Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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SMITH, Samuel, soldier, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 27 July, 1752 ; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 22 April, 1839. His father, John, a native of Strabane, Ireland, removed about 1759 to Baltimore, where he was for many years a well-known merchant. In 1763 he was one of the commissioners to raise money by lottery to erect a market-house in Baltimore, and in 1766 was one of the commissioners to lay off an addition to the town. On 14 November, 1769, he was chairman of a meeting of the merchants to prohibit the importation of European goods, and on 31 May, 1774, was appointed a member of the Baltimore committee of correspondence. In 1774 he was also appointed one of the justices of the peace, and in November became one of a committee of observation whose powers extended to the general police and local government of Baltimore town and county, and to the raising of forty companies of "minute-men." The Continental congress having recommended measures for procuring arms and ammunition from abroad, he was appointed on the committee for that purpose from Baltimore. On 5 August, 1776, he was elected a delegate to the convention that was called to frame the first state constitution. In 1781 he was elected to the state senate, and in 1786 was re-elected. Samuel, son of John, spent five years in his father's counting-room in acquiring a commercial education, and sailed for Havre, France, in 1772, as supercargo of one of his father's vessels. He travelled extensively in Europe, and returned home after the battle of Lexington. He offered his services to Maryland and was appointed in 1776 captain of the 6th company of Colonel William Smallwood's regiment of the Maryland' line. In April, 1776, Captain James Barton intercepted on the Chesapeake bay a treasonable correspondence between Governor Robert Eden (q. v.) and Lord George Germaine, and General Charles Lee, who commanded the department, ordered Captain Smith to proceed to Annapolis, seize the person and papers of Governor Eden, and detain him until the will of congress was known. Upon his arrival at Annapolis the council of safety forbade the arrest, claiming that it was an undue assumption of authority. His regiment did eminent service at the battle of Long Island, where it lost one third of its men. He took a creditable part in the battles of Harlem and White Plains, where he was slightly wounded, and in the harassing retreat through New Jersey. He was promoted to the rank of major, 10 December, 1776, and in 1777 to that of lieutenant-colonel of the 4th Maryland regiment, under Colonel James Carvill Hall. He served with credit at the attack on Staten island and at the Brandywine, and, upon the ascent of the British fleet up the Delaware, was detached by Washington to the command of Fort Mifflin. In this naked and exposed work he maintained himself under a continued cannonade from 26 September till 11 November, when he was so severely wounded as to make it necessary to remove him to the Jersey shore. For this gallant defence congress voted him thanks and a sword. When he was not entirely recovered from the effects of his wound, he yet took part in the hardships of Valley Forge. He took an active part in the battle of Monmouth. Being reduced, after a service of three years and a half, from affluence to poverty, he was compelled to resign his commission, but continued to do duty as colonel of the Baltimore militia until the end of the war. In July, 1779, he was challenged to fight a duel with pistols by Colonel Eleazer Oswald, one of the editors of the Maryland "Journal," published at Baltimore. The trouble grew out of the publication in the " Journal " of General Charles Lee's queries, "political and military," which re-fleeted on General Washington, and for which the editors were mobbed. By the advice of friends, Colonel Smith declined the challenge. In 1783 he was appointed one of the port-wardens of Baltimore, and from 1790 to 1792 was a member of the house of delegates. In consequence of the threatened war with Prance and England in 1794, he was appointed brigadier-general of the militia of Baltimore, with the rank of major-general, and commanded the quota of Maryland troops engaged in suppressing the whiskey insurrection in Pennsylvania. In 1793 he was elected a representative in congress, holding the place until 1803, and again from 1816 till 1822. He was a member of the United States senate from 1803 to 1815, and from 1822 to 1833. Under President Jefferson he served without compensation a short time in 1801, as secretary of the navy, though declining the appointment. He was a brigadier-general of militia, and served as major-general of the state troops in the defence of Baltimore in the war of 1812. He was one of the originators of the Bank of Maryland in 1790, and one of the incorporators of the Library company of Baltimore in 1797, and of the Reisterstown turnpike company. He was among the projectors of the Washington monument and the Battle monument at Baltimore. In August, 1835, when he was in his eighty-third year, a committee of his fellow-citizens having called on him to put down a mob that had possession of the city, he at once consented to make the attempt, was successful, and elected mayor of the city, serving until 1838.--His son, John Spear, born in Baltimore, Maryland, about 1790; died there, 17 November, 1866, acted as volunteer aide-de-camp to his father in the defence of Baltimore in 1812-'14. While a young man he prepared, under government auspices, some volumes of valuable research on the commercial relations of the United States. He was appointed secretary of the United States legation at London, and in 1811 was left in charge as charge d'affaires by William Pinkney. He was a member of the Internal improvement convention of Maryland in 1825, and upon the formation of the Maryland historical society in 1844 was made its first president, which post he held until his death. He was at one time judge of the orphans' court, and in 1833 was a presidential elector.--Robert, statesman, brother of General Samuel, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in =November, 1757 ; died in Baltimore, 26 November, 1842, was graduated at Princeton in 1781, and was present at the battle of Brandywine as a volunteer. He then studied law and practised in Baltimore. In 1789 he was one of the presidential electors, and he was the last survivor of that electoral college. In 1793 he was state senator, from 1796 till 1800 served as a member of the house of delegates, and from 1798 till 1801 sat in the first branch of the city council of Baltimore. He was secretary of the navy from 26 January, 1802, till 1805, United States attorney-general from March till December, 1805, and secretary of state from 6 March, 1809, till 25 November, 1811. On 23 January, 1806, he was appointed chancellor of Maryland, and chief judge of the district of Baltimore, but he declined. He resigned the office of secretary of state, 1 April, 1811, and was offered the embassy to Russia, which he declined. He was president of an auxiliary of the American Bible society in 1813, president of the Maryland agricultural society in 1818, and in 1813 succeeded Archbishop John Carroll as provost of the University of Maryland. He was the author of an "Address to the People of the United States " (1811).--His son, Samuel W., born near Baltimore, 14 August, 1800, was educated at Princeton He served in the city council of Baltimore, was president of the Baltimore club and the Maryland club, a director in the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and a trustee of the Peabody institute and of Washington university.
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