Edward Rutledge and the Staten Island Peace Conference

Edward Rutledge and the Staten Island Peace Conference

Edward Rutledge was a young man with an intense devotion to the Patriot Cause.  He was involved in the Staten Island Peace Conference, a last ditch effort by Britain to prevent war in the colonies.


At age 26, Edward Rutledge was a very accomplished young man.

He had studied law in London and, after being admitted to the bar, opened a successful law practice with his friend Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.  He became famous after securing the release of a printer who had been put in prison for criticizing the Crown.

He was sent by South Carolina to the Continental Congress, where he was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Despite his youth, Rutledge was the de facto leader of the South Carolina Delegation in Congress.

The Situation

By September 1776, the Revolutionary War was in full swing.

The Continental Army had achieved a surprising victory which led to the British evacuation from Boston.

The British, in turn, sailed to New York Harbor where they were joined by the might of the Royal Army.  They defeated General Washington in the Battle of Long Island and were ready to take New York.

General Howe, commander of the British in America, decided to offer one last attempt at a truce.  He contacted the Continental Congress to set up a Peace Conference.

Staten Island

Truthfully, neither side expected much to come of the meeting.  The Congress decided to send three of their most important members to the meeting: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Edward Rutledge.

*Side note: This was the infamous trip on which Adams and Franklin shared a bed together.  One was hot and the other cold.  One would get up and open the window.  The other would get up and close it.  Neither got much sleep.*

During the meeting, both sides were cordial and offered concessions.  However, the British could not come to terms unless the Americans admitted to Parliament’s superiority.  The Americans could not come to terms unless the British acknowledged their independence.  These were issues on which neither delegation would budge.

The meeting ended unsuccessfully.

The Americans went back to Philadelphia.

Four days later, General Howe and his Army invaded New York City.


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Check out one of these books which have more info on Edward Rutledge.  'Stop the Revolution' is specifically about the Peace Conference.  We are not paid to advertise these books but we are an Amazon affiliate.

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