|3rd United States Secretary of State|
December 10, 1795 –May 12, 1800
Ad interim: August 20 – December 10, 1795
|President|| George Washington |
|Preceded by||Edmund Randolph|
|Succeeded by||John Marshall|
|2nd United States Secretary of War|
January 2,1795 –December 10,1795
|Preceded by||Henry Knox|
|Succeeded by||James McHenry|
|5th United States Postmaster General|
August 12,1791 –January 1,1795
|Preceded by||Samuel Osgood|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Habersham|
| United States Senator |
March 4,1803 –March 3,1811
|Preceded by||Dwight Foster|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Bradley Varnum|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
March 4,1813 –March 3,1817
|Preceded by||Leonard White|
|Succeeded by||Nathaniel Silsbee|
|Constituency|| 3rd district (1813–15)|
2nd district (1815–17)
Salem,Massachusetts Bay,British America
|Died||January 29,1829 83) (aged|
|Education||Harvard University (BA)|
|Branch/service|| Massachusetts militia |
United States Army
|Years of service||1766–1785|
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War|
Timothy Pickering (July 17,1745 –January 29,1829) was the third United States Secretary of State under Presidents George Washington and John Adams. He also represented Massachusetts in both houses of Congress as a member of the Federalist Party. In 1795,he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society.
Born in Salem in the Province of Massachusetts Bay,Pickering began a legal career after graduating from Harvard University. He won election to the Massachusetts General Court and served as a county judge. He also became an officer in the colonial militia and served in the siege of Boston during the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. Later in the war,he was Adjutant General and Quartermaster General of the Continental Army. After the war,Pickering moved to the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania and took part in the then colony's 1787 ratifying convention for the United States Constitution.
President Washington appointed Pickering to the position of Postmaster General in 1791. After briefly serving as Secretary of War,Pickering became the Secretary of State in 1795,and remained in that office after President Adams was inaugurated. As Secretary of State,Pickering favored close relations with Britain. President Adams dismissed him in 1800 due to Pickering's opposition to peace with France during the Quasi-War.
Pickering won election to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate in 1803,becoming an ardent opponent of the Embargo Act of 1807. He continued to support Britain in the Napoleonic Wars,famously describing the country as "The World's last hope –Britain's Fast-anchored Isle."He left the Senate in 1811 but served in the United States House of Representatives from 1813 to 1817. During the War of 1812,he became a leader of the New England secession movement and helped organize the Hartford Convention. The fallout from the convention ended Pickering's political career. He lived as a farmer in Salem until his death in 1829.
Pickering was born in Salem,Massachusetts to Deacon Timothy and Mary Wingate Pickering. He was one of nine children and the younger brother of John Pickering (not to be confused with the New Hampshire judge) who would eventually serve as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.He attended grammar school in Salem and graduated from Harvard College in 1763. Salem minister William Bentley noted on Pickering:"From his youth his townsmen proclaim him assuming,turbulent,&headstrong."
After graduating from Harvard,Pickering returned to Salem where he began working for John Higginson,the town clerk and Essex County register of deeds. Pickering was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1768 and,in 1774,he succeeded Higginson as register of deeds. Soon after,he was elected to represent Salem in the Massachusetts General Court and served as a justice in the Essex County Court of Common Pleas. On April 8,1766,he married Rebecca White of Salem.
In January 1766,Pickering was commissioned a lieutenant in the Essex County militia. He was promoted to captain three years later. In 1769,he published his ideas on drilling soldiers in the Essex Gazette. These were published in 1775 as "An Easy Plan for a Militia."The manual was used as the Continental Army drill book until replaced by Baron von Steuben's Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States
On February 26,1775,men under Pickering's command were involved in one of the earliest military engagements in the American Revolution,a confrontation locally referred to as "Leslie's Retreat." A detachment of British regulars under British Army Lt. Colonel Alexander Leslie was dispatched from Boston to search North Salem for contraband artillery. Leslie's men were thwarted from crossing the North River bridge and searching the outlying farms by Pickering's militia and citizens of Salem. Many of these "citizens" were members of Salem's North Church,which was just a short distance from the North Bridge. Col. Leslie chose a Sunday morning to raid Salem knowing that the citizens would be attending church. They were,of course,but the Rev. Thomas Barnard Jr. of the North Church famously left his pulpit that morning to meet the British troops at the bridge. A fast rider from Marblehead had ridden ahead of the British to warn Mr. Barnard. Barnard is credited with convincing Col. Leslie to retreat in peace. If he had not,Pickering's troops would have fired the "shot heard 'round the world" and started the war. Two months later,Pickering's troops marched to take part in the Battles of Lexington and Concord but arrived too late to play a major role. They then became part of the New England army assembling outside Boston to lay siege to the city.
