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Philip Schuyler

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Philip Schuyler

Philip Schuyler
United States Senator
from New York
In office
July 16, 1789 – March 4, 1791
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Aaron Burr
In office
March 4, 1797 – January 3, 1798
Preceded by Aaron Burr
Succeeded by John Sloss Hobart
Personal details
Born Philip John Schuyler
(1733-11-20)November 20, 1733
Albany, New York
Died November 18, 1804(1804-11-18) (aged 70)
Albany, New York
Political party Pro-Administration,
Spouse(s) Catherine Van Rensselaer
Children John Bradstreet Schuyler, Philip Jeremiah Schuyler,
Angelica Schuyler Church,
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton,
Margarita Schuyler Van Rensselaer, Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler Malcolm
Profession Soldier, Statesman
Religion Dutch Reformed

Philip John Schuyler (November 20, 1733 – November 18, 1804) was a general in the American Revolution and a United States Senator from New York.[1] He is usually known as Philip Schuyler, while his son is usually known as Philip J. Schuyler.


  • Early life 1
  • Revolutionary War 2
    • Battle of Saratoga 2.1
  • Later career 3
  • Family and relatives 4
  • Legacy 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Philip Schuyler was born in Albany, New York, on November 20, 1733, to John (Johannes) Schuyler, Jr. (1697–1741), third generation of the Dutch family in America, and Cornelia Van Cortlandt (1698–1762).

Prior to his father's death on the eve of his eighth birthday, Schuyler attended the public school at Albany. Afterward, he was educated by tutors at the Van Cortlandt family estate at New Rochelle. He joined the British forces in 1755 during the French and Indian War, raised a company, and was commissioned as its Captain by his cousin, Lt. Governor James Delancey. Later in that war, he served as a quartermaster, purchasing supplies and organizing equipment.

From 1761 to 1762, Schuyler made a trip to England to settle accounts from his work as quartermaster. During this time his home in Albany, later called Schuyler Mansion, was built. His country estate (General Schuyler House) at Saratoga (now Schuylerville, New York) was also begun. After the war he also expanded the Saratoga estate to tens of thousands of acres, adding slaves, tenant farmers, a store, mills for flour, flax, and lumber. His flax mill for the making of linen was the first one in America. He built several schooners on the Hudson River, and named the first Saratoga.

Schuyler began his political career as a member of the New York Assembly in 1768, he served in that body until 1775. During this time his views came to be more opposed to the colonial government. He was particularly outspoken in matters of trade and currency. He was also made a Colonel in the militia for his support of governor Henry Moore.

Revolutionary War

Schuyler's house during the Revolution, in Schuylerville

Schuyler was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, and served until he was appointed a Major General of the Continental Army in June. General Schuyler took command of the Northern Department, and planned the Invasion of Canada (1775). His poor health required him to place Richard Montgomery in command of the invasion.

As department commanding General, he was active in preparing a defense against the St. Clair abandoned Fort Ticonderoga in July, the Congress replaced Schuyler with General Horatio Gates, who had accused Schuyler of dereliction of duty.

Letter from Philip Schuyler to Israel Shreve, 1776

Battle of Saratoga

The British offensive was eventually stopped by Continental Army then under the command of Gates and Benedict Arnold in the Battle of Saratoga. That victory, the first wholesale defeat of a large British force, marked a turning point in the revolution, for it convinced France to enter the war on the American's side. When Schuyler demanded a court martial to answer Gates' charges, he was vindicated but resigned from the Army on April 19, 1779. He then served in two more sessions of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780.

Schuyler was an original member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati.

Later career

He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1780 to 1784, and at the same time New York State Surveyor General from 1781 to 1784. Afterwards he returned to the State Senate from 1786 to 1790, where he actively supported the adoption of the United States Constitution.

In 1789, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York to the First United States Congress, serving from July 27, 1789, to March 4, 1791. After losing his bid for re-election in 1791, he returned to the State Senate from 1792 to 1797. In 1797, he was elected again to the U.S. Senate and served in the 5th United States Congress from March 4, 1797 until his resignation because of ill health on January 3, 1798.

Family and relatives

In September 1755, he married Catherine Van Rensselaer[2] (1734–1803) at Albany. Philip and Catherine had fifteen children together. Among them are:

Additionally, Schuyler is related to:

  • Peter Schuyler (cousin), who commanded the Jersey Blues.
  • Hester Schuyler (cousin), who married Life Guards and later a general in the New Jersey militia who also commanded the Jersey Blues. (William and Hester were the grandparents of Vice President and Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax).
  • Arent Schuyler De Peyster (cousin), a noted Loyalist.
  • Mary (Watts) Johnson (second cousin), loyalist and wife of Colonel Sir John Johnson.
  • Dr. John Cochran (brother-in-law), Director General of the Military Hospitals of the Continental Army.[3]

Schuyler's country home had been destroyed by General John Burgoyne's forces in September, 1777. Later that year, he began rebuilding on the same site, now located in southern Schuylerville, New York. This later home is maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Saratoga National Historical Park, and is open to the public.

Schuyler died at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany on November 18, 1804, and is buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery at Menands, New York.


Statue outside Albany City Hall
  • The Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy in Albany, New York is named in his and his son's honor.
  • A statue of Schuyler, created by sculptor J. Massey Rhind in 1925 stands on the grounds of Albany's city hall.


  1. ^ NYSM: Philip Schuyler
  2. ^ Catherine Van Rensselaer Find A Grave
  3. ^ John Cochran Office of Medical History


  • Barbagallo, Tricia (March 10, 2007). "Fellow Citizens Read a Horrid Tale" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  • Revolutionary Enigma; A Re-Appraisal of General Philip Schuyler of New York by Martin H. Bush; 1969; (ISBN 0-87198-080-0).
  • Life of General Philip Schuyler, 1733-1804 by Bayard Tuckerman; 1903; (1969 reprint ISBN 0-8369-5031-3).
  • Proud Patriot: Philip Schuyler and the War of Independence, 1775-1783 by Don Gerlach; 1987; Syracuse University Press; (ISBN 0-8156-2373-9).
  • compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (pages 37f; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858)The New York Civil List
  • The Real George Washington by the National Center for Constitutional Studies; 1991; 2009 reprint ISBN 0-88080-014-3

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
new office
New York State Surveyor General
Succeeded by
Simeon De Witt
United States Senate
Preceded by
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: Rufus King
Succeeded by
Aaron Burr
Preceded by
Aaron Burr
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: John Laurance
Succeeded by
John Sloss Hobart
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