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Chapter 3 President Who? Forgotten Founders by Stanley L. Klos - President Henry Middleton

Henry Middleton
Henry Middleton - President Continental Congress

2nd President of the Continental Congress
United Colonies of America

October 22, 1774 to October 26, 1774

By: Stan Klos

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Henry Middleton was born in South Carolina in 1717 and died in Charleston, on June 13, 1784. In 1745 he was elected to the commons of South Carolina, and was speaker of that body from 1745 -1747. He also served as a representative of St. George's in 1754 -1755. In 1755 he was commissioner of Native American affairs and was elected to the South Carolina Colonial Council. Middleton gained his notoriety during the 1760 - 61 War with the Cherokees where he was found to be steady under pressure and courageous. He served on the council until 1770, when he resigned to focus on business. In 1774 he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress empowered by these resolutions:

RESOLUTIONS unanimously entered into by the Inhabitants of SOUTH CAROLINA, at a General Meeting, held at Charles Towns, in the said colony, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the 6th, 7th and 8th days of July, 1774.

RESOLVED, THAT his Majestysubjects in North America owe the same allegiance to

the Crown of Great Britain that is due from his subjects born in Great Britain. Resolved, That his Majestysubjects in America are intitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain.

Resolved, That it is repugnant to the rights of the people, that any taxes should be imposed on them, unless with their own consent, given personally, or by their Representatives.

Resolved, That it is a fundamental right which his Majestyliege subjects are intitled unto, that no man should suffer in his person or property without a fair trial, and judgment given by his Peers, or by the Law of the Land.

Resolved, That all trials of treason, misprision of treason, or for any felony or crime whatever, committed and done in this his MajestyColony, by any person or persons residing therein, ought of right to be had and conducted in and before his Majestycourts held within the said Colony, according to the fixed and known course of proceeding, and that the seizing any person or persons residing in this Colony, sus­pected of any crime whatever committed therein, and sending such person or persons to places beyond the sea to be tried, is oppressive and illegal, and highly derogatory to the rights of British subjects; as thereby the inestimable privilege of being tried by a jury from the vicinage, as well as the benefit of summoning and procuring witness­es on such trial, will be taken away from the party accused.

Resolved, That the statute made in the 35th year of Henry VIII. chap. 2, intituled, "An Act for the trial of treasons committed out of the Kingdominions,"does not extend, and cannot, but by an arbitrary and cruel construction, be construed to extend to treasons, misprisions of treasons, or concealment of treasons, committed in any of his MajestyAmerican Colonies, where there is sufficient provision, by the law of the land, for the impartial trial of all such persons as are charged with, and for the due pun­ishment of, those offences.

Resolved, That the late act for shutting up the Port of Boston, and the two bills rela­tive to Boston, which, by the last accounts from Great Britain, had been brought into parliament, there read, and committed, are of the most alarming nature to all his majestysubjects in American - are calculated to deprive many thousand Americans of their rights, properties and privileges, in a most cruel, oppressive and unconstitution­al manner - are most dangerous precedents, and, though levelled immediately at the people of Boston, very manifestly and glaringly shew, if the inhabitants of that town are intimidated into a mean submission to said acts, that the like are designed for all the Colonies; when not even the shadow of liberty to his person, or of security to his property, will be left to any of his subjects residing on the American continent.

Resolving therefore, That not only the dictates of humanity, but the soundest princi­ples of true policy and self preservation, makes it absolutely necessary for the inhabi­tants of all the Colonies in America to assist and support the people of Boston, by all lawful ways in their power; and especially, to leave no justifiable means untried to pro­cure a repeal of those acts immediately relative to them, and also of all others affect­ing the constitutional rights and liberties of America in general, as the best means to effect this most desirable end.

