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Historical Biography

Attorney General: Richard Rush

Rush, Richard
8th Attorney General, -
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Richard Rush, the youngest Attorney General, was born on August 29, 1780, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Dr. Benjamin Rush, who signed the Declaration of Independence. Rush entered Princeton in 1793 at the age of 13 and graduated in 1797. He went on to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1800. In 1811 he served as attorney general of Pennsylvania.

President Madison appointed him Comptroller of the Treasury. After declining the office of the Secretary of the Treasury, he was appointed Attorney General of the United States under President Madison on February 10, 1814. For a short time in 1817 he also performed the duties of the Secretary of State, but was never formally appointed to that position. From 1817 to 1825 he served as Minister to England. He was recalled to be Secretary of the Treasury under President John Quincy Adams, and also was Adams' vice presidential running mate. In 1847 he was President Polk's choice for Minister to France, and held that office for four years. He also served on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. He was author of A Residence in the Court of London, and other literary works. He died in Philadelphia on July 30, 1859.

About the Artist: Thomas Sully (1783-1872)
Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Sully was born in Lincolnshire, England, and was brought to the U.S. by his parents at the age of 9. He began studying art at 12. He settled in Philadelphia in 1809. In 1809-1810, Sully visited Benjamin West and Sir Thomas Lawrence in London. The two greatly influenced his style. The artist was noted for his elegant and refined portraits. His portrait of Attorney General Rush was copied from one by Chester Harding in 1858.
Updated October 24, 2022