Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DE SAUSSURE, Henry William, jurist, born in Pocotaligo, South Carolina, 16 August 1763; died in Charleston, 29 March 1839. He was descended from an ancient family of Lorraine, France. His grandfather, HENRY, emigrated to South Carolina in 1730, and DANIEL, his father, took an active part in the Revolution, and was president of the state senate in 1790'1. Henry William served as a volunteer during the siege of Charleston in 1780, and passed two months in a prisonship. He was then sent to Philadelphia to be exchanged, studied law with Jared Ingersoll, and was admitted to the bar of Philadelphia in 1784, and in 1785 to that of Charleston. He was a delegate to the South Carolina. Constitutional convention of October 1789, and in 1791 was a member of the legislature. In 1794 President Washington appointed him director of the U. S. mint. When dining with him on one occasion, General Washington said: " I have long desired to see gold coined at the Mint, but your predecessor found insuperable difficulties. I should be gratified if it could be accomplished." The director replied, "I will try"; and a few weeks afterward he carried to the president a handful of gold eagles, the first gold coined at the Mint of the United States. He resigned the office in November 1795, and received from Washington an autograph letter regretting his determination to retire, and expressing "entire satisfaction " with his administration. He then returned to the practice of the law in South Carolina, and was elected a chancellor of the state in 1808. From 1809 till 1829 the number of decrees in the circuit court of equity and the court of appeals was 2,888, and of these Chancellor De Saussure delivered 1,314. In 1837 his health became impaired, and he resigned. Governor Butler. in communicating to the legislature the resignation of the chancellor, said : "He has occupied, and now occupies, a striking position to the people of the present generation. He is the last of the Revolutionary patriots who has held office under the authority of the state." He published "Reports of the Court of Chancery and Court of Equity in South Carolina from the Revolution till 1813" (4 vols., Columbia, South Carolina, 1817'9, revised ed., 2 vols.. Philadelphia).
His grandson, Wihnot Gibbes De Saussure, lawyer, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 23 July 1822; died 1 February 1886, was graduated at South Carolina College in 1840, and admitted to the bar in 1843. He was a member of the legislature for ten years, was in command of the state troops that took possession of Fort Moultrie when Maj. Anderson evacuated it in December 1860, as lieutenant colonel was in command of the artillery on Morris Island during the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861, and was treasurer, and subsequently adjutant and inspector general, of South Carolina. He was president of the state society of the Cincinnati, the St. Andrews society, the Charleston library society, the St. Cecilia society, and the Huguenot society of South Carolina. His published addresses include "The Stamp Act of Great Britain, and the Resistance of the Colonies," showing that South Carolina, on 26 March 1776, adopted a constitution by which the royal government ceased to exist there: "The Causes which led to the Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown", " The Centennial Celebration of the Organization of the Cincinnati "; "Memoir of General William Moultrie "; and "Muster roll of the South Carolina Soldiers of the Continental Line and Militia who served during the Revolution." He also prepared an address on the celebration by the Huguenot society of America of the bicentennial anniversary of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (New York, 1885).
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