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Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth

PINCKNEY, CHARLES COTESWORTH (1746-1825), American statesman, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on the 25th of February 1746, the son of Charles Pinckney (d. 1758)," by his second wife, the celebrated girl planter, Eliza Lucas. When a child he was sent to England, like his brother Thomas after him, to be educated. Both of them were at Westminster and Oxford and were called to the bar, and for a time they studied in France at the Royal Military College at Caen. Returning to America in 1769, C. C. Pinckney began the practice of law at Charleston, and soon became deputy attorney-general of the province. He was a member of the first South Carolina provincial congress in 1775, served as colonel in the South Carolina militia in 1776-1777, was chosen president of the South Carolina Senate in 1779, took part in the Georgia expedition and the attack on Savannah in the same year, was captured at the fall of Charleston in 1780 and was kept in close confinement until 1782, when he was exchanged. In 1783 he was commissioned a brevet brigadier-general in the continental army. He was an influential member of the constitutional convention of 1787, advocating the counting of all slaves as a basis of representation and opposing the abolition of the slavetrade. He opposed as " impracticable " the election of representatives by popular vote, and also opposed the payment of senators, who, he thought, should be men of wealth. Subsequently Pinckney bore a prominent part in securing the ratification of the Federal constitution in the South Carolina convention called for that purpose in 1788 and in framing the South Carolina State Constitution in the convention of 1790. After the organization of the Federal government, President Washington offered him at different times appointments as associate justice of the Supreme Court (1791), secretary of war (1795) and secretary the document sent by Pinckney to Adams in 1818 is a genuine copy of his original plan.

2 Charles Pinckney, the father, was long prominent in colonial affairs; he was attorney-general of the province in 1733, speaker of the assembly in 1736-1738 and in 1740, chief justice of the province in 1752-1753, and agent for South Carolina in England in 1753- 1758. He was the uncle of Charles Pinckney (1731-1784), and the great-uncle of Charles Pinckney (1757-1824). Eliza Lucas Pinckney (c. 1722-1793) was the. daughter of Lieut. -Colonel George Lucas of the British army, who about 1738 removed from Antigua to South Carolina, where he acquired several plantations. He was almost immediately recalled to Antigua, and his daughter undertook the management of the plantations with conspicuous success. She is said to have been the first to introduce into South Carolina (and into continental North America) the cultivation and manufacture of indigo, and she also imported silkworms ;in 1753 she presented to the princess of Wales a dress made of silk from her plantations. She was married to Charles Pinckney in 1744. See Harriott H. Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney (New York, 1896), in the " Women of Colonial and Revolutionary Times " series.

of state (1795), each of which he declined; but in 1796 he succeeded James Monroe as minister to France. The Directory refused to receive him, and he retired to Holland, but in the next year, Elbridge Gerry and John Marshall having been appointed to act with him, he again repaired to Paris, where he is said to have made the famous reply to a veiled demand for a " loan " (in reality for a gift), " Millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute," another version is, " No, not a sixpence." The mission accomplished nothing, and Pinckney and Marshall left France in disgust, Gerry (q.v.) remaining. When the correspondence of the commissioners was sent to the United States Congress the letters " X," " Y " and " Z," were inserted in place of the names of the French agents with whom the commission treated hence the " X Y Z Correspondence," famous in American history. In 1800 he was the Federalist candidate for vice-president, and in 1804 and again in 1808 for president, receiving 14 electoral votes in the former and 47 in the latter year. From 1805 until his death, on the 16th of August 1825, he was president-general of the Society of the Cincinnati.

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

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