Soldier and diplomat.
Commissioned captain (1775), then major (1778) in a South Carolina regiment; served with distinction as an officer, engineer, and special aide to Count d’Estaing. Also practiced law in Charleston during and after the war. Governor of South Carolina (1787-89). U.S. ambassador to Britain (1792-96). Special envoy to Spain to negotiate a wide-ranging treaty on boundaries and navigation rights (1795). Federalist candidate for vice-president (1796). Served in U.S. Congress (1797-1801). Interested in scientific planting, particularly crop diversification, land reclamation, and cattle-breeding.
Son of Charles and Eliza (Lucas) Pinckney of South Carolina; brother of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, and the Middle Temple. Married (1) Elizabeth Motte (1779); four children. Married (2) Frances (Motte) Middleton, his deceased wife’s sister (1797).