Rufus King

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  • Mar. 24, 1755: 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.
  • April 29, 1827: 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.

From the guide to the Rufus King Papers, 1766-1899 (Bulk 1783-1826), (@ 2011 New-York Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Rufus King Papers, 1766-1899 (Bulk 1783-1826) @ 2011 New-York Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, John, 1735-1826 person
associatedWith Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848 person
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associatedWith Baring, Francis, Sir, 1740-1810 person
associatedWith Bentinck, William Henry Cavendish, Lord, 1774-1839 person
associatedWith Bird, Savage, & Bird. London. corporateBody
associatedWith Cabot, George, 1751-1823 person
associatedWith Federal Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Gerry, Elbridge, 1744-1814 person
associatedWith Gore, Christopher, 1758-1827 person
associatedWith Great Britain. Treaties, etc. United States, 1794 Nov. 19. corporateBody
associatedWith Grenville, William Wyndham Grenville, Baron, 1759-1834 person
associatedWith Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804 person
associatedWith Hindman, William, 1743-1822 person
associatedWith Ingersoll, Charles Jared, 1782-1862 person
associatedWith Jay, John, 1745-1829 person
associatedWith King, Charles, 1789-1867 person
associatedWith King, John Alsop, 1788-1867 person
associatedWith Low, Nicholas, 1739-1826 person
associatedWith Madison, James, 1751-1836 person
associatedWith Morris, Gouverneur, 1752-1816 person
associatedWith Pickering, Timothy, 1745-1829 person
associatedWith Pinckney, Thomas, 1750-1828 person
associatedWith Schuyler, Philip John, 1733-1804 person
associatedWith Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813 person
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associatedWith Webster, Noah, 1758-1843 person
associatedWith Wilberforce, William, 1759-1833 person
associatedWith Wolcott, Oliver, 1760-1833 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
New York (State)
South America
Anglo--French War, 1793-1802


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