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John Langdon


New Hampshire should be proud of the noble patriots she produced during the Revolutionary period. Stark, Whipple, and Langdon were men who would have been ornaments to mankind in any state or age. John Langdon was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1739. At an early age he entered the counting-house of a merchant, and afterward owned and commanded a ship which was employed in the London and West-India trade, but soon exchanged the seafaring life for the business exclusively of a merchant, in which he was highly successful. At the opening of the Revolution, he took a decided part in behalf of the colonies. As early as 1774, when the mother country passed the Boston port bill, and menaced hostilities, Mr. Langdon, with John Sullivan and Thomas Pickering, raised a troop, proceeded to the fort at Great Island, disarmed the garrison, and conveyed the arms and ammunition to a place of safety. The royal government would have prosecuted him, but was deterred by the resolution of the inhabitants to shield him at all hazards.
   In 1775, Mr. Langdon was a delegate to the general Congress of the colonies. In June, 1776, he resigned his seat in that body, for the place of navy-agent. In 1777, he was speaker of the Assembly of New Hampshire, and, when means were wanted to support a regiment, Langdon gave all his hard money, pledged his plate, and applied to the same purpose the proceeds of seventy hogsheads of tobacco. A brigade was raised with the means which he furnished, and with that brigade General Stark achieved his memorable victory over the Hessians.
   In 1785, Mr. Langdon was president of New Hampshire, and, in 1787, delegate in the convention that framed the federal constitution. Under this constitution, he was one of the first senators from New Hampshire. In 1805, he was elected governor of his State, and again in 1810. In 1801, President Jefferson solicited him in vain to accept the post of secretary of the navy at Washington. He died September 18, 1819. Mr. Langdon was a patriot and public servant of great energy, decision, and generous purpose. His sacrifices at the time when his native State had the most pressing need of funds, will ever be remembered by grateful Americans.

Source: Marshall, James V.. The United States Manual of Biography and History. Philadelphia: James B. Smith & Co., 1856. Page 164 and 165. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)


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Last modified January 1, 2004