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Guide to the Rufus King Papers
1766-1899 (Bulk 1783-1826)
  MS 1660

New-York Historical Society
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New York, NY 10024
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© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Maurita Baldock

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 12, 2017
Description is in English.

Biographical Note

1755 March 24: Rufus King born in Scarborough, Maine, then a section of Massachusetts, the eldest son of farmer-merchant Richard and Isabella King.
1777 Graduates from Harvard.
1778 Serves as an aide to General Sullivan during the unsuccessful expedition to Rhode Island. He is honorably discharged.
1780 After studying law at Newburyport, Massachusetts, under Theophilus Parsons, King is admitted to the bar and opens up a practice Newburyport.
1783-1785 Serves as a delegate to the Massachusetts General Court.
1784-1786 Elected as a delegate to Congress from Trenton, New Jersey. King urges for a resolution against the expansion of slavery into the Northwest Territory and presses for all states to financially contribute to a national government.
March 30, 1786 Marries Mary Alsop, daughter of John Alsop, a New York merchant and fellow member of the Continental Congress.
1787 King represents Massachusetts in the Constitutional Convention. He attends the convention unconvinced that the Articles of Confederation, which advocated states' rights, needed to be altered. He leaves the convention an advocate for change to a powerful central government. King works on the final draft of the Constitution and is one of its signers.
1788 King leaves his law practice in Massachusetts to move to New York.
1789 Elected to the New York Assembly and chosen to be a United States senator with Philip Schuyler.
1791 Elected as a Director for the Bank of the United States.
[1794] Siding with the Federalists, King supports the Jay Treaty between Great Britain and the United States. With Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, he publishes a series of letters detailing the treaty under the pseudonym "Camillus."
1795 Reelected to the US Senate.
1796-1803 During his second term in the Senate, King is appointed by George Washington to succeed Thomas Pinckney as Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain.
1804 King is nominated to be the Federalist candidate for vice-president, with Charles C. Pinckney as the presidential candidate. After the candidates lose to Thomas Jefferson and George Clinton, King retreats to his estate, King Manor, in Jamaica, Long Island.
1808 King and Pinckney are again nominated as Federalist candidates and lose to James Madison and George Clinton.
1813 King elected again to be a United States senator from New York. Although he was originally opposed to the War of 1812, he becomes a supporter after the British attack on Washington.
1816 Runs for President as the Federalist candidate and loses to James Monroe. King leads opposition in the Senate against the establishment of the Second Bank of the United States.
1818 Author of Navigation Act of 1818.
1820 Reelected by the New York legislature as United States Senator from New York. While in the Senate, he opposes the extension of slavery and the Missouri Compromise.
1825 King retires from the Senate due to ill heath. With the persuasion of President John Quincy Adams, he returns to England for another position as Minister to Great Britain.
1826 King falls ill again and returns to America.
1827 April 29: Dies at the age of 72 and is buried in the cemetery of Grace Church in Jamaica, Long Island. He is survived by his children John Alsop, Charles, James Gore, Edward, Frederic Gore.

For further information see:

Brush, Edward Hale, Rufus King and His Times. New York: Nicholas Brown, 1926.

Ernst, Robert, Rufus King: American Federalist. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968.