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who took New Providence by surprise, 'seized a large amount of mu. nitions of war, one hundred pieces of cannon, and took prisoners the governor, lieutenant-governor, and sundry others of his majesty's loyal officers. When the time arrived for the final question upon that sacred instrument which was to be a warrant of death or a diploma of freedom, Mr. Ellery was at his post, and most cheerfully gave it his sanctioning vote and approving signature. With his usual vivacity, he placed himself by the side of Charles Thomson, the secretary, for the purpose of observing the apparent emotions of each member as he came up and signed the important document. He often recurred to this circumstance in after life, and observed, that "oundaunted resolution was displayed in each countenance.” He was continued a member of Congress until the close of the session of 1785, which shows how highly his services were valued by the patriotic citizens of his native state. In 1777, he was one of the important committee of admiralty, the committee for replenishing the empty treasury, the committee upon commercial affairs, of the one to investigate the causes of the surrender of Ticonderoga, and of the one for preventing the employment in the public service of persons not clearly in favour of the American cause. He ably advocated the plan, supposed to have originated with him, and submitted by the admiralty committee, of fitting out six fire-ships from Rhode Island to annoy the British fleet.
When the enemy obtained possession of Newport their vengeance against this patriot was manifested by burning his buildings and destroying all his property within their power. This only increased his zeal in the glorious cause of liberty and scarcely disturbed the equa. nimity of his mind. In 1778, he advocated strongly a resolution making it death for any member of the colonies, alias tories, who should betray or aid in delivering into the hands of the enemy any of the friends of the revolution, or give any intelligence that should lead to their capture. He also supported the plan of confederation adopted by Congress. He spent nearly his whole time in that body.
The ensuing year he was one of the committee on foreign relations, which at that time involved the unpleasant duty of settling some difficulties that existed between the United States foreign commissioners, in addition to the usual diplomatic affairs with foreign nations. He was also chairman of a committee to provide provisions for the inhabitants that were driven from the island of Rhode Island and were entirely destitute of the necessaries of life. The ensuing year he was arduously employed upon most of the standing committees, especially the admiralty committee, the duties of which became very delicate,
powers claimed by some of the states conflicted with those of the general government under the articles of confederation. A committee was created for the express purpose of defining those powers, of which he was the prominent member. Their deliberations resulted in the determination that all disputed claims were subject to an appeal from the court of admiralty to Congress, where the facts as well as the law were to be finally settled. On all occasions and in all situations he was diligent, punctual, and persevering. In the house, whenever he discovered any long faces or forlorn countenances, even
in view of the darkest prospects, his wit and humour were often so vivid as to dispel the lowering clouds that hung gloomily over the minds of dejected members.
In 1782, he was an efficient member of the committee on public accounts, the duties of which had become not only of great magnitude, but of a very perplexing character. Fraud and speculation had rolled their mountain waves over the public concerns, and to do justice to all who presented claims, was no common task. In 1783, Mr. Ellery had the pleasure of being appointed by Congress to com. municate to his friend, General Green, a resolution of thanks and high approbation for his faithfulness, skill and services, accompanied by two pieces of brass cannon taken from the British at the battle of the Cowpens.
In 1784, he was a member of the committee appointed to act upon the definitive treaty with Great Britain. He was also upon the one for defining the power of the board of the treasury, the one upon foreign relations, and the one upon the war office. The next year he closed his congressional course, and, as the crowning glory of his arduous and protracted labours in the national legislature, he advocated with great zeal, forensic eloquence, and powerful logic the resolution of Mr. King for abolishing slavery in the United States. His whole force of mind was brought to bear upon this subject and added a fresh lustre to the substantial fame he had long enjoyed. He then retired to his now peaceful home, to repair the wreck of his fortune and enjoy the blessings of that liberty for which he had so ardently contended. In the spring of 1786, he was appointed by Congress a commissioner of the national loan office for Rhode Island, and shortly after, he was elected to the seat of chief justice of the supreme court of his native state. Upon the organization of the federal government under the constitution, President Washington appointed him collector of customs for Newport, which station he ably filled until be took his tranquil departure to another and a brighter world. The evening of his life was as calm and mellow as an Italian sunset. Esteemed by all, he enjoyed a delightful intercourse with a large circle of friends. Honest, punctual and circumspect, he enjoyed the confidence of the commercial community in his official station, as well as the approbation of all in the private walks of life. During the thirty years he was collector of customs, a loss of only two hundred dollars upon bond accrued to government, and upon that bond he had taken five sureties.
