Richard Bassett (Delaware politician)

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Richard Bassett
Richard bassett.jpg
Judge of the United States Circuit Court for the Third Circuit
In office
February 20, 1801 – July 1, 1802
Appointed byJohn Adams
Preceded bySeat established by 2 Stat. 89
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Governor of Delaware
In office
January 9, 1799 – March 3, 1801
Preceded byDaniel Rogers
Succeeded byJames Sykes
Chief Justice of the Delaware Court of Common Pleas
In office
March 4, 1793 – January 15, 1799
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byJames Booth
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1793
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byJohn Vining
Personal details
Born
Richard Bassett

(1745-04-02)April 2, 1745
Cecil County,
Province of Maryland,
British America
DiedAugust 15, 1815(1815-08-15) (aged 70)
Cecil County, Maryland
Resting placeWilmington and Brandywine Cemetery
Wilmington, Delaware
Political partyFederalist
RelativesRichard H. Bayard (grandson)
James A. Bayard Jr. (grandson)
Educationread law
Signature

Richard Bassett (April 2, 1745 – September 15, 1815) was a Delaware attorney and politician, veteran of the American Revolutionary War, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, signer of the United States Constitution, and thus considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He also served as United States Senator from Delaware, chief justice of the Delaware Court of Common Pleas, governor of Delaware and a United States circuit judge of the United States Circuit Court for the Third Circuit.

Education and career[edit]

Richard Bassett House in Dover, Delaware

Born on April 2, 1745, in Cecil County, Province of Maryland, British America,[1] Bassett pursued preparatory studies, then read law.[1] He was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Delaware.[2] By concentrating on agricultural pursuits as well as religious and charitable concerns, he quickly established himself amongst the local gentry and "developed a reputation for hospitality and philanthropy."[3] He was a member of the Delaware constitutional conventions of 1776 and 1792.[2] He was a member of the Council of Safety in Dover, Delaware from 1776 to 1786.[1] He served in the Delaware State Militia as a company captain of the Dover Light Horse Regiment from 1777 to 1781.[1] He was a member of the Delaware Legislative Council (now the Delaware Senate) in 1782.[1] He was a member of the Delaware House of Representatives in 1786.[1] He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787,[2] and was a signer of the United States Constitution.[2] He was a member of the Delaware convention which ratified the United States Constitution in 1787.[2] He was in private practice in Wilmington, Delaware from 1787 to 1789.[1]

Bassett was elected to the United States Senate from Delaware and served from March 4, 1789, to March 3, 1793, first as a member of the Anti-Administration Party and later as a member of the Pro-Administration Party.[2][4] Bassett was chief justice of the Delaware Court of Common Pleas from 1793 to 1799.[1] He was governor of Delaware from 1799 to 1801.[1]

Bassett was nominated by President John Adams on February 18, 1801, to the United States Circuit Court for the Third Circuit, to a new seat authorized by 2 Stat. 89.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 20, 1801, and received his commission the same day.[1] His service terminated on July 1, 1802, due to abolition of the court.[1]

Later life and death[edit]

Richard Bassett grave in Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery
Closeup of plaque on Richard Bassett's grave

After leaving the federal bench, Bassett became a planter in Cecil County.[1] He died on September 15, 1815, on his estate Bohemia Manor in Cecil County.[Note 1][2][1] He was initially interred in Cecil County, and in 1865 his remains were re-interred in Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.

Legacy[edit]

Bassett was the grandfather of Richard H. Bayard and James A. Bayard Jr., both United States senators from Delaware.[2]

Bassett Street in Madison, Wisconsin, is named in Bassett's honor.[5]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ Some sources give his place of death as Kent County, Delaware.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Richard Bassett at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h United States Congress. "Richard Bassett (id: B000226)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ Wright Jr., Robert K.; MacGregor Jr., Morris J. (1987). "Richard Bassett". Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution. Washington D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 71-25.
  4. ^ "SENATORS OF THE UNITED STATES 1789-present A chronological list of senators since the First Congress in 1789" (PDF). United States Senate.
  5. ^ "Origins of Madison Street Names at the website for Wisconsin Historical Society".

Sources[edit]

  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company.
  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Wilmington, Delaware: Cedar Tree Books. ISBN 1-892142-23-6.
  • Munroe, John A. (1954). Federalist Delaware 1775–1815. Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
  • Martin, Roger A. (1984). History of Delaware Through its Governors. Wilmington, Delaware: McClafferty Press.
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, Delaware: Roger A. Martin.
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609–1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co. ISBN 0-87413-493-5.

Images[edit]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Federalist nominee for Governor of Delaware
1798
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
New seat United States Senator (Class 2) from Delaware
1789–1793
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Governor of Delaware
1799–1801
Succeeded by
Legal offices
New title
Seat established by 2 Stat. 89
Judge of the United States Circuit Court for the Third Circuit
1801–1802
Succeeded by
Seat abolished