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ness of the mission, they returned to Philadelphia. Mr. Clymer was afterwards called to preside over the Philadelphia Bank, and the Academy of Fine Arts. He held these offices till the period of his death, which took place on the 23d of January, 1813, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He was of a studious and contemplative cast of mind, and eager to promote every scheme for the improvement of his country. His intellect was strong and cultivated, his character amiable and pure, and his integrity inviolable. He was singularly punctual in the discharge of his duties, and was a man of extensive information and the smallest pretensions.
WILLIAM ELLERY. WILLIAM ELLERY was born in Newport, Rhode Island, December 22d, 1727. He was graduated at Harvard College, in his twentieth year, and entered upon the practice of the law, at Newport
, after the usual preparatory course. He acquired a competent fortune from his profession, and received the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens.
Mr. Ellery was elected a delegate to the Congress of
76, and took his seat in that body on the 17th of May. Here he soon became an efficient and influential member, and during the session signed the Declaration of Independence. Of this transaction he frequently spoke. He relates having placed himself beside secretary Thompson, that he might observe how the members looked, as they put their names to their death-warrant. He tasked his powers of penetration, but could discover no symptom of foar among them, though all seemned impressed with the solemnity of the occasion. In 1777, Mr. Ellery was appointed one of the marine committee of Congress, and is supposed to have first recommended the plan of preparing fireships, and sending them out from the State of Rhode Island. He shared considerably in the common. loss of property, which was sustained by the inhabitants of Newport, on the occasion of the British taking possession of that town.
Mr. Ellery continued a member of Congress until the year 1785, when he retired to his native State. He was successively a commissioner of the continental loan office, a Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Rhode Island, and collector of the customs for the town of Newport. He retained the latter office till the day of his death, which occurred on the 15th of February, 1820, at the advanced age of ninety years. The springs of existence seemed to have worn out by gradual and imperceptible degrees. On the day of his death, he had risen, as usual, and rested in his chair, employed in reading “ Cicero de Officiis.” While thus engaged, his family physician called to see him. On feeling his pulse, he found that it had ceased to beat. A draught of wine and water quickened it into motion, however, once more, and being placed and supported on the bed, he continued reading, until his bodily functions no longer afforded a tenement for the immortal spirit, and discontinued their operations.
Mr. Ellery was a man of much humility of spirit, and manifested an uncommon disregard of the applause of men. He looked upon the world and its convulsions with religious serenity, and in times of trouble and alarm consoled himself and others with the pious reflection of the Psalmist, “ The Lord reigneth.”
WILLIAM FLOYD. WILLIAM Floyd was born on Long Island, December 17th, 1734. His father died while he was yet young, and left him heir to a large estate. His education was somewhat limited, but his native powers being respectable, he improved himself by his intercourse with the opulent and intelligent families of his neighborhood.
At an early period of the controversy between the col. onies and mother country, Mr. Floyd warmly interested himself in the cause of the former. His devotion to the popular side led to his appointment as a delegate from New York to the first Continental Congress. In the measures adopted by that body he most heartily concurred. He was re-elected a delegate the following year, and continued a member of Congress until after the Declaration of Independence. On that occasion, he affixed his signature to the instrument, which gave such a momentous direction to the fate of a growing nation. He likewise served or numerous important committees, and rendered essential service the patriotic cause.
Mr. Floyd suffered severely from the destructive effects of the war upon his property, and for nearly seven years, his family were refugees from their habitation, nor did he derive any benefit from his landed estate. In 1777, General Floyd (he received this appellation from his having commanded the militia on Long Island) was appointed a Senator of the State of New York. In 1778, he was again chosen to represent his native State in the Continental Congress. From this time, until the expiration of the first Congress, under the Federal Constitution, General Floyd was either a member of the National Assembly, or of the Senate of New York. In 1784, he purchased an uninhabited tract of land on the Mohawk river. To the improvement of this tract, he devoted the leisure of several successive summers; and hither he removed his residence, in 1803. He continued to enjoy unusual health, until a few days previous to his decease, when a general debility fell upon him, and he died August 4th, 1821, at the age of eighty-seven years. Gen. Floyd was uniform and independent in his conduct; and if public estimation be a just criterion of his merit, he was excelled by few, since, for more than fifty years, he was honored with offices of trust and responsibility, by his fellow-citizens.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, the statesman and philosopher, was born in Boston, on the 17th of January, 1706. His father emigrated from England, and had recourse for a livelihood to the business of a chandler and soap-boiler. His mother was a native of Boston and belonged to a respectable family of the name of Folger.
