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for civic service, and worthy of national commemoration, and prays judgment upon her choice.
In this cereniony Pennsylvania is no intruder. She claims a right to a part in the imposing exercises. William Penn and George Calvert (Lord Baltimore) were twin pioneers in an adventure upon a new continent. Quaker and Roman Catholic, they each sought a virgin soil on which to plant and nourish the principles of civil and religious liberty. Knight-errants were they in the search for that of which England in her decadence under the rule of the Stuarts knew nothing. But more than that, Pennsylvania and Maryland have an intimate place in history, because of the fact that the royal grants to Penn and Calvert gave rise to a question of title that has a marked place in our national history. Parts of the same territory were included in each royal concession. Hence arose a controversy which was ultimately determined by the definition of Mason and Dixon's line-a line which for years was looked upon not only as dividing territory, but as the boundary between human liberty and the system of human slavery. Such line of demarcation, thank God, is now a thing of the forgotten and buried past. Pennsylvania and Maryland are now, as they were in the beginning, twin champions of the institutions which mean liberty to all men, and but recently the valor of their sons fighting in a common cause testifies their common interest in humanity, even to the shedding of blood on foreign soils——theirs a common flag and a common creed of freedom.
Maryland asks the nation to accept as her contribution to its gallery of heroes JOHN HANSON and CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton. JOHN HANSON was a distinguished patriot of the times that tried men's souls, and fills a large place in the Maryland history of those times. Others will speak at length of his virtues and his title to our regard. I prefer to speak of that other distinguished man whose statue in bronze we face to-day in the company of the immortals whom the various States of this Union have set up with pride in our Capitol — CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton. As much as any man of his generation anywhere, and more than any other man of his generation in Maryland—and there were giants in those days—he stands for that generation's grand conception and heroic acts.
Born in 1737, he long outlived the contemporaries of his birth. Dying in 1832, at the age of 95 years, he is conspicuously known as the last survivor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. But that is by no means his only title to an honorable fame. His life's history is unique. Thirty years he was a student, preparatory to a life of patriotic action equally long, and that was followed by another like period of rest and scholarly recreation in the practice of the virtues of citizenship which furnished to his contemporaries and to posterity an illustrious example for their guide and instruction. This triple career has no parallel in American history or, so far as I know, in any other. His first thirty years were spent partly in a home school, but mainly abroad in institutions of learning on the Continent, in a study of languages, of the arts, of philosophy, of all that conspires to make the accomplished and scholarly gentleman. He was a student of the civil law in France and of the common law in England.
Endowed by inheritance with great wealth, he might have surrendered himself to the enjoyment of ease and the comforts of life, without regard to the great questions that the period in which he lived presented: His life covered the period preceding the Revolution, the Revolutionary period, and that which succeeded it. In each and all of these he was a prominent and commanding figure. He was during his whole life conspicuously Maryland's champion of the cause of civil and religious liberty.
His sojourn and education abroad had no influence upon his Americanism. He returned to his home in Maryland an ardent patriot, imbued with the spirit of independence and prepared to give his life, his energies, and his talents to its service. He returned at a time when the storm clouds were already gathering that presaged the Revolution, and he enrolled himself actively upon the side of the colonies and against the mother country. His scholarly and energetic pen was devoted to the task of creating and encouraging a patriotic and aggressive public opinion.
At one time a question arose in the house of delegates relative to the fees of civil officers of the colonial government. This the governor undertook to settle by a proclamation, and a question as to his right to do so became the subject of discussion in the public press. In a series of letters notable for their classic style, their convincing logic, and the spirit of freedom that pervaded them, under the nom de plume of First Citizen, Mr. CARROLL assailed the governor's right. “In a land of freedom,” said he, “this arbitrary exertion of the prerogative will not, must not, be endured.” Although opposed by Mr. Daniel Dulaney, the provincial secretary, a man of great power as a writer and distinguished reputation as a lawyer, Mr. CARROLL, succeeded in securing the indorsement of public opinion, and the governor's proclamation was burnt by the common hangman. He early foresaw that the continued encroachment of England upon the rights of the colonies must inevitably result in war.
