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Page 9

Thomas M'Kean


   This report the committee followed by affixing the following resolution:

   "Resolved, That Thomas M'Kean, governor of this commonwealth, be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors."

   On the twenty-seventh of January, the house proceeded to the consideration of the above resolution, and on the same day indefinitely postponed the further consideration of the subject.
   Although this attempt to impeach the governor was thus unsuccessful, the following day he presented to the house a reply to the charges which had been exhibited against him by the committee of inquiry. After being read, a motion was made to insert it at large on the journal, which, at length, was carried in the affirmative.
   In the course of this reply, which contained, in the view of temperate men, a triumphant vindication of his character, Mr. M'Kean observed as follows: "That I may have erred in judgment; that I may have been mistaken in my general views of public policy; and that I may have been deceived by the objects of executive confidence, or benevolence--I am not so vain nor so credulous as to deny; though, in the present instance, I am still without the proof and without the belief; but the firm and fearless position which I take, invites the strictest scrutiny, upon a fair exposition of our constitution and laws, into the sincerity and truth of the general answer given to my accusers--that no act of mil public life was ever done from a corrupt motive, nor without a deliberate opinion that the act was lawful and proper in itself."
   At the close of the year 1808, Mr. M'Kean, having occupied the chair of state during the constitutional period of nine years, retired from the cares of a long life to the enjoyment of a peaceful retirement, rendered doubly grateful by the consciousness of a well earned and honourable fame. Ill the enjoyment of this retirement, he lived until the twenty-fourth of June, 1817, when he was gathered to the generation of his fathers, at the uncommon age of eighty-three years, two months, and sixteen days. He lies interred in the burial ground of the First Presbyterian Church, in Market-street Philadelphia.

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 323-337. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

See also:

  • The biography of Mary Borden McKean, Thomas McKean's wife


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