Timothy Pickering (July 17, 1745 – January 29, 1829) was the third United States Secretary of State under Presidents George Washington and John Adams. He also represented Massachusetts in both houses of Congress as a member of the Federalist Party. In 1795, he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society.
|3rd United States Secretary of State|
December 10, 1795 – May 12, 1800
Ad interim: August 20 – December 10, 1795
|Preceded by||Edmund Randolph|
|Succeeded by||John Marshall|
|2nd United States Secretary of War|
January 2, 1795 – December 10, 1795
|Preceded by||Henry Knox|
|Succeeded by||James McHenry|
|5th United States Postmaster General|
August 12, 1791 – January 1, 1795
|Preceded by||Samuel Osgood|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Habersham|
|United States Senator|
March 4, 1803 – March 3, 1811
|Preceded by||Dwight Foster|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Bradley Varnum|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
March 4, 1813 – March 3, 1817
|Preceded by||Leonard White|
|Succeeded by||Nathaniel Silsbee|
|Constituency||3rd district (1813–15)|
2nd district (1815–17)
|Born||July 17, 1745|
Salem, Massachusetts Bay, British America
|Died||January 29, 1829 83) (aged|
Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Education||Harvard University (BA)|
United States Army
|Years of service||1766–1785|
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War|
Born in Salem in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, Pickering began a legal career after graduating from Harvard University. He won election to the Massachusetts General Court and served as a county judge. He also became an officer in the colonial militia and served in the siege of Boston during the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. Later in the war, he was Adjutant General and Quartermaster General of the Continental Army. After the war, Pickering moved to the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania and took part in the then colony's 1787 ratifying convention for the United States Constitution.
President Washington appointed Pickering to the position of Postmaster General in 1791. After briefly serving as Secretary of War, Pickering became the Secretary of State in 1795, and remained in that office after President Adams was inaugurated. As Secretary of State, Pickering favored close relations with Britain. President Adams dismissed him in 1800 due to Pickering's opposition to peace with France during the Quasi-War.
Pickering won election to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate in 1803, becoming an ardent opponent of the Embargo Act of 1807. He continued to support Britain in the Napoleonic Wars, famously describing the country as "The World's last hope – Britain's Fast-anchored Isle." He left the Senate in 1811 but served in the United States House of Representatives from 1813 to 1817. During the War of 1812, he became a leader of the New England secession movement and helped organize the Hartford Convention. The fallout from the convention ended Pickering's political career. He lived as a farmer in Salem until his death in 1829.