Vaughan, Benjamin, 1751-1835

Alternative names
Birth 1751-04-19
Death 1835-12-08

Biographical notes:

Physician, lawyer, author, diplomat, merchant, and agriculturalist, of Hallowell, Me.; b. in England.

From the description of Benjamin Vaughan medical remedies, ca. 1805. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 213863015

From the description of Benjamin Vaughan compilation of bills of mortality for Hallowell, Maine, 1807-1834. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 213487537

From the description of Benjamin Vaughan autograph letter signed to Dr. Benjamin Page, 1800. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 213486339

From the description of Benjamin Vaughan correspondence to Dr. Benjamin Page, Jr., 1801-1818. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 213487403

From the description of Benjamin Vaughan miscellaneous correspondence, 1800-1809. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 213863506

Physician, lawyer, merchant, agriculturist, and diplomat.

From the description of Benjamin Vaughan notes and remarks, 1824. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981599

Diplomat, political economist, and agriculturalist.

From the description of ALS and enclosure : Hallowell, Me., to James Monroe, 1825 Nov. 19. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 145506966

Sir Joseph Banks was an English naturalist and president of the Royal Society.

From the guide to the Sir Joseph Banks papers, 1766-1820 (bulk), 1766-1820, (American Philosophical Society)

Parker Cleaveland worked as a mineralogist and geologist.

From the guide to the Parker Cleaveland papers, [ca. 1806]-1844, Circa 1806-1844, (American Philosophical Society)

Physician, lawyer, author, diplomat, merchant, and agriculturalist, of Hallowell, Me.; b. in London.

From the description of Benjamin Vaughan autograph letter signed, 1810. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 213864596

Benjamin Vaughan was a diplomat, political economist, and agriculturist.

From the description of Papers, 1746-1900. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 86165441

Jared Sparks was a clergyman, editor, historian, and president of Harvard College; he became an American Philosophical Society member in 1837.

From the guide to the Jared Sparks selected papers, 1819-1863 Franklin Bache S. D. Bradford William Duane Peter S. Du Ponceau J. Francis Fisher George Gibbs Henry D. Gilpin Edward D. Ingraham James Mease William B. Reed Henry Stevens, Sr. Henry Stevens, Jr. Benjamin Vaughan Petty Vaughan William Vaughan There are also extracts from Sparks's journal, 1831-1841, relating to his Franklin researches. Table of contents (11 pp.). (Film 570), 1819-1863, (American Philosophical Society)

Diplomat, political economist, agriculturalist.

From the description of ALS : Hallowell, Me., to James Monroe, 1816 Apr. 18. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122475315

English physician and solicitor, who moved to the U.S. after the French Revolution.

From the description of Letter, 1807, Oct. 3 : Stroudwater [Maine], to Judge Bowen, Portland. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 35551070

Benjamin Vaughan (1751-1835) was born in Jamaica to Samuel and Sarah Hallowell Vaughan. Benjamin resided in England and studied law and medicine, though he is most well known for his political work, particularly for his participation in the negotiations of the Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolution. In 1781 Benjamin married Sarah Manning and became involved with his father-in-law's mercantile business. Under political pressure in 1794, he left England and eventually settled in Hallowell, Maine. In Maine, Benjamin worked the land, was involved in real estate, and continued in the mercantile business.

William Oliver Vaughan (1783-1826) was the son of Benjamin and Sarah Manning Vaughan. William Oliver was a gentleman farmer, ship owner, and merchant, primarily involved in the export of lumber and fur, in exchange for various commodities from the West Indies and elsewhere. In 1806, William Oliver married Martha Agry (d. 1856) and they had seven children.

From the guide to the Benjamin and William Oliver Vaughan papers, Vaughan, Benjamin, 1774-1830, 1774-1803, 1816, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Benjamin Vaughan lived through all the vicissitudes of an enlightened life during the age of revolution. Born in Jamaica to Samuel Vaughan, a merchant and planter, and Sarah Hallowell, a native Bostonian, Vaughan was raised in London and educated at Cambridge and Lincoln's Inn. At university, he fell in with the coterie of Joseph Priestley, Benjamin Franklin, Jeremy Bentham, and William Petty, the Earl of Shelburne, and imbibed many of their unorthodox, perhaps radical political, social, and religious views. Whether a product of his own colonial origins or his contact with Franklin, Priestley, and Price, Vaughan took a particularly keen interest in American affairs, advocating reconciliation throughout the Revolutionary conflict. In 1783, as a result of his connections to then-Prime Minister Shelburne and his association with Franklin (having seen to the English publication of the first volume of Franklin's political writings), Vaughan was dispatched to Paris to mollify Franklin and the American negotiators and assure them of good English intentions. Although he was barred as a dissenter from any official role in the negotiations, Vaughan played an important unofficial role in quickening the closure of the treaty and the formalization and recognition of American independence.

