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pervaded the minds of a large proportion of the civilized community at that time upon this subject, their anathemas will vanish in thin air. The trade was then sanctioned by the king of Great Britain, under whose government captain Whipple acted, and, according to the English law, the king can do no harm. The correctness of the principle was not then disputed or agitated generally, and the trade was ingrafted in the commercial policy of the mother country. That Captain Whipple became convinced upon reflection of the unjustness and barbarity of the traffic, fully appears from his subsequent acts. At the commencement of the revolution he manumitted the only slave he owned, who adhered to his old master during the war, and fought bravely for our liberties. If every man is to be condemned for the errors of youth, whose riper years are crowned with virtue, the list of fame will be robbed of many bright constellations.
In 1759, captain Whipple relinquished his oceanic pursuits, and commenced the mercantile business in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He also married Miss Catharine Moffat, and entered upon a new scene of life. During his numerous voyages he had become celebrated as a skilful navigator and a judicious commanding officer. He had carefully treasured a large fund of useful knowledge by close observation, attentive reading, and by mingling, when in port, with none but intelligent and good company. He had listened, both in England and America, to the unwarranted pretensions of the former, and the increasing complaints of the latter. He had made himself familiar with the chartered rights of his own country, and with the usurpations of the crown over his fellow citizens. He was prepared to take a bold stand in favour of freedom. He took a conspicuous part in public meetings, and was chosen one of the committee of safety. He rose rapidly in public estimation, and the former cabin boy became a leading patriot. In January, 1775, he represented Portsmouth in the Provincial Congress, convened at Exeter, for the purpose of choosing delegates for the Continental Congress. On the 6th of January of the following year he was chosen a member of the provincial council of New Hampshire, and on the 23d of the same month, a delegate to the national legislature at Philadelphia, of which he continued a distinguished, active, and useful member, until the middle of September, 1779. He was present at the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and affixed his name to that sacred and bold instrument with the same fearless calmness with which he would have signed a bill of
He was emphatically a working man, and from his extensive knowledge of business, rendered himself highly useful on committees. As a member of the marine and commercial committees, his practical knowledge gave him a superiority over his colleagues. He was also appointed one of the superintendents of the commissary and quartermaster department, and did much towards correcting abuses and checking peculation. He was untiring in his industry, ardent in his zeal, philosophic in his views, pure in his purposes, and strong in his patriotism. When he finally retired from Congress to serve his coun. try in another and more perilous sphere, he carried with him the esteem
and approbation of all his co-workers in the glorious cause of liberty. On his return to his constituents he was hailed as a SAGE, a PATRIOT, and a HERO.
In 1777 he had received the appointment of brigadier-general, and was put in command of the first brigade of the provincial troops of New Hampshire, acting in concert with General Stark, who commanded the other. At that time General Burgoyne was on the flood tide of his military glory in the north, spreading consternation far and wide. He was first checked in his triumphant career by General Stark, at Bennington, Vermont General Whipple, about the same time, joined General Gates with his brigade, and was in the bloody battles of Stillwater and Saratoga, where the palm of victory was attributed in a great measure to the troops under his command. In the consummation of the brilliant victory over the British army under Burgoyne, which shed fresh lustre on the American arms, General Whipple contributed largely. Colonel Wilkinson and he were the officers who arranged and signed the articles of capitulation between the two commanders. He was also selected as one of the officers to conduct the conquered foe to Winter Hill, near Boston. His faithful negro, whom he manumitted at that time, participated in all the perils of his old master, and seemed as much elated with the victory as if he had been the commander-in-chief.
In 1778, General Whipple was with General Sullivan at the siege of Newport, which was necessarily abandoned in consequence of the failure of the anticipated co-operation of the French fleet under Count D'Estaing, which was unexpectedly injured in a gale of wind. A safe and fortunate retreat was effected in the night, which saved that portion of the American army from total destruction.
In 1780 General Whipple was appointed a commissioner of the board of admiralty by Congress, which honour he did not accept, preferring to serve in the legislature of his own state, to which he had just been elected, and in which he continued for a number of years.
