Thomas Mifflin (b. 1744 – d. 1800) By an ironic sort of providence, Thomas Mifflin served as George Washington‘s first aide–de–camp at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, and, when the war ended, he was the man, as President, who accepted Washington‘s resignation of his commission.
In the years between, Mifflin greatly served the cause of freedom, and, apparently, his own cause; while serving as the first Quarter Master General of the Continental Army, he obtained desperately needed supplies for the new army, and was suspected of making an excessive profit for himself.
Although experienced in business and successful in obtaining supplies for the war, Mifflin preferred the front lines, and he distinguished himself in military actions on Long Island and near Philadelphia.
Born and raised a Quaker, he was excluded from their meetings for his military activities. A controversial figure, Mifflin lost favor with Washington and was part of the Conway Cabal, a rather notorious plan to replace Washington with General Horatio Gates. Mifflin narrowly missed court-martial action over his handling of funds by resigning his commission in 1778. In spite of these problems, and of repeated charges that he was a drunkard, Mifflin continued to be elected to positions of responsibility, as President and Governor of Pennsylvania, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, as the highest office in the land, where he served from November 3, 1783 to November 29, 1784.
Most of Mifflin‘s significant contributions occurred in his earlier years, in the First and Second Continental Congresses he was firm in his stand for Independence and for fighting for it, and he helped obtain both men and supplies for Washington‘s army in the early critical period.
In 1784, as President, he signed the treaty with Great Britain which ended the war. Although a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, he did not make a significant contribution, beyond signing the document.
As Governor of Pennsylvania, although, he was accused of negligence, he supported improvements of roads, and reformed the State Penal and Judicial systems. He had gradually become sympathetic to Jefferson‘s principles regarding State‘s Rights, even so, he directed the Pennsylvania militia to support the Federal Tax Collectors in the Whiskey Rebellion.
In spite of charges of corruption, the affable Mifflin remained a popular figure. A magnetic personality and effective speaker, he managed to hold a variety of elected offices for almost 30 years of the Revolutionary period.