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CHARLES PINCKNEY (1757–1824)

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 616 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHARLES PINCKNEY (1757–1824), American statesman, was born on the 26th of October 1757 at Charleston, South Carolina; he was the son of Charles Pinckney (1731–1784), first president of the first South Carolina Provincial Congress (Jan. to June 1775), and a cousin of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Thomas Pinckney. He was studying law at the outbreak of the War of Independence, served in the early campaigns in the South, and in 1779 was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He was captured by the British at the fall of Charleston (1780), and remained a prisoner until the close of hostilities. He was elected a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation in 1784, 1785 and 1786, and in 1786 he moved the appointment of a committee " to take into consideration the affairs of the nation," advocating in this connexion an en- provincial congress in 1775, served as colonel in the South largement of the powers of Congress. The committee having 1 Carolina militia in 1776–1777, was chosen president of the been appointed, Pinckney was made chairman of a sub-commit- South Carolina Senate in 1779, took part in the Georgia expedi- tion and the attack on Savannah in the same year, was captured at the fall of Charleston in 178o 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 slave-trade. 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 tee which prepared a plan for amending the articles of confederation. In 1787 he was a delegate to the Federal constitutional convention, and on the same day (May 29) on which Edmund Randolph (q.v.) presented what is known as the Virginia plan, Pinckney presented a draft of a constitution which is known as the Pinckney plan. Although the Randolph resolutions were made the basis on which the new constitution was framed, Pinckney's plan seems to have been much drawn upon. Furthermore, Pinckney appears to have made.valuable suggestions regarding phrasing and matters of detail. On the 18th of August he introduced a series of resolutions, and to him should probably be accredited the authorship of the substance of some thirty-one or thirty-two provisions of the constitution.' Pinck- The " Pinckney Plan " has been the subject of considerable discussion. When, in 1818, John Quincy Adams was preparing the journal of the convention for publication and discovered that the Pinckney plan was missing, he wrote to Pinckney for a copy, and Pinckney sent him what he asserted was either a copy of his original draft or a copy of a draft which differed from the original in no essentials. But as this was found to bear a close resemblance to the draft reported by the committee of detail, Madison and others, who had been members of the convention, as well as historians, treated it as spurious, and for years Pinckney received little credit for his work in the convention. Later historians, however, notably J. Franklin Jameson and Andrew C. McLaughlin, have accredited to him the suggestion of a number of provisions of the constitution as a result of their efforts to reconstruct his original plan chiefly from his speeches, or alleged speeches, and from certain papers of James Wilson, a member of the committee of detail, one of which papers is believed to be an outline of the Pinckney plan. See J. F. Jameson, " Studies in the History of the Federal Convention of 1787," in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1902, vol. i.; A. C. McLaughlin, " Outline of Pinckney's Plan for a Constitution," in The Nation, April 28, 1904; an article entitled " Sketch of Pinckney's Plan for a Constitution," in the American Historical Review for July 1904; and C. C. Nott, The Mystery of the Pinckney Draught (New York, 1908), an attempt by a former chief-justice of the U.S. Court of Claims to prove thatney was president of the State Convention of 1790 that framed a new constitution for South Carolina, was governor of the state from 1789 to 1792, a member of the state House of Representatives in 1792–1796, and again governor from 1796 to 1798. From 1799 to 18oi he was a member of the United States Senate. He entered public life as a Federalist, but later became the leader in organizing the Democratic-Republican party in his state, and contributed largely to the success of Thomas Jefferson in the presidential election of 1800. By Jed'erson's appointment he was American minister to Spain from i8or to 18os. In general his mission was a distinct failure, his arrogance and indiscretions finally causing the Spanish government to request his recall. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1805, was again governor of South Carolina from i8o6 to i8o8, in 1810–1814 was once more a member of the state House of Representatives, in which he defended President Madison's war policy, and from 1819 to 1821 was a member of the National House of Representatives, in which he opposed the Missouri Compromise in a brilliant speech. He died at Charleston, South Carolina, on the 29th of October 1824. His son, HENRY LAURENS PINCKNEY (1794-1863), was a member of the state House of Representatives in 1816–1832, founded in 1819 and edited for fifteen years the Charleston Mercury, the great exponent of state's rights principles, and was a member of the National House of Representatives in 1833–1837.
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