Lincoln, Levi

Lincoln, Levi (1749-1820) Attorney-General: Levi Lincoln was born on May 15, 1749, in Hingham, Massachusetts. His father wanted him to enter mechanical employment, and established him as an apprentice. Young Lincoln, however, spent his leisure time studying, and eventually attended Harvard. Graduating in 1772, he went on to study law. When the Battle of Lexington occurred, Lincoln was still studying law. Nevertheless, he joined the minutemen as a volunteer and went to Cambridge with them. The author of many patriotic appeals and a series of political papers called "The Farmer's Letters," he was an ardent supporter of the cause of independence. He served as Clerk of the Court and Judge of Probate of Worcester County, between 1775 and 1781. In 17779, he was government commissioner for confiscated estates under the Absentee Acts, and worked to expedite the payment of the Continental tax. Lincoln helped draft the Massachusetts constitution; and was elected to the Continental Congress in 1781, but declined the position. After serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate, he was elected to the US House of Representatives as a Federalist in 1800. He served in the House of Representatives for less than a month before Jefferson appointed him Attorney-General. A few months before Madison became President, Lincoln served as provisional Secretary of State. Retiring from national service in 1805, he became a member of the Council of Massachusetts, then Lieutenant-Governor of the state and temporary Governor. In 1811, Madison offered Lincoln an appointment as Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; but Lincoln declined, due to ill health. Lincoln had lost much of his sight; but improved enough to be able to resume his classical studies, as well as work on his farm. He was an original member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as other intellectual societies, and was considered a leading figure in the post-Revolutionary War Massachusetts legal community. Lincoln died on April 14, 1820, in Worcester, Massachusetts.