The New International Encyclopædia/Austin, Jonathan Loring

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

AUSTIN, Jonathan Loring (1748-1826). A diplomatic agent of the United States in Europe during the Revolutionary War. He was born in Boston, graduated at Harvard in 1766, and engaged in trade at Portsmouth, N. H. In 1775 he entered the American Army as a major, and for a time was one of General Sullivan's aides. He also served as secretary of the Massachusetts Board of War, and in October, 1777, was sent to Paris by Massachusetts to announce to Franklin and his associates the news of Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga. Franklin soon afterwards sent him on a singular secret mission to England, where he met many members of the opposition and furnished them with much information concerning American affairs. The trip was full of incident, and, says one of Franklin's biographers (Morse), “brings to mind some of the Jacobite tales of Sir Walter Scott's novels.” He carried dispatches to Congress from the United States Commissioners in Paris early in 1779, and in January, 1780, was dispatched to Europe to secure loans for Massachusetts in Spain and Holland, but failed in his mission, and was captured and held for a short time by the British. Late in 1781 he returned, and subsequently held various State offices of more or less importance.