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bringing a Quaker into the colony under a penalty of one hundred pounds. The next year a law was passed by the same body, inflicting the most barbarous cruelties upon the members of this sect, such as cutting off their ears, boring their tongues with a hot iron, &c., unless they would desist from their mode of worship and doff their straight coats and ugly bonnets. In 1669, a law was passed banishing them on pain of death, and four of them who refused to go were executed. Some historians have endeavoured to excuse this cruelty on the ground that the Quakers provoked their persecutors by promulgating their doctrines too boldly. This reason is too far-fetched, and shrinks at once from the scrutiny of charity and justice. No apology can be found until we can convert the baser passions of human nature into virtues. By recurring to the ignorance, bigotry and fanaticism of that period, we can readily discover why such a course was pursued, but this affords no healing balm for the mind of a true philanthropist. We can only regret the past and rejoice that charity has so far triumphed as to restore men to a degree of reason that has paralyzed persecution unto blood for opinion's sake-one of the happy traits of a free and liberal
government. To avoid the penalties of the “Platform" and the dangers of Indian incursions, Aaron Hewes and Providence his wife, the parents of the subject of this narrative, took up their residence near Kingston, New Jersey, where they lived peacefully and died happily. When they crossed the Housatonic river in their flight, they were so closely pursued by the savages that Providence was severely wounded in the neck by a bullet from one of their guns.
JOSEPH HEWES, their son, was born at the residence of his parents near Kingston, in 1730. After receiving a good education in the Princeton school, he commenced his commercial apprenticeship in the city of Philadelphia. After completing this he entered into the mercantile business and soon became an enterprising and successful merchant. For several years he spent his time alternately at Philadelphia and New York, and during that period was extensively engaged in the shipping business.
He was a man of a lively disposition, penetrating mind and industrious in all his undertakings. He was fond of social intercourse, convivial parties, and sometimes joined in the dance. His figure was elegant, his manners polished, his countenance intelligent and attractive, and his whole course highly honourable and just.
At the age of thirty he located at Edenton, North Carolina, and was soon after called to a seat in the assembly of that province. He became a substantial and useful member, but made no pretensions to oratory. He was a faithful working man, a correct voter, and was uniformly in the assembly until elected to Congress.
When the revolutionary storm commenced, Mr. Hewes was among those who pledged their lives, fortunes and honours to support the cause of equal rights. He was a member of the Congress of 1774, and was placed upon the important committee appointed to report the rights of the American colonies, the manner they had been infringed and the best means of obtaining their restoration. From this fact, and
from the report of the committee, we may infer that Mr. Hewes was possessed of a clear head, a sound and deliberate judgment, and understood well the principles of constitutional law and chartered privileges.
The report of this committee is a lucid and elaborate document. By referring to the declaration of independence the reader will learn the features of its first part-by referring to the instructions from the primary convention of the delegates of Pennsylvania, in the biography of James Smith, the nature of the second part will be seen. liminary means of obtaining redress are fully set forth in the following extract. After reciting the injuries of the mother country, the report proceeds,
“Therefore we do, for ourselves and the inhabitants of the several colonies whom we represent, firmly agree and associate under the sacred ties of virtue, honour and love of our country, as follows:
First. That from and after the first day of December next, we will not import into British America, from Great Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares or merchandise whatsoever, or from any other place any such goods, wares or merchandise as shall have been exported from Great Britain or Ireland; nor will we, after that day, import any East India tea from any part of the world, nor any molasses, sirups, coffee, or pimento from the British plantations or from Dominico, nor wine from Madeira or the West Indies, nor foreign indigo.
Second. We will neither import nor purchase any slaves imported after the first day of December next; after which time we will wholly discontinue the slave trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it.
Third. As a non-consumption agreement, strictly adhered to, will be an effectual security for the observation of the non-importation, we as above solemnly agree and associate, that from this day we will not purchase or use any tea imported on account of the East India Company, or any on which a duty has been or shall be paid-and from the first day of March next, we will not purchase or use any East India tea whatever; nor will we, nor shall any person for or under us, purchase or use any of these goods, wares or merchandise we have agreed not to import, which we shall know, or have cause to suspect, were imported after the first day of December, except such as come under the rules and directions of the tenth article hereafter mentioned.
Fourth. The earnest desire we have not to injure our fellow subjects in Great Britain, Ireland or the West Indies, induces us to suspend a non-importation until the tenth day of September, 1775, at which time, if the said acts and parts of acts of the British parliament thereinafter mentioned* are not repealed, we will not, directly or indirectly, export any merchandise or commodities whatsoever to Great Britain, Ireland or the West Indies, except rice to Europe.
Fifth. Such as are merchants, and use the British and Irish trade, will give orders as soon as possible to their factors, agents and cor
* See biography of James Smith, p. 260, for the acts referred to in substance.
respondents in Great Britain and Ireland, not to ship any goods to them on any pretence whatsoever, as they cannot be received in America; and if any merchants residing in Great Britain or Ireland shall, directly or indirectly, ship any goods, wares or merchandise for America, in order to break the said non-importation agreement, or in any manner contravene the same, on such unworthy conduct being well tested, it ought to be made public; and on the same being so done, we will not from henceforth have any commercial connexion with such merchant.
Sixth. That such as are owners of vessels will give positive orders to their captains or masters, not to receive on board their vessels any goods prohibited by the said non-importation agreement, on pain of immediate dismission from their service.
Seventh. We will use our utmost endeavours to improve the breed of sheep and increase their number to the greatest extent, and to that end we will kill them as seldom as may be, especially those of the most profitable kind, nor will we export any to the West Indies or elsewhere; and those of us who are, or may become overstocked with or can conveniently spare any sheep, will dispose of them to our neighbours, especially to the poorer sort, on moderate terms.
