Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

nine years.

applying himself assiduously to the study of jurisprudence, and enriching himself both in mind and manners, with the numberless accomplishments of a gentleman, he returned to South Carolina, after an absence of eight or

In 1775, on the raising of the first South Carolina regiment of provincial regulars, Mr. Lynch was appointed to the command of a company. Unfortunately, on his march to Charleston, at the head of his men, he was attacked by a violent fever, which greatly injured his constitution, and from the effects of which he never afterwards wholly recovered. He joined his regiment, but the enfeebled state of his health prevented him from performing the exertions which he considered incumbent upon him. Added to this, he received afflicting intelligence of the illness of his father, at Philadelphia, and resolved to make arrangements to depart for that city, Upon applying for a furlough, however, he was denied by the commanding officer, Colonel Gadsden. But being opportunely elected to Congress, as the successor of his father, he was repaid for his disappointment, and lost no . time in hastening to Philadelphia.

The health of the younger Mr. Lynch, soon after joining Congress, began to decline with the most alarming rapidity. He continued, however, his attendance upon that body, until the Declaration of Independence had been voted, and his signature affixed to it. He then set out for Carolina, i company with his father; but the life of the latter was terminated at Annapolis, by a second paralytic attack.

Soon after this afflicting event, a change of climate was recommended to Mr. Lynch, as presenting the only chance of his recovery. He embarked with his wife, on board a vessel proceeding to St. Eustatia, designing to proceed by a circuitous route to the south of France. Froin the time of their sailing, nothing more has been known of their fate! Various rumors for a time were in circulation, which served to keep their friends in painful suspense; but the conclusion finally adopted was, that the vessel must have foundered at sea, and the faithful pair been consigned to a watery grave.

THOMAS M'KEAN. Thos As M’Kean was of Irish descent, and born in New London Chester county, Pennsylvania, on the 19th of March, 1734. After completing the regular course of school instruction, he was entered as a student at law, in. the office of David Finney, who resided in Newcastle, in Delaware. Before he had attained the age of twenty one years, he commenced the practice of the law, in th Courts of Common Pleas, for the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, and also in the Supreme Court. In 1757, he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania, and was elected Clerk of the House of Assembly

The political career of Mr. M'Kean commenced in 1762, at which time he was returned a member of the Assembly from the county of Newcastle. This county he continued to represent in the same body for several successive years, although the last six years of that period, he spent in Philadelphia.

A Congress, usually called the Stamp Act Congress assembled in New York in 1765, for the purpose of obtaining a redress of the grievances under which the colonies then labored. Of this memorable body, Mr. M'Kean was a member, along with James Otis, and other celebrated men.

A short time previous to the meeting of the Congress of 1774, Mr. M'Kean took up his permanent residence in the city of Philadelphia. The people of the lower counties on the Delaware, were desirous that he should represent them in that body, and he was accordingly elected as their delegate. On tħe 3d of September, he took his seat in Congress. From this time until the 1st of February, 1783, a period of eight years and a half, he was innually chosen a member of the great national council At we same time, Mr. M'Kean represented Delaware in Congress; he was president of it in 1781, and from July, 1777, was the Chief Justice of Pennsylvania.

Mr. M’Kean was, from the first, decidedly in favor of the Declaration of Independence. He subscribed his name to the original instrument, bit, by sme mistake,

[merged small][ocr errors]

it was omitted in the copy published in the journals of Congress.

At the time Congress passed the Declaration of Independence, the situation of Washington and his army in New Jersey, was extremely precarious. On the 5th of July, it was agreed by several public committees in Philadelphia, to despatch all the associated militia of the State to the assistance of Washington. Mr. M'Kean was at this time Colonel of a regiment of associated militia. A few days subsequent to the Declarai'on of Independence, he was on his way to Perth Amboy, in New Jersey, at the head of his battalion.

