(20 January 1735 – 8 May 1806)
Leading merchant, financier and US finance minister. Having built up one of the largest shipping and merchant firms in Philadelphia he became interested in Revolutionary politics. He joined the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly and the Continental Congress, where he was appointed Superintendent of Finance and Agent of Marine. He was responsible for all economic and maritime considerations in the new US executive. He also remodelled his business ventures during the war, which grew to make him one of the richest men in America. Afterwards, he was selected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and later elected as a US Senator. He declined Washington’s offer of US Treasury Secretary, suggesting Hamilton instead. Failed land speculation deals and economic downturn in the 1790s resulted in his bankruptcy. For a time in the 1760s he had been a slave trader.