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TALBOT, Silas

1751–1813

Biography

TALBOT, Silas, a Representative from New York; born in Dighton, Bristol County, Mass., January 11, 1751; completed preparatory studies; went to sea on a coasting vessel; engaged in mercantile pursuits in Providence, R.I.; lieutenant and captain in the Revolutionary Army; promoted to the rank of major October 10, 1777, and to lieutenant colonel October 29, 1778; commissioned captain in the Continental Navy September 17, 1779; captured by the British in November 1780 and imprisoned in England until 1781, when he was exchanged and sent to Cherbourg, France; returned to America and resided in Philadelphia, Pa.; moved to Albany, N.Y., and engaged in agricultural pursuits; member of the state assembly in 1792 and 1793; elected as a Pro-Administration candidate to the Third Congress (March 4, 1793-March 3, 1795); again commissioned by President Adams, May 11, 1798, a captain in the United States Navy; resigned September 21, 1801; died in New York City on June 30, 1813; interment in Trinity Churchyard.

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

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External Research Collections

Mystic Seaport Museum
G.W. Blunt White Library

Mystic, CT
Papers: ca. 1767-1867, 3000 items. Correspondence, accounts, account books, bills, receipts, genealogical notes, and printed material reflecting Silas Talbot's career, especially his command of the U.S.S. Constitution (1798-1801). Other subjects include the impressment of American sailors by the British Navy; activities as U.S. agent in the West Indies assisting American seamen; captain of the privateer ship General Washington (1780), and his supervision of the outfitting of the sloop Hawk (1778), the U.S.S. Constitution (1798, 1800), and the ship George Washington (1798) which was purchased by the U.S. Navy and under the Talbot's authority converted into a sloop which was used during the quasi-war with France (1797-1801). Printed materials include a preliminary printing of "Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies", thought to be a draft version of the rules adopted by the Continental Congress (1775 Nov. 18) and two broadsides relating to uniforms for the U.S. Navy (1797, 1798). Correspondents include Benjamin Bourne, Isaac Hull, Timothy Pickering, Robert Morris, Benjamin Stoddert, George Washington Talbot, and Stephen Higginson & Co. A finding aid is available in the repository.
Papers: In the Talbot Family Papers, ca. 1775-1927, approximately 1500 items. Persons represented include Silas Talbot.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 1 document.

Harvard University
Houghton Library

Cambridge, MA
Papers: 1778-1806, 0.3 linear foot. The papers of Silas Talbot contain correspondence, the bulk pertaining to Talbot's naval career. Includes letters he wrote while on board the U.S. frigate Constitution, 1799-1801, cruising in the West Indies. One, 1799, to John Adams, contains Talbot's summary of his services during the Revolution. Also includes manuscript agreements, 1780?, between the owner and the company of the privateer ship General Washington which Talbot commanded.

Marine Historical Association

Mystic, CT
Papers: 1767-1867. ca. 3,000 items. In part photocopies of originals in other repositories. Correspondence, financial papers, genealogical notes, and printed matter relating to his career, especially his command of the U.S.S. Constitution. Published inventory. Restricted.

New York State Library

Albany, NY
Papers: 1791-1794, 3 items. Three autograph signed letters of Silas Talbot: 1) 2 March 1791 addressed to William Channing, prominent Rhode Island attorney, concerning the best means of collecting money from a certain Mr. Matthewson. 2) 15 December 1792 addressed to Rev. Enos Hitchcock regarding the results of New York gubernatorial election of 1792 between George Clinton and John Jay. 3) 4 March 1794 addressed to John Porteous concerning Citizen (Edmond Charles) Genet's proposed expedition against Spanish settlements in Louisiana.

Rhode Island Historical Society

Providence, RI
Papers: In the John Andrews Papers, 1761-1837, 1 linear foot. Correspondents include Silas Talbot.
Papers: In the Benjamin Bourne Papers, 1774-1843, approximately 300 items. Correspondents include Silas Talbot.
Papers: In the Jeremiah Olney Papers, 1775-1826, 1.5 linear feet. Correspondents include Silas Talbot.

United States Naval Academy Museum

Annapolis, MD
Papers: March 17, 1792-December 31, 1803. 13 letters. To Benjamin Bourne of Rhode Island, a legal advisor. Finding aid in repository.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Fowler, William M. Silas Talbot: Captain of Old Ironsides. Mystic, Conn.: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1995.

Tuckerman, Henry Theodore. The Life of Silas Talbot, A Commodore in the Navy of the United States. New York: J. C. Riker, 1850. Reprint, [Tarrytown, N.Y.: W. Abatt, 1926].

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