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Francis Hopkinson

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Francis Hopkinson (2 October, 1737May 9, 1791), an American author, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born at Philadelphia in 1737. He studied at the college of Philadelphia, and after graduating in 1763, resolved to prepare himself for the legal profession. After he was admitted to the bar in 1765 he spent two years in England. On his return in 1768 he obtained a lucrative public appointment in the state of New Jersey, which went on to represent in Congress in 1776-1777. In 1779 he was appointed judge of admiralty for Pennsylvania, and in 1790 district judge for that state.

Hopkinson was the author of several songs to which he wrote popular airs, and of various political poems, pamphlets, and jeux d'esprit, which from their humorous satire had a wide circulation, and powerfully assisted in arousing and fostering the spirit of political independence that issued in the American Revolution.

His principal writings are The Pretty Story 1774; The prophecy 1776; The Political Catchism 1777. Among his songs may be mentioned The Treaty, The Battle of the Kegs, and The New Roof, a song for Federal Mechanics; and the best known of his satirical pieces are Typographical Method of conducting a Quarrel, Essay on White Washing, and Modern Learning. His Miscellaneous Essays and Occasional Writings were published at Philadelphia in three volumes in 1792.

He died in Philadelphia.

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