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JOHN WITHERSPOON. John Wr:HERSPOON, alike distinguished as a minister of the gospel, and a patriot of the Revolution, was born in the parish of Yester, a few miles from Edinburgh, on the fifth of February, 1722. He was lineally descended from John Knox, the celebrated Scottish reformer; and was sent at an early age to the public school at Haddington, where he applied himse. closely to the study of classical literature.
At the age of fourteen, he was removed to the University of Edinburgh; and on completing his theological studies, he was ordained and settled in the parish of Beith, in the west of Scotland.
Doctor Witherspoon left behind him a sphere of great usefulness and respectability, in retiring from his native land. He arrived in America in August, 1768, and in the same month was inaugurated President of the College of New Jersey. His exertions in raising the character and increasing the funds of this institution, were successful and indefatigable.
On the occurrence of the American war, the college was broken up, and the officers and students were dispersed. Doctor Witherspoon now assumed a new attitude before the American public. On becoming a citizen of the country, he warmly espoused her cause against the British ministry. He was a delegate to the Convention which formed the republican Constitution of New Jersey; and proved himself as able a politician as he was known to be philosopher and divine. Early in the year 1776, he was chosen a representative to the General Congress, by the people of New Jersey. He took a part in the deliberations on the question of independence, for which he was a warm advocate. To a gentleman, who declared that the country was not yet ripe for a declaration of independence, he replied : “Sir, in my judgment, the country is not only ripe, but rotting.”
For the space of seven years, Doctor Witherspoon continued a delegate from New Jersey to the Continental Congress. Few men acted with more energy or promptitude, or attended more closely and faithfully than he to the duties of his station.
At the close of the year 1779, Doctor Witherspoon voluntarily retired from Congress, and resigned the care and instruction of the students to another. His name, however, continued to add celebrity to the institution, over which he had so creditably presided. But he did not remain long in repose. In 1781, he was again chosen to Congress, and in 1783, he embarked for England, with the view of promoting the interests of the college, for which he had already done so much. He returned to America in 1784, and again withdrew from active life.
Doctor Witherspoon was an admirable model for a young preacher: “A profound theologian, perspicuous and simple in his manner; an universal scholar, acquainted with human nature; a grave, dignified, solemn speaker ;-he brought all the advantages derived from these sources, to the illustration and enforcement of divine truth. His social qualities rendered him one of the most companionable of men.”
Doctor Witherspoon was twice married; the first time in Scotland, at an early age, to a lady of the name of Montgomery; and the second time, at the age of seventy years, to a lady who was only twenty-three. He had several children, who all passed, or are passing, honorably through life. He died on the 15th day of November, 1794, in the seventy-third year of his age. His works have been collected in four volumes, octavo.
OLIVER WOLCOTT. OLIVER Wolcott was born in Connecticut, in 1726. His family was ancient and distinguished; and his an cestors successively held a long list of honorable offices in the State. He was graduated at Yale College, in 1747; and the same year received a commission as captain in the army, in the French war. At the head of a company, which was raised by his own exertions, he proceeded to the defence of the northern frontiers, where he continued until the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.
At this time he returned to his native State, and enter
ed upon the st idy of medicine. He never engaged in the practice of the profession, however, in consequence of receiving the appointment of Sheriff of the county of Litchfield. In 1774, he was elected an Assistant in the Council of the State, and continued in the office till 1786. He was also for some time Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the county, and Judge of the Court of Probate for the district of Litchfield. In 1776, he was chosen a delegate from Connecticut to the National Congress at Philadelphia. He participated in the deliberations of that body, and had the honor of recording his name in favor of ihe Declaration of Independence.
From the time of the adoption of that measure until 1786, he was either in attendance upon Congress, in the field in defence of his country, or, as a Commissioner of Indian affairs for the northern department, assisting in settling the terms of peace with the Six Nations. In 1786, he was chosen Lieutenant-Governor of Connecticut, an office which he continued to hold for ten years, at the expiration of which he was raised to the Chief Magistracy of the State. He died on the 1st of December, 1797, in the seventy-second year of his age.
Mr. Wolcott was possessed of great resolution of character; and his attainments in literature were of a superior order. He was also distinguished for his love of order and religion. In 1755, he was married to a Miss Collins, of Guilford, an estimable woman, with whom he enjoyed much domestic felicity, for the space of forty years.
GEORGE WYTHE. GEORGE WYTHE was born in the county of Elizabeth city, Virginia, in the year 1726. His mother, who was a woman of superior acquirements, instructed him in the learned languages, and he made considerable progress in several of the solid sciences, and in polite literature. Before he became of age, he was deprived of both his parents; and inheriting considerable property, he became addicted, for several years, to dissipated courses and habits of profligacy. But at the age of thirty, he abandoned entirely his youthful follies, and applied himself with inde
fatigable industry to study; never relapsing into any indulgence inconsistent with a manly and virtuous character.
Having studied the profession of law, he soon attained a high reputation at the bar, and was appointed from his native county to a seat in the House of Burgesses. He took a conspicuous part in the proceedings of this assernbly, and some of the most eloquent state papers of the times were drawn up by him. The remonstrance to the House of Commons, which was of a remarkably fearless and independent tone, was the production of his pen. By his patriotic firmness and zeal, he powerfully contributed to the ultimate success of his country.
In 1775, Mr. Wythe was elected a delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He assisted in bringing forward and urging the Declaration of Independence, and affixed his name to that deathless instrument. During this latter year, he was appointed, in connexion with Thomas Jefferson, Edward Pendleton, and others, to revise the laws of the State of Virginia. In the year 1777, Mr. Wythe was chosen speaker of the House o: Delegates, and during the same year was made Judge of the High Court of Chancery. On the new organization of the Court of Equity, in a subsequent year, he was appointed sole Chancellor, a station which he -filled, with great ability, for more than twenty years.
In the course of the Revolution, Mr. Wythe suffered much in respect to his property. By judicious management, however, he contrived to retrieve his fortune, and preserve his cred.c unimpaired. Of the Convention of 1787, appointed to revise the Federal Constitution, he was an efficient member. During the debates, he acted for the most part as chairman. He was a warm advocate for the Constitution, and esteemed it the surest guarantee of the peace and prosperity of the country. He died on the 8th of June, 1806, in the eighty-first year of his age. after a short but very excruciating sickness. By his last will and testament, Mr. Wythe bequeathed his valuable library and philosophical apparatus to his friend, Mr. Jefferson, and distributed the remainder of his little property among the grand-children of his sister, and the sloras whom he lad set free.
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
We, the People of che United States, in order to form a
more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constirution for the United States of America.
ARTICLE I. Sec. I.-All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Sec. II.-1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year, by the people of the several states : and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.
2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of the state in which he shall be chosen.
3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and, excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative: and until such enumeration shall be Wade, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to