Resolved, That Henry Middleton , John Rutledge, Christopher Gadsden, Thomas Lynch, and Edward Rutledge, Esquires, be and they are hereby nominated and appointed Deputies, on the part and behalf of this Colony, to meet the Deputies of the several Colonies of North America, in general Congress, the first Monday in September next, at Philadelphia, or at any other time or place that may be generally agreed on; there to consider the act lately passed, and bills depending in Parliament, with regard to the port of Boston, and province of Massachusetts Bay, which act and bills, in the precedent and consequences, affect the whole continent - also the grievances under which America labours by reason of the several acts of Parliament, that impose taxes or duties for raising a revenue, and lay unnecessary restraints and burthens on trade-and of the statutes, parliamentary acts, and Royal instructions, which make an invidious distinction between his Majesty subjects in Great Britain and in America - with full power and authority, in behalf of us and our constituents, to concert, agree to, and effectually prosecute such legal measures (by which we, for ourselves and them, most solemnly engage to abide) as in the opinion of the said Deputies, and of the Deputies so to be assembled, shall be most likely to obtain a repeal of the said acts, and a redress of those grievances.

Resolved, That we will agree to pay the expence of such gentlemen, as may be fixed upon to be sent upon this business. Resolved, That while the oppressive acts relative to Boston are enforced, we will chearfully, from time to time, contribute towards the relief of such poor persons there, whose unfortunate circumstances, occasioned by the operation of those acts, may be thought to stand in need of most assistance.”

Henry Middleton was chosen the leader of the South Carolina delegation being the most conser­vative delegate and vociferously loyal to the King. For that reason, among others, he was elected President of the Continental Congress on October 1774 when Peyton Randolph was forced to return to Virginia to take his seat as Speaker of the Virigina House of Burgess. The Journals report:

1774 - October 22 Agrees to reconvene on May 10, 1775, "unless the redress of griev­ances, which we have desired, be obtained before that time." Elects Henry Middleton President. October 26 Approves an address to the king and a letter to Quebec. Congress dissolves itself.

Although Middleton's tenure as President was only four days and Peyton Randolph was re­elected in 1775, the following Petition of Congress to King George III, drafted by John Jay of New York, passed during his Presidency and was unanimously approved and sent to Great Britain:

“To the Kings most excellent majesty, Most gracious Sovereign
We your majestys faithful subjects of the colonies of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode-island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey,Pennsylvania, the counties of New-Castle Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, and South Carolina, in behalf of ourselves and the inhabitants of these colonies who have deputed us to represent them in General Congress, by this our humble petition, beg leave to lay our grievances before the throne. A standing army has been kept in these colonies, ever since the conclusion of the late war, without the consent of our assemblies; and this army with a considerable naval armament has been employed to enforce he collection of taxes. The Authority of the commander in chief, and, under him, of the brigadiers general has in time of peace, been rendered supreme in all the civil governments in America.

The commander in chief of all your majesty's forces in North-America has, in time of peace, been appointed governor of a colony. The charges of usual offices have been greatly increased; and, new, expensive and oppressive offices have been multiplied.

The judges of admiralty and vice-admiralty courts are empowered to receive their salaries and fees from the effects condemned by themselves. The officers of the
customs are empowered to break open and enter houses without the authority of any civil magistrate founded on legal information.

The judges of courts of common law have been made entirely dependant on one part of the legislature for their salaries, as well as for the duration of their commissions.

Councellors holding their commissions, during pleasure, exercise legislative authority. Humble and reasonable petitions from the representatives of the people have been fruitless.

The agents of the people have been discountenanced and governors have been instructed to prevent the payment of their salaries. Assemblies have been repeatedly and injuriously dissolved.

Commerce has been burthened with many useless and oppressive restrictions.

By several acts of parliament made in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth years of your majesty's reign, duties are imposed on us, for the purpose of raising a revenue, and the powers of admiralty and vice-admiralty courts are extended beyond their ancient limits, whereby our property is taken from us without our consent, the trial by jury in many civil cases is abolished, enormous forfeitures are incurred for slight offences, vexatious informers are exempted from paying damages, to which they are justly liable, and oppressive security is required from owners before they are allowed to defend their right.

Both houses of parliament have resolved that colonists may be tried in England, for offences alleged to have been committed in America, by virtue of a statute passed in the thirty fifth year of Henry the eighth; and in consequence thereof, attempts have been made to enforce that statute. A statute was passed in the twelfth year of your majesty's reign, directing, that persons charged with committing any offence therein described, in any place out of the realm, may be indicted and tried for the same, in any shire or county within the realm, whereby inhabitants of these colonies may, in sundry cases by that statute made capital, be deprived of a trial by their peers of the vicinage.

