Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

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Francis Hopkinson


   After a residence of more than two years in England, be returned to America, soon after which he became settled in life, having married a Miss Borden, of Bordentown, in the state of New-Jersey. His acknowledged talents soon drew the attention of the royal government, under which he received the appointment of collector of the customs, and executive counselor.

   These offices, however, he did not long enjoy, being obliged to sacrifice them in the cause of his country. He entered with strong feelings into the public measures which preceded the revolutionary contest, and having taken up his residence in New Jersey, his abilities and patriotism pointed him out as a proper person to represent her in congress. Accordingly, in the year 1776 he received this appointment, and in this capacity he voted for the declaration of independence, and subsequently affixed his signature to the engrossed copy of that memorable instrument.

   On the retirement of Mr. Ross, in 1779, the judge of the admiralty court of Pennsylvania, the president of that state nominated Mr. Hopkinson as his successor; an office to which he was unanimously appointed, and the duties of which, for ten years, until the organization of the federal government, he continued to discharge with honor to himself, and benefit to his country.

   Soon after the adoption of the federal constitution, General Washington, with the advice and consent of the senate, appointed Mr. Hopkinson to the office of Judge of the United States, for the district of Pennsylvania. This was, an important and dignified station, for which he was admirably fitted, and in which capacity he assisted in giving stability and dignity to the national government.

   During the period of his judicial career, be conscientiously avoided mingling in party, or occasional politics. He employed his powers, however, when occasion required, in promoting the public good. He contributed in no small degree in rousing the feelings of the people, during the war of the revolution. The chief means by which he accomplished this, was the employment of his powers of satire, which he possessed in an uncommon degree. His occasional productions were quite numerous, and were well adapted to the state of the country at that time. They rendered the author justly popular at that day, and will continue to interest and amuse, while the memory of these times shall remain.


Designed and Edited by John Vinci
Last modified January 2, 2004