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and the never-ceasing and harmonious operations of her laws, his mind is led to contemplate the wisdom of the Great Architect of worlds and the natural philosophy of the universe. Aloof from the commoving arena of public life, and yet, through the medium of that magic en gine, the PRESS, made acquainted with the scenes that are passing there, he is able to form cool and deliberate conclusions upon the various topics that concern his country's good and his country's glory. In his retired domicile he is less exposed to the baneful influence of that corrupt and corrupting party spirit which is raised by the whirlwind of selfish ambition and wafted on the tornado of faction. Before he is roused to a participation in violent public action, he bears much, reflects deeply and resolves nobly. But when the oppressions of rulers become so intolerable as to induce the yeomanry of a country to leave their ploughs and peaceful firesides, and draw the avenging sword, let them beware—the day of retribution is at hand. Thus it was at the commencement of the American revolution—when the implements of husbandry were exchanged for those of war and the farmers joined in the glorious cause of liberty—the fate of England's power over the colonies was sealed for ever. The commingling phalanx of all professions was irresistible as an avalanche in the full plenipotence of force.
Among the patriots of that eventful era who left their ploughs in the furrow and rushed to the rescue, was John Hart, a native of Hopewell, Hunterdon county, New Jersey, born about the year 1715. The precise time of his birth is not a matter of record, but his acts in the Continental Congress are. He was the son of Edward Hart, a brave and efficient officer, who aided the mother country in the conquest of Canada, and participated in the epic laurels that were gained by Wolfe on the heights of Abraham. He raised a volunteer corps, named it the "Jersey Blues,” an appellation still the pride of Jerseymen. He fought valiantly, and was recompensed by the praise, but not the gold of the mother country. John Hart was an extensive farmer, a man of a strong mind, improved by reading and reflection, and ambitious only to excel in his profession. In Deborah Scudder he found an amiable and faithful wife, and in the affections and good conduct of a liberal number of sons and daughters he found an enjoyment which some bachelors may affect to despise, but for which they often sigh in vain. Eden's fair bowers were pleasureless until Heaven's first best gift to man was there.
Known as a man of sound judgment, clear perception, liberal views and pure motives, Mr. Hart was called to aid in public affairs long before the revolution. For twenty years he had served in various stations, and was often a member of the legislature of his native colony. He took a deep interest in the local improvements, always necessary in a new country, and also in the legislative enactments of that period. He was a warm supporter of education and aided in the establishment of seminaries of learning. He was a friend to social order and law, and contributed largely in producing an equilibrium of the scales of justice. In organizing the municipal government of his own county he rendered essential service. Still his family and his farm were his chief delight-save his orisons to Heaven. He viewed all public business as a duty to be performed when required, not as a political hobby-horse to ride upon. The public men of that day spoke but little, and then to the point, and despatched their business promptly. Sinecures were scarce, and office hunters few and far between. Industry, frugality and economy, in public and private matters, were the marked characteristics of the pilgrim fathers. Golden days! when will ye return in the majesty of your simplicity, and banish from our land the enervating follies, the poisonous weeds and the impugning evils that augur its destruction.
Observing and discerning, Mr. Hart was quick to discover the encroachments of the British ministry upon the constitutional rights and chartered privileges of the colonies, and was prompt in resisting them. The stamp act, passed on the 22nd of March, 1765, was followed by a commotion that showed by what a precarious tenure the king held his power in America. When the Congress convened at New York, on the first of October following, represented by nine of the colonies, Mr. Hart was a member of the convention that made the selection of delegates from New Jersey. The firm and discreet proceedings of that body produced a repeal of the act complained of on the 18th of the following March. Still the political alchymist, Mr. Grenville, was madly bent on trying fresh experiments. The colonists had borne the yoke of restrictions upon their trade and industry, which had been artfully and gradually increasing for more than fifty years, to the advantage of the mother country, and he concluded their necks had become sufficiently hardened by long use to bear a more ponderous burden. Poor fellow! he was as much mistaken in the metal he placed in his crucible as the colonists were amazed and indignant at his unwarranted pretensions. Direct taxation, without representation, was taking an issue not warranted by the præcipe or narr, and a general demurrer was promptly entered. An emparlance ensued, replications and rejoinders followed, and the suit was finally decided by wager of battle. Long and doubtful was the struggleobstinate and bloody was the conflict. The second edition of the revenue plan, revised and stereotyped in 1767 by Charles Townshend, chancellor of the exchequer, imposing duties on glass, paper, pasteboard, tea and painters' colours, kindled a flame of indignation in the colonies that no power could quench. Public meetings against the measure, resolutions of the deepest censure, remonstrances of the strongest character, and arguments of the most conclusive logic, were hurled in its face; and to carry conviction to the minds of the ministry that the people were in earnest, Boston harbour was converted into a tea-pot and all the tea used at one drawing. Non-importation agreements, committees of safety, preparations of defence, non-intercourse, bloodshed, war and independence followed. In all these movements Mr. Hart concurred, and deliberately, but firmly, opposed the encroachments of the crown.
