The New International Encyclopædia/Rutledge, John
RUTLEDGE, John (1739-1800). An American statesman, born at Charleston, S. C. He studied law in London, and began to practice at Charleston in 1761. He sat in the Stamp Act Congress at New York in 1765, in the South Carolina convention in 1774, and the Continental Congress of 1774; was chairman of the committee which framed the new Constitution for South Carolina in 1776, and was first President (1776-98) under that Constitution. In 1779 he was Governor of the State, and during the siege of Charleston was given almost absolute power by the Legislature. On the surrender of the city in 1780 be joined the Army of the South, with which he remained till the end of the war. He was a member of Congress in 1782, and again in 1783, was Chancellor of his State in 1784, member of the convention which framed the Federal Constitution (1787) and of the State convention which adopted it. He was an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court (1789-91), was Chief Justice of South Carolina from 1791 to 1795, and in July, 1795, was appointed Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, but, owing to the loss of his reason, the appointment was not confirmed.