John Alsop was a wealthy New York merchant who, like most other merchants, took a stand against Parliament’s taxation policies in the early 1770’s.
As things began heating up, Alsop became a member of New York’s Committee of Safety and Committee of Sixty.
John stood out as a leader and was chosen to attend the First Continental Congress, where he signed the Continental Association.
Messrs. Alsop & Company
Six months later, Alsop was back in Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress when he was chosen as an original member of the Secret Committee.
The Secret Committee was tasked with the difficult challenge of winning the favor of foreign nations for support during the Revolutionary War.
When Silas Deane was sent to France under the guise of a simple merchant, a company was set up for him to pretend to act as an agent for.
This company was named Messrs. Alsop & Company.
John was the nominal head of this extremely important organization.
Alsop, for his part, was in Congress when the vote for independence took place.
However, John believed independence to be a risky and hasty move and decided to resign his seat instead of going against his better judgment.
As with the rest of the Delegates who did not support independence, this cast doubt on Alsop’s commitment to the Patriot Cause and he took a back seat for the remainder of the war.
When the British took his house in Queens, then his house in NYC, Alsop moved to Connecticut.
Chamber of Commerce
After the British left the United States, John returned to New York City and took over as president of the Chamber of Commerce.
His position in society seems to have been restored as his merchant house again became extremely important and would continue as such for decades.
Furthermore, his daughter, Mary, married Rufus King, himself an important Founder.
Upon his death in 1794, Vice President John Adams referred to one of the ‘great worthies’ who had been such an asset to the fight against Great Britain in the early days of the war.
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