Jonathan L. Austin

Jonathan Loring Austin
2nd Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth[1]
In office
Preceded by John Avery, Jr.
Succeeded by William Tudor
10th Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts[2][2]
In office
Preceded by Thomas Harris
Succeeded by John T. Apthorp
Member of the
Massachusetts Senate[2]
Personal details
Born January 2, 1748[1][2]
Boston, Massachusetts[1][2]
Died May 10, 1826 (1826-05-11) (aged 78)[1][3]
Boston, Massachusetts[1]
Political party Democratic-Republican Party
Spouse(s) Hannah Ivers,[4] (March 20, 1756[4] −1818) m. Boston April 4, 1782.[5]
Children James Treacothie Austin[1]
Alma mater Harvard College; 1766.[2]
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Continental Army
Rank Major[1][2]
Battles/wars American Revolution[1][2]

Jonathan Loring Austin (January 2, 1748 – May 10, 1826) was a Massachusetts revolutionary, diplomat and politician who served as the second Secretary of the Commonwealth and the tenth Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts. Austin was the father of Massachusetts Attorney General James Treacothie Austin.[1]

Early life

Austin was born on January 2, 1748 in Boston, Massachusetts.[2] Austin graduated from Harvard College in 1766.[1] After he graduated from Harvard, Austin moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and became a merchant there.[1]

American Revolutionary War

When the war started Austin became a Major in Langdon's Regiment, and later an aid to General John Sullivan.[1]

Massachusetts Board of War

Austin was the secretary to the Massachusetts Board of War until October 1777,[1] when he was sent to Paris by Massachusetts to announce to Benjamin Franklin and his associates the news of John Burgoyne's surrender at the Battle of Saratoga.[6]

Diplomatic mission

Franklin soon afterwards sent him on a secret mission to England, where he met many members of the opposition and furnished them with much information concerning American affairs. The trip was full of incident, and, says one of Franklin's biographers (Morse), “brings to mind some of the Jacobite tales of Sir Walter Scott's novels.” He carried dispatches to Congress from the United States Commissioners in Paris early in 1779, and in January 1780, was dispatched to Europe to secure loans for Massachusetts in Spain and Holland.[6]

Capture and release

That same month Austin was captured by the British while on this mission.[1] He was later released. He failed to secure the loan and he returned in the autumn of 1781.[1]


Austin married Hannah Ivers,[4] the daughter of James[4] & Hannah (Trecothick) Ivers,[4] in Boston, on April 4, 1782.[5]

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Austin served as Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth for two years, from 1806 to 1808.

Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts

Austin served as Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts from 1811 to 1812.



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16  Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1888). "Austin, Jonathan Loring". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. I. New York: D. Appleton. p. 120.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Wharton, Francis (1889), The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Volume I, Washington, DC: United States. Dept. of State: GPO, p. 620.
  3. Wharton, Francis (1889), "The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Volume I", United States. Dept. of State: GPO, Washington, DC, p. 621.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Cutter, William Richard (1908), "Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume IV", Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York City, p. 1717.
  5. 1 2 Otto, Julie Helen (February–March 1992), "Lydia and Her Daughters: A Boston Matrilineal Case Study", NEHGS Nexus, IX (1), Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, p. 25
  6. 1 2  "Austin, Jonathan Loring". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
Political offices
Preceded by
John Avery, Jr.
2nd Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
Succeeded by
William Tudor
Preceded by
Thomas Harris
10th Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
John T. Apthorp
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