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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LEAMING, Thomas, patriot, born 20 August, 1748; died in Philadelphia in 1797. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, studied law with John Dickinson, and practised his profession until 1776. He possessed a large landed estate in New Jersey, and was chosen a member of the convention that met 10 June, 1776, to frame a constitution for that state and declare its independence. This was done on 2 July, two days before the passage of the Declaration of Independence by. congress. Throughout the whole exciting session of this convention, Mr. Leaming's votes and influence were invariably given to the patriot cause. He declined to accept the protection offered by the British to those who would not bear arms against them, although such refusal rendered his property liable to confiscation. He returned to Philadelphia, and, as soon as war was decided upon, joined the patriot army and, after obtaining a knowledge of military tactics, returned to New Jersey to arouse the people in the neighborhood of his estates. He first obtained the signatures of every able-bodied man in the county to a paper pledging them to support their country, and afterward enrolled them in a battalion which he drilled, officered, and equipped. Going back to Philadelphia he joined the 1st city troop of light horse, which acted as a bodyguard to General Washington in 1776-'7, until the formation of the regular Continental cavalry. He afterward took part in the battle of Germantown, 4 October, 1777, and remained a member of the troop until his death. The war having closed the courts, he began business as a merchant, becoming the moneyed partner in the house of A. Bunner and Co. Notwithstanding the fact that the firm lost largely by the dishonoring by congress of the Continental currency, they persisted in importing large quantities of ammunition and other necessaries of war, and, at a time when the new government had neither money nor credit, furnished from their stock a large quantity of such equipments as were needed. At the time when the army, dispirited by defeat and in want of the common necessaries of life, "turned for succor to a bankrupt government, the sum of £260,000 was subscribed for their relief by the merchants of Philadelphia. The list was headed by Robert Morris and Blair McClennaghan with £10,000 each The next largest subscription was that of Mr. Leaming's firm, which gave £6,000. The latter was also largely engaged in privateering, and Mr. Learning said, in 1785, that their vessels had captured fifty prizes and over 1,000 prisoners.
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