John Read (lawyer)

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John Read (7 July 1769, Newcastle, Delaware - 13 July 1854, Trenton, New Jersey) was a lawyer and banker in the early history of the United States.


John Read was a son of U.S. statesman George Read and brother of George Read, Jr.. He graduated from Princeton in 1787, and then studied law with his father. In 1789, he moved to Philadelphia, where he was admitted to the bar in 1792.[1] In 1796, he married Martha Meredith. They had five children.[1] Their son John M. Read was a noted Philadelphia jurist.

In 1797, John Read was appointed by President John Adams as agent general of the United States under the sixth[1] article of Jay's Treaty, and held that office until its expiration in 1809. From 1809 to 1815, Read was a member of the city council of Philadelphia;[1] he then served in the Pennsylvania legislature, and in 1816 chairman of its celebrated committee of seventeen.

Read succeeded Nicholas Biddle in the Pennsylvania Senate in 1816, was state director of the Philadelphia Bank in 1817, and succeeding his wife's uncle, George Clymer, as president of that bank in 1819, he filled that post until 1841, when he resigned. He was prominent in the councils of the Episcopal Church.

During the yellow-fever plague in Philadelphia in 1793, Read and Stephen Girard remained in the city, and he opened his purse and exposed his life in behalf of his suffering fellow citizens. Read was the author of Arguments on the British Debts (Philadelphia, 1798). 


  1. ^ a b c d John H. Frederick (1935). "Read, John". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 

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