The associate militia being at length discharged, Mr. M'Kean returned to Philadelphia, and was present in Congress on the 2d of August, when the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence was signed by the members. A few days after this, receiving intelligence of his being elected a member of the Convention in Delaware, assembled for the purpose of forming a constitution for that State, he departed for Dover. Although excessively fatigued, on his arrival, at the request of a committee of gentlemen of the Convention, he retired to his room in the public inn, where he was employed the whole night in preparing a constitution for the future government of the State. This he did without the least assistance, and even without the aid of a book. At ten o'clock the next morning it was presented to the Convention, by whom it was unanimously adopted.

In 1777, Mr. M'Kean was chosen President of the State of Delaware, and during the same year was appointed Chief Justice of Pennsylvania. The duties of the latter station he discharged with great dignity and impartiality for twenty-two years. At the time of accepting these offices, he was speaker of the House of Assembly, and member of Congress. He was chosen president of Congress in 1781; and his conduct in the chair was highly honorable and satisfactory.

Mr. M'Kean was a delegate from Philadelphia, in 1787, to the Convention assembled to ratify the Constitu tion of the United States. He was a principal leader in this assembly, and was an able and eloquent advocate for the adoption of the Constitution ; declaring it to be, in his consideration, “ the best the world had yet seen.”

In 1799, he was elected a governor of the State of Pennsylvania, and his administration continued for nine years. His course was ultimately beneficial to the State ; but the numerous removals from office of his political opponents produced considerable excitement, and perhaps placed his character in an unamiable light. During the years 1807 and 1808, an attempt was inade to impeach him of certain crimes and misdemeanors; and an inquiry was instituted by the Legislature into his official conduci. The result was an honorable acquittal from the charges alleged, and a total vindication of his character.

In 1808, Mr. M'Kean retired from public life, having discharged the duties of a great variety of offices with much ability and reputation. He died on the 24th of June, 1817, in the eighty-third year of his age.

age of twelve

ARTHUR MIDDLETON. ARTHUR MIDDLETON was born in the year 1743, in. South Carolina, near the banks of the Ashley. At the

years,

he

was sent to the school of Hackney, near London ; and two years afterwards was sent to the school of Westminster. Here he soon became a proficient in classical literature, and gained the reputation of being an excellent Greek scholar. After several years spent in obtaining his education, and in foreign travel, Mr. Middleton returned to South Carolina.

Soon after his return, he married, and again embarked for Europe, accompanied by his wife. He possessed a great fondness for travelling, and during this tour visited many places in England, and the principal places of France and Spain. In 1773, Mr. Middleton again returned to America, and settled on the delightful bankı: of the Ashley.

In the spring of 1775, Mr. Arthur Middleton was closen one of a secret committee who were authorized to place the colony in a state of defence; and in June, the Provincial Assembly of South Carolina appointed him a member of the Council of Safety. In the following year he was chosen on a committee to prepare a constitution for the colony. Shortly afterwards he was elected a delegate from South Carolina to the Congress assembled at Philadelphia. Here he had an opportunity of inscribing his name on the great charter of American liberty. At the close of the year 1777, he resigned his seat, leaving behind a character for the purest patriotism and the most fearless decision.

In 1778, Mr. Middleton was elected to the chair of Governor of South Carolina, which office had been left, vacant in consequence of the resignation of John Rutledge, who had refused his assent to the new Constitution formed by the Legislature. But candidly avowing the same sentiments with the late governor, Mr. Middleton conscientiously refused to accept the appointment, under the Constitution which had been adopted. The assembly proceeded to another choice, and elected Mr. Lowndes to fill the vacancy, who gave his sanction to the new Constitution.

In the year 1779, many of the southern plantations were ravaged by the enemy, and that of Mr. Middleton did not escape. His valuable collection of paintings was much injured, but his family were fortunately absent from the place. On the surrender of Charleston, Mr. Middleton was taken prisoner, and, with several others, was sent by sea to St. Augustine, in East Florida, where he was kept in confinement for nearly a year. At length, in July, 1781, he was exchanged, and proceeded in a cartel to Philadelphia. On his arrival there, he was appointed a representative in Congress, to which office he was also elected the following year.

In 1783, Mr. Middleton declined accepting a seat in Congress, but was afterwards occasionally a member of the State Legislature. He died on the 1st of January 1787.

« AnteriorContinuar »