Monday, July 16, 2012

Elisha Reynolds Potter, Congressman, 1796-1797

                                   Elisha Reynolds Potter ; from Wikipedia
Elisha Reynolds Potter (1764–1835) was a statesman in the Federalist Party from Kingston, Rhode Island, who served several times as the Speaker in the Rhode Island State Assembly. Potter ran against Peleg Arnold in a special election for the U.S House of Representatives in 1796 caused by Benjamin Bourne's resignation, and Potter won the election. He served as a United States Congressman from 1796 to 1797 and again from 1809 to 1815.[1]  His son, also Elisha Reynolds Potter, was also a Congressman.

I was browsing through some old issues of James N. Arnold's Narragansett Historical Register, A Magazine, Vol. 2, 1883-1884, when page 107 caught my eye:  TRUE AMERICAN TICKET;  Elisha R. Potter, Esq., of South Kingstown. Richard Jackson, jun., Esp., of Providence. Representatives in the twelfth Congress of the United States. 

What followed was a "political letter" dated Providence, August 22, 1810, signed by fifty "friends and fellow citizens" (apparently submitted to the magazine) written "to request your cooperation in the election of Messrs. Jackson and Potter."  I quote from that letter:

"They have represented the State for two years with fidelity, zeal and ability. They have opposed unnecessary restrictions on our commerce, and the increase of an useless army, and have advocated Economy in our public expenditures. They are not only qualified by their talents to serve their country in these eventful times when even our INDEPENDENCE is endangered by the injustice, the rapacity, and still more by the influence of a foreign power....but are also from their intimate knowledge of the affairs of their Constituents, and their deep stake in our prosperity, the proper representatives of our feelings, our views and our interests.

"Mr. POTTER is a farmer, and one of the largest landholders in the State. MR. JACKSON is concerned in an extensive manufacturing them are united the various interests of Agriculture, Commerce, Manufactures and the Mechanic Arts; and they have ever shown themselves to be true and able friends of those great sources of our national wealth, prosperity and power. 

"Knowing your attachment to the CONSTITUTION and INDEPENDENCE of our country, and placing great dependence on your personal exertion and influence, we confidently hope that you will unite with us, in endeavoring by all fair and honorable means to secure the re-election of these firm and faithful Representatives.  (Signed) We are respectfully, Your Friends and Fellow Citizens...

I was hoping for a picture of Elisha, Jr. or Sr., but none came up. If you want more information about either Elisha, first check out the Wikipedia listing and then Potter Profiles.

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