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We often indulge in an unavailing regret, that few events belonging to the early portion of the lives of distinguished individuals, are snatched from oblivion, to illustrate tho progress of their genius and virtues. The interesting period of childhood, so frequently marked by strong developments of character, glidos imperceptibly away, and in the fond interchange of the affections that attend it, wo cease either to observe, or afterwards to remember, those traits or incidents, by which future usefulness and distinction are unequivocally foretold. In after life, when great talents have been brought to consummate great public events, “and the man has stamped his name on the age in which he lived," we recur, with an unwearied but unrequited industry, to fading records and doubtful traditions, for the germs of that character, whose rich maturity we have been taught to admire.
To the long list of thoso, of whose remembrance little now remains, beyond what has been cherished in the very recesses of domestic affection, we are about to add the name of Thomas Lynch, junior, a man distinguished among his contemporaries for valuable qualities uniformly directed to noble ends. The family of Lynch was originally of Austria: their ge
nealogical table affords the following anecdote, relative to the origin of its name. The town in which they lived being closely beleaguered, the inhabitants resolved to hold out to the last extremity. Having exhausted their provisions, they subsisted, for some time, on a field of pulse, called Lince. Their hardy resistance being ultimately crowned with success, in gratitude for their deliverance, which they attributed principally to the subsistence that the pulse had afforded them, they changed the name of their town, or city, as well as that of their chief family, to Lince or Lintz. During the subsequent troubles in the empire, a branch of the family removed to England, and from Kent emigrated to Ireland, from which latter stock the Lynches of South Carolina have descended.
Jonack Lynch, the great grandfather of Thomas Lynch, junior, must have left Connaught for South Carolina shortly after the settlement of the colony. His descendants have yet in their possession a document not devoid of curiosity and interest. It is a summary of the reasons, (written previous to his leaving Ireland,) which induced him to emigrate; in which he weighs, with great scrutiny and care, the various arguments for and against the measure, and ultimately gives a preponderance in favour of the former. This paper abundantly illustrates the practical good sense and moderation which influenced the views of the early settlers of our country, and tends to prove, that, if our vast empire was not originally won by the sanguinary glory which awaited the Roman eagles, there was a moral justice in its falling into the possession of a band of virtuous and enlightened pilgrims, who fully felt the force of religious truth, and who, in scenes of difficulty and trial, brought its sublime precepts to aid them both in action and suffering.
Jonack Lynch's youngest son, Thomas, was the grandfather of the subject of this memoir, who, although he derived from his father a slender patrimony, inherited, in no inconsiderable dogreo, his vigour and sagacity ; both of which he evinced by exploring many portions of the then untrodden wilderness of South Carolina, and in locating grants for several sections, comprehending the finest and most fertilo portions of our territory. At this period, the cultivation of rice was confined exclusively to the inland swamps; the alluvial lands, within the flow of the tides, were generally neglected by the settlers as comparatively worthless. Thomas Lynch, however, had the discernment to discover, that this apparent evil of periodical irrigation was not only susceptible of remedy, but might be turned to the most profitable account. He, therefore, took out grants for a large portion of the lands situated on the North and South Santee rivers, as high up as Lynch's causeway, with the islands inclusive, and at his decease, left a princely estate to his son Thomas, the father of Thomas Lynch, junior, who, by way of distinction, we shall call Thomas Lynch the elder.
of this gentleman, there are many rocollections cherished by those who yet linger on the brink of the grave, and remember the happy union which his character afforded, of a public spirited patriot and enlightened planter, who uniformly dedicatod a portion of the income of his fine estate to upholding the hospitality of his country, and in subserving many purposes of private charity and public beneficence.
He was emphatically a public man, and lived and died in the public service. Elected in his youth to a seat in the pro. vincial assembly from the parish of St. James, Santee, he soon reached great eminenco in that body, and was long rogarded as at the head of the country party of the province. In all the disputes with the mother country, be espoused the cause of colonial freedom with the most fervid enthusiasm, and as early as 1764, after the passage of the stamp act, was delegated as the associate of John Rutledge and Christopher Gadsden, to represen« South Carolina in the first congress convened by the colonies; he uniformly continued to be chosen a member of that assembly until his death.
Without possessing the highly cultivated talents for oratory which characterized the splendid powers of Mr. Rutledge, he, nevertheless, attained decided success as a powerful debater, and was at once distinguished for the purity and simplicity of his style, the condensation of his thoughts, and the stern and uncompromising honesty of his opinions. With such qualities, so usefully and so honourably directed, he justly acquired great influence in the councils of his native state. So highly were his opinions appreciated on all public concerns, that the commons house of assembly, (previous to the revolution, but during the pendency of those momentous questions which produced it,) on one occasion, in consequence of his having been delayed on the road, on his way from his plantation to the city, adjourned for two days, that time might be allowed him to join them in their deliberations. This compliment, infinitely more significant in its character than the most formal vote of thanks, shows that there are periods, when an anxions devotion to the public weal can produce, at least, a temporary suspension of those personal rivalries which so much distract and influence human conduct.
The life of this patriot is so much interwoven with that of his son, that we shall offer no further apology for having so long detained the reader from the short and imperfect narrativo we are about to afford of the latter.