Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

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Jonathan Russell papers (Ms.Russell)

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2146

Biographical Note

Jonathan Russell (1771-1832), diplomat, was born in Providence on February 27, 1771, the son of Jonathan and Abigail (Russell) Russell. His father was descended from John Russell, a 1640 resident of Charlestown, Massachusetts, to whom his mother of the same surname was not related. He graduated from Rhode Island College in 1791. He studied law, but did not practice. He married Sylvia Ammidon and entered into European trade with his partner Otis Ammidon. He was known as an orator, and his Fourth of July oration in 1800 in the First Baptist Church in Providence was published in a number of editions. His diplomatic career began when President James Madison appointed him chargé d’affaires in Paris in 1810. The next year he was given the same position in London. From 1814 to 1818 he was United States minister to Sweden and Norway. He was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Ghent, with John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, and Albert Gallatin. In 1818 he was recalled from Sweden by James Monroe, and the next year he settled in Mendon, Massachusetts. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for one term in 1820. He was then elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives for the Seventeenth Congress and served from March 4, 1821-March 3, 1823. During his term he was also the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Thereafter, Russell retired from public life. He died in Milton, Massachusetts on February 17, 1832.

- Mitchell, Martha. "Jonathan Russell." Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Providence: Brown University Library, 1993. 482.