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Samuel L. Mitchill

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Title: Samuel L. Mitchill  
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Subject: United States congressional delegations from New York, United States House of Representatives elections in New York, 1810, Obadiah German, Semotilus, Edward Livingston
Collection: 1764 Births, 1831 Deaths, Alumni of the University of Edinburgh, American Economists, American Naturalists, American Physicians, Burials at Green-Wood Cemetery, Columbia University Faculty, Democratic-Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Democratic-Republican Party United States Senators, Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Members of the American Antiquarian Society, Members of the United States House of Representatives from New York, Nassau County, New York Politicians, New York Democratic-Republicans, People from Hempstead (Village), New York, People from Plandome, New York, United States Senators from New York
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Samuel L. Mitchill

Samuel Latham Mitchill
United States Senator
from New York
In office
November 23, 1804 – March 4, 1809
Preceded by John Armstrong, Jr.
Succeeded by Obadiah German
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1801 – March 3, 1803
Preceded by Edward Livingston
Succeeded by Joshua Sands
In office
1810 – March 3, 1813
Preceded by William Denning
Gurdon S. Mumford
Succeeded by Jotham Post, Jr.
Egbert Benson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1803 – November 22, 1804
Preceded by Philip Van Cortlandt
Succeeded by George Clinton, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1764-08-20)August 20, 1764
Hempstead, New York
Died September 7, 1831(1831-09-07) (aged 67)
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic-Republican

Samuel Latham Mitchill (August 20, 1764 – September 7, 1831) was an American physician, naturalist, and politician who lived in Plandome, New York.[1]

Life and politics

Samuel L. Mitchill was born in Hempstead, New York and graduated in 1786 from the University of Edinburgh Medical School with an M.D., an education paid for by a wealthy uncle.[2]

Mitchill taught chemistry, botany, and natural history at

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edward Livingston
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Joshua Sands
Preceded by
Philip Van Cortlandt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
George Clinton, Jr.
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Armstrong, Jr.
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: John Smith
Succeeded by
Obadiah German
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Denning,
Gurdon S. Mumford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd congressional district

with Gurdon S. Mumford and William Paulding, Jr.
Succeeded by
Jotham Post, Jr.,
Egbert Benson

External links

  1. ^ Details - Plantae Plandomenses; or, A catalogue of the plants growing spontaneously in the neighbourhood of Plandome, the country residence of Samuel L. Mitchill. - Biodiversity Heritage Library Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  2. ^ D. Graham Burnett, Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case That Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature (Princeton University Press, 2007), 45.
  3. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter M" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Keir B. Sterling, "Mitchill, Samuel Latham" American National Biography Online.
  5. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  6. ^ See Mitchill's speech at the dedication of the Erie Canal.
  7. ^ George R. Stewart, Names on the Land (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967) 173.
  8. ^ Burnett, 44. In 1828,  .


Mitchill was a man of "irrepressible energies...polyglot enthusiasms...[and] distinguished eccentricities" who was not "a man afraid to speak out loud about the loves of plants and animals; indeed, he was not a man afraid to speak out loud on most any topic. In the early nineteenth century, Mitchill was New York's "most publicly universal gentleman...a man known variously as the 'living encyclopedia,' as a 'stalking library,' and (to his admired Jefferson) as the 'Congressional Dictionary.'"[8] "Once described as a 'chaos of knowledge,' Mitchill was generally more admired for his encyclopedic breadth of understanding than for much originality of thought." As a personality he was affable but also egotistical and pedantic. Mitchill enjoyed popularizing scientific knowledge and promoting practical applications of scientific inquiry.[4]

Mitchill strongly endorsed the building of the Erie Canal, sponsored by his friend and political ally DeWitt Clinton; they were both members of the short-lived New-York Institution.[6] Mitchill suggested renaming the United States of America Fredonia, combining the English "freedom" with a Latinate ending. Although the suggestion was not seriously considered, some towns adopted the name, including Fredonia, New York.[7] Some freebooters even established a short-lived republic under that name in Texas in the late 1820s.

Mitchill served in the New York State Assembly in 1791 and again in 1798 and was then elected as a Democratic-Republican to the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1801 until his resignation on November 22, 1804. In November 1804, Mitchill was elected a U.S. Senator from New York to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Armstrong, and served from November 23, 1804, to March 4, 1809. He then served again in the House of Representatives from December 4, 1810, to March 4, 1813. Mitchill was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814.[5]


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