A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


Joseph Galloway

c. 1731 - 29 August 1803

Joseph Galloway was born to prominent merchant family in West River, Maryland, but later studied and practiced law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Well-educated and politically ambitious, he served in the Pennsylvania Assembly from 1756 to 1776. A supporter of the French and Indian War, he sympathized with Great Britain's efforts to raise money in the colonies, although he believed that Parliament's taxation policies and restrictions on American commerce were unconstitutional. While serving on the First Continental Congress, he argued that a written constitution for the empire would restore harmony between Britain and the colonies. Delegates rejected this line of reasoning, prompting Galloway to refuse service in the Second Continental Congress. His convictions made him turn instead to assist General Howe during the Philadelphia campaign. When Continental forces captured the city in 1778, he fled to Britain. In 1793, Pennsylvania authorities refused his petition to return to America, forcing Galloway to spend the remainder of his life helping Loyalists abroad.