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when he resigned. After an interval of two years, he was re-elected to the same office. He continued in it till the time of his death, which took place the 8th of October, 1793, in the fifty-fifth year of his age.
Mr. Hancock was a firm and energetic patriot, and though possessed of immense wealth, devoted himself to the laborious service of his country. It has been remarked, that by the force with which he inscribed his name on the parchment which bears the declaration of independence, he seems to have determined that his name should never be erased. His liberality was great, and hundreds of families, in times of distress, were daily fed from his munificence. He has been accused by his enemies of a passion for popularity, but whatever may have been the truth of the charge, a sondness for being beloved can be hardly reckoned among the bad traits of a man's character. A noble instance of his contempt of wealth, in comparison with public expediency, is recorded.
At the time the American army was besieging Boston to expel the British, who held pbssession of the town, the entire destruction of the city was proposed by the American officers. By the execution of such a plan, the whole fortune of Mr. Hancock would have been sacrificed. Yet he readily acceded to the measure, declaring his willingness to surrender his all, whenever the liberties of his country should require it.
BENJAMIN HARRison was born in Berkley, Virginia. He was the descendant of a family distinguished in the history of the State, and was a student in the College of William and Mary at the time of his father's death. In consequence of a misunderstanding with an officer of that institution, he left it before the regular period of graduation, and returned home.
The management of his father's estate now devolved apon him, and he displayed an unusual degree of prulence and ability in the discharge of his trust. He was summoned at an early date, even before he had attained the age required by law, to sustain the reputa ion acquired by his ancestors, in state affairs. He was chosen a member of the Legislature about the year 1764, a station which he may be said to have held through life, since he was always elected to a seat, whenever his other political avocations admitted of his occupying it. His fortune being ample, and his influence as a political leader very considerable, the royal government proposed to create him a member of the executive council of Virginia. Mr. Harrison was not to be seduced, however, by the attrac. tions of rank and power. Though young, he was ardently devoted to the cause of the people, and remained steadfast in his opposition to royal oppression. Mr. Harrison was a member of the Congress of 1774, and from that period, during nearly every session, represented his native State in that assembly. In this situation he was characterized for great firmness, good sense, and a peculiar sagacity in difficult and critical junctures. He was likewise extremely popular as chairman of the committee of the whole House. An anecdote is related of him on the occasion of the Declaration of Independence. While signing the instrument, he noticed Mr. Gerry, of Massachusetts, standing beside him. Mr. Harrison himself was quite corpulent; Mr. Gerry was slender and spare. As the former raised his hand, having inscribed his name on the roll, he turned to Mr. Gerry, and facetiously observed, that when the time of hanging should come, he should have the advantage over him. “It will be over with me,” said he, “in a minute; but you will be kicking in the air half an hour after I am gone.” . * Towards the close of 1777, Mr. Harrison resigned his seat in Congress, and returned to Virginia. In 17S2, he was chosen Governor of the State, to which office he was twice re-elected, when he became ineligible by the provisions of the Constitution. In 178S, when the new Constitution of the United States was submitted to Virginia, he was returned a member of her Convention. In 1790, he was again proposed as a candidate for the executive chair; but declined in favour of his friend, Beverly Randolph. In the spring of 1791, Mr. Harrison was attacked by a severe fit of the gout, a recurrence of which malady shortly after put a period to his life. Mr. Harrison became connected by marriage with Miss Bassett, a niece to the sister of Mrs. Washington. He had many children, and several of his sons became men of distinction. His third son, William Henry Harrison, has honourably served his country, in various official capacities, and died April 4, 1841, one month after his inauguration as President of the United States.
John HART was the son of Edward Hart, of Hopewell, in the county of Hunterdon, in New Jersey. He inherited from his father a considerable estate, and having married, devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, and became a worthy and respectable farmer.
The reputation which he acquired for integrity, dis. crimination, and enlightened prudence, soon brought him into notice, and he was often chosen a member of the Colonial Assembly. Although one of the most gentle and unobtrusive of men, he could not suppress his abhorrence of the aggressions of the British ministry. He maintained a fearless and uniform opinion with regard to the rights of the colonies, and did not hesitate to express it when occasion invited him. On the meeting of the Congress of 1774, Mr. Hart appeared and took his seat; having been elected by a conference of committees from several parts of the colony. During several succeeding sessions, he continued to represent the people of New Jersey in the same assembly. When the question of a declaration of independence was brought forward, he was at his post, and voted for the measure with unusual zeal.
In 1776, New Jersey became the theatre of war, and Mr. Hart sustained severe losses, by the destruction of his property. His children were compelled to flee, his farm was pillaged, and great exertions were made to secure him as a prisoner. For some time he was hunted with untiring perseverance. He was reduced to the most distressing shifts to elude his enemies; being often severely pressed by hunger, and destitute of a place of
repose for the night. In one instance, he was obliged to conceal himself in the usual resting-place of a large dog, who was his companion for the time.
The battles of Trenton and Princeton led to the evacuatijn of New Jersey by the British. On this event, MI. Hart again collected his family around him, and began to repair the desolation of his farm. His constitution, however, had sustained a shock, which was irreparable. His health gradually failed him; and though he lived to see the prospects of his country brighten, he died before the conflict was so gloriously terminated. He expired in the year 1780. The best praise that can be awarded to Mr. Hart, is, that he was beloved by all who knew him. He was very liberal to the Baptist church of Hopewell, to which community he belonged; and his memory was hallowed by the esteem and regret of a large circle of friends.
Joseph Hewes was born near Kingston, in New Jersey, in the year 1730. His parents were quakers, who removed from Connecticut, on account of the existing F. against them among the puritans, and of the
ostilities of the Indians.
At a suitable age, Joseph Hewes became a member of Princeton College; and after having graduated in due course, he was placed in the counting-house of a gentleman at Philadelphia, to be educated as a merchant. On leaving this situation, he entered into business for himself, and was highly successful in his commercial transactions. At the age of thirty he removed to North Carolina, and settled in the village of Edenton. Prosperity continued to attend him here, and he soon acquired a handsome fortune. By his probity and liberal dealings, he also gained the esteem of the people among whom i. lived. and was called to represent them in the Colonial Legislature of the province. This distinction was conferred upon him for several successive years, during which he increased in popularity with his constituents.
In 1774, Mr. Hewes was chosen one of the three dele'
gates from North Carolina to the Continental Congress. No members of that body brought with them credentials of a bolder stamp than the delegates from Ncrth Carolina. They were invested with such powers as might “make any acts done by them, or consent given in behalf of this province, obligatory in honor upon any inhabitant thereof who is not an alien to his country's good, and an apostate to the liberties of America.” On the meeting of this Congress, Mr. Hewes was nominated one of the committee appointed to “state the rights of the colonies in general, the several instances in which those rights had been violated or infringed, and the means most proper to be pursued for obtaining a restoration of them.” He also assisted in preparing their celebrated report, which was drawn up as follows: “1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property; and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever a right to dispose of either, without their consent. “2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were, at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural born subjects, within the realm of England. “3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost, any of those rights: but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy. “4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council; and as the English colonists are not represented, and, from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented, in the British Parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several Provincial Legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be pursued in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed; but if, foom the necessity of the case and a regard to the mutual interests of bot