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tion had been totally broken down, and he was able to give little more assistance to the public councils of the nation.
His end was rapidly approaching; the last vote given by him in congress was on the twenty-ninth of October, after which he was wholly confined to his chamber until the tenth of November, when lie expired, in the fiftieth year of his age.
On the day of his death, congress being informed of the event, and of the intention of his friends to inter his remains on the following day, resolved that they would attend the funeral with a crape round the left arm, and continue in mourning for the space of one month, that a committee should be appointed to superintend the ceremony, the Rev. Mr. White, their chaplain, should ofliciate on the occasion, and that invitations should be sent to the general assembly and the president and supreme executive council of Pennsyl- . vania, the minister plenipotentiary of France, and other persons of distinction.
The funeral ceremonies were accordingly conducted with all the pomp and display which the simple manners and sobriety of temper, then prevalent in Philadelphia, would admit. A large concourse of people, including all the distinguished personages, civil and military, witnessed the interment of his remains in the burial ground of Christ church, and the outward show of respect to his memory, was not, in this instance, forced or insincere.
Mr. Hewes possessed a prepossessing figure and countenance, with great amenity of manners, and an unblemished reputation for probity and honour. He left a considerable fortune, but no children to inherit it.
His death may be called untimely, when we reflect on the brighter prospects that soon after opened on the country to
whose happiness he devoted himself with so much zcal, and in which he would bave found a cause of infinite gratitudo and joy; but in other respects, his end was more seasonable than that of some of his compatriots who lived to endure old age, infirmity, and want; he was taken in the meridian of his usefulness, but not before he had performed enough of service to this nation, to entitle him to her enduring and grateful recollection.
The life of Joun Penn affords another example of the natural powers of the mind rising in triumph over the deficiencies of education, and marching perseveringly towards honours and distinctions, in spite of those obstacles which are most likely to restrain its energy, and paralize its efforts. While we contemplate, with wonder, the ascendency of the divine spark which animates and invigorates the mind of man, and teaches it to soar above the level to which it has been restricted by negligence or necessity, we cannot but admire the artificial exertions of the individual, without whose earnest co-operation, it would have been extinguished by ignorance and imbecility. Few, indeed, are the instances in which a youth of literary deprivation leads to a life of professional distinction and political celebrity. I do not alludo, of course, to the political demagogue, who rises upon the prejudices of the people, and, however ignorant he may be, supports himself, for a time, by the violence of his opinions, the bitterness of his vociferation, and the malignant spirit of his partisans. A youth of idleness, ignorance, and depravity, is the foundation upon which the principles of such a man are formed. The honest and efficient politician, whose elevation and integrity are independent of the vacilla
tion of party, is formed in the school of virtue. His early years are devoted to the study of mankind, and to the acquisition of knowledge from the lore of books; with the expan. sion of his mind he imbibes the philosophy of jurisprudence, the science of government, and their proper adaptation tu the natural, the moral, and the political conditions of man. The basis of his elevation and his fame is not the transient breath of popular applause; they rest upon matured knowJedge, fixed principles, and immutable laws. The formation of such a member of society is generally slow, but unfailing, commencing in the dawn of youth, and gathering accumulated energy as it moves onwards towards maturity. But brilliant exceptions are frequently discovered, and men who have passed their youthful days in obscurity and compulsory idleness, as it regards the improvement of the mind, have emerged, at a protracted epoch of life, from the darkness which surrounded them, and exhibited the triumphs of genius over every obstacle which impedes its progress.
Such a man was John Penn, a member of that illustrious assembly which originated and perfected the charter of our independence. Although the veil of oblivion is thrown over the particulars of his useful life, and few materials exist for the biographer, yet enough circumstances have been preserved to suggest a few reflections capable of invigorating the capacities more frequently planted by nature, than unfolded by cultivation.
He was born in the province of Virginia, and county of Caroline, on the seventeenth day of May, 1741, being the only child of Moses Penn, and Catharine, his wife, who was a daughter of John Taylor, of the same state and county. Mr. Penn grew up towards manhood in the family of his father, and, from a striking deficiency of parental attention,