The First Coast Tea party and The Report Card collaborate to profile the signers of the Constitution on the 224th Anniversary of the Constitution.
George Clymer was an American merchant and he acted as one of the first two treasurers of the Continental Congress. Later as a Pennsylvania Representative, he was a signatory of both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Clymer was born on 16 March 1739 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Orphaned when only a year old, he was raised by his aunt and uncle under whose tutelage he was apprenticed and received a good education in business.Clymer was motivated during the Revolutionary War, in part, by the impact British economic policies had on his own business. Early to adopt the Revolutionary cause, he attended meetings and served on the Pennsylvania Council of Safety. Clymer’s business ventures during and after the war, increased his wealth substantially.
He was twice elected to the Continental Congress (1776-77 and 1780-82). In his first term, Clymer acted as one of the first two Continental treasurers, even personally underwriting the war by exchanging all his own specie for Continental currency. He was reelected in 1784 to the Pennsylvania Legislature from which he represented Pennsylvania to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.George Clymer was elected to the first US Congress in 1789. When Congress passed a bill imposing a duty on spirits distilled in the US in 1791, Clymer was placed as head of the excise department in the state of Pennsylvania.
Clymer was the first president of the Philadelphia Bank, the first president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and vice-president of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society. He held these posts until his death on 24 January, 1813 at Morrisville, Pennsylvaniaeath: 9 September 1806, New York. associate justice of the Supreme Courth (1793-1806)rsey. ral court system.
Hugh Williamson was born December 5, 1735 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was of Scottish-Irish decent and his father was a clothier. Hoping he would become a Presbyterian minister, his parents oriented his education toward that calling. He received his degree, trained for the ministry, received his license but was never ordained. Around this time he took a position as professor of mathematics at the College of Philadelphia (later part of the University of Pennsylvania). In 1768, he became a member of the American Philosophical Society where in 1769 he was appointed as part of a committee to observe the transit of Venus. He later won considerable recognition through the publication of many of his scientific articles and collaboration with Benjamin Franklin. Throughout his life Williamson enjoyed a varied career, that of preacher, physician, essayist, scientist, businessman, and politician.
During the war he was surgeon general of the North Carolina troops 1779-1782. After the war, he was a member of the State house of commons in 1782 and 1785, a member of the Continental Congress 1782-1785 and 1788. In 1788, he was chosen to settle accounts between North Carolina and the federal government. The next year, he was elected to the first U. S. House of Representatives where he served two terms.
In 1787, Williamson was chosen as a delegate to the Continental Convention. He attended faithfully and demonstrated a keen debating skill. He served on five committees, notably on the Committee for Postponed Matters, and played a significant part in the proceedings, particularly in the major compromise on representation. He felt that a strong central government was necessary to adequately protect and foster the political, economic, and intellectual future of a new country — something the Articles of Confederation was unable to accomplish. Shortly before the Convention adjourned, Williamson wrote a series of public letters in defense of a strong federal system. These “Letters of Sylvius” addressed many of the practical concerns of his stat3e (North Carolina), where the rural and frequently debt-ridden farmers favored minimal government regulations, while the merchantile-planter group from the seaboard region wanted an economy strictly regulated by a central government. Using simple examples, Williamson explained to both groups the dual dangers of inflationary finances and of taxes that would stunt the growth of domestic manufacture. He exhorted them to support the Constitution as the basis for their future prosperity. He explained that the ratification process would decide whether the United States would remain a “system of patchwork and a series of expedients” of become “the most flourishing, independent, and happy nation on the face of the earth.” At the first ratification convention, North Carolina rejected the Constitution, but Williamson returned from New York and played a major role at a second convention that met in Fayetteville, NC where he was able to rally support for the Constitution.
In 1793, Williamson moved to New York City where he resumed his scientific research, his writing, and his involvement in cultural research. He published works on a variety of subjects, was an advocate for the Erie Canal, a founder of New York’s Literary and Philosophical Society, a trustee of New York’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, a volunteer for the orphans asylum, the Humane society, and New York Hospital’s city dispensary.
Hugh Williamson died in New York City on May 22, 1819. Thomas Jefferson described Williamson’s role at the Constitutional Convention as: “He was a useful member of an acute mind, attentive to business, and of a high degree of erudition.”