In 1782 he was appointed by Robert Morris financial receiver for the state of New Hampshire, which conferred upon him the highest eulogium for integrity and honesty. The office was arduous, unpopular, and irksome, but he performed its duties faithfully until the 2nd of July, 1784, when he resigned. In conjunction with the many honourable stations he filled, he was appointed a judge of the superior court on the 20th of June, 1782, and on the 25th of December, 1784, was appointed a justice of the peace and quorum throughout the state, which offices he held to the day of his death. He was also one of the commissioners on the behalf of Connecticut, who met at Trenton to settle the unpleasant controversy between that state and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, relative to the lands in Wyoming valley. In all the multiform public duties that devolved upon him, he acquitted himself nobly, and retained, to his last moments, the entire confidence of his country. He possessed a strong and analyzing mind, a clear head, a good heart, and deep penetration of thought. In all the relations of private and public life, from the cabin boy up to the lofty pinnacle of fame on which he perched, he maintained a reputation
FRANCIS HOPKINSON, Esq.
115 pure as the virgin sheet. During the latter part of his life, he suffered much from disease in his chest, which terminated his useful and patriotic career on the 28th of November, 1785. Agreeably to his request before his death, his body underwent a post-mortem examination. His heart was found ossified; the valves were united to the aorta, and an aperture, not larger than a knitting needle, was all that remained for the passage of the blood in its circulation.
This accounted for his having often fainted when any sudden emotion excited a rapid flow of his life stream.
FRANCIS HOPKINSON, Esq.
Times of high excitement, terminating in an important crisis, big with interests and events, tend greatly to the developement of character and talent. Thus, during the revolution, many talents were brought to light and action, that a supremacy of kingly power would have crushed in embryo, and left them to perish, unseen and unknown.
Amongst the actors on that memorable stage we find a variety of characters, showing the powers of mind in all their varied forms and shades, from the sedate and grave Washington, to the sprightly and witty Hopkinson, and the pithy and original Franklin.
FRANCIS HOPKINSON was the son of Thomas Hopkinson, of Philadelphia, born in 1737. His father was a man of superior talents and high attainments, his mother was one of the best of Heaven's gifts. At the age of fourteeen, death robbed Francis of his father, and left his mother to struggle, with limited means, with all the accumulating difficulties of maintaining and educating a large family of fatherless children.
Under her guidance and instruction, young Francis soon evinced talents that promised well for him and his country. She used every exertion to improve his education, depriving herself of all the luxuries, and many of the comforts of life, to advance the interests of her children. Being a devoted christian, she took peculiar care and delight in planting deep the purest principles of virtue, guarding their minds against all the avenues of vice and sin. She taught them the design of their creation, the duty they owed to their God and fellow men, and that to be truly happy, they must be truly good. The foundation being thus firmly laid, she placed her favourite son, the future hope of her family, at the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his studies and graduated. He then commenced a successful 'study of law under Benjamin Chew, Esq., and became a close and thorough student, making great proficiency in his judicial acquirements. He possessed a brilliant and flowing fancy, a lively imagination, a captivating manner, and was partial to polite literature as well as the more solid sciences. He was fond of poetry, music, and painting. He excelled in humorous satire, keen as that of his prototype Swift. Fortunately, these talents were made to subserve, pre-eminently, the cause of patriotism, science and philanthropythe consequent result of deep-rooted morality:
In 1765, he visited London, where he continued two years, making himself acquainted with the feelings and designs of the British parliament towards the Colonies, who had already began to feel oppression.
