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EUSTIS, William

1753–1825

Biography

EUSTIS, William, a Representative from Massachusetts; born in Cambridge, Mass., June 10, 1753; attended the Boston public schools and was graduated from Harvard College in 1772; studied medicine and served in the Revolutionary Army as surgeon; resumed practice in Boston; was a surgeon in the expedition sent to suppress Shays' Rebellion in 1786 and 1787; member of the State house of representatives 1788-1794; elected as a Republican to the Seventh and Eighth Congresses (March 4, 1801-March 3, 1805); one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1804 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against John Pickering, judge of the United States District Court for New Hampshire; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1804 to the Ninth Congress; appointed Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Madison and served from 1807 to 1812; appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Netherlands and served from December 19, 1814, to May 5, 1818; elected to the Sixteenth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Edward Dowse; reelected to the Seventeenth Congress and served from August 21, 1820, to March 3, 1823; chairman, Committee on Military Affairs (Seventeenth Congress); did not seek renomination but was elected Governor of Massachusetts and served from May 31, 1823, until his death in Boston, Mass., February 6, 1825; interment in the Old Burying Ground, Lexington, Mass.

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

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External Research Collections

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: ca. 1727-1864, 1 narrow box. Papers of physician, politician, and diplomat William Eustis and his wife Caroline Langdon Eustis. Correspondence concerns relations with Algeria during and after the U.S. conflict of 1815, and national politics from 1800-20. Included is a letter from Pres. James Madison written shortly before he left office, and several letters from Dolley Madison to Mrs. Eustis. Other correspondents include Richard Cutts, Henry Dearborn, Sarah Bowdoin Dearborn, and Francis LeBaron. Letters of Mrs. A. Palmer in Paris to William and Caroline Eustis concern their efforts to obtain furniture and rent a house during Eustis's term as U.S. minister to the Netherlands, 1815-18. Caroline Eustis's papers from 1825-64 concern financial matters. Also included are Caroline's 1806 diary, a journal apparently kept by William from 1816-17, and a journal recording major events at Benjamin Poor's Indian Hill Farm in West Newbury, Mass., 1821-25.
Papers: 1775-1825, 1 narrow box. Letters written to physician, politician, and diplomat William Eustis from numerous prominent Americans. There are several letters each from John Quincy Adams, James Madison, and Christopher Gore. Other correspondents include John Adams, Fisher Ames, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, David Cobb, Albert Gallatin, Tobias Lear, James Monroe, Benjamin Rush, and James Swan. Topics include U.S. relations with Great Britain and France, national politics, and Eustis's service as U.S. minister to the Netherlands from 1815-18.
Papers: In the Aaron Burr Letters, ca. 1777-1802, 2 folders. Other authors include William Eustis.
Papers: In the David Cobb Papers, 1708-1833, 6 boxes and 1 oversize folder. Correspondents include William Eustis
Papers: In the Henry Dearborn Papers, ca. 1779-1838, 1 box and 1 volume. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the Eustis-Langdon Papers, 1803-1876, 1 narrow box. The collection contains letters and miscellaneous papers of William Eustis.
Papers: In the James Jackson Papers, 1787-1867, 1 box. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the Langdon Family Papers, 1724-1959, 15 boxes and 1 oversize box. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the Smith-Carter Family Papers, 1669-1880, 8 boxes and 1 oversize box. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the John Warren Papers, 1765-1821, 1 volume. Correspondents include William Eustis.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 1809, 1 item. A letter from William Eustis to J.B. Varnum written on February 11, 1809. In the letter, William Eustis comments on the character and accomplishments of Co. Brazier.

Duke University
Medical Center Library

Durham, NC
Papers: 1812, 1 item. A letter from William Eustis, War Department, to Joseph Anderson written on June 6, 1812. In the letter, William Eustis details efforts to increase the size of the army and to improve the efficiency of the military organization in preparation for a war with Great Britain. He also transcribes a copy of a letter received from Alexander Smyth, on recruiting measures.

The Filson Historical Society

Louisville, KY
Papers: 1818, 1 item. A letter from William Eustis to an unidentified correspondent written on October 20, 1818. In the letter, William Eustis comments on his negative opinion of James Wilkinson, and positive opinion of James Madison.

