American Minute with Bill Federer He warned Britain's Privy Council that punishing Boston for the Tea Party would provoke a rebellion
American Minute with Bill Federer
He warned Britain's Privy Council that punishing Boston for the Tea Party would provoke a rebellion
A signer of the Constitution licensed to preach?
This was Hugh Williamson, born DECEMBER 5, 1735.
1754, he attended the newly formed school, College of Philadelphia
(University of Pennsylvania), and graduated in the school's first class.
His father died five days later. He taught Spanish at Philadelphia Academy (founded by Ben Franklin - now University of Pennsylvania).
At age 24, Hugh Williamson decided to go into the ministry as a Presbyterian preacher. John Neal recorded in the Trinity College Historical Society Papers (NY: AMS Press, 1915):
1759 he went to Connecticut, where he pursued his theological studies
and was licensed to preach. After returning from Connecticut, he was
admitted to membership in the Presbytery of Philadelphia (the oldest in
America) ... (and there) preached nearly two years." Hugh
Williamson visited and prayed for the sick, and gave sermons, until a
chronic chest weakness convinced him he had to pursue a career that did
not involve public speaking.
In 1760, Williamson joined the College of Philadelphia faculty as a professor of mathematics.
four years, he traveled to Europe to study medicine and received a
degree from the prestigious University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
After graduation, Williamson practiced medicine in Philadelphia.
1773, Williamson sailed for England to raise funds for Newark Academy,
but stopped along the way in Boston, where he witnessed the Boston Tea
Upon reaching London, the Privy Council summoned him to testify on the rebellious actions in America.
the Privy Council began to discuss how to punish Boston for the Tea
Party, Dr. Hugh Williamson warned them that continuing their high taxes
would provoke the colonies into rebellion. He argued further that Americans should be entitled to full rights as Englishmen.
Another American in London who heard of Williamson's patriotic answers was Ben Franklin.
to America in 1777, Dr. Hugh Williamson distinguished himself during
the Revolutionary War as a Surgeon General caring for wounded North
Carolina troops. In
1782, North Carolina elected him as a representative to Congress where
he helped write the Northwest Territory laws, forbidding slavery and:
the central section of every township for the maintenance of public
schools and the section immediately to the northward for the support of
Dr. Hugh Williamson signed the U.S. Constitution and helped convinced North Carolina to ratify it.
Jefferson described Dr. Hugh Williamson at the Constitutional
Convention in Philadelphia: "He was a useful member, of an acute mind,
attentive to business, and of an high degree of erudition."
Hugh Williamson later became wealthy through investments and land
speculations, and wrote extensively for medical and literary societies,
winning international acclaim.
He participated with Ben Franklin in conducting electrical experiments.
In 1811, Dr. Hugh Williamson wrote a respected book, Observations of the Climate in Different Parts of America,
in which he refuted "higher criticism" of scripture and gave scientific
explanation for the credibility of stories in the Bible, such as Noah's
flood and the events of Moses' exodus. Dr. Hugh Williamson served as one of the original trustees of the University of North Carolina.