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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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
GADSDEN, Christopher, patriot, born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1724; died there, 28 August, 1805. He was sent at an early age to England, where he received his education. He returned to Charleston in 1741, and shortly afterward became a clerk in a counting-house in Philadelphia, where he remained till he was twenty-one years of age. After a second visit to England he began business on his own account in Philadelphia, and such was his success that he was soon able to buy back the estate which his father, in 1733, had lost at play with Admiral Lord Anson. He was one of the first to appreciate the full measure of the difficulty with Great Britain, and from the outset he was sympathetic and resolute on the popular side. He was the friend and correspondent of Samuel Adams, and was a delegate to the first Colonial congress, which met in New York in October, 1765, and at which was adopted a "Declaration of the Rights and Grievances of the Colonies." He was a member also of the first Continental congress, which met in Philadelphia in September, 1774. When the Revolutionary war broke out he took the field with the rank of colonel, and was actively engaged in the defense of Charleston in 1776. In September of the same year he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. He was one of the framers of the state constitution in 1778. As lieutenant governor of South Carolina. he signed the capitulation when Charleston was taken by Sir Henry Clinton in May, 1780. He was arrested somewhat later, by order of Lord Cornwallis, and carried to Fort Augustine, where, a parole having been offered and refused, he was detained for forty-two weeks. He was exchanged in 1781, and in the following year he was elected governor of South Carolina, but declined the office on account of age and infirmity. He continued, however, to take a deep interest in public affairs, and gave his services both in the assembly and in the council.--His grandson, Christopher Edwards, P. E. bishop, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 25 November, 1785; died there, 24 June, 1852, obtained his early education in the "Associate Academy" in Charleston. In 1802 he entered the junior class in Yale College, and was graduated with honor in 1804. John C. Calhoun was a member of the same class, and the friendship formed with young Gadsden continued through life. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Benjamin Moore, in St. Paul's chapel, New York City, 25 July, 1807, and priest by Bishop Madison, in Williamsburg, Virginia, 14 April, 1810. In January, 1808, he took charge of the ancient parish of Berkeley, South Carolina, but in February, 1810, he was chosen to be assistant minister of St. Philip's Church, Charleston. On the death of the rector, in 1814, Mr. Gadsden was elected to fill his place. He received the degree of D. D. from South Carolina College in 1815. After the death of Bishop Bowen in 1839, Dr. Gadsden was elected bishop, and was consecrated in Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts, 21 June, 1840. Bishop Gadsden's episcopate of twelve years was marked by great devotion, energy, prudence, and discretion, and he displayed noble qualities which endeared him to both clergy and laity. On his visitations he was particularly attentive to the colored people, often collecting them for purposes of devotion and instruction. He confirmed more than twenty of them on the first occasion when he administered the rites, he edited for several years the "Gospel Messenger," published several occasional sermons, a tract on "The Prayer-Book as it Is," and three valuable charges to the clergy, and an essay on the life of Bishop Dehon (1833).--His brother, John, lawyer, born 4 March, 1787; died 31 January 1831, was graduated at Yale in 1804, and was admitted to the bar. He was a member of the South Carolina legislature, and also held the office of United States district attorney.--Another brother, James, statesman, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 15 May, 1788 ; died there, 25 December 1858, was graduated at Yale in 1806. After engaging in commercial pursuits, he joined the army, and was appointed lieutenant colonel of engineers. He served with distinction during the war of 1812 with Great Britain, and after the peace was Jackson's aide in the expedition to examine the military defenses of the Gulf of Mexico and the southwestern frontier. In the following year, with General Simon Bernard, he was appointed to review the examinations, and made a separate report, in which his conclusions differed from those of that officer. In 1818, as aide-de-camp to General Jackson, he took part in the campaign against the Seminole Indians, aiding in the capture of their leaders, Arbuthnot and Ambrister, and personally intercepting a schooner bearing the correspondence that led to the execution of these men. Later he was constructor of works for the defense of the Gulf, and when engaged in the fortification of Mobile bay, in 1820, was made inspector-general of the southern division. He went with Jackson to Pensacola when the latter took possession of Florida, and was active in settling a dispute between him and the Spanish governor. On the reduction of the army in 1822, he was employed as adjutant general, in aid of John C. Calhoun, who was reorganizing the war department, but his name was rejected by the senate for political reasons. After his retirement from the army he became a planter in Florida, and was a member of the legislative council of that territory. Under a commission from President Monroe, he removed the Seminoles from northern to southern Florida, and was the first white man that crossed the peninsula from the Atlantic to the Gulf. Later he returned to his native state, became president of the South Carolina railroad, and engaged in commerce and in rice-culture. In 1853 President Pierce made him minister to Mexico, and on 30 December of that year he negotiated a treaty by which a new boundary between the two countries was agreed upon, and which considerably modified the provisions of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. By the Gadsden treaty the United States became possessed of territory now forming part of Arizona and New Mexico, for which $10,000,000 was to be paid. The treaty was confirmed by the senate, but with such modifications that General Gadsden was obliged to renew his negotiations in Mexico. These were interrupted by a revolution, and Gadsden was superseded before the conclusion of the treaty, he then retired to private life.Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM