HOME
The Info List - James McHenry





Westminster Hall and Burying Ground we222 I. wq. 1 .q

Political party Federalist

Spouse(s) Peggy Caldwell

Signature

James McHenry
James McHenry
(November 16, 1753 – May 3, 1816) was an Irish-American military surgeon and statesman. McHenry was a signer of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
from Maryland
Maryland
and the namesake of Fort McHenry. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
from Maryland, and the third United States Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
(1796–1800), under the first and second presidents, George Washington
George Washington
(administration: 1789–1797) and John Adams
John Adams
(administration: 1797–1801). He married his wife, Peggy Caldwell, on January 8, 1784.

Contents

1 Early life and education 2 Medical career 3 Political career 4 Later life 5 Legacy and honors 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Early life and education[edit] McHenry was born into a Scots-Irish family in Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland in 1753. Alarmed that he became sick from excessive studying, his family in 1771 sent him at 17 to North America to recuperate. Recent scholarship suggests that the family may have also sent him to the colonies as an "advanced scout" to see if the entire family would wish to relocate, which they did a year later. Upon arrival, McHenry lived with a family friend in Philadelphia before deciding to finish his preparatory education at Newark Academy. Returning to Philadelphia, McHenry then apprenticed under Benjamin Rush and became a physician.[1][2] Medical career[edit] McHenry practiced medicine and became a surgeon. McHenry served as a skilled and dedicated surgeon during the American Revolutionary War. On August 10, 1776 he was appointed surgeon at the age of 23 of the Fifth Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Battalion stationed at Fort Washington (New York). He was taken prisoner the following November when the fort was taken by Sir William Howe. While there, he observed that prisoners were given very poor medical attention and initiated reports to that effect, to no avail.[1] He was paroled in January 1777, and released from parole in March 1778. Having sufficiently impressed George Washington, he was appointed aide as secretary to the commander-in-chief in May 1779. McHenry was present at the Battle of Monmouth. In August 1780 he was transferred to major-general Lafayette's staff, where he remained until he retired from the army in the autumn of 1781.[1][3] Political career[edit]

Letter from James Mchenry to Israel Shreve, 1779

Following the war, McHenry was one of three physicians (others were Hugh Williamson
Hugh Williamson
and James McClurg) who participated in the Constitutional Convention to create the new Constitution of the United States.[1] He was elected by the legislature to the Maryland
Maryland
Senate on September 17, 1781 and as delegate to congress by the Maryland
Maryland
legislature on December 2, 1784. After a controversial campaign, he was elected to the Maryland
Maryland
House of Delegates on October 10, 1788. Two years later he retired from public life and spent a year actively engaged in mercantile business. On November 15, 1791 he accepted a second term in the Maryland
Maryland
Senate and served five years.[1] Washington had lots and lots of difficulties with his second administration, as his cabinet officers Hamilton and General Knox resigned. In addition, he had a vacancy after appointing Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering
to the State Department. After a few of Washington's preferred choices declined the position, the name of his friend, McHenry, surfaced.[1] Washington appointed McHenry Secretary of War
Secretary of War
in 1796 and immediately assigned him the task of facilitating the transition of Western military posts from Great Britain's control to that of the United States, under the terms of the Jay Treaty. McHenry advised the Senate committee against reducing military forces. He was instrumental in reorganizing the United States Army
United States Army
into one of four regiments of infantry, a troop of dragoons, and a battery of artillery.[1] He is credited with establishing the United States Department of the Navy, based on his recommendation that the "War Department should be assisted by a commissioner of marine." on March 8, 1798.[1] During President John Adams's administration (1797–1801), he also appointed McHenry as his Secretary of War, as he had decided to keep the newly established institution of the presidential cabinet intact. There was no precedent to follow in the new constitutional government. Adams gradually found that three members of the cabinet repeatedly opposed him; McHenry, Pickering (the Secretary of State), and Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (the Secretary of the Treasury). They appeared to listen more to Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
than to the president and publicly disagreed with Adams about his foreign policy, particularly with regard to France. Instead of resigning, they stayed in office to work against his official policy. It is unknown if Adams knew they were being disloyal. Although many liked McHenry personally, Washington, Hamilton, and Wolcott were said to have complained of his incompetence as an administrator.[4] McHenry attributed Adams’s troubles as chief executive to the president’s long and frequent absences from the capital, leaving business in the hands of secretaries, who bore responsibility without the power to properly conduct it.[1] After a stormy meeting with his cabinet in May 1800, Adams requested McHenry's resignation, which he submitted on May 13. To replace McHenry, Adams first considered John Marshall, but when Pickering's departure left a vacancy in the office of Secretary of State, Adams named Marshall to that post. To succeed McHenry, Adams named Samuel Dexter. When Pickering refused to resign, Adams dismissed him. During the election of 1800, McHenry goaded Hamilton into releasing his indictment against the President, which questioned Adams's loyalty and patriotism, sparking public quarrels over the major candidates and eventually paving the way for Thomas Jefferson to be elected as the next President.[5] The pamphlet leaked past its intended audience, giving the people reason to oppose the Federalists since that group seemed to be dividing into bitter factions. Thus, Adams lost re-election in 1800, to Thomas Jefferson. Later life[edit]