Éighth. We will in our several stations encourage frugality, economy and industry, and promote agriculture, arts and the manufactures of this country, especially that of wool, and will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays, and other expensive diversions and
entertainments, and on the death of any relation or friend, none of us or any of our families will
any further mourning dress than a black crape or ribbon on the arm or hat for gentlemen, and a black ribbon and necklace for ladies, and we will discontinue the giving of gloves and scarfs at funerals.
Ninth. Such as are venders of goods and merchandise will not take the advantage of the scarcity of goods that may be occasioned by this association, but will sell the same at the rate we have been respectively accustomed to do for twelve months last past: and if any vender of goods or merchandise shall sell any such goods on higher terms, or shall in any manner or by any device whatsoever depart from this agreement, no person ought, nor will any of us deal with any such person, or his or her factor or agent at any time hereafter, for any commodity whatever.
Tenth. In case any merchant, trader, or other persons shall import any goods or merchandise after the first day of December, and before the first day of February next, the same ought forthwith, at the election of the owners, to be either re-shipped or delivered up to the committee of the county or town wherein they shall be imported, to be stored at the risk of the importer, until the non-importation agreement shall cease, or be sold under the direction of the committee aforesaid; and in the last mentioned case the owner or owners of such goods shall be reimbursed out of the sales, the first cost and charges, the profits, if any, to be applied towards relieving and employing such poor inhabitants of the town of Boston as are immediate sufferers by the Boston port bill, and a particular account of all goods so returned, stored or sold, to be inserted in the public paper; and if any goods or merchandise shall be imported after the said first day of February, the same ought forthwith to be sent back again without breaking any of the packages thereof.
Eleventh. That a committee be chosen in every county, city and town, by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in the legislature, whose business it shall be attentively to observe the conduct of all persons touching this association, and when it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of a majority of any such committee, that any person within the limits of their appointment has violated this association, that such majority do forth with cause the truth of the case to be published in the gazette, to the end that all such foes to the rights of British America
may be publicly known and universally condemned as the enemies of American liberty, and henceforth we respectively will break off all dealings with him or her.
Twelfth. That the committee of correspondence in the respective colonies do frequently inspect the entries of the custom house, and inform each other from time to time of the true state thereof, and of every other material circumstance that may occur relative to this association.
Thirteenth. That all manufactures of this country be sold at reasonable prices, so that no under-advantage be taken of a future scarcity of goods.
Fourteenth. And we do further agree and resolve, that we will have no trade, commerce, dealings, or intercourse whatsoever with any colony or province in North America which shall not accede to, or which shall have hereafter violated this association, but will hold them as unworthy of the rights of freemen and inimicable to the rights of their country,
And we do solemnly bind ourselves and our constituents, under the ties aforesaid, to adhere to this association until such parts of the several acts of parliament passed since the close of the war, as impose or continue duties on tea, wine, molasses, sirups, coffee, sugar, pimento, indigo, foreign paper, glass, and painters' colours, imported into America, and extend the powers of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subjects of trial by jury, authorize the judge's certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages that he might otherwise be liable to from a trial by his peers, require oppressive security from a claimant of ships or goods before he shall be allowed to defend his property, are repealed.
And we recommend it to the provincial conventions and to the committee in the respective colonies, to establish such further regulations as they may think proper for carrying into execution this association."
Upon this report all the subsequent proceedings of the Congress were predicated. We may readily suppose, that nothing but the most unparalleled violations of their rights, could induce men to enter into an agreement like the above. By every true patriot it was closely adhered to.
After a session of about two months, Congress adjourned to meet the ensuing May, when Mr. Hewes again took his seat in that body and became conspicuous as a member of important committees. He was continued at this post of honour the ensuing year and had the satisfaction of hearing the discussion upon the momentous question of a separation from Great Britain. He was decidedly in favour of the measure, and when the set time arrived to strike for liberty, he sanctioned the declaration of independence by his vote and signature.
He now became a very conspicuous actor upon committees. His industry, his accurate knowledge of business, his systematic mode of performing all his duties, gained for him the esteem and admiration of all the members. It was remarked by one of his cotemporaries: “Mr. Hewes was remarkable for a devotedness to the business of this” (the secret) "committee, as ever the most industrious merchant was to his counting-house."
He was upon the committee of claims, upon the secret committee, upon the one to consult with Washington relative to military operations, upon that of the treasury and several others. The one upon which he rendered the most important services, was that which had charge of fitting out a naval armament. The whole business eventually devolved upon him and he was, de facto, the first secretary of the navy. With the funds placed in his hands he fitted out with great despatch eight armed vessels
. He was also very active in obtaining supplies for his own state. Indeed so deeply did he feel for his
constituents in North Carolina, that he declined his appointment to Congress in 1777, and repaired to her assistance, where he remained until July, 1779, when he again resumed his seat in the national legislature. He was then worn down with fatigue and in poor health. He endeavoured to resume his active duties, but disease had already shaken his physical powers and sown the seeds of death. He continued to attend in the house, when able, until the 29th of October, when he saw its hall for the last time. On the 10th of November, his immortal 'spirit left its earthly tabernacle and returned to Him who gave it. His premature death was deeply lamented and sincerely mourned. Congress passed the usual resolutions and its members wore the mourning badge for thirty days. His remains were buried in Christ Church yard, Philadelphia, followed by all the members and officers of Congress, the general assembly and supreme executive council of Pennsylvania, the minister plenipotentiary of France, the military and a large concourse of other persons. The funeral ceremony was performed by the Reverend Mr. White, since Bishop White, and the chaplain of the Continental Congress. His dust reposes
peace, his name is recorded on the chart of our liberty, his fame will live until the last vestige of American history shall be blotted from the world. Not a blemish rests upon his private character or public reputation.