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ride the circuits with the court for the term of two or three years, and assisted his brethren with his opinion in the decision of the causes before them. On the twenty-fifth of December, 1784, he was appointed a justice of the peace and quorum throughout the state, under the new constitution. In the fall of 1785, the rapid increase of his disorder compelled him to leave the court, and return home before the circuit was completed. He was immediately confined to his chamber, and the nature of his complaint preventing him from lying in bed, his only refreshment from sleep was received whilst sitting in a chair. The nature and violence of his disorder being beyond the reach of medical art, he expired on the twenty-eighth day of November, 1785, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. * His body was opened, by his special direction, and it was found that an ossification had taken place in his heart; the valves being united to the aorta, a small aperture, about the size of a large knitting needle, remained open, through which all the blood flowed in its circulation; and when any sudden motion gave it new impulse, it produced the palpitation and faintness to which he was liable. His body was deposited in the north burying ground, in Portsmouth. Mr. Whipple was possessed of a strong mind, and quick discernment: he was easy in his manners, courteous in his deportment, correct in his habits, and constant in his friendships. He enjoyed through life a great share of the public confidence, and although his early education was limited, his natural good sense, and accurate observations, enabled him to discharge the duties of the several offices with which he was entrusted, with credit to himself and benefit to the public. In the various scenes of life in which he engaged, he constantly manifested an honest and persevering spirit of VoI. I.-R. r
emulation, which conducted him with rapid strides to distinction. As a sailor, he speedily attained the highest rank in the profession; as a merchant, he was circumspect and industrious; as a congressman, he was firm and fearless; as a legislator, he was honest and able; as a commander, he was cool and courageous; as a judge, he was dignified and impartial; and as a member of many subordinate public offices, he was alert and persevering. Few men rose more rapidly and worthily in the scale of society, or bore their new honours with more modesty and propriety.
MATTHEw THoRNToN, the remaining delegate from New Hampshire, was a native of Ireland, where he was born about the year 1714. Two or three years subsequent to his birth, his father, James Thornton, emigrated to this country with his family, and resided at Wiscasset, in Maine. In a few years he removed to the town of Worcester, in the province of Massachusetts, where he conferred the benefits of an academical education upon his son, whom he designed for one of the learned professions. He accordingly commenced, and prosecuted his medical studies under the superintendence of Dr. Grout, of Leicester, in Massachusetts, and after the usual preparatory course, embarked in the practice of medicine in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The original settlement of this town by natives of Ireland, probably induced him to establish the early scenes of his usefulness among those who proverbially possess warm national remembrances. He rapidly acquired extensive and well-merited reputation as a physician and surgeon, and in the course of several years’ successful practice, became comparatively wealthy.
In the beginning of the year 1745, an expedition against Cape Breton was planned by governor Shirley, and submitted to the legislature of Massachusetts, in which it was adopted by a majority of one. The co-operation of New Hampshire being required, the legislature of that province onced much greater enthusiasm and alacrity, and at once assented to the measure. A corps of five hundred men was raised immediately, prudent officers were selected, and the whole equipped in the best manner that the resources of the province would permit. Dr. Thornton was selected to accompany it as a surgeon, and in the course of the expedition gave evidence of those superior talents which afterwards brought him forwards into public notice in a still more distinguished manner. Colonel William Pepperell, a merchant of unblemished reputation and engaging manners, was appointed to the chief command. Before he accepted this appointment, he consulted with the celebrated George Whitfield, who, in some degree, encouraged the measure, and gave it the appearance of a crusade, by giving as a motto for their flag, Nil desperandum Christo duce. On the first of May, he invested the city of Louisburg. The New Hampshire troops, animated with enthusiastic ardour, partook of all the labours and dangers of the siege, and were employed, during fourteen successive nights, with straps over their shoulders, and sinking to the knees in mud, in drawing cannon from the landing place to the camp, through a morass. A curious exploit of lieutenant general Vaughan, a son of lieutenant governor Waughan of New Hampshire, inspirited the exertions of the besiegers, and damped the courage of the besieged. Having set the warehouses in the north-east part of the harbour on fire during the night, the smoke was driven by the wind into the grand battery, which created so much terror and confusion among the French, that they abandoned the battery, and retired to the city. The next morning, as Waughan was returning with only thirteen men, he crept up the hill which overlooked the battery, and observed that the chimnies of the barracks were without smoke, and the staff without a flag. He then bribed a Cape Cod Indian to crawl in at an embrasure, and open the gate; and, having obtained full possession, addressed the following note to the commanding general: “May it please your honour to be informed, that, by the grace of God, and the courage of thirteen men, I entered the royal battery about nine o'clock, and am waiting for a reinforcement and a flag,” In the mean time, a hundred men were despatched in boats to retake the battery; but the intrepid Vaughan, in the face of a brisk fire from the city and the boats, prevented their landing, with his gallant little party, until reinforcements arrived. The successful result of this siege could scarcely have been anticipated, and arose in a great degree from the unprepared and mutinous state of the garrison. It was conducted in a tumultuous manner; for, although the army presented a formidable front to the enemy, the rear was a scene of confusion and frolic : while some were on duty at the trenches, others were racing, wrestling, pitching quoits, firing at marks or at birds, or running after shot from the enemy’s guns, for which they received a bounty. A vigorous sortie would have caused the destruction of the scattered besiegers. A plan, indeed, for the reduction of a regularly constructed fortress, drawn by a lawyer, to be executed by a merchant, at the head of a body of husbandmen and mechanics, did not afford very flattering prospects of success. However, on the seventeenth of June, mutiny, discontent, and the want of provisions and stores, induced Rochambeau to surrender, and “the Dunkirk of America” was occupied by the New England troops. If any one circumstance, says a writer of that period, had taken a wrong turn on our side, and if any one circumstance had not taken a wrong turn on the French side, the expedition must have miscarried. The news of this important victory astonished Europe; but the enterprising spirit of New England gave a serious alarm to