Mifflin, Thomas

Thomas Mifflin

b. 10 Jan 1744, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
d. 20 Jan 1800, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Title: President of Congress
Term: 3 Nov 1783 - 31 Oct 1784
Chronology: 3 Nov 1783, elected to the office of the President of Congress, session of Congress, Nassau Hall, College of New Jersey, Princeton, New Jersey [1][2]
13 Dec 1783, assumed the chair as the President of Congress first time after the proclamation of election, session of the Congress, Senate chamber, State Capitol, Annapolis, Maryland [3][4]
31 Oct 1784, term of delegate (and subsequently as the President of Congress) is deemed to have expired upon convening of a new Congress [5][6]
Other offices: President [of the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania] (5 Nov 1788 - 21 Dec 1790) [see details]
  Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (21 Dec 1790 - 17 Dec 1799)
Originated from a Quaker family; graduated from the Academy and College of Philadelphia with bachelor degree (1760); learned the merchant trade in the business of William Coleman; after returning in 1765 from a tour of Europe, he entered into business with his brother George; became a member of the American Philosophical Society (1765-1799); entered politics as a member of the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania (1772-1774); was elected a delegate from Pennsylvania to the first "Continental" Congress (1774); chosen to represent Pennsylvania again in the second "Continental" Congress (1775); elected to the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1775 but requested that his election be "considered as void" (approved 24 Nov 1775); made major and chief aide-de-camp to George Washington (1775); occupied the position of the Quartermaster General of the Continental Army on 14 Aug 1775 and was appointed major general by the Congress (19 Feb 1777); served as a member of board of war from 7 Nov 1777; resigned as major general (accepted by the Congress 25 Feb 1779); was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania (1778-1791); re-elected a delegate to Congress (1782-1784); elected President of Congress, assuming the office 13 Dec 1783; chaired the session of 23 Dec 1783 when Washington appeared before Congress and resigned his commission as commander-in-chief; served as Speaker of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania (27 Oct 1785 - 27 Sep 1786, 26 Oct 1786 - 29 Sep 1787, 24 Oct 1787 - 4 Oct 1788); delegate to the Federal Constitutional Convention (1787); served as President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania (5 Nov 1788 - 21 Dec 1790); President of the Convention (25 Nov 1789 - 2 Sep 1790) which framed the Constitution of Pennsylvania; defeated Arthur St. Clair at the first election of the Governor of Pennsylvania (1790); was re-elected in 1793 and 1796, serving as the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (21 Dec 1790 - 17 Dec 1799); member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania (1799-1800).
Biographical sources: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2005).

[1] Journals of the Continental Congress, 25:799.
[2] "The Continental Congress at Princeton", by Varnum Lansing Collins (Princeton: The University library, 1908), 237-243.
[3] Journals of the Continental Congress, 25:810.
[4] Chairman of Congress (during absences): Thomas Jefferson (12 Mar 1784 - 13 Mar 1784, 30 Mar 1784), Thomas Stone (1 Jun 1784 - 2 Jun 1784).
[5] Journals of the Continental Congress, 27:641.
[6] In response to a question raised by the chair 1 Jun 1784, Congress "Resolved, That it is the sense of Congress, that on the adjournment of the present Congress, the duties of their President cease; and that when the United States assemble pursuant to such adjournment, or in consequence of a call from the Committee of the states, his Excellency Thomas Mifflin, do resume the chair." Thomas Stone was elected Chairman of Congress, presiding at the sessions of 1 Jun 1784 and 2 Jun 1784. Mifflin presided at the last session of 3 Jun 1784. In accordance to Art. 10 of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the Committee of the States sat from 4 Jun 1784 to 19 Aug 1784, executing "in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress as the United States in Congress assembled." Mifflin, while still nominally retaining his office, was prevented from exercising his duties during the recess which ran from 4 Jun 1784 to 31 Oct 1784 when his term as delegate (and subsequently as the President of Congress) expired (Journals of the Continental Congress, 27:502-557).
Image: portrait by Charles Willson Peale (1784).
Last updated on: 17 Jul 2009 01:41:52