Grave of James McHenry
James McHenry
at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground
Westminster Hall and Burying Ground
in Baltimore

In 1792, McHenry had purchased a 95-acre tract from Ridgely's Delight and named it Fayetteville in honor of his friend, the Marquis de Lafayette; he spent his remaining years there. During that time, McHenry continued frequent correspondence with his friends and associates, in particular Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering
and Benjamin Tallmadge, with whom he maintained Federalist ideals and exchanged progress of the War of 1812.[1] An attack of paralysis in 1814 left him with severe pain and complete loss of the use of his legs. He died two years later.[1] Upon the death of her beloved husband, Mrs. McHenry wrote:

Here we come to the end of a life of a courteous, high-minded, keen-spirited, Christian gentleman. He was not a great man, but participated in great events and great men loved him, while all men appreciated his goodness and purity of soul. His highest titles to remembrance are that he was faithful to every duty and that he was the intimate and trusted friend of Lafayette, of Hamilton, and of Washington.[1]

Legacy and honors[edit]

Elected member of the American Philosophical Society
American Philosophical Society
in January 1786.[1] Elected president of the Bible Society
Bible Society
of Baltimore
Baltimore
in 1813[1] (later known as the Maryland
Maryland
Bible Society). Elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society
American Antiquarian Society
in July 1815.[6] McHenry is memorialized at Independence Hall
Independence Hall
and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry
in Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland
was named after him. A battle there during the War of 1812
War of 1812
inspired Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key
to write what became the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner". Henry Street in Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
is named in his honor.[7] McHenry, Maryland
Maryland
in Garrett County, Maryland
Maryland
was named after him.[8] Keith McHenry is a direct descendent of James McHenry.

See also[edit]

List of foreign-born United States Cabinet Secretaries

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Bernard C. Steiner and James McHenry, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry
James McHenry
(Cleveland: Burrows Brothers Co., 1907) 1–4. ^ Karen E. Robbins, James McHenry, Forgotten Federalist (Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 2013) 9, 12–16. ^ Edward G. Lengel, General George Washington: A Military Life (New York: Random House, 2007). ^ Lengel, General George Washington ^ John Patrick Diggins, John Adams, New York: Times Books, 2003 ^ American Antiquarian Society
American Antiquarian Society
Members Directory ^ "Origins of Madison Street Names". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 24 June 2011.  ^ "Historical Markers". Archived from the original on 2015-07-02. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: James McHenry

United States Congress. " James McHenry
James McHenry
(id: M000469)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.  "James McHenry: Soldier-Statesman of the Constitution", A Bicentennial Series, U.S. Army Center of Military History, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior James McHenry
James McHenry
at Find a Grave

Political offices

Preceded by Timothy Pickering United States Secretary of War 1796–1800 Succeeded by Samuel Dexter

v t e

Signatories of the United States Constitution

Convention President

George Washington

New Hampshire

John Langdon Nicholas Gilman

Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham Rufus King

Connecticut

William Samuel Johnson Roger Sherman

New York

Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey

William Livingston David Brearley William Paterson Jonathan Dayton

Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin Thomas Mifflin Robert Morris George Clymer Thomas Fitzsimons Jared Ingersoll James Wilson Gouverneur Morris

