Imágenes de páginas

qua nted with many of the most distinguished men of that country, among whom were Burke, Pitt, and Fox. While in England he was marr.ed to his second wife, the daughter of Dr. Samuel Giles, of Kentbury, with whom, in 1784, he returned to America.

In the year 1786, at the invitation of his friend, Colonel Howard, who had generously presented him with a portion of land in Baltimore, he removed to that city. On this occasion the corporation of Annapolis tendered to Mr. Chase the expressions of their respect in a flattering address, to which he made a suitable reply. In 1791, he accepted the appointment of Chief Justice of the General Court of Maryland.

In the year 1794, a circumstance took place in Baltimore, in which Judge Chase evinced considerable firmness and energy of character. Two men had been tarred and feathered in the public streets, on an occasion of some popular excitement. The investigation of the case was undertaken by him, in the issue of which he caused two respectable and influential individuals to be arrested as ringleaders. On being arraigned before the court they refused to give bail. Upon this the Judge informed them that they must go to jail. Accordingly, he directed the sheriff to take one of the prisoners to jail. This the sheriff declared he could not do as he apprehended resistance. “Summon the posse comitatus, then,” exclaimed the Judge. “Sir," said the sheriff, “ no one will serve."Summon me, then,” said Judge Chase, in a tone of lofty indignation ; "I'will be the posse comitatus, and I will take him to jail.”

In 1796, Judge Chase was appointed by Washington an associate Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, a station which he occupied for fifteen years, and which he supported with great dignity and ability. It was his ill fortune, however, to have his latter days embittered by an impeachment by the House of Representatives, at Washington. This impeachment originated in political animosities, from the offence which his conduct in the Circuit Court had given to the democratic party. The articles of impeachment originally reported were six in number, to which two others were afterwards added. On five of the charges a majority of the Senate acquitted him. On the others a majority was against him ; but as a vote of two-thirds is necessary to conviction, he was acquitted of the whole. This celebrated trial commenced on the second of January, and ended on the fifth of March, 1805.

Judge Chase continued to exercise his judicial functions till 1811, when his health failed him, and he expired on the nineteenth of June in that year. In his dying hour he appeared calm and resigned. He was a firm believer in Christianity, and partook of the sacrament but a short time before his death, declaring himself to be in peace with all mankind. In his will he directed that no mourning should be worn for him, and requested that only his name, with the dates of his birth and death, should be inscribed upon his tomb. He was a sincere patriot, and, though of an irascible temperament, was a man of high intellect and undaunted courage.

ABRAHAM CLARK. THE quiet and unobtrusive course of life which Mr. CLARK pursued, furnishes few materials for biography. He was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, on the 15th of February, 1726. He was an only child, and his early education, although confined to English branches of study, was respectable. For the mathematics and the civil law, he discovered an early predilection. He was bred a farmer, but not being of a robust constitution, he turned his attention to surveying, conveyancing, and imparting legal advice. As he performed the latter service gratuitously, he was called “the poor man's counsellor.”

Mr. Clark's habits of life and generosity of character soon rendered him popular, and on the commencement of the troubles with the mother country, he was chosen one of the New Jersey delegation to the Continental Congress. Of this body he was a member for a considerable period, and was conspicuous for his sound patriotism and his unwavering decision. A few days after he took his seat for the first time, as a member of Congress, he was called upon to vote for, or against, the proclamation of indepen. dence. But he was at no loss on which side to throw his influence, and readily signed the Declaration, which placed in peril his fortune and individual safety.

Mr. Clark frequently after this time represented New Jersey in the national councils; and was also often a member of the State Legislature. He was elected a representative in the second Congress, under the Federal Constitution; an appointment which he held until a short time previous to his death. Two or three of the sons of Mr. Clark were officers in the army during the revolutionary struggle. Unfortunately, they were captured by the enemy. During a part of their captivity, their sufferings were extreme, being confined in the notorious prisonship, Jersey. Painful as was the condition of his sons, Mr. Clark scrupulously avoided calling the attention of Congress to the subject, excepting in a single instance. One of his sons, a captain of artillery, had been cast into a dungeon, where he received no other food than that which was conveyed to him by his fellow-prisoners through a key-hole. On a representation of these facts to Congress, that body immediately directed a course of retaliation on a British officer. This had the desired effect, and Captain Clark's condition was improved.

