|Baldwin, Roger Sherman||Defender of Amistad Passengers|
|Bush, George||President of the United States|
|Hale, Nathan||Hanged as Spy in Revolution - "I regret that I only have one life to give for my country"|
|Sherman, Roger - biography
Sherman, Roger - lineage
|Signer of Declaration of Independence|
|Return to Cutter Index|
Lawyer for the Amistad Passengers
Remember the young lawyer played by actor Matthew McConaughey in the Stephen Spielburg movie "Amistad"? He was a grandson of Roger Sherman, Signer. And, now.. for the rest of his story...
"BALDWIN, Roger Sherman, statesman, was born at New Haven, Conn., Jan. 4, 1793, son of Simeon Baldwin, who was a direct descendant from one of the original New Haven settlers, and married a daughter of Roger Sherman, one of the signers of the declaration of independence. (** Note, this statement should be read that *Simeon Baldwin* married a daughter of Roger Sherman... then Roger Sherman Baldwin is a grandson of Roger Sherman. nmt **)
Roger was graduated at Yale college with high honors in 1811, and after studying law in his father's office he took a course in the then famous law school conducted by Judges Reeve and Gould at Litchfield, Conn. After his admission to the bar in 1814, he commenced practice in New Haven and soon attracted attention by his brilliant successes. His wide knowledge of law and his thorough command of all the minutiæ of his cases were considered remarkable for so young a man.
He was associated with John Quincy Adams before the United States supreme court in 1839 in the defence of the slaves rescued from the ship Amistad by an American vessel, after the slaves had overpowered the Spanish crew and were drifting on the high seas, claimed by Spain, and his masterly conduct of the case, which Adams left almost entirely to him, won many encomiums of praise from bench and bar, including such authorities as Chancellor Kent.
In 1837 and 1838 he sat in the upper house of the Connecticut state legislature. In 1840 and 1841 he was a representative in the general assembly; in 1844 and 1845 was governor of the state, and from 1847 to 1851 was a United States senator appointed by the governor on the death of Senator J. W. Huntington, Nov. 1, 1847, and elected on the assembling of the state legislature, to fill the unexpired term ending March 4, 1851. He was a presidential elector-at-large in 1860, and voted for Abraham Lincoln for president and was appointed a delegate to the peace congress of 1861 by Governor Buckingham. He received the degree of LL.D. from Trinity college in 1844, and from Yale in 1845. He died at New Haven, Feb. 19, 1863."
See The Amistad Page Connecticut was the "home" of the Amistad affair that the Steven Spielburg movie was about.
"I regret that I have but one life to give for my country!"
See the Nathan Hale Homestead Web Page for more information on Nathan Hale.
Signer of Declaration of Independence
"It is agreed by all historians that this compromise (the Connecticut Compromise), for which Mr. Sherman is solely responsible, saved the constitutional convention from breaking up without accomplishing anything and made possible a union of the states and a national government."
Roger's parents removed to Stoughton, which is now Canton, Mass., in 1723, and he worked on the farm and learned the shoemaker's trade from his father. He gained a fair knowledge in various branches of science by studying while at work, doubtless being assisted by the Rev. Samuel Dunbar, pastor of the church at Stoughton. His father died in 1741, leaving him the sole support of his mother and the younger children, and in 1743 they removed to New Milford, Conn., where he followed his trade and conducted a store with his brothers.
He was appointed by the general assembly, surveyor of lands for the county of New Haven, in 1745, and of Litchfield county in 1752. In 1752, when the New England colonies were flooded with irredeemable currency, he issued a pamphlet in which he pointed out the dangers attending this issue of paper money, and subsequently, when a member of the Constitutional convention, he moved the clause that "no state can make anything but gold and silver a legal tender."
He was also employed in surveying land for private individuals in New Millford. He became one of the largest investors in real estate in the town; filled various town offices and was admitted to the Litchfield county bar, in February, 1754.
He was married, Nov. 17, 1749, to Elizabeth, daughter of Deacon Joseph Hartwell of Stoughton, and secondly, May 12, 1763, at Danvers, to Rebecca, daughter of Benjamin Prescott of Salem, Mass.
He represented New Milford in the general assembly in 1755 and 1758-61, was justice of the peace, 1755-59, and a justice of the quorum and of the court of common pleas, 1759-61. He removed to New Haven, Conn., in June, 1761, from whence he was a representative in the legislature, 1764-66, a member of the senate, 1766-85, justice of the peace and of the quorum, and judge of the superior court, 1766-89.
His activity as a patriot began with the efforts of the crown to enforce the Stamp Act. He was a member of the committee to consider the claims of the settlers near the Susquehanna river in 1774, was a delegate from Connecticut to the Continental congress, 1774-81, and 1783-84, serving on the most important committees, including that of June 11, 1776, to draft the Declaration of Independence, of which he was a signer, that of June 12, 1776, to prepare the Articles of Confederation, that of the Connecticut council of safety, 1777-79 and 1782, and that of the convention of 1787 that reported the Connecticut compromise.
In the controversy that arose in the Continental congress regarding the rights of states to vote irrespective of population, Mr. Sherman proposed that the vote should be taken once in proportion to population and once by states, and that every measure should have a majority voting both ways. This principle, eleven years afterward, Mr. Sherman, then a member of the Constitutional convention, presented to that body, and it was framed into the Federal constitution, and was known as the Connecticut compromise. It was not until he had made several speeches in its favor that he gained any attention when a long and bitter debate followed and it was finally referred to a committee of which he was made a member. After the adoption of the compromise, he moved the provision that no amendment be made that would deprive any state of its equal vote without its consent.
It is agreed by all historians that this compromise, for which Mr. Sherman is solely responsible, saved the constitutional convention from breaking up without accomplishing anything and made possible a union of the states and a national government.
Roger Sherman was the only delegate in the Continental congress who signed all four of the great state papers which were signed by all the delegates of all the colonies, namely: the Declaration of 1774, the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federal Constitution.
He revised the statute laws of Connecticut with Judge Richard Law in 1783. He was chosen the first mayor of New Haven in 1784, to prevent a Tory from being chosen, and the legislature then provided that the mayor should hold his office during the pleasure of the general assembly and under this act, Mr. Sherman remained mayor until his death. He was a delegate from Connecticut to the Constitutional convention at Philadelphia in May, 1787. He was also active in the state convention in procuring the ratification of the constitution, and wrote a series of papers on that subject which materially influenced the public mind in its favor, signed "A Citizen of New Haven." He was a representative in the 1st congress, 1789-91, where he favored an address introduced by the Quakers against the slave trade.
He was elected to the U.S. senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William S. Johnson and served from Oct. 24, 1791, until his death. He was treasurer of Yale college, 1765-76, and received the honorary degree A.M. from that college in 1768. He furnished the astronomical calculations for a series of Almanacs, published in New York and New England, which bore his name.
He died in New Haven, Conn., July 23, 1793."
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume IX, page 347
1 Samuel Cutter 1575 - 1640
.. +Elizabeth Leatherhead 1575 - 1664
. 2 Isabella Cutter 1620 - 1679
..... +Thomas Sweetman 1620 -
.... 3 Elizabeth Sweetman 1650 -
........ +Benjamin Wellington 1650 -
........ 4 Mehitable Wellington 1680 -
............ +William Sherman 1680 -
........... 5 Roger Sherman 1721 -
Roger Sherman Links
The Sherman Research Page - for all Shermans anytime, anyplace
See this Roger
Sherman page dedicated to his genealogy.
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