Indiana Historical Society

Indianapolis, IN
Papers: 1812, 2 pages. A letter from William Henry Harrison to William Eustis, Secretary of War, written on January 6, 1812. In the letter, William Henry Harrison recommends George Croghan for a captaincy in the regular army. He also recommends William Luckett for a commission as a subaltern.
Papers: 1812, 2 items. A letter from William Henry Harrison to William Eustis, Secretary of War, written on December 24, 1812. In the letter, William Henry Harrison reports on the expedition of Lt. John Campbell against the Indians at Mississenewa, and that the British and Indians were not able to capture the corn at the Rapids of the Miami.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: ca. 1757-1908, 0.8 linear foot. Chiefly incoming correspondence from William Eustis's years as U.S. secretary of war and minister to Holland. Subjects include the Burr-Clinton controversy, the Louisiana Purchase, Indian affairs, the war between England and France, and relations between the U.S. and the Netherlands. Also includes papers of Eustis's father Benjamin, his wife Caroline Langdon Eustis, and other family members, legal documents, and other papers. Correspondents include John Quincy Adams, Sylvanus Bourne, William C. C. Claiborne, Joshua Clibborn, Henry Dearborn, Alexander Hill Everett, Nathaniel Fellows, Albert Gallatin, Benjamin Homans, Levi Lincoln, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Samuel L. Mitchill, James Monroe, and Robert Smith.
Papers: In the William Henry Harrison Papers, ca. 1734-1939, approximately 1,000 items. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the Benjamin Homans Papers, 1796-1840, 100 items. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the Anthony Lamb Papers, ca. 1779-1862, 125 items. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the Rodney Family Papers, 1771-1824, 2.2 linear feet. Correspondents include William Eustis.
Papers: In the James Thacher Papers, 1780-1842, 32 items. Correspondents include William Eustis. Photocopies of originals in the Boston Medical Library (Boston, Mass.).

Louisiana State University
Special Collections

Baton Rouge, LA
Papers: 1803, 1 letter. A letter from William Eustis to Aaron Burr written on November 12, 1803. In the letter, William Eustis writes about the Louisiana Purchase.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1777-1821. 79 items. Relate to Revolutionary War and diplomatic, Cabinet, and congressional service.

Ohio Historical Society

Columbus, OH
Papers: 1812, 1 item. A letter from William Eustis to Governor R.J. Meigs written on January 21, 1812. In the letter, William Eustis writes regarding a list of officers "for the protection of the frontiers of the United States."

The Rosenbach Museum and Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1803, 1 item. A letter from James Madison to Dr. William Eustis written on May 17, 1803. In the letter, James Madison gives an opinion on a Mr. Savage's claim for extra compensation and his prospects for receiving another appointment.

University of Chicago
Special Collections

Chicago, IL
Papers: 1812, 1 item. A letter from William Eustis, Secretary of War, to Major General Henry Dearborn written on September 9, 1812. In the letter, William Eustis approves Dearborn's "arrangements for concentrating the troops."

University of Iowa Library
Special Collections Department

Iowa City, IA
Papers: 1809, 1 item. A letter from C.A. Rodney to Secretary of War William Eustis written on January 9, 1809. In the letter, C.A. Rodney writes concerning the claim of Gen. Wilkinson for rations.

Western Reserve Historical Society Library

Cleveland, OH
Papers: In the War of 1812 Collection of Papers, 1792-1876, 0.4 linear foot. Other authors include William Eustis.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Barnaby, James. A sermon, delivered at Salisbury, Mass., on the death of His Excellency William Eustis, February 13, 1825, at the request of the officers of the 4th regiment, 2d brigade, 2d division, Massachusetts Militia. Newburyport: W. & J. Gilman, 1825.

Eustis, William. A Primer to the Automatic Office. Contributions by Gilbert Dresser, William Alden [and] Franklin Wyman, Jr. Westboro, Mass.: Automation Management, 1956.

Sharp, Daniel. A sermon, preached at the funeral of His Excellency William Eustis, Esq. late Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in presence of the constituted authorities of the state, February 11, 1825. Boston: Printed by order of the Legislature. True and Greene, printers to the state. 1825.

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