On his return he married the amiable Miss Aun Borden, of Bordentown, N. J.; and soon found himself surrounded by all the accumulating cares of a rising family. In rearing his children, his mind was often carried back to the manner his venerable and esteemed mother had instructed him during his childhood. He could adopt no better plan or find no brighter example to follow. But the comforts of "sweet home” were soon to be interrupted. His country needed his services, which were cheerfully and promptly rendered. He was among its warmest and most zealous patriots. It was for him to do much in opening the eyes of the great mass of the people to a just sense of the injuries inflicted by the mother country.' This he did by various publications, written in a style so fascinating and humorous as to be universally read; painting, in true and glowing colours, the injustice of the crown and the rights of the colonists. His Pretty Story—his Letters to James Rivington-his Epistle to Lord Howe-his two Letters by a Tory—his translation of a Letter written by a Foreigner-his Political Catechism-and the New Roof, were all productions of taste and merit, and were of vast importance in rousing the people to a vindication of their rights and the achievement of their liberties.
During the administration of Governor Dickinson, political dissensions and party spirit spread their mountain waves over Pennsylvania, threatening to destroy the fair fabric of her new government. The pen of Mr. Hopkinson was again instrumental in restoring order. În an essay, called “A full and true account of a violent uproar which lately happened in a very eminent family,” he exposed the factious partizans to such keen and severe ridicule, that they threw down the weapons of their rebellion much sooner than if a thousand bayonets had been pointed at their breasts.
He was among the first delegates elected to the Continental Congress, and most cheerfully and fearlessly recorded his name on that declaration which has proved a consolation to the friends of FREEDOM, but a Boanerges to the enemies of LIBERTY. Always cheerful and sprightly, he contributed much in dispelling the gloom that often pervaded the minds of his colleagues in the midst of disaster and defeat. He knew the cause was righteous--he believed that Heaven would crown it with triumphant victory and ultimate success. He bad sacrificed a lucrative situation in the loan office, held under the crown, at the shrine of liberty; he had embarked his fortune, his life, and his sacred honour, in defence of his country-and, with all his humour and wit, he was firm and determined as a gladiator. With the fancy of a poet, he united the soundness of a sage; with the wit of a humorist, he united the sagacity of a politician. He succeeded George Ross as Judge of the Admiralty court, and was subsequently one of the United States District Judges; and was highly esteemed for his judicial knowledge, impartial justice, and correct decisions.He filled every station in which he was placed with credit, honour, and dignity. He continued to contribute, by his writings, much towards correcting the morals of society, by ridiculing its evils and abuses-Sarcasm and satire, properly timed, and guided by a sound discretion, are the most powerful and cutting instruments ever wielded by man. Their smart upon the mind is like cantharides upon the skin, but often requires a more powerful remedy to heal it. The wit of Mr. Hopkinson was of a noble cast, flowing from a rich and chaste imagination, never violating the rules of propriety, always confined within the pale of modesty, but keen as a Damascus blade. He was an admirer of sound common sense, and a zealous advocate of common school education. He appreciated correctly the bone and sinew of our country, and knew well that the perpetuity of our liberties depends more upon the general diffusion of useful knowledge, fit for every day use in the various business concerns of life, than upon the high-toned literature of colleges and universities. He admired the industrious tradesman; he respected the honest farmer. In the yeomanry of the soil and inmates of shops, he saw the defenders of our country. MR. HOPKINSON was like some rare flowers, that, while they please by their beauty, they possess powerful qualities to alleviate distress and impart comfort. He was amiable and urbane in his manners; open and generous in his feelings; noble and liberal in his views; charitable and benevolent in his purposes; an agreeable and pleasant companion; a kind and faithful husband; an affectionate and tender parent; a stern and inflexible patriot; a consistent and active citizen; a valuable and honest man.
His career was closed suddenly and prematurely by an apoplectic fit, on the 9th of May, 1791, in the 53d year of his age, and in the midst of his usefulness. He left a widow, two sons, and three daughters, to mourn his untimely end, and their irreparable loss.
The profession of medicine in the hands of a skilful, honest, judicious, upright, and accomplished man, is one of the richest blessings in community, and one of the most honourable employments. Over bis acquaintances, the influence of the Doctor” is greater, when we include all classes, than that of any other profession; consequently, in the cause they espouse, physicians can wield an influence more powerful than many imagine. It is with pleasure I remark, that among the signers of the Declaration of Independence we find a goodly number from this highly honourable and useful profession.