In the last sessions of parliament, an act was passed for blocking up the harbor of Boston; another, empowering the governor of the Massachusetts-bay to send persons indicted for murder in that province to another colony or even to Great Britain for trial whereby such offenders may escape legal punishment; a third, for altering the chartered constitution of government in that province; and a fourth for extending the limits of Quebec, abolishing the English and restoring the French laws, whereby great numbers of British freemen are subjected to the latter, and establishing an absolute government and the Roman Catholic religion throughout those vast regions, that border on the westerly and northerly boundaries of the free protestant English settlements; and a fifth for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in his majesty's service in North America.

To a sovereign, who "glories in the name of Briton" the bare recital of these acts must we presume, justify the loyal subjects, who fly to the foot of his throne and implore his clemency for protection against them.

From this destructive system of colony administration adopted since the conclusion of the last war, have flowed those distresses, dangers, fears and jealousies, that over­whelm your majesty's dutiful colonists with affliction; and we defy our most subtle and inveterate enemies, to trace the unhappy differences between Great-Britain and these colonies, from an earlier period or from other causes than we have assigned. Had they proceeded on our part from a restless levity of temper, unjust impulses of ambition, or artful suggestions of seditious persons, we should merit the opprobrious terms frequently bestowed upon us, by those we revere. But so far from promoting innovations, we have only opposed them; and can be charged with no offence, unless it be one, to receive injuries and be sensible of them.

Had our creator been pleased to give us existence in a land of slavery, the sense of our condition might have been mitigated by ignorance and habit. But thanks be to his adorable goodness, we were born the heirs of freedom, and ever enjoyed our right under the auspices of your royal ancestors, whose family was seated on the British throne, to rescue and secure a pious and gallant nation from the popery and despotism of a superstitious and inexorable tyrant. Your majesty, we are confident, justly rejoices, that your title to the crown is thus founded on the title of your people to liberty; and therefore we doubt not, but your royal wisdom must approve the sensibility, that teaches your subjects anxiously to guard the blessings, they received from divine providence, and thereby to prove the performance of that compact, which elevated the illustrious house of Brunswick to the imperial dignity it now possesses.

The apprehension of being degraded into a state of servitude from the pre-eminent rank of English freemen, while our minds retain the strongest love of liberty, and clearly foresee the miseries preparing for us and our posterity, excites emotions in our breasts, which though we cannot describe, we should not wish to conceal. Feeling as men, and thinking as subjects, in the manner we do, silence would be disloyalty. By giving this faithful information, we do all in our power, to promote the great objects of your royal cares, the tranquility of your government, and the welfare of your people.

Duty to your majesty and regard for the preservation of ourselves and our posterity, the primary obligations of nature and society command us to entreat your royal atten­tion; and as your majesty enjoys the signal distinction of reigning over freemen, we apprehend the language of freemen can not be displeasing. Your royal indignation, we hope, will rather fall on those designing and dangerous men, who daringly inter­posing themselves between your royal person and your faithful subjects, and for several years past incessantly employed to dissolve the bonds of society, by abusing your majesty's authority, misrepresenting your American subjects and prosecuting the most desperate and irritating projects of oppression, have at length compelled us, by the force of accumulated injuries too severe to be any longer tolerable, to disturb your majesty's repose by our complaints.

These sentiments are extorted from hearts, that much more willingly would bleed in your majesty's service. Yet so greatly have we been misrepresented, that a necessity has been alleged of taking our property from us without our consent "to defray the charge of the administration of justice, the support of civil government, and the defense protection and security of the colonies." But we beg leave to assure your majesty, that such provision has been and will be made for defraying the two first articles, as has been and shall be judged, by the legislatures of the several colonies, just and suitable to their respective circumstances: And for the defense protection and security of the colonies, their militias, if properly regulated, as they earnestly desire may immediately be done, would be fully sufficient, at least in times of peace; and in case of war, your faithful colonists will be ready and willing, as they ever have been when constitution­ally required, to demonstrate their loyalty to your majesty, by exerting their most strenuous efforts in granting supplies and raising forces. Yielding to no British subjects, in affectionate attachment to your majesty's person, family and government, we too dearly prize the privilege of expressing that attachment by those proofs, that are honorable to the prince who receives them, and to the people who give them, ever to resign it to any body of men upon earth.

