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Middleton, Arthur

MIDDLETON, ARTHUR (1742-1787), American politician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born at Middleton Place on the Ashley river, South Carolina, on the 26th of June 1742. His family was one of the most prominent in the colony. The grandfather, Arthur Middleton (1681-1737), was president of the Council in 1721-1730 and as such was acting governor in 1725-1730, and the father, Henry Middleton (1717- 1784), was speaker of the Assembly in 1745-1747 and again in 1754-1755, a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1774-1776, and its president from October 1774 to May 1775, a member of the South Carolina Committee of Safety, and in 1775 president of the South Carolina Provincial Congress. Like most wealthy South Carolinians of the 18th century, Arthur Middleton was educated in England at Hackney, at Westminster School, and at St John's College, Cambridge. He then returned to South Carolina, but soon afterwards went back to England to live, and travelled on the Continent. In 1773 he again returned to South Carolina, and in the controversies between the colonists and the home government became a leader of the Whigs. He was a member of the provincial Council of Safety in 1775-1776, and a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776-1777. In 1778 he was elected governor of South Carolina, but owing to his dissatisfaction with the new state constitution he declined to serve. He was captured by the British at Charleston in May 1780, was exchanged in July 1781, was again a delegate to Congress in 1781-1783, and later served in the state legislature. He died on the 1st of January 1787 at Middleton Place, near Charleston.

His eldest son, HENRY MIDDLETON (1770-1846), was an orator of ability, was governor of South Carolina in 1810-1812, a representative in Congress in 1815-1819, and the United States minister to Russia from 1820 to 1830, negotiating in 1824 a convention " relative to navigation, fishing and trading in the Pacific Ocean, and to establishments on the North-West Coast." This was the first treaty between the United States and Russia.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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