CLINTON, George

1739–1812

Biography

CLINTON, George, (uncle of George Clinton [1771–1809], De Witt Clinton, and James Graham Clinton), a Delegate from New York and a Vice President of the United States; born in Little Britain, Ulster (now Orange) County, N.Y., July 26, 1739; completed preparatory studies; served as lieutenant of rangers in the expedition against Fort Frontenac; studied law; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Little Britain; clerk of the court of common pleas in 1759 and district attorney in 1765; surveyor of New Windsor; member of the State assembly in 1768; served on the New York Committee of Correspondence in 1774; Member of the Continental Congress from May 15, 1775, to July 8, 1776, when he was ordered to take the field as brigadier general of militia; appointed brigadier general by Congress in March 1777; Governor of New York 1777-1795; president of the State convention which ratified the Federal Constitution; again Governor of New York 1801-1804; elected Vice President of the United States in 1804 as a Republican and served four years under President Thomas Jefferson; reelected in 1808 and served under President James Madison until his death in office; died in Washington, D.C., April 20, 1812; interment in the Congressional Cemetery; reinterment in the First Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery, Kingston, N.Y., in May 1908.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

The New York Public Library
Manuscripts & Archives Section

New York, NY
Papers: ca. 1776-1819, approximately 1 linear foot. The collection consists of correspondence, personal and family accounts, military commissions, family legal documents, copies of George Clinton's papers, genealogical notes, autographs, financial papers, and printed matter. Correspondence concerns the Revolutionary War and matters during George Clinton's service as governor and Vice President. Copies of George Clinton's papers in other repositories include manuscript copies of letters and speeches. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Archives

Buffalo, NY
Papers: 1790, 1 item. A land grant to Joseph Watson, July 7, 1790, for a lot in the township of Brutus, County of Montgomery. The land grant is signed by George Clinton.

Copley Press, Inc.
J. S. Copley Library

La Jolla, CA
Papers: ca. 1777-1807, approximately 11 pages. Includes correspondence between George Clinton and Pierre Van Cortlandt, Richard Henry Lee, and Thomas Mifflin on topics concerning the Revolutionary War and of debts incurred by the War. Other correspondents consist of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Also included is a proclamation of the nominated and appointed New York representatives of Congress.

James Monroe Museum & Memorial Library

Fredericksburg, VA
Papers: 1800-1803, 11 items. Correspondence from George Clinton to Edmond Genet that contains a description of Washington, D.C., information about George Clinton taking the office of Vice President, relations between the United States and Spain, embargo and defense measures, the Aaron Burr conspiracy, and an account of James Monroe's return from London. An annotated list to the correspondence is available in the repository.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Clinton Family Papers, 1776-1806, 0.4 linear foot. Persons represented include George Clinton. A finding aid is available in the repository.

The New-York Historical Society
Manuscript Collections

New York, NY
Papers: 1772-1801, 1 volume. The title history and description of lands owned by George Clinton from 1772-1801 with many colored maps of property in New York City, and Orange, Dutchess, Rensselaer, Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie, Onondaga, and Oneida counties. Includes several loose maps.

The New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections

Albany, NY
Papers: ca. 1780-1804, approximately 19 pages. Includes correspondence between George Clinton and John Tayler, New York State Legislature, Lt. Colonel Stephen Lush, the Marquis de LaFayette, George Washington, Isaac Tiffany, and Mathias Tallmadge. Topics covered include an account of the reclamation of New York City from the British; the sale, assignment, and seizure of New York lands; the raising of troops; and the power of Congress to levy duties on imported foreign merchandise in order to raise money for the war.

Rosenbach Museum & Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1780-1781, 2 items. Includes a letter from George Clinton to James Clinton, June 12, 1780, concerning George Washington's order to James Clinton to move his troops to West Point. Also includes a letter from George Clinton to Marinus Willett giving news of various engagements and troop movements.

Society of Cincinnati Library

Washington, DC
Papers: 1760-1845, 56 items. Persons represented include George Clinton. A finding aid is available in the repository.

State University of New York at Buffalo
Poetry & Rare Books Collection

Buffalo, NY
Papers: In the Thomas B. Lockwood Collection, 1792 and 1794, 2 items. Includes a letter from George Clinton to an unknown recipient dated December 11, 1792. Also includes an original speech in George Clinton's handwriting delivered at the opening of the New York Legislature on January 7, 1794.

U.S. Military Academy Library
Special Collections

West Point, NY
Papers: In the Hamilton Fish Papers,1785-1936, 1 box. Other authors include George Clinton.
Papers: In the Israel Putnam Papers, 1772-1779, 8 items. Includes military correspondence between Israel Putnam and George Clinton.

University of California
The Bancroft Library

Berkeley, CA
Papers: 1783, 1 page. A promissory note signed by Governor Clinton to James Lefferts dated July 15, 1783.

University of Virginia
Tracy W. McGregor Library, Albert H. and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Charlottesville, VA
Papers: In the Thomas Jefferson Letters, 1790-1812, 6 items. Letters from Thomas Jefferson to George Clinton are dated June 25, 1790 and enclose an enabling act for establishing the U.S. Courts in Rhode Island.

Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site

Newburgh, NY
Papers: Family Papers, 1744-1821, approximately 50 items. Includes military orders, deeds, land grants, correspondence, and other papers of George Clinton and letters from George Washington. Subjects include defense of the Hudson Valley during the Revolution, loyalty of the Smith family, New Jersey mutineers, raising levies, property transactions, politics, and some family matters. The collection also includes letters, deeds, military papers, wills, and receipts of his father Charles Clinton, Sr., his brother Dr. Charles Clinton, Jr., giving patients, distances traveled, and medicines; and other miscellaneous family papers.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Kaminski, John P. George Clinton: Yeoman Politician of the New Republic. Madison, Wisc.: Madison House, 1993

Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777-1795, 1801-1804. Published by the State of New York. New York and Albany, 1899-1914. [New York: AMS Press, 1973].

Spaulding, E. Wilder. His Excellency, George Clinton: Critic of the Constitution. 1938. Reprint, Port Washington, N.Y.: I.J. Friedman, 1964.

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