Samuel Meredith (1740–1817): American Patriot and Welsh PhilanthropistSamuel Meredith (1740–1817): American Patriot and Welsh Philanthropisthttp://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/260672Magill Quaker Collection2014-04-15T19:30:002014-04-15T21:00:00
April 15, 7:30PM–9:00PM
Magill Quaker Collection
Talk by Dr. Richard C. Allen, Reader in Early Modern Cultural History, University of Wales, Newport, UK
Among those men and women who became involved in the American War of Independence, Samuel Meredith (1740–1817), a second generation Welsh immigrant, does not figure highly. Indeed, in the Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress his entry is 126 words long and that includes his name, while the American National Biography only does slightly better with 570 words. Born in Philadelphia in 1740 to a Welsh-English Quaker family, Meredith became a wealthy merchant but was more significant in the campaign for equal rights for American citizens and fought in the revolutionary wars. In 1789, under the instruction of President Washington, he was appointed as the first Treasurer of the United States under the Constitution. Yet, unlike his contemporary, Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804), the Secretary of the Treasury, there are no books written about him and only a small number of brief biographical sketches or citations.
This new study will significantly augment what is known about Meredith. It will consider his Quaker family and their trans-Atlantic background, his career as a merchant and lawyer as well as his political and military significance. Indeed, his wealth and social standing allowed him to become more involved in public life and colonial politics. From 1764 onward he increasingly turned to the idea of independence from British control and, along with his father and George Clymer, signed the non-importation agreements in Philadelphia – the precursor to the Declaration of Independence. He thereafter sat in the General Assembly where he articulated the principles of the Whig party. The study will also appraise his other activities, including many aspects of his family life, his later career and preeminent role as the first President of the Welsh Society of Philadelphia (1798–1817). This was a benevolent organisation whose remit was to assist poor Welsh emigrants and was composed of many of the leading figures in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Richard C. Allen is Reader in Early Modern Cultural History at the University of South Wales. He has published widely on Quakerism, migration and identity. His most recent works are Quaker Communities in Early Modern Wales(2007) and the co-edited Irelands of the Mind (2008); Faith of our Fathers (2009); and The Religious History of Wales(2014). He is currently writing Welsh Quaker Emigrants and Colonial Pennsylvania, and co-authoring with Erin Bell,Quaker Networks and Moral Reform in the North East of England.
This lecture is free and open to the public.
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