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violent excitement occasionea by that measure, in a degree subsided throughout all the colonies. In this calmer state of things the people of Maryland participated. But about the year 1771, great commotion was excited in that province, in consequence of the arbitrary conduct of Gov. ernor Eden and his council, touching the fees of the civil officers of the Colonial Government.
The controversy which grew out of this, became ex. ceedingly spirited. It involved the great principles of the revolution. Several writers of distinguished character enlisted themselves on different sides of the question. Among these writers, no one was more conspicuous than Mr. Carroll. The natural consequence of his firmness in defence of the rights of the people was, that great confidence was reposed in him on their part, and he was looked up to as one who was eminently qualified to lead in the great struggle which was approaching between the colonies and the parent country.
An anecdote is related of Mr. Carroll, which will illustrate his influence with the people of Maryland. By a resolution of the delegates of Maryland, on the 22d day of June, 1774, the importation of tea was prohibited. Sometime after, however, a vessel arrived at Annapolis, having a quantity of this article on board. This becoming known, the people assembled in great multitudes, to take effectual measures to prevent its being landed. At length the excitement became so high, that the personal safety of the captain of the vessel became endangered. In this state of things, the friends of the captain made application to Mr. Carroll, to interpose his influence with the people in his behalf. The public indignation was too great to be easily allayed. This Mr. Carroll perceived, and advised the captain and his friends, as the only probable means of safety to himself, to set fire to the vessel, and burn it to the water's edge. This alternative was indeed severe; but, as it was obviously a measure of necessity, the vessel was drawn out, her sails were set, her colors unfurled, in which attitude the fire was applied to her, and, in the presence of an immense concourse of people, she was consumed. This atonement was deemed satisfactory, and the captain was no farther molested.
In the early part of 1776, Mr. Carroll, whose distinguished exertions in Maryland had become extensively known, was appointed by Congress, in connexion with Dr. Franklin and Samuel Chase, on a commission to proceed to Canada, to persuade the people of that province to relinquish their allegiance to the crown of England, and unite with the Americans in their struggle for inde pendence.
In the discharge of their duties, the commissioners met with unexpected difficulties. The defeat and death of Montgomery, together with the compulsion which the American troops found it necessary to exercise, in obtaining the means of support in that province, conspired to diminish the ardor of the Canadians in favor of a union with the colonies, and even, at length, to render them hostile to the measure. To conciliate their affections, and to bring to a favorable result the object of their mission, the commissioners employed their utmost ingenuity and influence. . They issued their proclamations, in which they assured the people of the disposition of Congress to remedy the temporary evils, which the inhabitants suffered in consequence of the presence of the American troops, so soon as it should be in their power to provide specie, and clothing, and provisions. A strong tide, however, was now setting against the American colonies, the strength of which was much increased by the Roman Catholic priests, who, as a body, had always been opposed to any connexion with the United Colonies. Despairing of accomplishing the wishes of Congress, the commissioners at length abandoned the object, and returned to Philadelphia.
The great subject of independence was, at this time, undergoing a discussion in the hall of Congress. The Maryland delegation, in that body, had been instructed by their Convention to refuse their assent to a declaration of independence. On returning to Maryland, Mr. Carroll resumed his seat in the Convention, and, with the advocates of a declaration of independence, urged the withdrawal of the above instructions, and the granting of power to the delegates to unite in such a declaration. The friends of the measure had at length the happiness, on
the 28th of June, of procuring a new set of instructions, which secured the vote of the important province of Maryland in favor of the independence of America.
On the same day on which the great question was decided in Congress, in favor of a declaration of indepen. dence, Mr. Carroll was elected a delegate to that body from Maryland, and accordingly took his seat on the eighteenth of the same month.
Although not a member of Congress at the time the question of a declaration of independence was settled, Mr. Car-oll had the honor of greatly contributing to a measure so auspicious to the interests of his country, by assisting in procuring the withdrawal of the prohibiting instructions, and the adoption of a new set, by which the Maryland delegates found themselves authorized to vote for independence. He had the honor, also, of affixing his signature to the Declaration on the second of August, at which time the members generally signed an engrossed copy, which had been prepared for that purpose.
