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Lambert Cadwalader

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Lambert Cadwalader (1742-1823) was an American merchant and leader in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He fought in the Revolutionary War, then represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress and the U.S. Congress.

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Early life

Lambert was born in December of 1742 to Doctor Thomas and Hannah (Lambert) Cadwalader in Trenton, New Jersey. By 1750 his family had returned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he attended Dr. Allison's Academy. Then in 1757 he entered the City College (later the University of Pennsylvania), but did not graduate. Instead, he went into business with his brother John.

The brothers' business was a success and they became more active in civic affairs, both in Philadelphia and the wider field of the colony of Pennsylvania. They signed the non-importation agreement in 1765 to support the boycott of English merchants. Lambert became a particularly outspoken opponent of the Stamp Act and later measures. In 1774 he has elected to the Provincial Assembly, and in Philadelphia he was appointed to the city's Committee of Correspondence.

Revolutionary years

In 1775 Lambert returned again to the colonial Assembly. He also advanced in the militia, and was named Captain of one of the companies raised in the city. Then, in the spring of 1776 he played a prominent role in the call for a state Constitutional Convention. He was named as a delegate, but attended only the first few meetings, as military duty called him away.

In January of 1776, Cadwalader had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Pennsylvania regiment of the Continental Army. Late in the summer, he joined then in New York to aid that city's defense. He began work on building the defenses at Fort Washington in August. After the Battle of Brooklyn he worked with Washington to set up defenses on the Brooklyn Heights. But, since the British had overwhelming numbers they were forced to withdraw to Manhattan on August 30.

The 3rd Pennsylvania returned to the defense of Fort Washington. At the beginning of the battle for the Fort on November 15, Cadwalader was holding the old line on the Harlem Heights. Facing two British regiments, with three more landed to their rear, they were forced to withdraw to the fort. When Colonel Magaw surrendered the fort on the next day, Cadwalader was among those taken prisoner. He was soon released, after giving his parole to British General Howe. Lambert's quick release was partly due to the consideration that his brother, General Thomas Cadwalader, had shown to General Richard Prescott as a prisoner.

Early in 1777, Cadwalader was named Colonel and commander of the 4th Pennsylvania. He declined to take up the assignment as he was on parole, and felt he couldn't serve until exchanged. He was carried on the rolls for almost two years, but a suitable exchange was never arranged. Finally, after officer exchanges broke down, Washington accepted his resignation on January 29, 1777.

When the British occupied Philadelphia in 1777, he withdrew to his father's property near Trenton, New Jersey. This home, called Greenwood would be his residence for the rest of his life.

Later life

In 1784, New Jersey selected him as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He would serve there for the remaining life of that institution, being returned each year until 1787. When the new government was established for the United States, Cadwalader was a Federalist in national politics. He was elected to the U.S. Congress twice, in 1788 and 1792.

Cadwalader married late in life (1793) to Mary McCall, the daughter of Archibald and Judith (Kemble) McCall. They had only one child, Thomas McCall Cadwalader (1795-1873). He died at Greenwood, in Mercer County, New Jersey on September 13, 1823 and is buried in the Friends Burying Ground at Trenton.

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