Had we been permitted to enjoy in quiet the inheritance left us by our forefathers, we should at this time have been peaceably, cheerfully and usefully employed in recom­mending ourselves by every testimony of devotion to your majesty, and of veneration to the state, from which we derive our origin. But though now exposed to unexpected and unnatural scenes of distress by a contention with that nation, in whose parental guidance on all important affairs we have hitherto with filial reverence constantly trust­ed, and therefore can derive no instruction in our present unhappy and perplexing cir­cumstances from any former experience, yet we doubt not, the purity of our intention and the integrity of our conduct will justify us at that grand tribunal, before which all mankind must submit to judgment.

We ask but for peace, liberty, and safety. We wish not a diminution of the prerogative, nor do we solicit the grant of any new right in our favor. Your royal authority over us and our connexion with Great-Britain, we shall always carefully and zealously endeavor to support and maintain.

Filled with sentiments of duty to your majesty, and of affection to our parent state, deeply impressed by our education and strongly confirmed by our reason, and anx­ious to evince the sincerity of these dispositions, we present this petition only to obtain redress of grievances and relief from fears and jealousies occasioned by the system of statutes and regulations adopted since the close of the late war, for raising a revenue in America--extending the powers of courts of admiralty and vice-admiralty--trying per­sons in Great Britain for offences alleged to be committed in America--affecting the province of Massachusetts-bay, and altering the government and extending the limits of Quebec; by the abolition of which system, the harmony between Great-Britain and these colonies so necessary to the happiness of both and so ardently desired by the latter, and the usual intercourses will be immediately restored. In the magnanimity and justice of your majesty and parliament we confide, for a redress of our other griev­ances, trusting, that when the causes of our apprehensions are removed, our future conduct will prove us not unworthy of the regard, we have been accustomed, in our happier days, to enjoy. For appealing to that being who searches thoroughly the hearts of his creatures, we solemnly profess, that our councils have been influenced by no other motive, than a dread of impending destruction.

Permit us then, most gracious sovereign, in the name of all your faithful people in America, with the utmost humility to implore you, for the honor of Almighty God, whose pure religion our enemies are undermining; for your glory, which can be advanced only by rendering your subjects happy and keeping them united; for the interests of your family depending on an adherence to the principles that enthroned it; for the safety and welfare of your kingdoms and dominions threatened with almost unavoidable dangers and distresses; that your majesty, as the loving father of your whole people, connected by the same bands of law, loyalty, faith and blood, though dwelling in various countries, will not suffer the transcendent relation formed by these ties to be farther violated, in uncertain expectation of effects, that, if attained, never can compensate for the calamities, through which they must be gained.

We therefore most earnestly beseech your majesty, that your royal authority and interposition may be used for our relief; and that a gracious answer may be given to this petition. That your majesty may enjoy every felicity through a long and glorious reign over loyal and happy subjects and that your descendants may inherit your prosperity and domin­ions 'til time shall be no more, is and always will be our sincere and fervent prayer.

SIGNED: Henry Middleton, Jno Sullivan, Nathl Folsom, Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robt. Treat Paine, tep Hopkins, Sam: Ward, Elipht Dyer, Roger Sherman, Silas Deane, Phil. Livingston, John Alsop, Isaac Low, Jas. Duane, John Jay, Wm. Floyd, Henry Wisner, S: Boerum, Wil: Livingston, John De Hart, Stepn. Crane, Richd. Smith, E Biddle, J: Galloway, John Dickinson, John Morton, Thomas Mifflin, George Ross, Chas Humphreys, Cæsar Rodney, Thos M: Kean, Geo: Read, Mat. Tilghman , Ths. Johnson Junr, Wm. Paca, Samuel Chase, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, Go. Washington, Edmund Pendleton, Richd. Bland, Benjn Harrison, Will Hooper, Joseph Hewes, Rd. Caswell, Tho Lynch, Christ Gadsden, J. Rutledge, Edward Rutledge.