Delaware

George Read Gunning Bedford Jr. John Dickinson Richard Bassett Jacob Broom

Maryland

James McHenry Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Daniel Carroll

Virginia

John Blair James Madison

North Carolina

William Blount Richard Dobbs Spaight Hugh Williamson

South Carolina

John Rutledge Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Pinckney Pierce Butler

Georgia

William Few Abraham Baldwin

Convention Secretary

William Jackson

v t e

United States Secretaries of War and the Army

Department of War (1789–1947)

Secretaries of War

B. Lincoln Knox Pickering McHenry Dexter Dearborn Eustis Armstrong Monroe W. Crawford Calhoun Barbour P. Porter Eaton Cass Poinsett Bell Spencer J. Porter Wilkins Marcy G. Crawford Conrad J. Davis Floyd Holt S. Cameron Stanton Schofield Rawlins Belknap A. Taft J. Cameron McCrary Ramsey R. Lincoln Endicott Proctor Elkins Lamont Alger Root W. Taft Wright Dickinson Stimson Garrison Baker Weeks D. Davis Good Hurley Dern Woodring Stimson Patterson Royall

Assistant Secretaries of War

Scott Watson Tucker Wolcott Dana Eckert Grant Doe Meiklejohn Sanger Oliver Breckinridge Ingraham Crowell Williams Wainwright D. Davis MacNider Robbins Hurley Payne Woodring L. Johnson Patterson McCloy Petersen

Under Secretaries of War

Patterson Royall Draper

Department of the Army (1947–present)

Secretaries of the Army

Royall Gray Pace Stevens Brucker Stahr Vance Ailes Resor Froehlke Callaway Hoffmann C. Alexander Marsh Stone West Caldera White Harvey Geren McHugh Fanning Esper

Under Secretaries of the Army

Draper Gray Voorhees A. Alexander Bendetsen E. Johnson Slezak Finucane Milton Ailes Ignatius Resor McGiffert Beal BeLieu Staudt Augustine LaBerge Ambrose Stone Shannon Reeder Walker Rostker Dahlberg Brownlee Geren Ford Westphal Carson Murphy McCarthy

v t e

Cabinet of President George Washington
George Washington
(1789–97)

Secretary of Foreign Affairs

John Jay
John Jay
(1789)

Secretary of State

John Jay
John Jay
(1789–1790) Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
(1790–93) Edmund Randolph
Edmund Randolph
(1794–95) Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering
(1795–97)

Secretary of the Treasury

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
(1789–95) Oliver Wolcott Jr.
Oliver Wolcott Jr.
(1795–97)

Secretary of War

Henry Knox
Henry Knox
(1789–94) Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering
(1795) James McHenry
James McHenry
(1796–97)

Attorney General

Edmund Randolph
Edmund Randolph
(1789–94) William Bradford (1794–95) Charles Lee (1795–97)

Postmaster General

Samuel Osgood
Samuel Osgood
(1789–91) Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering
(1791–95) Joseph Habersham
Joseph Habersham
(1795–97)

v t e

Cabinet of President John Adams
John Adams
(1797–1801)

Secretary of State

Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering
(1797–1800) John Marshall
John Marshall
(1800–01)

Secretary of the Treasury

Oliver Wolcott Jr.
Oliver Wolcott Jr.
(1797–1801) Samuel Dexter
Samuel Dexter
(1801)

Secretary of War

James McHenry
James McHenry
(1796–1800) Samuel Dexter
Samuel Dexter
(1800–01)

Attorney General

Charles Lee (1797–1801)

Postmaster General

Joseph Habersham
Joseph Habersham
(1797–1801)

Secretary of the Navy

Benjamin Stoddert
Benjamin Stoddert
(1798–1801)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 18499106 LCCN: n79056007 GND: 1046537245 SUDOC: 182121852 US Congress: M000469 SN

.