Rawlins Lowndes, an American lawyer, born in the British West Indies in 1722, died in Charleston, S. C, Aug. 24, 1800. His parents settled when he was very young in Charleston, where he received his education, adopted the legal profession, and practised with great success. In 1766 he was appointed by the crown associate judge. Within three months he delivered the opinion of the majority of the court, but contrary to that of the chief justice, in favor of the legality of public proceedings without the employment of stamped paper. In 1768 he moved a resolution in the colonial assembly for the erection of a statue of William Pitt, in acknowledgment of his services to the colonies and the British constitution. The measure was carried, and the statue still remains in Charleston. In 1775 he was elected a member of the council of safety, and of the committee appointed under it. In 1776 he. was one of a committee of 11 appointed to draft a constitution for the province, and subsequently a member of the legislative council created by the constitution. In 1778 he was elected president of the province, and gave his official assent to the new constitution.
He exerted himself energetically to resist the advance of the British forces, but, having fewer than 10,000 men in the field, was unable to resist overwhelming forces by sea and land; and after the capture of Charleston he remained for some time a prisoner. In the assembly of South Carolina he strenuously opposed the motion to accept the federal constitution, objecting to the restriction which it imposed upon the slave trade, which he declared to be the great source of the strength and prosperity of the south; to the clause giving power to congress to regulate commerce; and to the centralization of power which would accrue to the federal government. In the closing sentence of one of his speeches he said: " I wish for no other epitaph than this: ' Here lies one who opposed the federal constitution, holding it to be fatal to the liberties of his country.'" At the close of the debate the resolution was carried against him by only a single vote. - His son William Jones, born Feb. 7, 1782, was a member of congress from 1810 to 1822, when he resigned, and died at sea, Nov. 22, while on a voyage to Europe for his health.
He was prominent in debate, strongly supported the war of 1812, was chairman of the committee of ways and means from 1818 to 1822, and was regarded by his friends as the most suitable person for president.