Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tion of the Federal Constitution. This instrument received his warmest approbation. For the last fourteen years of his life, he was treasurer for the United States Mint, by appointment of President Adams.

Doctor Rush took a deep interest in the many private associations, for the advancement of human happiness, with which Pennsylvania abounds. He led the way in the establishment of the Philadelphia Dispensary, and was the principal agent in founding Dickinson College, in Carlisle. For some years he was president of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery, and also of the Philadelphia Medical Society. He was a founder of the Philadelphia Bible Society, and vice-president of the American Philosophical Society. He was an honorary member of many of the literary institutions, both of this country and of Europe. In 1805, he was honored by the King of Prussia, with a medal, for his replies to certain questions on the yellow fever. On a similar account, he was presented with a gold medal in 1807, from the Queen of Etruria ; and in 1811, the Emperor of Russia sent him a diamond ring, as a testimony of his respect for his medical character.

The pen of Doctor Rush was powerfully employed against some of the vices and habits of mankind. His “ Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits upon the Human Body and Mind," has been more read than any of his works. He was a brilliant and eloquent lecturer; and he possessed in a high degree those talents which engage the heart.

The life of Doctor Rush was terminated on the 19th of April, 1813, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. During his illness, which was but of few days' continuance, his house was beset by crowds of citizens, such was the general anxiety in respect to this excellent man. When at length he died, the news of his decease spread a deep gloom over the city, and expressions of profound sympathy were received from all parts of the country.

EDWARD RUTLEDGE.

EDWARD RUTLEDGE was born in Charleston, South Carolina, November, 1749. After receiving a respectable education in the learned languages, he commenced the study of the law with his elder brother, who, at that time, was becoming the most eminent advocate at the Charleston bar.

When arrived at the age of twenty-one years, Edward Rutledge sailed for England, to complete his legal education. In 1773, he returned to his native country, and began the practice of his profession. He soon became distinguished for his quickness of apprehension, fluency of speech, and graceful delivery. The general estimation in which his talents were held, was evinced in 1774, by his appointment to the General Congress, as delegate from South Carolina. He was at this time but twenty-five years of age.

In the Congress of 1776, Mr. Rutledge took a conspicuous part in the discussions which preceded the Declaration of Independence. At a subsequent date, he was appointed, with Doctor Franklin and John Adams, a commissioner to wait upon Lord Howe, who had requested Congress to appoint such a committee to enter with him into negotiations for peace. Mr. Rutledge was again elected to Congress in 1779; but in consequence of ill health, he was unable to reach the seat of government, and returned home. In 1780, during the investment of Charleston by the British, he was taken prisoner by the enemy, and sent to St. Augustine, where he was detained nearly a year before he was exchaaged.

On the evacuation of Charleston by the British, he returned to the place of his nativity, and, for the space of seventeen years, was successfully engaged in the practice of his profession; rendering from time to time important services to the State, as a member of her Legislature. In 1798, he relinquished his station at the bar, and was elected Chief Magistrate of South Carolina. He continued to perform the duties of this office until within a short time before his death, which took place on the 23d

day of January, 1800. Military and other honors were paid to his memory; and universal regret was expressed at his departure.

ROGER SHERMAN. ROGER SHERMAN was born in Newton, Massachusetts, on the 19th of April, 1721. He was early apprenticed to a shoemaker, and followed the business of one for some time after he was twenty-two years of age. The father of Roger Sherman died in 1741, leaving his family, which was quite numerous, dependent upon his son for support. He entered upon the task with great cheerfulness. Towards his mother, whose life was protracted to a great age, he always manifested the tenderest affection, and assisted two of his younger brothers to qualify themselves for clergymen.

