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General Knox, died at Thomaston, October 25, 1806, aged 56 years. His death wa: Ocasioned by his swallowing the bone of a chicken.
LAURENS, HENRY, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. in the year 1724. He took an early part in opposing the arbitrary claims of Great Britain, at the commencement of the American revolution. When the provincial congress of Carolina met in June, 1775, he was appointed its president; in which capacity he drew up a form of association. to be signed by all the friends of liberty, which indicated a most determined spirit. After the establishment of the temporary constitution in 1776, he was elected vice-president. Being appointed a member of the general congress, after the resignation of Hancock, he was appointed president of that illustrious body, in November, 1777. In 1780, he was deputed to solicit a loan from Holland, and to negociate a treaty with the United Netherlands. But on his passage, he was captured by a British vessel, on the banks of Newfoundland. He threw his papers overboard, but they were recovered by a sailor. Being sent to England, he was committed to the tower, on the 6th of October, as a state prisoner. upon a charge of high treason. Here he was confined more than a year, and was treated with great severity, being denied, for the most part, all intercourse with his friends and forbidden the use of pen, ink, and paper. His capture occasioned no small embarrassment to the ministry. They dared not condemn him as a rebel, through fear of retaliation; and they were unwilling to release him, lest he should accomplish the object of bis mission. The discoveries found in his papers, led to a war with Great Britain and Holland, and Mr. Adams was appointed in bis place to carry out the negociation with the United Provinces.
Many propositions. were then made to him,
which were repelled with indignation. At length, news being received that his eldest son, a youth of such uncommon talents, exalted sentiments, and prepossessing manners and appearance, that a romantic interest is still attached to his name, had been appointed the special minister of congress to the French court, and was there urging the suit of his country, with winning eloquence, the father was requested to write to his son, and urge his return to America; it being farther hinted, that, as he was held a prisoner, in the light of a rebel, his life should depend upon compliance. “My son is of age,” replied the heroic father of an heroic son, 66 and has a will of his own. I know him to be a man of honour. He loves me dearly, and would lay down his life to save mine, but I am sure that he would not sacrifice his honour to save my life, and I applaud him.” This veteran was not many months after released, with a request from lord Shelburne that he would pass to the continent and assist in negotiating a peace between Great Britain and the free United States of America, and France their ally.
Towards the close of the year 1781, his sufferings, which had, by that time, become well known, excited the utmost sympathy for himself, but kindled the warmest indignation against the authors of his cruel confinement. Every attempt to draw concessions from this inflexible patriot having proved more than useless, his enlargement was resolved upon, but difficulties arose as to the mode of effecting it. Pursuing the same bigh-minded course which he had at first adopted, and influenced by the noblest feelings of the heart, he obstinately refused his consent to any act which might imply a confession that he was a British subject, for as such he had been committed on a charge of high treason. It was finally proposed to take bail for his appearance at the court of king's bench, and when the words of the recognizance, “our soyc. reign lord the king,” were read to Mr. Laurens, he distinctly replied in open court, “ not my sovereign!" With this declaration, he, with Messrs. Oswald and Anderson, as his securities, were bound for his appearance at the next court of king's bench for Easter term, and for not departing without leave of the court, upon which he was immediately discharged. When the time appointed for his trial approached, he was not only exonerated from obligation to attend, but solicited by lord Shelburne to depart for the continent to assist in a scheme for a pacification with America. The idea of being released, gratuitously, by the British government, sensibly moved him, for he had invariably considered himself as a prisoner of war. Possessed of a lofty sense of personal independence, and unwilling to be brought under the slightest obligation, he thus expressed himself, “I durst not accept myself as a gift; and as congress once offered general Burgoyne for me, I have no doubt of their being now willing to offer earl Cornwallis for the same purpose.”
Close confinement in the Tower for more than fourteen months, had shattered his constitution, and he was, ever afterwards, a stranger to good health. As soon as his discharge was promulgated, he received from congress a commission, appointing him one of their ministers for negotiating a peace with Great Britain. Arrived at Paris, in conjunction with Dr. Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, he signed the preliminaries of peace on the 30th of November, 1782, by which the independence of the United States was unequivocally acknowledged. Soon after this, Mr. Laurens returned to Carolina. Entirely satisfied with the whole course of his conduct while abroad, it will readily be imagined that his countrymen refused him no distinctions within their power to bestow; but every solicitation to suffer himself to be elected governor, member of congress, or of the legislature of the state, he positively withstood. When the project of a general convention for revising the federal bond of union, was under consideration, he was chosen, without his knowledge, one of its members, but he refused to serve. Retired from the world and its concerns, he found delight in agricultural experiments, in advancing the welfare of his children and dependants, and in attentions to the interest of his friends and fellow citizens.
He expired on the 8th of December, 1792, in the sixty-ninth year of his age.
Colonel Laurens, his interesting son, having executed his commission in France, returned to resume his place in the army. He was killed in the very last days of the war, in an insignificant skirmish, just when the liberties of his country were decided.
LEE, RICHARD, HENRY, president of congress, was a native of Virginia, and from his earliest youth devoted his talents to the service of his country. His public life was distinguishedby some remarkable circumstances. He had the honour of originating the first resistance to British oppression in the time of the stamp act in 1765. He proposed in the Virginia house of burgesses, in 1773, the formation of a committee of correspondence, whose object was to disseminate information, and to kindle the flame of liberty throughout the continent. He was a member of the first congress, and it was he who made and ably supported, the motion for the declaration of independence, June 10, 1776. The motion was seconded by Mr. John Adams, of Massachusetts. Mr. Botta, in his history of the American revolution, says, Mr. Lee, spoke as follows, in support of his motion to declare the colonies independent, and was listened to with the most profound attention:
"I do not know, most prudent men and virtuous citizens, whether among the transactions handed down to us by historians, which originated in civil discord, and excited either a love of liberty in the people or ambitious desires in their rulers, any can be found more interesting and important than that which now engages our attention, whether we consider the future destiny of this free and virtuous people, or that of our enemies, who, notwithstanding this cruel war and unaccustomed tyranny, are our brethren, and descended from acommon stock; or that of other nations, whose eyes are intent upon this great spectacle, and who anticipate from our success more freedom for themselves, or from our defeat apprehend heavier chains and a severer bondage. For the question is not whether we shall acquire an increase of territorial dominion, or wickedly wrest from others their just possessions; but whether we shall preserve or lose forever, that liberty which we have inherited frcm our ancestors, which we have sought to pre- serve by crossing a wide and tempestuous ocean,
and which we have defended, in this land, against barbarous men, contending, at the same time, against the beasts of the wilderness and the discases of an ungenial clime. And if so many and distinguished praises have always been lavished upon the generous defenders of Greek and Roman liberty, what will be said of us, who defend, not that freedom which rests upon the capricious will of an unstable multitude; but on immutable statutes and our tutelary laws; not that which was the exclusive privilege of a few patricians, but that which is the property of all: not that, finally, which is stained by unjust ostracisms or the decimation of armies; but that which is pure, temperate, and gentle, and conformed to the mild manners of the