Samuel Smith – Continental Army Officer – Maryland


Samuel Smith (July 27, 1752{spaced ndash}April 22, 1839) was a United States Senator and Representative from Maryland, a mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, and a general in the Maryland militia. He was the brother of cabinet secretary Robert Smith.


Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Smith moved with his family to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1759. He attended a private academy, and engaged in mercantile pursuits until the American Revolutionary War, at which time he served as captain, major, and lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army. Prior to the war, as a young captain, he was sent to Annapolis to arrest Governor Eden and seize his papers. After the war, Smith engaged in the shipping business.

From 1790 to 1792, Smith was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. At the time of the threatened war with France in 1794, he was appointed brigadier general of the Maryland militia and commanded Maryland’s quota during the Whiskey Rebellion. Smith served as a major general of Maryland militia during the War of 1812, and commanded the defenses of Baltimore during the Battle of Baltimore and Fort McHenry in 1814. The American victory there can largely be attributed to Smith’s preparation for the British invasion.

Smith entered into national politics when he was elected to the Third United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1793, until March 4, 1803. As a Congressman, Smith served as chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Commerce and Manufactures (Fifth through Seventh Congresses). As a principal negotiator between the young Federalist leader and Delaware representative, James Asheton Bayard II, and the presumptive President-Elect Jefferson, Smith secured the winning ballot in the United States House of Representatives for Jefferson during the United States presidential election, 1800. Smith entered into the Senate election in 1802, and was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the United States Senate. He was re-elected in 1808 and served from March 4, 1803 until March 4, 1815. While senator, Smith served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Ninth and Tenth Congresses.

Smith was elected to the Fourteenth Congress on January 31, 1816 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Nicholas R. Moore, and was re-elected to the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Congresses. In the House, Smith served as chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Fourteenth Congress), and as a member of the Committee on Ways and Means (Fifteenth through Seventeenth Congresses).

On December 17, 1822, Smith resigned as congressman, having been elected as a Democratic Republican (later Crawford Republican and Jacksonian) to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William Pinkney. Smith served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Twentieth and Twenty-first Congresses, and as chairman of the Committee on Finance (Eighteenth and Twentieth through Twenty-second Congresses). He was re-elected in 1826 and served until March 4, 1833. Two years later, in 1835, Smith became mayor of Baltimore, and served in that position until 1838, when he retired from public life. Smith died in Baltimore in 1839, and is interred in the Old Westminster Burying Ground.

==Attitudes to slavery==

In 1828 Smith served as Vice-President of the Maryland State Colonization Society, of which Charles Carroll of Carrollton, one of the co-signers of the Declaration of Independence, was president. The MSCS was a branch of the American Colonization Society, an organization dedicated to returning black Americans to lead free lives in African states such as Liberia.