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Button Gwinnett

Written By: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich  |  Posted: Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Button Gwinnett was a native of England, where he was born about the year 1732. His parents were respectable in life, and gave their son as good an education as their moderate circumstances would allow. On coming of age, Mr. Gwinnett became a merchant in the city of Bristol. Some time after his marriage in England, he removed to America, and selecting Charleston, South Carolina, as a place of settlement, he continued there for about two years; at the expiration of which, having sold his stock in trade, he purchased a large tract of land in Georgia, where he devoted himself extensively to agricultural pursuits.

Mr. Gwinnett had from his earliest emigration to America taken a deep interest in the welfare of the colonies; but, from the commencement of the controversy with Great Britain, he had few anticipations that the cause of the colonies could succeed. A successful resistance to so mighty a power as that of the United Kingdoms, to him appeared extremely doubtful; and such continued to be his apprehensions, until about the year 1775, when his views experienced no inconsiderable change. This change in his sentiments, touching the final issue of the controversy, produced a corresponding change in his conduct. He now came forth as the open advocate of strong and decided measures, in favor of obtaining a redress, if possible, of American grievances, and of establishing the rights of the colonies on a firm and enduring basis. In the early part of the year 1776, he was elected by the general assembly, held in Savannah, a representative of the province of Georgia, in congress. Agreeably to his appointment he repaired to Philadelphia, and in the following month of May, for the first time, took his seat in the national council. In October, he was re-elected for the year ensuing to the same responsible station.

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