Lawyer, soldier, statesman.
Graduated from the college of New Jersey (1757). Law student in London at the Middle Temple. Practiced law in Trenton. Appointed deputy secretary of New Jersey (1767).
Visited England and carried documents to Franklin in London (1770).
Established a legal practice at Philadelphia (1770). Corresponded with Lord Dartmouth (1773-74). Appointed a member of the committee of correspondence for Philadelphia (1774). President of the Pennsylvania Convention (January 1775).
Lieutenant-colonel of the Pennsylvania Associated militia. Military secretary and aide- de-camp to General Washington (1775). Elected to the Continental Congress and the Committee of Safety. Adjutant-general of the Continental army (1776-77). Delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress (1778).
Accused by Arthur Lee of treacherous correspondence with the enemy. President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania (1778-81). Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania (1782-85). His military record suffered a series of attacks.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey. Married Esther De Berdt, daughter of Dennys De Berdt, agent for Massachusetts in England (1770).