In December 1776,he led a well-drilled regiment of the Essex County militia to New York,where General George Washington took notice and offered Pickering the position of adjutant general of the Continental Army in 1777 with the rank of colonel. In this capacity he oversaw the building of the Great chain which was forged at the Stirling Iron Works. The chain blocked the Royal Navy from proceeding up the Hudson River past West Point and protected that important fort from attack for the duration of the conflict.
He was widely praised for his work in supplying the troops during the remainder of the conflict. In August 1780,the Continental Congress elected Pickering Quartermaster General.
After the end of the American Revolution,Pickering made several failed attempts at financial success. In 1783,he embarked on a mercantile partnership with Samuel Hodgdon that failed two years later. In 1786,he moved to the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania where he assumed a series of offices at the head of Luzerne County. When he attempted to settle a controversy generated by John Armstrong with Connecticut settlers living in the area,Pickering was captured and held hostage for nineteen days. In 1787,he was part of the Pennsylvania convention held to consider ratification of the United States Constitution.
After the first of Pickering's two successful attempts to make money speculating in Pennsylvania frontier land,President Washington appointed him commissioner to the Iroquois Indians;and Pickering represented the United States in the negotiation of the Treaty of Canandaigua with the Iroquois in 1794.
Washington brought Pickering into the government as Postmaster General in 1791. He remained in Washington's cabinet and then that of John Adams for nine years,serving as postmaster general until 1795,Secretary of War for a brief time in 1795,then Secretary of State from 1795 to 1800. As Secretary of State he is most remembered for his strong Federalist Party attachments to British causes,even willingness to wage war with France in service of these causes during the Adams administration. In 1799 Pickering hired Joseph Dennie as his private secretary.
In 1799 Pickering sailed to England on the merchantman Washington. On October 24 the French privateer Bellona attacked Washington,even though she was flying American colours. Despite the French vessel being better armed and much more heavily manned,Washington succeeded in repelling the attack.
After a quarrel with President John Adams over Adams's plan to make peace with France,Pickering was dismissed from office in May 1800. In 1802,Pickering and a band of Federalists,agitated at the lack of support for Federalists,attempted to gain support for the secession of New England from the Jeffersonian United States,proposing a union that embraced Virginia and Pennsylvania,with him as its president.The irony of a Federalist moving against the national government was not lost among his dissenters. He was named to the United States Senate as a senator from Massachusetts in 1803 as a member of the Federalist Party. Pickering opposed the American seizure and annexation of Spanish West Florida in 1810,which he believed was both unconstitutional and an act of aggression against a friendly power.
Near the end of his only term as a senator,Pickering challenged Jefferson's Embargo Act and held several conferences with the special British envoy George Rose and proposed the creation of a pro-British party in New England and urged Rose to persuade British Foreign Secretary George Canning to maintain his hard line against America with the hopes that Jefferson would resort to even more extreme measures,which would ultimately effect a political suicide for the Republicans. Pickering also published his open letter to the Massachusetts Republican governor,which he refused even to read;it contained harsh criticism of the Embargo Act,claimed that Jefferson had presented no real arguments for its enactment,and called for its nullification by the state legislators. [ specify ] In response to that charge,the Senate censured Pickering by a vote of 20–7 on January 2,1811.Pickering was charged with reading confidential documents in an open Senate session before an injunction of secrecy had been removed.
Pickering was later elected to the United States House of Representatives in the 1812 election,where he remained until 1817. His congressional career is best remembered for his leadership of the New England secession movement (see Essex Junto and the Hartford Convention). He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1815.
After Pickering was denied re-election in 1816,he retired to Salem,where he lived as a farmer until his death in 1829,aged 83.
In 1799 Fort Pickering in Salem, Massachusetts was named for him.