A signature to the Declaration was an important step for every individual member of Congress. It exposed the signers of it to the confiscation of their estates, and the loss of life, should the British arms prove victorious. Few men had more at stake in respect to property than Mr. Carroll, he being considered the richest individual in the colonies But wealth was of secondary value in his estimation, in comparison with the rights and liberties of his country. When asked whether he would annex his name, he replied, “ most willingly," and seizing a pen, instantly subscribed “to this record of glory.” “ There go a few millions,” said some one who watched the pen as it traced the name of “ Charles Carroll, of Carrollton," on the parchment. Millions would indeed have gone, for his fortune was princely, had not success crowned the American arms, in the long-fought contest.
Mr. Carroll was continued a member of Congress until 1778, at which time he resigned his seat in that body, and devoted himself more particularly to the interest of his native State. He had served in her Convention in 1776, in the latter part of which year he had assisted in drafting her Constitution. Soon after, the new Constitution went into operation, and Mr. Carroll was chosen a member of the Senate of Maryland. In 1781 he was re-elected to the same station, and in 1788, on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, was chosen to the Senate of the United States.
In 1791, Mr. Carroll relinquished his seat in the Na tional Senate, and was again called to the Senate of his native State. This office he continued to hold until 1804, at which time the democratic party was successful in electing their candidate, to the exclusion of this long tried and faithful patriot. At this time, Mr. Carroll took leave of public life, and sought in retirement the quiet enjoyment of his family circle.
Since the date of his retirement from public office, few incidents have occurred in the life of this worthy man which demand particular notice. Like a peaceful stream, his days glided along, and continued to be lengthened out, till the generation of illustrious men, with whom he acted on the memorable fourth of July, 1776, had all descended to the tomb. He died in 1832.
“ These last thirty years of his life,” says a recent writer," have passed away in serenity and happiness, almost unparalleled in the history of man. He has enjoyed, as it were, an Indian summer of existence, a tranquil and lovely period, when the leaves of the forest are richly variegated, but not yet seared; when the parent bird and the spring nestling are of the same flock, and move on equal wing; when the day of increase and the day of the necessity of provisions are gone; when the fruits of the earth are abundant, and the lakes of the woods are smooth and joyous, as if reflecting the bowers of Eden. Such an Indian summer has this patriot enjoyed : his life has been thrice, yea, four times blessed; blessed in his birth and education, in his health, in his basket, and in his store ; blessed in his numerous and honorable progeny, which extend to several generations; blessed in the protracted measure of his days, in which have been crowded the events of many centuries; and blessed in the wonderful prosperity of his country, whose population has since his birth increased from nine hundred thousand souls to more than twelve millions, enjoy ng the blessings of freemen. It is, perhaps, from the fact, that the world think it quite enough for one mortal that he should be virtuous, prosperous, and enjoy a green old age, that an analysis of his intellectual powers, or a description of his rare attainments, has seldom been attempted ; but talents and attainments he had, that made him one of the most successful of the business men of the momentous period in which he lived-a period when that which the head conceived the hands were ready to execute. There were too few at that time, and those too zealous, to make the proper division of labor. The senator armed for the field, and the soldier met with the Conscript Fathers.
“ Mr. Carroll was an orator. His eloquence was of the smooth, gentle, satisfactory kind, delighting all, and convincing many. It is not pretended that, like John Adams, he came down upon his hearers, as with the thunder-blast from Sinai, raising the tables of independence on high, and threatening in his wrath to break them if they were not received by the people; nor that, like Dickinson, he exhausted rhetoric and metaphysics to gain his end, and was forever striving to be heard; but Carroll came to his subject well informed, thoroughly imbued with its spirit, and with happy conceptions and graceful delivery, and with chaste and delicate language, he, without violence, conquered the understandings, and led captive the senses of his hearers. All was natural, yet sweet and polished as education could make it. He never seemed fatigued with his labors, nor faint with his exertions. His blood and judgment were so well commingled, that his highest efforts were as easy and natural as if he had been engaged in the course of ordinary duties. This happy faculty still continues with the patriarch, for his conversation has now that elegant vivacity and delicacy that characterized the sage Nestor of elder times, whose words fell like vernal snows, as he spake to the people.
"His serenity, and in no small degree, perhaps, his longevity, may be owing to the permanency of his principles. In early life he founded his political creed on the rights of man, and reposing his faith in the religion of his fathers, he has felt none of those vacillations and