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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SAYRE, Stephen, patriot, born on Long Island, New York, in 1784; died in Virginia, 27 September, 1818. He was graduated at Princeton in 1757, engaged early in business, and became a successful merchant and banker in London. He was sheriff of that city in 1774, and possessed the confidence of the Earl of Chatham at a critical period. He ardently favored the cause of the independence of the American colonies, and suffered for his devotion to his country. An officer of the royal guards, named Richardson, also an American, brought a charge of high treason against him for the use of a light and unguarded expression referring to the king's death. Mr. Sayre was committed to the tower, and, though released soon afterward, his banking-house failed, and, having lost everything, he was forced to leave England. He was afterward employed by Benjamin Franklin on some important; missions, was his private secretary for a period, and went with Arthur Lee to Berlin at the time of the first suggestion of the scheme of armed neutrality. After leaving Berlin, Mr. Sayre went to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg, and in each of those cities received ample supplies to support the cause of the independence of the United States. In 1795 he was an active opponent of Washington's administration.
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