He spent much of his time in reading classic authors, and in maintaining an extensive correspondence with distinguished men. But three weeks before his death, he wrote an essay upon Latin prosody and the faults of public speakers. His bible was also a favourite companion, from which he drew and enjoyed the living waters of eternal life. Always cheerful, instructive and amusing, his company was a rich treat to all who enjoyed it. His writings combined a sprightliness and solidity rarely exhibited. His courtesy and hospitality were always conspicuous, the whole frame-work of his character was embellished with all the rich variety of amiable qualities, uniting beauty with strength, which can never fail of gaining esteem, and of rendering an individual useful in life and happy in death. His demise was as remarkable as it was tranquil. It was that of a christian and philosopher. On the 15th of February, 1820, he rose as usual in the morning and seated himself in the flag bottom chair which he had used for fifty years, and which was a relic rescued from the flames when his buildings were consumed. He commenced reading Tully's Offices in his favourite, the Latin, language, without the aid of glasses, the print of which is as small as that of a pocket bible. On his way to the hospital, the family physician called in, and perceiving that his countenance was cadaverous, felt his wrist and found that his pulse was gone. The physician administered a little wine, which revived the action of the purple current. The doctor then spoke encouragingly, to which Mr. Ellery replied—“It is idle to talk to me in this way, I am going off the stage of life, and it is a great blessing that I go free from sickness, pain, and sorrow. Becoming extremely weak, he permitted his daughter to help him on his bed,
where he sat upright, and commenced reading Cicero de Officiis, with as much composure as if in the full vigour of life. In a few moments, without a groan, a struggle, or a motion, his spirit left its tenement of clay, his body still erect with the book under his chin, as if on the point of falling asleep
Thus usefully lived and thus peacefully died, WILLIAM ELLERY. His whole career presents a rare and pleasing picture of biography, upon which the imagination gazes with admiration and delight, and which cannot be rendered more beautiful or interesting by the finest touches of the pencil of fancy, dipped in the most lively colours of romance and fiction.
DECISION, tempered by prudence and discretion, gives weight to the character of a man. The individual who is always or uniformly perched upon the pivot of indetermination, and fluttering in the wind of uncertainty, can never gain public confidence or exercise an extensive influence. Decision, to render us truly useful, must receive its momentum from the pure fountain of our judgment, and not depend upon others to fill the lamp of philosophy, after our reasoning powers have become matured by experience, reflection and the solar rays of sci
When the child becomes a man, he should think and act as a man, and draw freely from the resources of his own immortal mind. He may enjoy the reflective light of others, but should depend upon the focus of his own, rendered more brilliant by reflectives, to guide him in the path of duty and usefulness, that leads to the temple of lasting fame. The man who pins his faith upon the sleeve of another, and does not keep the lamp of his own understanding trimmed and
burning, is a mere automaton in life, never fills the vacuum designed by his creation, and, when he makes his exit from the stage of action, leaves no trace behind, no memento to tell that he once moved upon the earth in the sphere of usefulness, or bore the image of his God. The
sages of the American revolution have left bright and shining examples of self-moving action and a discreet decision of character. Among those who were roused to exertion by the reflections of their own mind, was Lyman Hall, who was born in Connecticut in 1731. He graduated at Yale College at an early age, studied medicine, married a wife before he arrived at his majority, removed to Dorchester, S. C., in 1752, and commenced the practice of physic. After residing there a short time he joined a company of about forty families, originally from the New England states, and removed to Medway, in the parish of St. John, Georgia, and settled under favourable circumstances. He became a successful practitioner, and was esteemed and admired for his prudence, discretion, clearness of perception and soundness of judgment, united with refinement of feeling, urbanity of manners, a calm and equable mind, a splendid person, six feet in height, an intelligent and pleasing countenance and a graceful deportment. He had only to be known to be appreciated. As years rolled peacefully along, Dr. Hall became extensively and favourably known. He took a deep interest in the happiness of those around him, and in the welfare of the human family. He was an attentive observer of men and things and of passing events, and understood