To many in the congress, Arthur Middleton was a rich, spoiled child. Benjamin Rush described his “cynical temper” while John Adams said “[h]e had little information and less argument; in rudeness and sarcasm his forte lay, and he played off his artillery without reserve.”
Middleton and his cohorts from South Carolina were not opposed to independence in principle; they simply believed that the time was not precipitous. On the July 1 vote, South Carolina was one of the two Colonies to vote against Independence. However, when it became clear that all of the other Colonies were going to vote for independence, they did as well. (One must be civil…)
Middleton served with the South Carolina Militia and was captured in the Siege of Charleston. At the time it was reported that he was imprisoned in Fort Saint Marks in Florida, but he was probably held in house arrest, as most officers were. He was ultimately released in a prisoner’s exchange. He was returned to congress, where he served until he returned home and served in his state legislature.
Arthur Middleton died on New Year’s Eve Day in 1787 and left nine children behind.
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