A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


Thomas Cushing

24 March 1725 - 28 February 1788

Thomas Cushing was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a prominent merchant family in 1725. In 1761, he was elected a member of the Massachusetts General Court, where he served for fourteen years. As tensions mounted between Great Britain and the colonies, Cushing favored a moderate political approach. He was hesitant to oppose the Sugar Act of 1764 but he criticized the Townshend Acts of 1767, primarily because they discouraged commerce. When elected a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, Cushing opposed independence, arguing instead for the creation of a colonial union under Great Britain. As a result of his political views, Massachusetts leaders replaced him with another delegate in December 1775. Cushing went on to hold the offices of judge of probate, chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Suffolk County, and justice of the Superior Court.He also served as lieutenant governor to John Hancock, 1780-1785 and 1787-1788, and James Bowdoin 1785-1786.