An elder brother had established himself in New Milford, Connecticut. In 1743, the family of Mr. Sherman removed to that place, and he again commenced business as a shoemaker; but, not long after, he entered into partnership with his brother, whose occupation was that of a country merchant. The mind of Roger Sherman was invincibly bent upon the acquisition of knowledge. The variety and extent of his attainments, even at this time, were almost incredible. He soon became known in the county of Litchfield, where he resided, as a man of superior talents, and of unusual skill in the science of mathematics. At the early age of twenty-four, he was appointed to the office of county surveyor. At this time, he had also made no trifling advances in the science of astronomy. As early as 1748, he supplied the astronomical calcula. tions for an almanac, published in New York, and continued to furnish them for several succeeding years.

In 1749, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Hartwell, of Stoughton, in Massachusetts. After her decease, in 1760, he married Miss Rebecca Prescott, of Danvers, in the same State. By these wives he had fifteen children.

In 1754, Mr. Sherman was admitted as an attorney to the bar. The circumstance which led to his study of the profession was merely accidental, and an accident which,

in a mind less decided and persevering than that of Sher. man, would have passed away without improvement. He became rapidly distinguished as a counsellor, and, the year following his admission to the bar, was appointed a Justice of the Peace for New Milford, which town he also represented in the Colonial Assembly. In 1759, he was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the county of Litchfield, which office he held for two years. At the expiration of that time, he became a resident of New Haven, of which town he was soon after appointed a Justice of the Peace, and often represented it in the Colonial Assembly. In 1765, he was made a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and about the same time was appointed treasurer of Yale College, which institution bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

In 1766, Mr. Sherman was elected a meinber of the Upper House, in the General Assembly of Connecticut; and during the same year he was appointed a Judge of the Superior Court. He continued a member of the Upper House for nineteen years, until 1785, when, the two offices which he held being considered incompatible, he relinquished his seat at the council-board, preferring his station as a Judge. The latter office he continued to exercise until 1789, when he resigned it on being chosen to Congress, under the Federal Constitution.

Mr. Sherman was a delegate to the celebrated Congress of 1774, and continued uninterruptedly a member of that body, until his death in 1793. His services during his congressional career were many and important. He was employed on numerous committees, and was indefatigable in the investigation of complicated and difficult subjects. In 1776, he received the most flattering testimony of the high respect in which he was held, in being associated with Adams, Jeferson, Franklin, and Livingston, in the responsible duty of preparing the Declaration of Independence. In the State where he resided, Mr. Sherman continued to receive repeated demonstrations of the esteem with which his fellow-citizens regarded him.

Under the new Constitution, Mr. Sherman was elected

[ocr errors]

a representative to Congress from the State of Connecti. cut. At the expiration of two years, a vacancy occurring in the Senate, he was elevated to a seat in that body. In this office he died on the 23d of July, 1793, in the seventy-third year of his age.

A predominant trait in the character of Roger Sherman was his practical wisdom. Although inferior to many in rapidity of genius, he was surpassed by none in clearness of apprehension, energy of mind, or honesty of action. A reinark of Jefferson bears testimony to the strength and soundness of his intellect. “That is Sherman," said he to a friend, to whom he was pointing out the most remarkable men of Congress, “a man who never said a foolish thing in his life.” Not less honorable to the integrity of his character, is the remark of Fisher Ames, who was wont to say: "If I am absent during the discussion of a subject, and consequently know not on which side to vote, I always look at Roger Sherman, for I am sure if I vote with him I shall vote right."

JAMES SMITH. JAMES SMITH was born in Ireland, but at what period has not been ascertained. His father was a respectable farmer, who removed to America with a numerous family, and settled on the west side of the Susquehanna river.

After being qualified for the profession of the law, Mr. Smith took up his residence as a lawyer and surveyor, near the present town of Shippensburg; but he subsequently removed to the flourishing village of York, where he continued the practice of his profession during the remainder of his life. On the commencement of the difficulties with the mother country, he resolutely enlisted himself on the patriotic side, and became an uncompromising opposer of the insulting aggressions of the British government. He was chosen a delegate to all the patriotic meetings of the province, and was always in favor of the most vigorous and decided measures. He was the first one who raised a volunteer corps in Pennsylvania, in opposition to the armies of Great Britain ; and was elected captain, and afterwards colonel of a regiment. In

« AnteriorContinuar »