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About the Author

William Bingham

William Bingham was born in Philadelphia on April 8, 1752 to William and Mary Stamper Bingham. At the age of sixteen he graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, class of 1768. In 1770 Bingham served as British Consul at St. Pierre, Martinique. His service to the British ended in June 1776, however, when he agreed to serve as agent for the Continental Congress in Martinique. During the American Revolution, he secretly dispensed American propaganda, gathered information, arranged for smuggled shipments of weapons to the army, and recruited privateers to prey on British shipping. This privateering proved to be personally profitable as Bingham was entitled to a portion of every British cargo taken. When his mission ended in 1780, he returned to the new United States with a fortune. At the age of 28, Bingham was one of the richest men in the nation.

Upon his return to Philadelphia, Bingham became a founder and director of the Pennsylvania Bank (later known as the Bank of North America), the first bank in the United States. Often he hosted meetings of some of the most influential men in the state at his estate in Philadelphia. His friends Benjamin Rush and James Wilson convinced him to become a trustee of the soon-to-be-established Dickinson College. He agreed to solicit donations for the new college from 1784 to 1786 while in England on an important mission to restore trade relations.

A tireless businessman, Bingham invested in land in New York, Pennsylvania, and what would become Maine, and he was president of the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Company. He also contributed to public service; from 1790 to 1795 he served in the Pennsylvania Assembly, and he was a United States Senator from 1795 to 1801. A few years after his Senate service he moved to England where his daughters resided. William Bingham died on February 6, 1804 in the spa town of Bath in western England.

Please visit the following link for materials authored by William Bingham maintained in the Their Own Words database:

Bingham, William, 1752-1804.

Researched, authored, and edited by John Osborne, Ph. D., and James Gerencser.

Page created: July 9, 2003                                            close window