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COIT, Joshua

1758–1798

Biography

COIT, Joshua, a Representative from Connecticut; born in New London, Conn., October 7, 1758; attended the common schools, and was graduated from Harvard College in 1776; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in New London in 1779; member of the State house of representatives in 1784, 1785, 1789, 1790, 1792, and 1793; served as clerk during several terms and as speaker in 1793; elected as a Pro-Administration candidate to the Third Congress; reelected as a Federalist to the Fourth and Fifth Congresses and served from March 4, 1793, until his death in New London, Conn., September 5, 1798; chairman, Committee on Elections (Fifth Congress); interment in Cedar Grove Cemetery.

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

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External Research Collections

New England Historic Genealogical Society
R Stanton Avery Special Collections Department

Boston, MA
Papers: 1773-1854, 132 items. Nearly all of the letters in this collection were written by Joshua Coit to his brother Daniel Lathrop Coit, a merchant at Norwich, Connecticut. The letters contain little information about personal activities. For the most part, they concern congressional activities, including current measures which would affect Daniel Coit's mercantile interests. Coit's letters describe United States relations with England and events surrounding Jays Treaty, and trade relations with France in anticipation of French spoliation claims, and the X, Y, Z, Affair. While most of his letters comment on international relations, others discuss congressional actions in domestic affairs, notably the Yazoo Land Company claims in 1795. There is also a group of five family letters written between 1784-1854. Two of them are by Ann B. Coit, widow of Joshua Coit, and contain the legacy she left her children. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: In the Chester McArthur Destler Papers, 1934-1984, 19 boxes. The papers include galleys and page proofs of Chester Destler's book on Joshua Coit.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1792-1798, 0.2 linear foot. Letters from Joshua Coit to his wife Nancy, his eldest son Robert, and Charles Bulkeley, all of New London, Conn., chiefly written in Philadelphia, Penn., while Coit was serving in Congress as a Federalist representative from Connecticut, 1793-1798. Subjects include a dinner with President George Washington, levees for Martha Washington, politics, the prospect of war with Great Britain, the XYZ Affair, an altercation between fellow Representatives Roger Griswold and Matthew Lyon, and religion. Topics also include family, the effect of Coit's absence on his family, and fatherly advice to his son including the importance of good behavior, helping with household chores, schooling, and proper letter writing. Many of the letters are accompanied by typewritten transcripts. A finding aid is available in the library.

New London County Historical Society

New London, CT
Papers: In the Shaw papers, 1734-1850. ca. 2 feet. Letters (1794-1798) to Elias Perkins discussing treaties and 1796 presidential election. Finding aid in repository. Restricted.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: December 14, 1778. 1 letter. Finding aid in repository.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Destler, Chester McArthur. Joshua Coit, American Federalist, 1758-1798. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1962.

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