|Governor of West Florida|
October 27, 1810 – December 10, 1810
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
February 21, 1765|
Dinwiddie County, Virginia
|Died||January 7, 1839
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Nationality||American, West Floridian|
|Profession||Diplomat, Politician, Farmer|
Fulwar Skipwith (February 21, 1765 – January 7, 1839) was an American diplomat and politician, who served as a U.S. Consul in Martinique, and later as the U.S. Consul-General in France. He was the first and only Governor of the Republic of West Florida in 1810.
Skipwith was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and was a distant cousin of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. Skipwith studied at the College of William & Mary, but left at age 16 to enlist in the army during the American Revolutionary War. He served at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. After American independence was achieved, he entered the tobacco trade.
Following the French Revolution of 1789, Skipwith was appointed as US Consul to the French colony of Martinique in 1790. He experienced the turmoil of the Revolution, as well as the aftermath of the abortive slave insurrection in Martinique, before departing in 1793. In 1795, Skipwith was appointed Consul-General in Paris under the US Minister to France, James Monroe.
Republic of West Florida
In 1809, Skipwith moved to Spanish West Florida. As a member of the first West Florida judiciary, he took part in the 1810 West Florida rebellion against Spain, and served as Governor of the short-lived Republic of West Florida. On October 27, 1810, West Florida was annexed to the United States by proclamation of U.S. President James Madison, who claimed it as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
At first, Skipwith and the West Florida government – located in St. Francisville – were opposed to the proclamation, preferring to negotiate terms to join the Union as a separate state. However, the Territory of Orleans Governor, William C. C. Claiborne, who was sent in to take possession (December 1810), refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the West Florida government. Skipwith and the legislature reluctantly agreed to accept Madison's proclamation.
Skipwith was elected to serve in the Louisiana State Senate where he served as that body's second President. In December 1814, during the War of 1812, Magloire Guichard and Skipwith sponsored a legislative resolution to grant amnesty to "the privateers lately resorting to Barataria, who might be deterred from offering their services for fear of prosecution." This led to Jean Lafitte and his men joining in the defense of New Orleans during the Battle of New Orleans, when the city was attacked by British forces.
In 1827, Skipwith, Armand Duplantier, Antoine Blanc, Thomas B. Robertson, and Sebastien Hiriart received permission from the Louisiana State Legislature to organize a corporation called the Agricultural Society of Baton Rouge. The purpose of the society was as follows, "The sole and special objects of the said society shall be the improvement of agriculture, the amelioration of the breed of horses, of horned cattle, and others, and in all of the several branches relative to agriculture in a country."
Skipwith died at his Monte Sano plantation near Baton Rouge on January 7, 1839, at age 73.
- Chenicek, Jolynda Brock (2008), Dereliction of Diplomacy: The American Consulates in Paris and Bordeaux During the Napoleonic Era, 1804--1815, Florida State University, p. 44, retrieved July 22, 2012
- "jeanlafitte.net/". Retrieved August 6, 2012.
- A general digest of the acts of the legislature of Louisiana, Vol II accessed 1 July 2012
- David A. Bice. The Original Lone Star Republic: Scoundrels, Statesmen and Schemers of the 1810 West Florida Rebellion. Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2004. ISBN 1-891647-81-4
- Roger G. Kennedy. Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase. Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-515347-2
- 100 letters written by Skipwith to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, at Founders Online of the U.S. National Archives (Search on Fulwar Skipwith; accessed in January 2017.)
- Governor Fulwar Skipwith's speech to the West Florida legislature in St. Francisville, University of South Florida
- Fulwar Skipwith; Genealogy of most valuable negro slave family ever purchased in Virginia Special Collections catalog listing, Tulane University
- Fulwar Skipwith Papers at Mystic Seaport maritime museum
- Fulwar Skipwith at Find a Grave