When Mr. Graves, a member of Parliament, asserted that 6,000 soldiers would easily march from one end of the colonies to the other, he replied: "
So they may, but they will be masters of the spot only on which they encamp. They will find naught but enemies before and around them. If we are beaten in the plains we will retreat to our mountains and defy them. Our resources will increase with our difficulties. Necessity will force us to exertion, until, tired of combating in vain against a spirit which victory after victory can not subdue, your armies will evacuate our soil, and your country retire a great loser by the contest.
In June, 1774, the delegates of Maryland as a protest against British aggression declared the importation of tea to be unlawful. A certain Mr. Stewart, a friend of Mr. CARROLL'S, was a consignee of a cargo of the forbidden merchandise in his brig Peggy Stewart.
Indignant people rose up to prevent the unloading. Mr. CARROLL was appealed to by the owner for protection. Setting aside, however, his personal esteem for his friend, he declared the importation to be in defiance of the law, and said, “My advice is that he (the owner) set fire to the vessel and burn her, together with the tea that she contains, to the water's edge," and this was done. In the Revolutionary period, CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton filled many conspicuous and important as well as laborious offices in which his services proved of great advantage to the cause of the struggling colonists. He was a member of the first committee of observation in Maryland and a delegate in the provincial convention.
That convention at one time instructed the Maryland Representatives in the General Congress “To disavow in the most solemn manner all design in the colonies of independence."
He secured a repeal of these instructions and a substitution in their stead of a direction to the Representatives “To concur with the other United Colonies, or a majority of them, in declaring the United Colonies free and independent States."
He was one of the three commissioners—Samuel Chase and Dr. Franklin being the others—appointed to effect if possible a coalition between Canada and the colonies against the mother country.
Had the attempt, which failed, been successful and had Canada joined forces in the cause of independence, how different might now have been the complexion of the American Union! He was a member of the Congress that gave to the world the Declaration of Independence and one of the signers of that great instrument. He was a member of the board of war and continued while on that board and in Congress to be a member also of the Maryland convention. He was one of the committee appointed to draft the constitution of his State. After the adoption of the constitution, he was twice United States Senator from the State of Maryland. He was one of the commissioners for settling the boundary line between Maryland and Virginia.
I do not regard this as a proper occasion on which to attempt a lengthy or detailed review of the life of CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton. What I have said is sufficient to indicate that in the choice of his statue for Statuary Hall, Maryland has complied with the strict letter of the law and contributed one of her citizens illustrious for historic renown and distinguished for civil service worthy of national commemoration.
CHARLES CARROLL was an ardent Federalist, and with the downfall of that party in 1801 laid down the burdens of public and retired to private life. He was then 64 years of age. There yet remained to him, as the sequel showed, thirtytwo years more of life, all of which were spent in the enjoyment of a dignified leisure, in scholarly pursuits, and in the practice of his religion, to which he was ardently devoted. He was an enthusiastic Roman Catholic, faithful to the teachings of his church and observant of its customs and obligations.
A scholar, a statesman, a man of affairs, a Christian gentleman, he was idolized by his fellow-citizens, not only for what he had done, but for what he was in himself and by way of example to others.
Since I came into this Hall this afternoon I find that so honored and conspicuous a figure was CHARLES CARROLL, in his old age that he received express recognition from Congress. I find the following letter, written to him by Andrew Stevenson, the Speaker of the House:
WASHINGTON, May 22, 1828. SIR: I have the honor to communicate to you, by direction of the House of Representatives, the inclosed joint resolution of both Houses of Congress, extending to you, as the only surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, the privilege of franking. You will be pleased, sir, to receive it as a token of the distinguished respect and veneration which Congress entertains toward an early and devoted friend to liberty, and one who stood preeminently forward in the purest and noblest band of patriots that this world has ever seen.