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Henry Marchant (April 9, 1741 – August 30, 1796) was American lawyer from Newport, Rhode Island and United States federal judge. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1779, and was a signer of the Articles of Confederation for Rhode Island.

Henry Marchant
38th Attorney General of Rhode Island
In office
GovernorJoseph Wanton
Nicholas Cooke
Preceded byOliver Arnold
Succeeded byWilliam Channing
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island
In office
Appointed byGeorge Washington
Preceded bynew seat
Succeeded byBenjamin Bourne
Personal details
BornApril 9, 1741
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
DiedAugust 30, 1796 (aged 55)
Newport, Rhode Island
Resting placeCommon Burying Ground, Newport
OccupationDeputy, Assistant, Attorney General



Born in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Marchant received an A.M. from the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania in 1762. He read law to enter the bar in 1767, and was in private practice in Newport, Rhode Island from 1767 to 1777. Marchant was the state attorney general of Rhode Island from 1771 to 1777. He returned to private practice while also farming, in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, from 1780 to 1784. Marchant was a Delegate to the Rhode Island General Assembly from 1784 to 1790.

On July 2, 1790, Marchant was nominated by President George Washington to be the first judge of the newly created United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.[1] Marchant was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 3, 1790, and received his commission the same day, serving until his death in 1796.

He was a member of Second Congregational Church of Newport.[2] His farm, the Henry Marchant Farm, is located in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Marchant died in Newport, Rhode Island and is buried in the city's Common Burial Ground.

Notable case decisionsEdit


  1. ^ Created by 1 Stat. 128
  2. ^ Charles Francis Adams: The works of John Adams; Volume 8; Little-Brown; 1853; p. 61. Quoting "William Ellery and others to John Adams," Newport, RI, May 26, 1783

Further readingEdit

  • Lovejoy, David S. "Henry Marchant and the Mistress of the World." William and Mary Quarterly 3d ser., 12 (July 1955): 375–98.

External linksEdit

  • United States Congress. "Henry Marchant (id: M000125)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Henry Marchant at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Oliver Arnold
Attorney General of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
William Channing
Preceded by
(new seat)
Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Benjamin Bourne