Charles Cotesworth Pinckney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Cotesworth_Pinckney
was not only a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but he was also a lawyer, a planter, a statesman from South Carolina, a military leader during the Revolutionary War, and a candidate for the office of President of the United States.
The boy who would be known as Charles Cotesworth (C.C.) Pinckney was born on February 25, 1746, in
. He was born into an aristocratic planter
family that was very much involved in the affairs of Charleston, South Carolina . His father was Charles Pinckney (chief
justice of the South Carolina ), and his
mother was Eliza Lucas (celebrated planter and agriculturalist). His younger brother was Thomas Pinckney
(Governor of South Carolina, U.S. Representative, and diplomat for George
Washington administration). His first
cousin once removed was Charles Pinckney (Governor of South Carolina, U.S.
Senator, and diplomat for the Thomas Jefferson administration). Province
of South Carolina
The Pinckney family moved in 1753 to
where Charles' father was an agent or lobbyist sent to protect the commercial
and political interests of .
Charles and his brother Thomas attended South
School until the family returned to South Carolina in 1758; both brothers also studied at . Charles graduated from Oxford University Christ
earning degrees in science and law; he then went to
where he further studied law. Charles
continued his education in Middle Temple France
where he studied botany and chemistry; he also attended the Royal Military
College at for a short while. Caen
Charles married Sarah Middleton in 1773; her father was Henry Middleton (second President of the Continental Congress) and her brother was Arthur Middleton (signer of the Declaration of Independence). Sarah passed away in 1784, and Charles married Mary Stead in 1786. Mary was from a wealthy family of planters in
. Pinckney was the father of three daughters
and also belonged to the Georgia . Episcopalian
Upon his return to
Carolina from his studies in Europe, Charles practiced law in until he was
elected to the colonial legislature in 1770.
He was a regional attorney general in 1773 and was a member of the first
provincial congress in 1775. South Carolina
Charles sided with the American patriots when war erupted between the Colonies and
in 1775. He served in the lower house of the state
legislature and in the South Carolina Senate.
As a member of the provincial congress, he "helped Great Britain
transition from being a British colony to being an independent state." South Carolina
After the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Charles became a full-time regular officer in the Continental Army where he held the rank of captain. He was a senior company commander when he raised and led the elite Grenadiers of the 1st South Carolina Regiment. In June 1776 Charles' regiment was part of the successful defense of
when British General Sir Henry Clinton and his forces attacked the state
capital from the sea in the Battle of Sullivan's Island. Charles was promoted to the rank of colonel
and given the command of the regiment in 1776; he retained this position until
the end of the war.
When the British Army focused its attack on the Northern and Mid-Atlantic States, Pinckney and his regiment went north to
to join the troops of General George Washington. While there they participated in the Battle
of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown.
It was about this time that Charles met Alexander Hamilton and James
McHenry. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Charles and his regiment returned to the South and in 1778 were part of an attempt to seize British East
The Americans had severe logistical difficulties, and the British won
the Battle of Alligator Bridge. In
December of that year, the British Army refocused on the South and captured Florida . In October 1779, Charles led one of the
brigades in the Southern Army of Major General Benjamin Lincoln in the Siege of
Savannah. The attempt to retake Savannah, Georgia was an American
disaster with numerous casualties. Savannah
Charles participated in the defense of
and became a
prisoner of war when Major General Lincoln surrendered his 5,000 men to the
British on May 12, 1780. Even as a
prisoner of war, Charles was helping the American cause of liberty by playing a
major role in helping the troops to stay loyal to the cause. He famously said, "If I had a vein that
did not beat with the love of my Country, I myself would open it. If I had a drop of blood that could flow
dishonorable, I myself would let it out."
Closely confined until he was released in 1782, Charles was commissioned a Brevet Brigadier General in the Continental Army in 1783 just prior to the disbanding of the southern regiments. He was promoted to Major General when he served in the
militia. South Carolina
Charles returned to the lower house of the state legislature and represented
at the Constitutional Convention of
1787. He was an influential member of
the Convention. He was for slaves being
counted as a basis of representation, but he opposed the abolition of the slave
trade. He was for a strong national
government with a system of checks and balances, and he opposed the election of
representatives by popular vote. He
thought senators should be "men of independent wealth" and therefore
opposed paying them. He was instrumental
in the requirement that treaties be ratified by the Senate as well as the
compromise that ended the Atlantic slave trade.
He did not approve of limiting the size of a federal standing army. South
After the Federal Constitution was framed, Charles was active in its ratification process in the South Carolina Convention of 1788; he was also a delegate to the South Carolina Constitution Convention in 1790. He then announced his retirement from politics.
In 1789 President George Washington offered Pinckney his choice of the State Department or the War Department. Pinckney declined both offices but accepted the role of Ambassador to
in 1796. France France
was at war with Britain and
was angry about the Jay Treaty between the United
States and Great Britain;
the French navy was ordered to increase their seizures of American ships
trading with . Britain would not even accept
Charles' ambassador credentials until the crisis was over. France
Charles reported the situation to recently-inaugurated President John Adams in 1797, and the President commissioned Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry to "treat" with the French. After Marshall and Gerry joined Pinckney at
The Hague, the three
Americans traveled to
in October 1797. A preliminary meeting
was held with the new French Foreign Minister Talleyrand, and then
intermediaries presented the French demands.
Their demands included a large loan to Paris and substantial bribes for
Talleyrand and members of the French Directory.
The commissioners had been instructed to refuse any loan, and they
considered the bribes to be offensive.
When documents were published in 1798, these exchanges were the basis
for what became known as the "XYZ Affair." France
Pinckney and Marshall were Federalists and favored an aggressive stance toward
; Gerry was more opposed to
hostilities and wavered between moderate Federalism and Republicanism. Talleyrand was aware of these political
differences and was successful at taking advantage of the division. Gerry stayed in France France
in an unofficial capacity, but Pinckney and Marshall left in April
1798. The result of the breakdown of
negotiations pitted the France
and American navies against each other in what became known as the undeclared
Quasi-War (1798-1800). France
Charles was the Federalist candidate for vice-president in the 1800 presidential election when John Adams sought re-election. The Adams-Pinckney ticket was defeated by Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr who ran on the Democratic-Republican ticket. Charles was nominated in 1804 by the Federalist Party to run against Thomas Jefferson, but he was defeated in a landslide by a very popular incumbent President. Jefferson was popular due to the acquisition of the
Louisiana Purchase and the nation's
booming trade. Pinckney carried two
states and won 27.2% of the popular vote.
Pinckney ran for President again in 1808 on the Federalist ticket and
was defeated by James Madison, Jefferson's
Secretary of State. Pinckney carried
five states in this election and won 32.4% of the popular vote.
Pinckney became president-general of the Society of the
in 1805 and held the position until his death.
He died on August 16, 1825 at age 79 in Cincinnati Charleston,
South Carolina, and was buried in St.
Michael's Churchyard in . The inscription on his tombstone reads: "One of the founders of the Charleston,
South Carolina . In war he was a companion in arms and friend
of American Republic . In peace he enjoyed his unchanging
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney has the honor of having the following public properties carrying his name: Castle Pinckney (a fort in Charleston Harbor completed in 1797); Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (a national wildlife refuge on the site of the Pinckney family's plantation); Pinckney Elementary School in Lawrence, Kansas; C.C. Pinckney Elementary School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina; SS Charles C. Pinckney (a World War II era, 422-foot Liberty Ship built in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1942); Pinckney Street in Madison, Wisconsin; Pinckneyville, Illinois; and Pinckney Highway (SC 9) in Chester, South Carolina.