Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

they were ready to sail, by contrary winds and want of water, on the Bar, for the Randolph. As soon as they got over the Bar, they stood to the eastward, in expectation of falling in with the British cruizers. The next day they retook a dismasted ship from New England; as she had no cargo on board, they took out her crew, six light guns, and some stores, and set her on fire. Finding that the British ships had left the coast, they *proceeded to the West Indies, and cruised to the eastward, and nearly in the latitude of Barbadoes, for some days, during which time they boarded a number of French and Dutch ships, and took an English schooner from New York, bound to Grenada, which had mistaken the Randolph for a British frigate, and was taken possession of before the mistake was discovered.

On the night of the 7th March, 1778, the 'fatal accident occurred, which terminated the life of this excellent officer. For some days previously, 'he had expected an attack. Captain Blake, a prave officer, who commanded a detachment of the second South Carolina regiment, serving as marines on board the general Moultrie, and to whom we are indebted for several of the ensuing particulars, dined on board the Randolph two days before the engagement. At dinner captain Biddle said, “We have been cruizing here for some time, and have spoken a number of vessels, who will no doubt give inftomation of us, and I should not be surprised if my old ship should be out after us. As to any thing that carries her guns upon one dleck, I think myself a match for her." About three P. M. of the 7th of March, a signal was made from the Randolph for a sail to windward, in consequence of which the squadron hauled upon a wind, in order to speak her. It was four oclock before she could be distinctly seen, when she was discovered to be a ship, though as she neared and

I

came before the wind, she had the appearance of a large sloop with only a square sail set. About seven o'clock, the Randolph being to windward, hove to, the Moultrie being about one hundred and fifty yards astern, and rather to leëward, also hove to. About eight o'clock, the British ship fired a shot just ahead of the Moultrie, and hailed her, the answer was the Polly of New York, upon which she immediately hauled her wind and hailed the Randolph. She was then, for the first time, discovered to be a two decker. After several questions asked and answered, as she was ranging up along side the Randolph, and had got on her weather quarter, lieutenant Barnes, of that ship, called out, “This is the Randolph,” and she immediately hoisted her colours and gave the enemy a broadside. Shortly after the action commenced, captain Biddle received a wound in the thigh and fell. This occasioned some confusion, as it was at first thought that he was killed. He soon, however, ordered a chair to be brought, said that he was only slightly wounded, and being carried forward encouraged the crew. The stern of the enemy's ship being clear of the Randolph, the captain of the Moultrie gave orders to fire, but the enemy having shot ahead, so as to bring the Randolph between them, the last broadside of the Moultrie went into the Randolph, and it was thought by one of the men saved, who was stationed on the quarter-deck near captain Biddle, that he was wounded by a shot from the Moultrie. The fire from the Randolph was constant and well directed. She fired nearly three broadsides to the enemy's one, and she appeared, while the battle lasted, to be in a continual blaze. In about twenty minutes after the action began, and while the surgeon was examining captain Biddle's wound on the quarter deck, the Randolph blew up.

The enemy's vessel was the British ship YarPrevious to the revolution, Mr. Bryan was introduced into various public employments. He was a delegate to the congress of 1775, for the purpose of petitioning and remonstrating against the arbitrary measures of Great Britain. After the declaration of independence, he was vice president of the state of Pennsylvania, and upon the death of president Wharton, in May, 1778, he was placed at the head of the government.

In 1777, Mr. Bryan was elected a member of the legislature, of which he was one of the most intelligent, active and efficient. Here, amidst the tumult of war and invasion; surrounded with the tory and disaffected, when every one was trembling for himself, his mind was occupied by the claims of humanity and charity. He, at this time, planned and completed an act for the gradual abosition of slavery, and which will remain an imperishable monument to his memory. These were the days that tried men's souls;" and it was in those days that the patriotism, wisdom and firmness, of Mr. Bryan were conspicuously efficient and useful. He furnished evidence, that in opposing the exactions of foreign power, he was opposing tyranny, and was really attached to the cause of liberty. After this period, Mr. Bryan was a judge of the Supreme Court, in which station he continued until his death. In 1784, he was elected one of the council of censors, and was one of its most active members.

Besides the offices already mentioned, judge Bryan filled a number of public, titulary, and charitable employments. Formed for a close application to study, animated with an ardent thirst for knowledge, and blessed with a memory of wonderful tenacity, and a clear, penetrating, and decisive judgment, he availed himself of the labours and acquisitions of others, and brought honour to the stations which he occupied. To his other at

tainments, he added the virtues of the christain. He was distinguished by his benevolence and sym-: pathy with the distressed; by an unaffected humil-. ity and modesty; by his readiness to forgive injuries, and by his inflexible integrity. He was superior to the powers and blandishments of the world. Thus eminently qualified for the various public offices in which he was placed, he was humble and faithful in discharging their duties, and. he filled them with dignity and reputation in the worst of times, and in the midst of a torrent of un-. merited obloquy, abuse, and opposition. When, on a certain occasion, some of his intimate friends desired him to permit them to answer a particular charge made against him, he replied, “no my friends, such things rankle not in my breast-my character must stand on my general conduct." Such was his disinterestedness, and his zeal for the public cause, and for the good of others, that his own interest seemed to have been wholly overlooked. In the administration of justice he was impartial and incorruptible. He was an ornament to the profession of christianity, which he made the de-light of his connexions, and a public blessing to the state. By his death, religion lost an amiable example, and science a steady friend.

CADWALADER, JOHN, born in Philadelphia, was distinguished for his zealous and inflexible adherence to the cause of America, and for his intrepidity as a soldier, in upholding that cause during the most discouraging periods of danger and misfortune. At the dawn of the revolution, he commanded a corps of volunteers, designated as “the silk stocking company;" of which nearly all the members were appointed to commissions in the line of the army. He afterwards was appointed colonel of one of the city battalions; and, being thence promoted to the rank of brigadier general, was intrusted with the command of the Pennsyl. vania troops, in the important operations of the winter campaign of 1776 and 1777. He acted with his command, and as a volunteer, in the actions of Princeton, Brandywine, Gerinantown and Monmouth, and other occasions; and received the thanks of general Washington, whose confidence and regard he uniformly enjoyed.

When general Washington determined to attack the British and Hessian troops at Trenton, he assigned him the command of a division. In the evening of Christmas day, 17.76, general Washington made arrangements to pass the river Delaware, in three divisions: one consisting of 500 men, under general Cadwalader, from the vicinity of Bristol; a second division, under the command of general Irvine, was to cross at Trenton ferry, and secure the bridge leading to the town. Generals Cadwalader and Irvine made every exertion to get over, but the quantity of ice was so great, that they could not effect their purpose.The third, and main body, which was command... ed by general Washington, crossed at M‘Konkey's. ferry; but the ice in the river retarded their pas-. sage so long, that it was three o'clock in the morning, before the artillery could be got over. On their landing in Jersey, they were formed into two. divisions, commanded by generals Sullivan and Greene, who had under their command brigadiers lord Stirling, Mercer, and St. Clair: one of these divisions was ordered to proceed on the lower, or river road, the other on the upper or Pennington road. Colonel Stark, with some light troops, was also directed to advance near to the river, and to possess himself of that part of the town, which is beyond the bridge. The divisions having nearly

same distance to march, were ordered immediately on forcing the out-guards, to push directly into Trenton, that they might charge the enemy before they had time to form. Though they march-

« AnteriorContinuar »