As Vaughan's political and diplomatic star was rising, his improbable pursuit of the hand of Sarah Manning, the daughter of an ardent Tory, led him to study medicine in Edinburgh to establish his name as a reputable suitor. Although he never completed his studies, he did marry Sarah in 1781, joining her father's mercantile business shortly thereafter, and he maintained an active interest in medical affairs for much of the remainder of his life. He remained loyal to Shelburne after Shelburne's departure from the ministry in 1784, and was elected to represent Calne in Parliament in 1793. However in the backlash against republicanism, Vaughan's political views and his sympathy for the French Revolution conspired to make him obnoxious to the majority of the government, if not the people, and when war with France erupted in February, 1793, he began to feel the heat. As a result, when called before the Privy Council in May, 1794, he decided that flight was the better part of valor and took off for America, where his popularity was undiminished, by way of France. Ironically, as a foreign national arriving in Paris during the most radical phase of the Revolution, he was immediately arrested and imprisoned. Released in July, Vaughan remained in Switzerland and France for over three years before receiving a passport to join his wife and children in the United States.

Settling on family lands in the nether reaches of Hallowell, Maine, Vaughan worked his land, speculated (like many of his contemporaries) in real estate, and maintained an active correspondence with his wide circle of intellectual acquaintances, including his brother John long-time Librarian of the American Philosophical Society. In this remote outpost, he amassed one of the largest private libraries in New England, almost 12,000 volumes, and continued to take part in political discussions with American officials at the highest level, though he never again held elective office. A committed Federalist and a proponent of harmonious relations between England and America, he was a vocal critic of the War of 1812 and his social and political philosophy led him consistently to oppose American westward and southward expansion. Vaughan died in 1835.

From the guide to the Benjamin Vaughan Papers, 1746-1900, (American Philosophical Society)


Loading Relationships

Constellation Information

Ark ID:


  • Merchants
  • Astronomers
  • Unitarianism
  • Disease
  • Medicine--Practice
  • Hallowell (Me.)
  • Death--causes
  • Voyages and travels
  • Religion
  • Mortality--Statistics
  • Land and Speculation
  • Geology
  • Physicians--Correspondence
  • Lumber trade
  • Medicine
  • Taxation
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
  • Animal magnetism
  • Diplomacy
  • Science and technology
  • Early National Politics
  • Colonial Politics
  • Manufactures
  • Horticulture
  • Mesmerism
  • Plantations
  • Marine biology
  • Architecture
  • Minerals--Collection and preservation
  • Electricity
  • Loans--United States--History
  • Diplomatic History
  • Notes
  • Meteorology
  • Slaves, slavery, slave trade
  • American Revolution
  • Astronomy
  • Bowdoin College
  • Almanacs, American--Maine
  • Agriculture
  • Peace treaties
  • Breeding
  • Silk industry
  • Botany
  • Fur trade--Maine--History--19th century
  • Beyond Early America
  • Astronomical observatories
  • Punctuation
  • Dueling
  • Medicine--Formulae, receipts, prescriptions
  • Merchants--United States--History--19th century
  • Genealogy


  • Astronomers
  • Diplomats
  • Physicians--Maine--Hallowell
  • Physicians
  • Agriculturists
  • Lawyers
  • Merchants


  • Maine--Hallowell (as recorded)
  • Brazil (as recorded)
  • Pitcairn Island (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Grenada, the W. Indies (as recorded)
  • Hallowell (Me.) (as recorded)
  • Cumberland, England (as recorded)
  • Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia (as recorded)
  • Nova Scotia, North America (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Maine--Hallowell (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York, N. America (as recorded)
  • Maine--Hallowell (as recorded)
  • Bristol, Gloucestershire (as recorded)
  • Cornwall, England (as recorded)
  • Somerset, England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Naturalists - England (as recorded)
  • Herefordshire, England (as recorded)
  • British America, America (as recorded)
  • Maine--Hallowell (as recorded)
  • Devonshire, England (as recorded)
  • Maine--Hallowell (as recorded)
  • Monmouthshire, England (as recorded)
  • Oceania (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Scotland, United Kingdom (as recorded)
  • England--London (as recorded)
  • Gloucestershire, England (as recorded)
  • Maine--Hallowell (as recorded)
  • Worcestershire, England (as recorded)
  • Cockermouth, Cumberland (as recorded)
  • Virginia, U.S.A. (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)