Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

foreign rarities, and received in return the fresh produce of their plantations. A sailor once brought him a remarkably thin cheese; “Please your honour,” said the sailor, using his nautical terms, “the captain has sent you a loaf of cheese.” “I am much obliged to the captain, but really, my good fellow, it looks more like a pancake of cheese than a loaf.The sailor returned to the vessel, and shortly after came back with a cheese of a very different shape, and observed, “The captain's determined to suit your honour's taste, so he has sent you a real loaf.” When alone and fatigued with reading, he was very fond of amusing himself with a small spaniel and a very large cat, with which he would often play for a long while, and succeeded in teaching them a variety of amusing tricks.

Mr. Harrison inherited a very large fortune from his father, and twice succeeded to considerable property under the old English law of primogeniture. It was, however, somewhat impaired, by disastrous times and imprudent speculations. Before the revolution, and indeed in some instances subsequently, the Virginia gentlemen were their own merchants, exporting themselves the produce of their estates. In this system Mr. Harrison largely engaged ; he not only erected extensive merchant mills, but established a large ship-yard and built his own vessels. In all this, as might be supposed, he was very unsuccessful; and believing that his misfortunes proceeded from a want of mercantile skill, Die determined that his eldest son should have such an education, as might retrieve the fortunes of his family, and he placed him in the counting-house of his friends, Willing and Morris.

Mr. Harrison bad many children, but seven only survived their birth or very early infancy. Three of these were sons

and four daughters ; the latter of whom married into respectable and wealthy families of Virginia. Benjamin, the eldest son, was, as we have mentioned, sent when young to Philadelphia, and there obtained an excellent mercantile education. After he had completed that, he visited Europe, and formed extensive commercial connexions. During the revolutionary war he was paymaster general of the southern department. When peace was restored, he established himself as a merchant in Richmond, and there acquired a large fortune. This he afterwards impaired by an act of honourable generosity ; as soon as he heard of the distresses of his early friend, Mr. Morris, he came forward immediately to his support, and sacrificed in his behalf the greater part of the fortune he had acquired. He was twice married, and died of apoplexy in 1799, leaving an only son, the present Benjamin Harrison, of Berkeley. The second son, Carter Bassett Harrison, after receiving a classical education at the the college of William and Mary, was bred to the law. He was not a man of brilliant talents, but he was a good lawyer, a fluent speaker, and a very upright man. In public life he was very popular, and served many years in the legislature, in congress, and as a presidential elector. He died in 1804, leaving two sons. The third son, William Henry Harrison, was educated at Hampden Sydney College, in Virginia, and was intended for the medical profession; this, however, he soon abandoned for an ensigncy in the 'army, and marched to the new country of the west. He distingushed himself, while yet young, in the battle with the Indians at the rapids of Miami; was afterwards raised to the office of governor of the Indiana territory, which he filled with singular merit; and in the late war, by his perfect knowledge of the western country, his acquaintanco with military tactics, and above all, the confidence and respect which he universally inspired, was at an early period raised to a high military post on the north-western frontier, and became one of the most popular and successful commanders the republic had employed. On the return of peace, he received from his applauding countrymen the fair reward of his exertions, in being elected to several high political stations by the people of Ohio; and, as a representative of that state in congress, he still maintains in honour and respect the name of Harrison,

THOMAS NELSON, JR.

WILLIAM NELSON, father of the gentleman who is tho subject of this memoir, was descended from a respectablo English family settled at York, in the province of Virginia. He was a merchant of highly reputable character, and by his prudence, good management, and industry, acquired a large fortune. This he invested from time to time, after the favourite usage of Virginia, in the purchase of large landed estates, and as he advanced in years, gradually withdrew himself from commercial pursuits. His honourable standing in private life, soon opened the way to public favours. He was appointed a member of the executive council, and at length became president of that body. From this circumstance, the chief executive and judicial duties of the colony for a time devolved upon him, for in the interval that elapsed between the administrations of lord Bottetourt and lord Dunmore, be was called on to fill the office of governor. In this station he was obliged to preside over the general or supreme court of law and equity for the province, by which tribunal, the civil and criminal jurisprudence was regulated. On the bench he was regarded as the ablest judge of his timo, and his opinions on most occasions were received with the highest respect, as well by the members of the bar as the

Vol. V.-F

parties in the cause. Indecd in the discharge of all his duties, he gave general satisfaction, and when he died, left behind him a character which entitled him to the highest vencration and respect. His honour was never sullied by the slightest stain, his generosity, benevolence, hospitality, and extensive charity were spoken of by all who knew liim, and had he lived to share in the struggle for his country's liberty, his patriotism would not have been less glowing than that which distinguished so many of his countrymen. He died a few years before the revolution, leaving five sons and a considerable fortune.

Thomas Nelson, Jr. the subject of this memoir, was the eldest son of William Nelson. He was born at York, on the twenty-sixth of December, 1738. From his father lie inherited not only a very large landed estate, which descended to him in common with his brothers; but he received also the entire amount of the partnership debts, which were estimated at forty thousand pounds, colonial currency, or about thirty thousand pounds sterling. In the summer of 1753, Mr. Thomas Nelson, being then in the fourteenth year of his age, was sent to England for his education. After spending some time at an excellent private school kept by a Mr. Newcomb, near Hackney, a village in the neighbourhood of London, he was removed to Cambridge. There he was entered of Trinity College, and had the good fortune to secure, as his private tutor, one of the best men, and most distinguished ornaments of the age, Dr. Beilby Porteus, afterwards bishop of London. Virginia, indeed, owes much to this excellent man. Mr. Nelson was not the only one of her children who were at this period the objects of his care. He had a companion in the late Mr. Francis Corbin, of the

« ПредишнаНапред »