Hopkinson ,.I. Francis, one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence, born in Philadelphia in 1737, died May 9, 1791. He graduated at the college of Philadelphia, having been the first student who entered that institution, and afterward studied law. In 1766 he went to England, where he remained two years, and then settled at Bordentown, N. J. In 1776 he was sent from New Jersey as one of her representatives in congress. During the revolution he distinguished himself by satirical and political writings, which attained great popularity. In 1779 he was made judge of the admiralty of Pennsylvania, which office he held for ten years, until the organization of the federal government, when it expired. As soon as Washington entered upon his duties as president of the United States, he appointed Hopkinson United States district judge for Pennsylvania. He was not only familiar with science as it then existed, but skilled in painting and music, composing popular airs for his own songs. His political writings include "The Pretty Story" (Philadelphia, 1774), "The Prophecy" (1776), and " The Political Catechism " (1777). The best known of his poems are " The Battle of the Kegs," a humorous ballad (new ed., Philadelphia, 1866), and " The New Roof, a Song for Federal Mechanics." The "Miscellaneous Essays and Occasional Writings of Francis Hopkinson" were published by Dobson (Philadelphia, 1792). II. Joseph, an American jurist, son of the preceding, born in Philadelphia, Nov. 12, 1770, died there, Jan. 15, 1842. He graduated at the university of Pennsylvania, studied law, and began to practise at Easton, Pa., in 1791, whence he returned to Philadelphia. In the celebrated case of Dr. Rush against William Cobbett in 1799, he was leading counsel for the plaintiff, and for the defendants in the insurgent trials before Judge Chase in 1800. Subsequently, when Judge Chase was impeached before the United States senate, he chose Mr. Hopkinson to defend him.
From 1815 to 1819 he was a member of the house of representatives from Philadelphia, where he opposed the recharter of the United States bank. In 1823 he resumed the practice of his profession, and in 1828 was appointed judge of the United States court for the eastern district of Pennsylvania. He is best known as the author of the national song "Hail Columbia," written in 1798 for the benefit of an actor named Fox, after an air entitled "The President's March," composed in 1789 by a German named Feyles. He was for many years a confidential friend of Joseph Bonaparte, then residing at Bordentown, and during his absence always managed his affairs.