« ПредишнаНапред »
Among the most strenuous advocates of the colonial cause, was doctor Lyman HALL, a delegate from Georgia. Although he does not appear to have acted a very conspicuous part in the proceedings of congress, he was nevertheless a useful member, and enjoyed the honour of representing that small, but patriotic, portion of the colony of Georgia, which, in opposition to the great majority of its inhabitants, resolved to unite in maintaining the general rights and liberties of the country. As a representative of the parish of St. Jolin, he possessed a peculiar claim to the attention of congress, because the example of that district, as was anticipated, proved a strong incitement to the whole colony in their final accession to the general confederacy : this event occurred within four months after the appointment of Dr. Hall, and the whole thirteen provinces now stood in bostile array against the mother country. The weight of his influence, and his persuasive manner, mingled with a strong enthusiasm in relation to the cause which he advocated, materially influenced the parochial committee, of which he was chairman, and consequently the general inhabitants of the parishi, in the adoption of that resolution which paved the way to the immediate accession of the colony of Georgia.
He was born in Connecticut, about the year 1731, where he received a classical education : he then commenced the study of medicine, and attained a proper knowledge of his profession at an early period of life. Before the age of twenty-one years, he married in his native province, and in 1752, removed to Dorchester, South Carolina. During the same year he again changed his residence, and established himself in the district of Medway, in Georgia, to which place he was accompanied by about forty families, originally from the New England states. He settled at Sunbury, where he continued the practice of physic until the commencement of the revolutionary contest.
A wider field of utility now appeared before him than the practice of physic, under any circumstances, could afford; but it was materially magnified when contrasted with the confined nature of his situation in Sunbury. The enthusiasm which now impelled him to risk his fortune in a peculiar manner, for the benefit of the common cause, was the result of pure patriotism. By accepting a prominent station, he rendered himself more obnoxious to danger, and the locality of the parish of St. John placed his property in a similar situation. As a frontier settlement, it was immediately exposed to the Creek Indians, to the royal province of Florida, and to invasion by sea, and it was actually through the two latter channels that not only the parish of St. John, but the greater part of Georgia, fell temporarily into the power of the British, at a subsequent period. Georgia at that time presented a frontier of two hundred miles, and no part of the state then settled was more than forty miles wide, with a scattered population.
The patriotism of the parish was severely tested by a voluntary political separation from the other parishes of the colony; but the inconvenience to which the inhabitants submitted by breaking off, to a certain degree, all commercial communication, is truly worthy of admiration. . After various vexatious parochial and provincial meetings, Dr. Hall attended a general meeting of the republican party, as rcpresentative of the parish of St. John, held at Savannah, in July, 1774; but the measures pursued upon that occasion, neither corresponded with the views of his constituents, nor of himself. The same body was again convened in Savannah, on the eighteenth January, 1775, but it terminated in a petition to the king, soliciting a redress of grievances, and relief from the oppressive measures pursued by the British ministry, which met with the customary reception. The report of Dr. Hall created great dissatisfaction amongst his constituents, who resolved to oppose the temporising policy which characterized the Savannah convention, by the most decisive measures. They applied, on the ninth of February following, to the committee of correspondence in Charleston, South Carolina, requesting permission to form an alliance with them, and to conduct trade and commerce according to the act of non-importation, to which thoy had already acceded. They strongly urged that, having detached themselves from the other parishes, they ought to be considered a separate body, comprehended within the spirit and equitable meaning of the continental association. A full.committee of the colony of South Carolina, baving taken the case into careful consideration, were of opinion, that while they had the highest sense of the patriotism of the parish, and recommended them to persevere in their laudable exertions, it would be a violation of the continental association to remove the prohibition in favour of any part of a province ;
the precise words of the law embracing an undivided colony or province.
The persevering inhabitants of St. John, however, were resolved to prosecute their claims to an equality with the confederated colonies, and accordingly passed certain resoJutions, by which they bound themselves not to purchase any slave imported into Savannah, nor to trade in any manner with that city or elsewhere, excepting under the inspection of a committee, and then merely for absolute necessaries. Although these resolutions did not precisely accord with the articles of the continental association, which required absolute and unqualified prohibition, yet the resources of the parish were not adequate to supply the wants of the inhabitants, and the rejection of their request by South Carolina, necessarily compelled them to rely upon the other parishes of their own colony. The next measure pursued by them was the appointment of a delegate to represent the parish in the next general congress, and on the twenty-first of March, 1775, Lyman Hall was unanimously elected.
It has often been remarked, that the success of the American revolution at its commencement, was materially assisted by the principal scenes of oppression having taken place in New England. The unanimity of feeling which has prevailed there from its first settlement, was undoubtedly greater than in any other section of the country: hence the outrages committed excited general indignation with greater rapidity than they might have done in the middle or southern colonies. The quick and active circulation of this spirit, communicating itself with proportional celerity through the mass of the people, may have given an early importance to the contest, which dilatoriness would have destroyed, by placing it in the immediate power of the British to terminate it: the natives of those
provinces were also scattered, in a peculiar manner, throughout the continent, and naturally feeling a deeper interest in the evils which befel the places of their birth, than the new neighbours by whom they were surrounded, they not only gave them a more quick and extensive dissemination, but expressed themselves with peculiar warmth and decision. Such may have been the case with the parish of St. John. . About the year 1700, a number of persons emigrated from the immo diate vicinity of Boston, and settled at Dorchester, in South Carolina, from which their descendants removed, as we have already remarked, to Medway, a district of St. John's parish, in 1752.
The patriotism of the parish attracted a specific reward: the county formed from it when the constitution of Georgia was adopted in 1777, was called Liberty, as a memorial of its early representation in congress. The other counties received the names of Chatham, Effingham, Burke, Richmond, Wilkes, Glynn, and Camden, as a grateful token of respect towards those members of parliament, who distinguished themselves as advocates for the rights of the British colonists in America.
On the thirteenth of May, Mr. Hall anriounced his arrival to congress, and being admitted to a seat, produced his crodentials, when it was unanimously resolved that he should be admitted as a delegate from the parish of St. John, in the colony of Georgia, subject to such regulations as the congress should determine relative to his voting. A difficulty soon arose upon this point: during the deliberations, it became necessary to take the opinion of congress by colonies, when the imperfect representation of Georgia, the greater part of which was actually opposed to all their proceedings, made it a question whether the parish of St. John could be considered