Young Franklin was placed at a grammar school, at an early age out, at the expiration of a year, was taken home to assist his father in his business. In this occupation he continued two years, when he became heartily tired of cutting wicks for candles, filling moulds, and running errands. He resolved to embark on a seafaring life; but his parents objected, having already lost a son at sea. Having a passionate fondness for books, he was finally apprenticed as a printer to his brother, who at that time published a newspaper in Boston. It was while he was in this situation, that he began to try his powers of literary composition. Street ballads and articles in a newspaper were his first efforts. Many of his essays, which were inserted anonymously, were highly commended by people of taste. Dissatisfied with the manner in which he was treated by his relative, he, at the age of seventeen, privately quitted him, and went to Philadelphia. The day following his arrival, he wandered ihrough the streets of that city with an appearance little short of a beggar. His pockets were distended by his clothes, which were crowded into them; and, provided with a roll of bread under each each arm, he proceeded through the principal streets of the city. His ludicrous appearance attracted the notice of several of the citizens, and, among others, of Miss Reed, the lady whom he afterwards married. He soon obtained employment as a printer, and was exemplary in the discharge of his duties. Deluded by a promise of patronage from the governor, Sir William Keith, Franklin visited England to procure the necessary materials for establishing a printing-office in Philadelphia. He was accompanied by his friend Ralph, one of his literary associates. On their arrival in London, Franklin found that he had been deceived ; and he was obliged to work as a journeyman for eighteen months. In the British metropolis, the morals of neither of our adventurers were improved. Ralph conducted as if he had forgotten that he had a wife and child across the Atlantic; and Franklin was equally unmindful of his pledges to Miss Reed. About this period he published * A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain.”
In 1726, Franklin returned to Philadelphia ; not long after which, he entered into business as a printer and stationer, and, in 1728, established a newspaper. In 1730, he married the lady to whom he was engaged previous to his leaving America. In 1732, he began to publish “ Poor Richard's Almanac," a work which was continued for twenty-five years, and which, besides answering the purposes of a calendar, contained many excellent prudential maxims, which rendered it very useful and popular. Ten thousand copies of this almanac were published every year in America, and the maxims contained in it were often translated into the languages of Europe.
The political career of Franklin commenced in 1736, when he was appointed clerk to the General Assembly of Pennsylvania. His next office was the valuable one of postmaster; and he was subsequently chosen as a representative. He assisted in the establishment of the American Philosophica Society, and of a college, which now exists under the tit.e of the University of Pennsylvania. Chiefly by his exertions, a public library, a fire-preventing company, an insurance company, and a voluntary association for defence, were established at Philadelphia. He was chosen a member of the Provincial Assembly, to which body he was annually re-elected for ten years. Philosophy now began to attract his attention, and, in 1749, he made those inquiries into the nature of electricity, the results of which placed him high among the men of science of the age. The experiment of the kite is well known. He had conceived the idea of explaining the phenomena of lightning upon electrical principles. While waiting for the erection of a spire for the trial of his theory, it occurred to him that he might have more ready access to the regions of the clouds by means of a common kite. He accordingly preparec one for the purpose, affixing to the upright stick an iror point. The string was, as usual, of hemp, except the lower end, which was silk, and where the hempen part terminated, a key was fastened. With this simple apparatus, on the appearance of a thunder-cloud, he went into the fields, accompanied by his son, to whom alone he communica:ed his intentions, dreading probably the ridicule which frequently attends unsuccessful attempts