Agents to whom the Address to King is to be sent for New Hampshire, Paul Wentworth Esqr. Massachusetts Bay,William Bollan Esqr, Doctr. Benj: Franklin Doctr. Arthur Lee, Rhode Island, none Connecticut, Thomas Life, Esqr. New Jersey, Doctr Benj. Franklin, Pensylvania, Doctr Benj. Franklin, New York, Edmund Burke, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, N. Carolina, none, South Carolina, Charles Garth, Esqr.”

After serving this brief time as President, Middleton, a loyalist, became a prime target of the Crown after Congress disbanded. The American Archives publishes the following letter “FROM LONDON TO A GENTLEMAN OF NEW-YORK, DATED JANUARY 30, 1775” reporting a Commission sent to General Gage, to try and execute certain persons in the Colonies. The letter reads:

From unquestionable authority I learn, that about a fortnight ago, despatches were sent from hence by a Sloop-of-War to General Gage, containing among other things, a Royal Proclamation, declaring the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, and some others in the different Colonies, actual Rebels; with a blank Commission to try and execute such of them as he can get hold of;—with this is sent a list of names, to be inserted in the Commission as he may judge expedient. I do not know them all, but Messrs. Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and John Hancock, of Massachusetts Bay, John Dickinson of Philadelphia, Peyton Randolph of Virginia, and Henry Middleton of South Carolina, are particularly named, with many others. This black list, the General will no doubt keep to himself, and unfold it gradually, as he finds it convenient. Four Regiments from Ireland, one of them Light Dragoons, are under sailing orders for Boston, with several capital Ships-of-War from hence, and six Cutters, to obstruct the American trade, and prevent all European Goods from going there, particularly Arms and Ammunition, which makes it expedient without a moment's delay, to be provided with such things as you may want.

Last Friday night, the 27th instant, in a Privy Council, the American measures were all settled by the Ministry, part of them is to pass an Act of Parliament, inflicting pains and penalties on particular persons and Provinces in America, to countenance the infamous Proclamation and Commission already sent to General Gage; also it is determined to take away the Charters of Rhode-Island and Connecticut. I have not been able to learn the whole; though in general 1 am informed it is denouncing utter destruction to American Liberty. Depend upon all this to be fact.

In 1775 Middleton was elected President of the Provincial Congress of South Carolina and received the public thanks of that body, which was considered a high honor. In that same year Middleton was re­elected by the Provincial Congress of South Carolina as delegate to the Continental Congress. Middleton, now considered a traitor by the King was appointed member of the council of safety, and by his position, wealth, and powerful family connection did much to turn the balance in Carolina in favor of the Congress’s direction towards colonial self-government.

Oath of Secrecy Signed by Henry Middleton and the Delegates from the 1st Continental Congress - Courtesy of the Author

In 1776 Henry Middleton returned to Congress and on February 11th was elected to a committee to form a new government. The journals report:

In Congress, Sunday, February 11, 1776, P. M. The Congress met. The Congress then proceeded to ballot for the Members of the Committee to prepare a plan or form of Government. And the following gentlemen were, by Mr. President, declared duly elected by a majority of votes, viz:

Major Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Rutledge, Esq., Colonel Charles Pinckney, Colonel Henry Laurens, Colonel Christopher Gadsden, Hon. Rawlins Lowndes, Arthur Middleton, Esq., Hon. Henry Middleton, Thomas Bee, Esq., Thomas Lynch, Jun., Esq., Thomas Heyward, Jun., Esq.

On Thursday, February 8, 1776 the following resolution was passed by the South Carolina Congress to honor the exceptional leadership and good work of Henry Middleton and John Rutledge.

Resolved, That Mr. President do signify the approbation of this Congress, and present their thanks to the Honourable Henry Middleton and John Rutledge, Esquires, now present in Congress, and to the other Delegates of this Colony at Philadelphia, for their important services in the American Congress.

