Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 1746–1825, American political leader and diplomat, b. Charleston, S.C.; brother of Thomas Pinckney and cousin of Charles Pinckney. After attending Oxford and the military academy at Caen, France, he returned to Charleston, where in 1769 he began to practice law. Subsequent to serving (1775) in the provincial congress, he joined the Continental Army in the American Revolution and was captured by the British at Charleston in 1780. A delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, he helped to secure South Carolina's ratification of the Constitution. In 1796 he was sent as minister to France but was not received by the French government. The next year he was joined by Elbridge Gerry and John Marshall in the mission that led to the notorious XYZ Affair; Pinckney refused to bribe French officials as a prerequisite for opening negotiations with them. He was an unsuccessful Federalist candidate for the vice presidency in 1800 and for the presidency in 1804 and 1808.

See biography by M. R. Zahniser (1967).

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