Member of Continental Congress (1777-79). President of Continental Congress (1777-78).
Captured by the British while on his way to the Netherlands to negotiate a treaty (1780). Held prisoner in the Tower of London until Franklin helped to secure his release on bail (1781).
Went to Paris (1782). There, with Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, he helped negotiate the peace treaty which ended the Revolutionary War.
Returned to America (1784). Settled in South Carolina (1785), where he spent the rest of his life.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina. Brother of Franklin correspondent James Laurens, Jr. Married in 1750 to Eleanor Ball; twelve children of whom four survived to maturity, including son John and daughter Martha, both of whom corresponded with Franklin.