William Vans Murray
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William Vans Murray

William Vans Murray
William Vans Murray.jpg
Portrait (1787), oil on canvas, of William Vans Murray (1760-1803), by Mather Brown (1761-1831)
6th United States Minister to the Netherlands

June 20, 1797 - September 2, 1801
PresidentJohn Adams
Thomas Jefferson
John Quincy Adams
William Eustis
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland

March 4, 1791 - March 3, 1797
George Gale
John Dennis
Constituency5th district (1791-93)
8th district (1793-97)
Personal details
Born(1760-02-09)February 9, 1760
Cambridge, Province of Maryland, British America
DiedDecember 11, 1803(1803-12-11) (aged 43)
Dorchester County, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyPro-Administration
RelativesClement Sulivane (nephew)
OccupationLawyer, attorney, diplomat

William Vans Murray (February 9, 1760 - December 11, 1803) was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1788 to 1790, and in the United States House of Representatives from 1791 to 1797. He was the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1797 to 1801.


Early life

William Vans Murray was born on February 9, 1760 in Glasgow in Cambridge in the Province of Maryland. He studied the Law in England.


He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1788 to 1790. He was then elected to the US House of Representatives from the fifth district of Maryland, serving from 1791 until 1793. He represented the eighth district from 1793 to 1797. He was appointed the U.S. Minister (ambassador) to the Netherlands from 1797 until 1801. He supported the U.S. mission to France in peace negotiations.

He wrote a series of six essays, which were published in Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention. Murray rejected the notion, advanced by Montesquieu among others, that virtue was the root of democracy. He addressed his essays to John Adams, then assigned to London as the United States ambassador, and of whom Murray was a "political disciple."[1]

In 1799, Murray was nominated as a US minister to France.[2] He played a major role in securing peace and the end of the Quasi-War with the Convention of 1800.[3]


  1. ^ Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.
  2. ^ McCollough, David. John Adams, 2001. P. 523
  3. ^ Hill, Peter P. William Vans Murray, Federalist diplomat: the shaping of peace with France, 1797-1801 (1971)

Further reading

  • Hill, Peter P. William Vans Murray, Federalist diplomat: the shaping of peace with France, 1797-1801 (1971)

External links

  • United States Congress. "William Vans Murray (id: M001119)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Shoreman Averted War With France - Delmarva Heritage Series
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
Succeeded by

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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