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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SWAN, James, soldier, born in Fifeshire, Scotland, in 1754; died in Paris, France, 18 March, 1831. He came to Boston at an early age, was a clerk there, and, espousing the patriot cause, was one of the "Boston tea-party." He was aide-de-camp to General Joseph Warren at Bunker Hill, where he was wounded, acted as treasurer and receiver-general, became captain in Ebenezer Crafts's regiment of artillery, and participated in the expedition that drove the British fleet out of Boston harbor. He was also secretary to the Massachusetts board of war, a member of the legislature in 1778, and afterward adjutant-general of the state. Being involved in debt, he went to Paris in 1787, and became known there by the publication of " Causes qui sont opposees au progres du commerce entre la France et les Etats-Unis de l'Amerique" (1790). After acquiring a fortune he returned to the United States in 1795 and was noted for his charity and munificence. In 1798 he went to Europe again and engaged in large commercial operations until 1815, when, upon the suit of a German with whom he had transactions, he was arrested and thrown into the prison of St. Pelagic in Paris, where he remained until July, 1830, living in luxury and maintaining an unceasing litigation in the French courts. He published " Dissuasion from the Slave-Trade" (Boston, 1773) ; " On the Fisheries " (1784); "Fisheries of Massachusetts " (1786); and " Address on Agriculture, Manufactures, and Commerce" (1817).
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