well the philosophy of human rights and the principles of the tenure by which the mother country held a jurisdiction over the colonies. When the rightful bounds of that jurisdiction were transcended, he was one of the first to meet the transgressors and point his countrymen to increasing innovations. As dangers accumulated, his patriotism became fired with enthusiastic zeal, tempered by the purest motives and guided by the soundest discretion. The indecision and temporizing spirit of Georgia, at the commencement of the revolution, has been before described. This was extremely annoying to Dr. Hall, but only tended to increase his exertions in the work of political regeneration. Over the people of his own district he exercised a judicious and unlimited influence. He also attended the patriot meetings held at Savannah, in July, 1774, and in January of the ensuing year, and contributed much to aid and strengthen his co-workers in the good cause, then but just commenced. His constituents became equally enthusiastic, in favour of liberty, and indignant at British oppression, with himself. All the other colonies had united in the defence of their common country against the common enemy. A frontier settlement, and more exposed than any other in the province, he prudently laid the whole matter before the people of his district, and left them to choose freely whom they would serve. They decided against the sovereignty of Baal and declared for liberty. They at once separated from the other parishes, formed a distinct political community, applied to be admitted into the confederation entered into by the other colonies, passed resolutions of non-intercourse with Savannah, only to obtain the necessaries of life, so long as it remained under royal authority, and organized the neces
sary committees to carry these patriotic and decisive measures into effect. Placed upon an eminence like this, they were welcomed into the general compact, and in March, 1775, Lyman Hall was elected to the Continental Congress to represent the parish of St. John, that stood like an island of granite in the midst of the ocean, separate and alone, regardless of the waves of fury that were foaming around her.
This example had a powerful influence upon the other parishes, and from this lump of the leaven of freedom the whole mass became impregnated, and, in July following, Dr. Hall had the proud satisfacfaction of seeing his province fully represented by men honest and true, save Judas Iscariot, alias Zubly. "Georgia now rose like a lion when he shakes the dew from his mane for the fight, and “shed fast atonement for its first delay.” To Dr. Hall may be justly attributed the first impetus given to the revolutionary ball in the district of his adoption. As an enduring monument of praise to the portion of the district in which he resided, which was formed into a new county in 1777, it received the name of LIBERTY.
On the 13th of May this devoted patriot took his seat in that august assembly that then attracted the attention of the civilized world. He was hailed as a substantial and devoted friend of the cause of human rights, and immediately entered upon the important duties of his station, enjoying the full fruition of the light of patriotism that illuminated that legislative hall. He was a valuable man upon committees, and although not a frequent speaker, he was heard, when he did rise, with deferential attention. He reasoned closely and calmly, confining himself to the point under consideration, without any effort to shine as an orator. His known patriotism, decision of character, purity of purpose and honesty of heart, gave him a salutary influence that was sensibly felt, fully acknowledged and discreetly exercised. He gained the esteem, respect and confidence of all the members.
In 1776 he took his seat in the national legislature, and became decidedly in favour of cutting loose from the mother country. He had induced his own district to present an example in miniature, which stood approved, applauded and admired. He knew the justice of the cause he had espoused-he believed Providence would direct its final accomplishment-he was fully convinced that the set time had come for his country to be free. With feelings like these, he hailed the birthday of our independence as the grand jubilee of liberty.
He cheerfully joined in passing the mighty Rubicon, aided in preparing the sarcophagus of tyranny, signed the certificate of the legitimacy of the new-born infant and responded heartily to its baptismal name
Dr. Hall was continued in Congress to the close of 1780, when he took his final leave of that body, and in 1782 returned to his own state to aid in systematizing the organization of her government. mon with many of the
patriots, the enemy had devastated his property and wreaked a special vengeance upon his district. His family had been compelled to fly to the north for safety, and depend upon the bounty of others for their support and comfort. In 1783 he was elected governor of Georgia, and contributed largely in perfecting the