Tuesday, April 1, 1997

Elias Boudinot

Statesman and Abolitionist

Born in Philadelphia in 1740, Elias Boudinot served as a delegate from New Jersey to the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1778, and again from 1781 to 1784. In 1783, as president of the Continental Congress, he signed the Treaty of Paris, and was for a time President of the United States in Congress Assembled. After the Constitution was ratified, he served as a U.S. Representative from 1789 to 1795, then was appointed Director of the United States Mint.

Retiring from politics, Boudinot had a house built in 1803 on West Broad Street in Burlington. He took up residence in 1804, accompanied by his daughter, Susan Boudinot Bradford. As a private citizen, Boudinot was a trustee of what is now Princeton University, where he founded the natural history department in 1805. His views on religious tolerance and opposition to slavery led him to found the American Bible Society in 1816. That same year, he published Star in the West, suggesting that Native Americans were the lost tribes of Israel. Boudinot died in Burlington in 1821, and is buried in St. Mary's churchyard with his wife, Hannah Stockton Boudinot.

Boudinot supported the rights of Native Americans and is not to be confused with the other Elias Boudinot, who in 1835 helped arrange the signing of the Treaty of New Echota, in which a small minority group of Cherokee agreed to the emigration of the entire Cherokee Nation, resulting in most Cherokee eventually being rounded up by the Army and detained in concentration camps.

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