Upon its passage President of the South Carolina Congress rose and addressed Mr. Middleton and Mr. Rutledge,

GENTLEMEN: When the hand of tyranny, armed in hostile manner, was extended from Great Britain to spoil America of whatever she held most valuable, it was, for the most important purposes, that the good people of this Colony delegated you to represent them in the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. It became your business to ascertain the rights of America —to point out her violated franchises, to make humble representation to the King for redress; and, he being deaf to the cries of his American subjects—to appeal to the King of Kings, for the recovery of the rights of an infant people, by the majesty of Heaven formed for future empire.

In this most important business, you engaged, as became good citizens; and, step by step, you deliberately advanced through it, with a regret and sorrow, and with a resolution and conduct, that bear all the characters of ancient magnanimity. Your constituents, with a steady eye, beheld your progress. They saw the American claim of rights, the Association for the recovery of American franchises, and the humble Petition to the King for redress of grievances. They saw the American appeal to the King of Kings, and a second humble Petition to the British Monarch—alas! as unavailing as the first. They have also seen the establishment of an American naval force — a Treasury — a General Post-Office — and the laying on a Continental embargo. In short, they have seen permission granted to Colonies to erect forms of Government, independent of, and in opposition to, the regal authority.

Your country saw all these proceedings, the work of a body of which you were, and are members; proceedings arising from dire necessity, and not from choice; proceedings that are the natural consequences of the present inauspicious reign; proceedings just in themselves; and which, notwithstanding the late declarations of the corrupt Houses of Parliament, the Proclamation at the Court of St. James's, on the 23d of August, and the subsequent Royal Speech in Parliament, are exactly as far distant from treason and rebellion as stands the glorious Revolution which deprived a tyrant of his Kingdoms, and elevated the House of Brunswick to royalty.

Worthy Delegates! It is the judgment of your country that your conduct, of which I have just marked the grand lines, in the American Congress, is justifiable before God and man; and that, whatever may be the issue of this unlooked-for defensive civil war, in which, unfortunately, though gloriously, we are engaged—whether independence or slavery—all the blood, and all the guilt, must be imputed to British, not to American counsels. Hence your constituents, sensible of the propriety of your conduct, and of the benefits which, with the blessing of the Almighty, it is calculated to shed upon America, have constituted me their instrument, as well to signify to you their approbation, as to present to you their thanks; and it is in the discharge of these duties that I now have the honour to address you.

In an important crisis like the present, to receive the publick thanks of a free People, is to receive the most honourable recompense for past services; and to deserve such thanks, is to be truly great. I know that it is with pain such men hear their commendations. Gentlemen, with the publick recompense, I mean to pay in to you my mite also; and lest I wound your delicacy, when I mean only to do justice to your merit, I forbear to particularize what is already well known. I therefore confine myself; and I do most respectfully, in the name of the Congress, present to you, and to each of you, the thanks of your country, for your important services in the American Congress, at Philadelphia.

Henry Middleton was prevented by ill health from serving further in Congress. The American Archives reports:

The Honourable Henry Middleton arose, declared his sensibility of, and thankfulness for, the honour that had been conferred upon him, in his appointment as a Delegate from this Colony to the Continental Congress; and that no man had better wishes, or would go greater lengths to serve his country, than himself; but that, as the infirmities of age which were creeping on, deprived him of the ability of rendering so much service to the publick as in his earlier days he might have done; so he requested that the Congress would not again appoint him as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, in the choice now to be made.

Congress accepted his resignation and the new role of Delegates for South Carolina were approved with this resolution:

Resolved, That Thomas Lynch, John Rutledge, Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward, Jun., Esqs., be, and they are hereby appointed, and fully authorized, to represent this Colony in the Continental Congress for one year next ensuing.

Arthur Middleton, Henry’s son, would go on to attend the entire 1776 session of the Continental Congress in place of his Father. He would vote for Independence on July 2, 1776 and sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.

Henry Middleton's health rebounded and he was elected to the South Carolina legislative council with this resolution:

The Members proceeded to ballot for a Legislative Council. And the ballots being cast up, Mr. Chairman reported, that Charles Pinckney, Henry Middleton, Richard Richardson, Rawlins Lowndes, Le Roy Hammond, Henry Lau-rens, David Oliphant, Thomas Ferguson, Stephen Bull, George Gabriel Powell, Thomas Bee, Joseph Kershaw, and Thomas Shubrick, Esquires, were duly chosen Members of the Legislative Council.