In 1942, a United States Liberty ship named the SS Timothy Pickering was launched. She was lost off Sicily in 1943.
Until the 1990s, Pickering's ancestral home, the circa 1651 Pickering House, was the oldest house in the United States to be owned by the same family continually.
The Alien and Sedition Acts were a set of four laws enacted in 1798 that applied restrictions to immigration and speech in the United States. The Naturalization Act increased the requirements to seek citizenship, the Alien Friends Act allowed the president to imprison and deport non-citizens, the Alien Enemies Act gave the president additional powers to detain non-citizens during times of war, and the Sedition Act criminalized false and malicious statements about the federal government. The Alien Friends Act and the Sedition Act expired after a set number of years, and the Naturalization Act was repealed in 1802. The Alien Enemies Act is still in effect.
The Federalist Party was a conservative and nationalist American political party and the first political party in the United States. Under Alexander Hamilton, it dominated the national government from 1789 to 1801. Defeated by the Democratic-Republican Party in 1800, it became a minority party while keeping its stronghold in New England and made a brief resurgence by opposing the War of 1812. It then collapsed with its last presidential candidate in 1816. Remnants lasted for a few years afterwards. The party appealed to businesses and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government, manufacturing, an army and navy, and in world affairs preferred Great Britain and strongly opposed the French Revolution. The party favored centralization, federalism, modernization, industrialization, and protectionism.
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Rufus King was an American Founding Father, lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress and the Philadelphia Convention and was one of the signers of the United States Constitution in 1787. After formation of the new Congress, he represented New York in the United States Senate. He emerged as a leading member of the Federalist Party and was the party's last presidential nominee during the 1816 presidential election.
Samuel Dexter was an early American statesman who served both in Congress and in the Presidential Cabinets of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Dexter was an 1781 graduate of Harvard College. After receiving his degree he studied law, attained admission to the bar in 1784, and began to practice in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.
William Eustis was an early American physician, politician, and statesman from Massachusetts. Trained in medicine, he served as a military surgeon during the American Revolutionary War, notably at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He resumed medical practice after the war, but soon entered politics.
George Cabot was an American merchant, seaman, and politician from Massachusetts. He represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate and was the presiding officer of the infamous Hartford Convention.
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Charles Wentworth Upham was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts. Upham was also a member, and President of the Massachusetts State Senate, the 7th Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, and twice a member of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives. Upham was the cousin of George Baxter Upham and Jabez Upham. Upham was later a historian of Salem and the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 when he lived there.
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Benjamin Pickman Jr. was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Fort Pickering is a 17th-century historic fort site on Winter Island in Salem, Massachusetts. Fort Pickering operated as a strategic coastal defense and military barracks for Salem Harbor during a variety of periods, serving as a fortification from the Anglo-Dutch Wars through World War II. Construction of the original fort began in 1643 and it saw use as a military installation into the 20th century. Fort Miller in Marblehead also defended Salem's harbor from the 1630s through the American Civil War. Fort Pickering is a First System fortification named for Colonel Timothy Pickering, born in Salem, adjutant general of the Continental Army and secretary of war in 1795. Today, the remains of the fort are open to the public as part of the Winter Island Maritime Park, operated by the City of Salem.
Dudley Leavitt Pickman (1779–1846) was an American merchant who built one of the great trading firms in Salem, Massachusetts, during the seaport's ascendancy as a trading power in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Pickman was a partner in the firm Devereux, Pickman & Silsbee and a state senator. Among the wealthiest Salem merchants of his day, Pickman used his own clipper ships to trade with the Far East in an array of goods ranging from indigo and coffee to pepper and spices, and was one of the state's earliest financiers, backing everything from cotton and woolen mills to railroads to water-generated power plants. Pickman also helped found what is today's Peabody Essex Museum.
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Events from the year 1795 in the United States.
Massachusetts House of Representatives' 13th Essex district in the United States is one of 160 legislative districts included in the lower house of the Massachusetts General Court. It covers part of Essex County. Democrat Ted Speliotis of Danvers has represented the district since 1997. He plans to retire after 2020. Candidates for this district seat in the 2020 Massachusetts general election include former rep Sally Kerans.
John Pickering was an American linguist, politician, and lawyer. He was president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, from 1839 to 1846. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society. He is buried at Broad Street Cemetery.