Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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TOMPKINS, Daniel D., vice-president of the United States, born in Fox Meadows (now Scarsdale), Westchester County, New York, 21 June, 1774 ; died Oil Staten island, New York, 11 June, 1825. His father was Jonathan G. Tompkins, a farmer, who performed services useful to his country during the Revolutionary conflict. The son was graduated at Columbia in 1795, studied law, was admitted to the bar in New York city in 1797, gained rapid success in his profession, and soon began to take part in polities, being elected to the State constitutional convention of 1801, and in the same year to the assembly. He was a leader of the Republican party in his state, and in 1804 was elected to the National house of representatives, but resigned on 2 July, before the meeting of congress, in order to take his seat on the bench of the supreme court of New York, having been nominated an associate justice on the promotion of James Kent to the chief justiceship. On 9 June, 1807, he resigned in order to become the candidate for governor of the Democratic wing of his party in opposition to Morgan Lewis. He was elected by a majority of 4,000 votes, and found himself in accord with the legislature in his support of the foreign policy of the Jefferson administration. He was continued in the office by the reunited Republican factions at the elections of 1809 and 1811. In 1812, in order to prevent the establishment of the Bank of North America in New York city as the successor to the defunct United States bank of Philadelphia, he resorted to the extraordinary power of proroguing the legislature that the constitution then gave him, which no governor ever used except himself in this instance. The charter of the bank had been approved by the house, a part of the Republicans voting with the Federalists, and when the legislature reassembled it was at once passed. In the election of 1813 his majority was reduced from 10,000 to 4,000, and there was a hostile lower house in the next legislature. Nevertheless, his bold act made him very popular with the common people, and his active patriotism during the war with Great Britain increased their admiration. He placed the militia in the field, and did more than the Federal government for the success of the operations on the Canadian border, pledging his personal and official credit when the New York banks refused to lend money on the security of the United States treasury notes without his indorsement. He advanced the means to maintain the military school at West Point, to continue the recruiting service in Connecticut, and to pay the workmen that were employed in the manufactory of arms at Springfield. He bought the weapons of private citizens that were delivered at the arsenal in New York city, and in a short time 40,000 militia were mustered and equipped for the defence of New York, Plattsburg, Sackett's Harbor, and Buffalo. When General John Armstrong retired from the secretaryship of war after the sacking of Washington, President Madison invited Tompkins to enter the cabinet as secretary of state in the place of James Monroe, who assumed charge of the war department; but he declined on the ground that he could be of more service to the country as governor of New York. He was reelected in 1815, and in April, 1816, was nominated for the vice-presidency of the United States. His talents and public services were more conspicuous than those of James Monroe, but the northern Democrats were not strong enough to command the first place on the ticket. Before resigning the governorship and entering on the office of vice-president, to which he was elected by 183 out of 217 votes, he sent a message to the legislature, dated 28 January, 1817, recommending that a day be fixed for the abolition of slavery within the bounds of the state, and the assembly, acting on his suggestion, decreed that all slaves should be free on and after 4 July, 1827. He was re-elected vice-president by 215 of the 228 votes that were cast in 1820, and in the same year was proposed by his friends as a candidate for governor ; but his popularity had diminished, and charges of dishonesty were made in connection with his large disbursements during the war with Great Britain. He was a delegate to the State constitution al convention of 1821. The suspicion of embezzlement, which were due to a confusion balanced his mind and brought on a melancholy from which he sought escape in intoxicating drinks, thereby shortening his life. He was one of the founders of the New York historical society, one of the corporators of the city schools, and a regent of the State university.-Daniel's nephew, Daniel D., soldier, born in New York in 1799; died in Brooklyn, New York, 26, February, 1863, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1820, entered the ordnance corps, and on the reorganization of the army was made 2d lieutenant of artillery, the ordnance department being at that time merged in the artillery, with commission dating from 1 July, 1821 He was promoted 1st lieutenant on 1 March, 1825, and captain on 31 December, 1835, and in the Florida war against the Seminole Indians distinguished himself in the skirmish at San Velasco, in the battle of Wahoo Swamp, and in other actions, and was brevetted major on 11 September, 1836. He was appointed captain and assistant quartermaster on 7 July, 1838, became a major on the staff on 22 July, 1842, and during the Mexican war had charge of the forwarding of supplies from Philadelphia, receiving the brevet of lieutenant-colonel on 30 May, 1848, for meritorious performance of duties connected with the prosecution of the war. He was made a full lieutenant-colonel on 16 September, 1851, and colonel and assistant quartermaster-general on 22 December, 1856, and from the beginning of the civil war till the time of his death he served as depot quartermaster in New York city, furnishing supplies to the armies in the field.--A son of the second Daniel D., Charles H., soldier, born in Fort Monroe, Virginia, 12 September, 1830, was educated at Kinsley's school at West Point, New York, and for two years at the United States military academy, but resigned without completing the course. He entered the service in 1856 in the dragoons, and after an enlistment of three years on the frontier, during which he passed through the principal noncommissioned grades, he was appointed 2d lieutenant in the 2d United States cavalry, 23 March, 1861, and was promoted 1st lieutenant in April of the same year. While commanding a squadron of his regiment, the 5th cavalry, within the defences of Washington, he made a dashing reconnoissance in the direction of Fairfax Court-House, Virginia, 31 May, 1861. It was at night and resulted in the capture of two outposts of the enemy, with an estimated loss of twenty-five Confederates. Lieutenant Tompkins charged three times through the town, losing several men and horses, including two chargers which were shot under him. As one of the first cavalry affairs of the war, it attracted wide attention. Subsequently he served in the battle of Bull Run and upon the staff of General George Stoneman. He was appointed captain and assistant quartermaster, served for a few months as colonel of the 1st Vermont cavalry, as lieutenant-colonel and quartermaster of volunteers in 1865-'6, and colonel and quartermaster in 1866-'7. He was made deputy quartermaster-general in the regular army in 1866, and assistant quartermaster-general with rank of colonel, 24 January, 1881. He participated" in the operations of General Nathaniel P. Banks and General John Pope in the Shenandoah campaign, and was recommended for the appointment of brigadier-general of volunteers for conspicuous services at the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia He has served from 1865 till 1888 as chief quartermaster of the principal military divisions of the army, and was at the last-named date chief quartermaster of the division of the Atlantic. He was brevetted major for Fairfax Court-House, lieutenant-colonel for the Shenandoah campaign, and colonel and brigadier-general, 13 March, 1865, for meritorious services during the war.
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