Wilkinson, James

born 1757, Calvert county, Md.
died Dec. 28, 1825, Mexico City, Mex.

American army officer and double agent.

He served in the American Revolution under Horatio Gates and was involved in the Thomas Conway cabal. He settled in Kentucky in 1784 and schemed to ally the Kentucky region with Spain, though he was in fact working against Spain. He served as governor of part of the Louisiana territory (1805–06). He allegedly planned to conquer the Mexican provinces of Spain and conspired with Aaron Burr to establish an independent government; when he betrayed Burr's plan, he was investigated but cleared. In the War of 1812 he commanded U.S. forces on the Canadian border, but his campaign against Montreal failed.

James Wilkinson, portrait by J.W. Jarvis; in the Filson Club Collection, Louisville, Ky.

By courtesy of the Filson Club, Louisville, Ky.

* * *

▪ United States military officer
born 1757, Calvert county, Maryland [U.S.]
died December 28, 1825, Mexico City, Mexico

      American soldier and adventurer, a double agent whose role in the Aaron Burr (Burr, Aaron) conspiracy still divides historians.

      Wilkinson served in the American Revolution (1775–83) as adjutant general under General Horatio Gates (Gates, Horatio) (1777–78). In 1784 he settled in Kentucky, where he was active in the movement for independent statehood. In 1787 he took an oath of allegiance to Spain and began intrigues to bring the western settlements of Kentucky under the influence of the Louisiana authorities. Until 1800 he received a Spanish pension and was officially known as “Number Thirteen.” At the same time, however, Wilkinson worked against the Spaniards. In October 1791 he was given a lieutenant colonel's commission in the U.S. Army, and after the U.S. purchase of Louisiana he became governor of that portion of the territory above the 33rd parallel.

      In his double capacity as governor of the territory and commanding officer of the army, Wilkinson attempted to realize his ambition to conquer the Mexican provinces of Spain and perhaps set up an independent government. In an agreement with Aaron Burr, he sent Zebulon M. Pike (Pike, Zebulon Montgomery) in 1806 to explore the most favourable route for the conquest of the Southwest. Wilkinson, however, betrayed Burr's plan to President Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Thomas), reached an agreement with the Spaniards to neutralize the Texas frontier, placed New Orleans under martial law, and apprehended Burr. In the ensuing trial (for treason) at Richmond, Virginia, Burr was found not guilty. Wilkinson himself was under suspicion and subjected to a series of courts-martial and congressional investigations. Nevertheless, he succeeded so well in hiding traces of his duplicity that in 1812 he resumed his command at New Orleans and in 1813 was promoted to the rank of major general. Later in the same year, by making a fiasco of the campaign against Montreal during the War of 1812 (1812, War of), he finally brought his military career to a dishonourable end. He obtained a Texas land grant shortly before he died in Mexico City.

Additional Reading
Thomas Robson Hay and M.R. Werner, The Admirable Trumpeter: A Biography of General James Wilkinson (1941).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wilkinson, James — (1757, cond. de Calvert, Md.–28 dic. 1825, Ciudad de México, México). Oficial de ejército estadounidense y doble espía. Prestó servicios durante la guerra de independencia de los Estados Unidos de América, a las órdenes de Horatio Gates, y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • James Hardy Wilkinson — (* 27. September 1919 in Strood, Kent; † 5. Oktober 1986 in London) war ein britischer Mathematiker, der die numerische Mathematik vor allem durch Arbeiten zur Rückwärtsanalyse von Rundungsfehlern bereichert hat. 1970 wurde ihm der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James Wilkinson — (* 1757 auf einem Hof in Maryland, USA; † 28. Dezember 1825 in Mexiko Stadt, Mexiko) war ein amerikanischer Politiker, Gouverneur des Louisiana Territoriums, ein Offizier im …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James H. Wilkinson — James Hardy Wilkinson James „Jim“ Hardy „Wilkie“ Wilkinson (* 27. September 1919 in Strood, Kent; † 5. Oktober 1986 in London) war ein britischer Mathematiker, der die numerische Mathematik vor allem durch Arbeiten zur Rückwärtsanalyse von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wilkinson (Name) — Wilkinson steht für Wilkinson Sword, britischer Hersteller von Rasierklingen, Essbesteck und Gartengeräten sowie Schwertern (bis September 2005) Wilkinson County (Georgia) Wilkinson County (Mississippi) Wilkinson ist der Familienname folgender… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James Wilkinson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir James Wilkinson (homonymie). Général James Wilkinson James Wilkinson (1757 – 28 décembre 1825) était un soldat et un …   Wikipédia en Français

  • James Wilkinson (disambiguation) — There have been a number of people known as James Wilkinson:* James Wilkinson (1757–1825), American general and politician * James H. Wilkinson (1919–1986), English mathematician and computer scientist * James Harvie Wilkinson III (born 1944),… …   Wikipedia

  • James H. Wilkinson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir James Wilkinson. Portrait de James H. Wilkinson. James Hardy Wilkinson (27 septembre 1919 – 5 octobre 1986) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • James Wilkinson (homonymie) —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie différentes personnes partageant un même nom. Pour les articles homonymes, voir Wilkinson. James Wilkinson est le nom porté par : James Wilkinson (1757–1825), général et homme politique des États… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • James H. Wilkinson — Infobox Scientist name = James Hardy Wilkinson image width = caption = birth date = birth date|1919|9|27|mf=y birth place = flagicon|ENG Strood, England death date = death date and age|1986|10|5|1919|9|27 death place = residence = citizenship =… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.