In this council, he was, at best, a reluctant supporter of Independence throughout his 1776-1777 tenure. In 1778 he was elected to the South Carolina State Senate and served to 1780. On May 12, 1780 the British General Charles Cornwallis captured Charleston and went on to control most of Georgia and the Carolinas. State Senator Henry Middleton surprised his peers in other states when he pledged his allegiance to the crown urging his fellow countrymen to do the same. This came as a great blow to then Continental Congress President Samuel Huntington. The President was desperately trying to persuade Maryland, the lone holdout for ratification, to approve the Articles of Confederation, The country was in dire need of a ratified U.S. Constitution that would form the Perpetual Union of the United States putting the fading allies on notice they were aiding a untied nation.

Henry Middleton, was forgiven by his fellow founders as his call to sup­port England was half-hearted in 1780 and not followed by any action against his fellow countrymen. After the war Middleton, unlike many of the other Presidents, prospered in South Carolina as large and successful planter, owning about 50,000 acres and 700 slaves. He spent his final years on improving the agriculture and commerce of the new state.

Henry twice remarried, but his five sons and seven daughters were all children borne of his first wife, who died in 1761. The former President lived until 1784 and is entombed at Middleton Gardens on Ashley River Road in Charleston County, South Carolina.


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    U.C. Presidents

    Peyton Randolph

    Henry Middleton

    Peyton Randolph

    John Hancock


    Continental Congress
    U.S. Presidents

    John Hancock

    Henry Laurens

    John Jay

    Samuel Huntington


    Constitution of 1777
    U.S. Presidents

    Samuel Huntington

    Samuel Johnston
    Elected but declined the office

    Thomas McKean

    John Hanson

    Elias Boudinot

    Thomas Mifflin

    Richard Henry Lee

    John Hancock
    Chairman David Ramsay]

    Nathaniel Gorham

    Arthur St. Clair

    Cyrus Griffin


    Constitution of 1787
    U.S. Presidents

    George Washington 

    John Adams
    Federalist Party

    Thomas Jefferson
    Republican* Party

    James Madison 
    Republican* Party

    James Monroe
    Republican* Party

    John Quincy Adams
    Republican* Party
    Whig Party

    Andrew Jackson
    Republican* Party
    Democratic Party

    Martin Van Buren
    Democratic Party

    William H. Harrison
    Whig Party

    John Tyler
    Whig Party

    James K. Polk
    Democratic Party

    David Atchison**
    Democratic Party

    Zachary Taylor
    Whig Party

    Millard Fillmore
    Whig Party

    Franklin Pierce
    Democratic Party

    James Buchanan
    Democratic Party

    Abraham Lincoln 
    Republican Party

    Jefferson Davis***
    Democratic Party

    Andrew Johnson
    Republican Party

    Ulysses S. Grant 
    Republican Party

    Rutherford B. Hayes
    Republican Party

    James A. Garfield
    Republican Party

    Chester Arthur 
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland
    Democratic Party

    Benjamin Harrison
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland 
    Democratic Party

    William McKinley
    Republican Party

    Theodore Roosevelt
    Republican Party

    William H. Taft 
    Republican Party

    Woodrow Wilson
    Democratic Party

    Warren G. Harding 
    Republican Party

    Calvin Coolidge
    Republican Party

    Herbert C. Hoover
    Republican Party

    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Democratic Party

    Harry S. Truman
    Democratic Party

    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Republican Party

    John F. Kennedy
    Democratic Party

    Lyndon B. Johnson 
    Democratic Party 

    Richard M. Nixon 
    Republican Party

    Gerald R. Ford 
    Republican Party

    James Earl Carter, Jr. 
    Democratic Party

    Ronald Wilson Reagan 
    Republican Party

    George H. W. Bush
    Republican Party 

    William Jefferson Clinton
    Democratic Party

    George W. Bush 
    Republican Party

    Barack H. Obama
    Democratic Party

    Please Visit

    Forgotten Founders
    Norwich, CT

    Annapolis Continental
    Congress Society

    U.S. Presidency
    & Hospitality

    © Stan Klos





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