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Dickinson, John, 1732-1808

Publicist; born in Maryland, Nov. 13, 1732; son of Chief-Justice Samuel D. Dickinson; studied law in Philadelphia and at the Temple in London, and practised his profession in Philadelphia. In the Pennsylvania Assembly, to which he was elected in 1764, he showed great legislative ability, and was a ready and vehement debater. At the same time, he wrote much on the subject of British infringement on the liberties of the colonies. The most noted of these writings were papers (twelve in number) entitled Letters from a Pennsylvania farmer, etc., published in the Pennsylvania chronicle in 1767. Mr. Dickinson was a member of the first Continental Congress, and wrote several of the state papers put forth by that body. Considering the resolution of independence unwise, he voted against it and the Declaration, and did not sign the latter document. This made him unpopular. In 1777 he was made a brigadier-general of the Pennsylvania militia. He was elected a representative in Congress from Delaware in 1779, and wrote the Address to the States put forth by that body in May of that year. He was successively president of the States of Delaware and Pennsylvania (1781-85), and a member of the convention that framed the national Constitution (1787). Letters from his pen, over the signature of “Fabius,”

John Dickinson.

advocating the adoption of the national Constitution, appeared in 1788; and another series, over the same signature, on our relations with France, appeared in 1797. Mr. Dickinson assisted in framing the constitution of Delaware in 1792. His monument is Dickinson College (q. v.), at Carlisle, Pa., which he founded and liberally endowed. He died in Wilmington, Del., Feb. 14, 1808.

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