On the adjournment of Congress, in June, 1794, Mr. Clark retired from public life. He did not live long, however, to enjoy the limited comforts he possessed. In the autumn of the same year, a stroke of the sun put an end to his existence, after it had been lengthened out to sixty-nine years. The church at Rahway contains his mortal remains, and a marble slab marks the spot where they are deposited. It bears the following inscript:

Firm and decided as a patriot, Zealous and faithful as a friend to the public,

he loved his country,

and adhered to her cause
in the darkest hour of her stroggles

against oppression.

GEORGE CL Y MER. GEORGE CLYMER was born in the city of Philadelphia, in 1739. His father emigrated from Bristol, in England, and became connected by marriage with a lady of Philadelphia. Young Clymer was left an orphan at the age of seven years, and after the completion of his studies he entered the counting-house of his maternal uncle. At a subsequent period, he established himself in business, in connection with Mr. Robert Ritchie, and afterwards with a father and son of the name of Meredith, a daughter of the former of whom he married.

Although engaged in mercantile pursuits for many years, Mr. Clymer was never warmly attached to them, but devoted a great part of his time to literature and the study of the fine arts. He became also well versed in the principles of law, history, and politics, and imbibed an early detestation of arbitrary rule and oppression. When all hopes of conciliation with the parent country had failed, he was one of the forernost to adopt measures necessary for a successful opposition. He accepted a captain's commission in a company of volunteers, raised for the defence of the province, and vigorously opposed, in 1773, the sale of tea, which tended indirectly to levy a tax upon the Americans, without their consent. He was appointed chairman of a committee to wait upon the consignees of the offensive article, and request them not to sell it. The consequence was, that not a single pound of tea was offered for sale in Philadelphia.

In 1775, Mr. Clymer was chosen a member of the council of safety, and one of the first continental treasurers. On the 20th of July, of the following year, he was clected a member of the Continental Congress. Though not present when the vote was taken in relation to a declaration of independence, he had the honor of affixing his signature to that instrument in the following month. In December, Congress, finding it necessary to adjourn tò Baltimore, in consequence of the advance of the British army towards Philadelphia, left Mr. Clymer, Robert Morris, and George Walton, a committee to transact such business as remained unfinished, in that city. In 1777, Mr. Clymer was again a member of Congress; and his labors during that session being extremely arduous, he was obliged to retire for a season, to repair his health. In the autumn of the sime year, his family, which then resided in the county of Chester, suffered severely from an attack of the British ; escaping only, with the sacrifice of considerable property. Mr. Clymer was then in Philadelphia. On the a rival of the enemy in that place, they sought out his place of residence, and were only diverted from razing it to the ground, by learning that it did not belong to him. During the same year, he was sent, in conjunction with others, to Pittsburg, to enlist warriors from the Shawnese and Delaware tribes of Indians, on the side of the United States. While residing at Pittsburg, he narrowly escaped death from the tomahawk, by accidentally turning from a road, where he afterwards learned a party of hostile savages lay encamped.

On the occasion of the establishment of a bank by Robert Morris and other patriotic citizens of Philadelphia, for the purpose of relieving the army, Mr. Clymer, who gave his active support to the measure, was chosen director of the institution. He was again elected to Congress in 1780, and for two years was a laborious member of that body. In 1782, he removed with his family to Princeton, (N. J.,) but in 1784, he was summoned by the citizens of his native State, to take a part in their General Assembly. He afterwards represented Pennsylvania in Congress for two years ; when, declining a re-election, he closed his long and able legislative career.

In 1791, Congress passed a bill imposing a duty on spirits distilled in the United States. To the southern and western part of the country, this measure proved very offensive. Mr. Clymer was placed at the head of the excise department in the State of Philadelphia ; but he was soon induced to resign the disagreeable office. In 1796, he was appointed, with Colonel Hawkins and Colonel Pickens, to negotiate a treaty with the Cherokee and Creek Indians, in Georgia. He sailed for Savannah, accompanied by his wife. The voyage proved extremely unpleasan. and perilo is; but having completed the busi

« AnteriorContinuar »