CARROLL, CHARLES (1737-1832), American political leader, of Irish ancestry, was born at Annapolis, Maryland, on the 19th of September 1737. He was educated abroad in French Jesuit colleges, studied law at Bourges, Paris and London, and in February 1765 returned to Maryland, where an estate known as "Carrollton," in Frederick county, was settled upon him; he always signed his name as "Charles Carroll of Carrollton." Before and during the War of Independence, he was a whig or patriot leader, and as such was naturally a member of the various local and provincial extra-legal bodies - committees of correspondence, committees of observation, council of safety, provincial convention (1774-1776) and constitutional convention (1776). From 1777 until 1800 he was a member of the Maryland senate. In April-June 1776 he, with Samuel Chase and Benjamin Franklin, was a member of the commission fruitlessly sent by the continental congress to Canada for the purpose of persuading the Canadians to join the thirteen revolting colonies. From 1776 to 1779 he sat in the continental congress, rendering important services as a member of the board of war, and signing on the 2nd of August 1776 the Declaration of Independence, though he had not been elected until the day on which that document was adopted. He out-lived all of the other signers. He was a member of the United States Senate from 1789 to 1792. From 1801 until his death, at Baltimore, on the 14th of November 1832, he lived in retirement, his last public act being the formal ceremony of starting the construction of the Baltimore and Ohio railway (July 4, 1828). In politics, after the formation of parties, he was a staunch Federalist. Of unusual ability, high character and great wealth, he exercised a powerful influence, particularly among his co-religionists of the Roman Catholic faith, and he used it to secure the independence of the colonies and to establish a stable central government.
See the Life by Kate Mason Rowland (1898).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)