The New Student's Reference Work/Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth
Pinck′ney, Charles Cotes′worth, an American statesman, was born at Charleston, S. C., Feb. 25, 1746. He took part in the earliest movements of the Revolution of 1776. In the war he did noble and conspicuous service. He was Washington's aide-de-camp at Brandywine and Germantown. He saw much active service until 1780, when he was taken prisoner at the surrender of Charleston. A member of the convention that framed the constitution of the United States, he introduced the clause forbidding religious tests of qualification for office. In 1796 he was sent as minister to France, but the Directory refused to receive him, and he had to quit the country. War between France and the United States was threatening. The French intimated to Pinckney and his associates that a gift of money from the United States would avert war. Then Pinckney burst out in the famous utterance: “War be it then; millions for defense, but not a cent for tribute.” He was thrice an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency. He died at Charleston, S. C., Aug. 16, 1825.