Union ten years before its ratification of the US
It is also important to note that four score years later on July 4, 1861
President Abraham Lincoln used the
Articles of Confederation's language against South Carolina, North Carolina,
Georgia and Virginia's attempt to secede from the United States. It was the
unanimous "Perpetual Union" verbiage in the Articles that provided
President Lincoln with the legal authority, not granted in the US Constitution,
to Preserve the Union.
"The express plighting of faith by
each and all of the original thirteen in the Articles of Confederation, two
years later, that the Union shall be perpetual is most conclusive."
- Abraham Lincoln's Address to Congress
in Special Session 4 July 1861.
Moreover, it is incongruous that the US Mint was forced to serve as the
official government agency to perpetuate the Delaware First State Myth (the
first state was actually Virginia - 16 December 1777). The US Mint’s third
Elias Boudinot, was the 4th President of the United States in Congress
Assembled under the Articles of Confederation. One would think that a Government
Institution once headed by a
President under the Articles would have objected vehemently to Congress'
error of the historical facts behind statehood.
Virginia, has the "bragging rights" to being the first state in the
US "Perpetual Union" and Congress must correct this glaring error
memorialized in the new Washington Quarter. Perhaps after the last state is
honored under the current minting a new quarter could be started yearly honoring
each of the forgotten Presidents. I am sure Washington wouldn't mind a 14 year
rest on the head of the US quarter. The US Mint could start off with our first
state Virginia on the verso and the First President Samuel Huntington on the
head. Additionally, a special event at the US Mint would be most definitely in
order when former President and Mint Director, Elias Boudinot of NJ, is
rightfully honored as a temporary head of the familiar US Quarter with his home
State of NJ on the verso.
The correct order of US State ratification and entrance into the Union is
Articles of Confederation - 1 to 13 States
US Constitution - 37 to 50 States
16 December 1777
25 June 1778
9 July 1778
5 February 1778
25 June 1778
9 July 1778
6 February 1778
23 June 1778
9 July 1778
16 February 1778
23 June 1778
9 July 1778
26 February 1778
25 June 1778
9 July 1778
27 February 1778
23 June 1778
9 July 1778
4 March 1778
23 June 1778
9 Jul 1778 - 8 Aug 1778
5 March 1778
25 June 1778
9 Jul 1778 - 22 Jul 1778
10 March 1778
23 June 1778
9 July 1778
24 April 1778
25 June 1778
21 July 1778
20 November 1778
25-26 Nov. 1778
26 Nov 1778
1 February 1779
16 February 1779
22 Feb 1779 - 5 May 1779
2 February 1781
12 February 1781
1 March 1781
The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution: Vol. 1:
Constitutional Documents and Records, 1776-1787, ed. Merrill Jensen,
Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1976; Encyclopedia of
American History: Bicentennial Edition, ed. Richard Morris, New York; Harper
& Row, 1976; Documents of American History, ed. Henry Steele Commanger,
Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Prentice-Hall, 1973
BOUDINOT, Elias, philanthropist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 May 1740; died in Burlington, New Jersey, 24 October 1821. His great-grandfather, Elias, was a French Huguenot, who fled to this country after the revocation of the edict of Nantes. After receiving a classical education, he studied law with Richard Stockton, and became eminent in his profession, practicing in New Jersey. He was devoted to the patriot cause, in 1777 appointed commissary-general of prisoners, and in the same year elected a delegate to congress from New Jersey, serving from 1778 till 1779, and again from 1781 till 1784. He was chosen president of congress on 4 November 1782, and in that capacity signed the treaty of peace with England. He then resumed the practice of law, but, after the adoption of the constitution, was elected to the 1st, 2d, and 3d congresses, serving from 4 March 1789, till 3 March 1795. He was appointed by Washington in 1795 to succeed Rittenhouse as director of the mint at Philadelphia, and held the office till July 1805, when he resigned, and passed the rest of his life at Burlington, New Jersey, devoted to the study of biblical literature. He had an ample fortune, and gave liberally. He was a trustee of Princeton College, and in 1805 endowed it with a cabinet of natural history, valued at $3,000. In 1812 he was chosen a member of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions, to which he gave £100 in 1813. He assisted in founding the American Bible society in 1816, was its first president, and gave it $10,000. He was interested in attempts to educate the Indians, and when three Cherokee youth were brought to the foreign mission school in 1818, he allowed one of them to take his name. This boy became afterward a man of influence in his tribe, and was murdered on 10 June 1839, by Indians west of the Mississippi. Dr. Boudinot was also interested in the instruction of deaf-mutes, the education of young men for the ministry, and efforts for the relief of the poor. He bequeathed his property to his only daughter, Mrs. Bradford, and to charitable uses. Among his bequests were one of $200 to buy spectacles for the aged poor, another of 13,000 acres of land to the mayor and corporation of Philadelphia, that the poor might be supplied with wood at low prices, and another of 3,000 acres to the Philadelphia hospital for the benefit of foreigners.
Dr. Boudinot published "The Age-of Revelation," a reply to Paine (1790); an oration before the Society of the Cincinnati (1793); "Second Advent of the Messiah" (Trenton, 1815); and "Star in the West, or An Attempt to Discover the Long-lost Tribes of Israel" (1816), in which he concurs with James Adair in the opinion that the Indians are the lost tribes. He also wrote, in "The Evangelical Intelligencer" of 1806, an anonymous memoir of the Rev. William Tennent, died D.