In 1774 he was elected to the Congress at Philadelphia, and, with the frost of sixty winters upon his head, entered upon duties of higher importance than had before devolved upon him. Mild, deliberate,
cautious, discreet, but firm in his purposes, he became an important member to aid in carrying out the measures then contemplated-those of reconciliation and a restoration of amity. He was highly esteemed as a patriarch sage in the cause. The ensuing year he was again elected, and repaired to the post of duty, of honour and of fame, on the 10th of May. The cry of blood, shed on the 19th of the preceding April, had infused a spirit in Congress widely different from that which pervaded it a few months before. It was then that the Roman virtues of such men as Mr. Hart shone with peculiar splendour. The impetuosity of youth had passed away, their minds traced the deepest, darkest avenues of every proposition, arguments were weighed in the balance of reason, the causes, the effects, the objects, the ends, the plans, the means, were all placed in the scale of justice and exhibited to the inspection of those whose disposition led them to an examination. In this manner every act was performed with clean hands, the cause of liberty honoured, prospered and crowned with triumphant
At this time Mr. Hart was also a member and vice-president of the assembly of his native colony, and shortly after, had the proud satisfaction of aiding in its funeral obsequies and in establishing a republican form of government. On the 14th of February, 1776, he was again elected to the Continental Congress, and when the chart of liberty was presented to his view, after carefully examining its bold physiognomy, he pronounced its points, its features, its landmarks, its delineations and its entire combination, worthy of freemen-gave it his vote, his signature and his benediction, and soon after retired from the public gaze and declined a re-election. As he anticipated, the British soldiers devastated his farm, drove away his family, destroyed his property, and compelled him, several times, to fly precipitately to save his neck from the halter. Under circumstances like ihese, no one will doubt the disinterested patriotism of the quiet farmer, John HART. Not a stain rests upon his public or private character. In all the relations of life he performed his duty nobly: He was an honest man and devoted christian, a member of the baptist denomination, and died in 1780, from an illness brought on by exposure in flying from place to place to elude the pursuit of the British.
INCONSISTENCY is an incubus that assumes a thousand varied forms, and in some shape hangs over every nation and most individuals. It is human nature to err, but some errors there are, that, in the view of reason and common sense, are so legibly stamped with inconsistency as to enable every man of a sane mind to avoid them. Yet we often see men of high attainments rush into the whirlpool of inconsistency with a blind infatuation that seeks in vain for a justification, even by
the rules of the most acute sophistry. Among the most fallacious and opprobrious inconsistencies that now hang over our nation is that of duelling. We boast of our intellectual light and intelligence, and mourn over the ignorance of the poor untutored Indian. În his turn he may point us to a dark spot upon our national character that never tarnished the name of an eastern or a western savage. This Bohon Upas of inconsistency thrives only in society that claims to be civilized. In no country has it been as much and as long tolerated without condign punishment as in our own. It is murder of the most deliberate kind, and a violation of the laws of God and man. one of these numerous and blood-thirsty murderers, who walk boldly among us, ever been punished to the extent of the offended laws of our country? Not one. Widows may mourn, orphans languish, hearts bleed, and our statesmen perish, and the-aggressor may still run at large, treated by some with more deference than if the escutcheon of his name was not stained with blood. This foul stigma upon the American name should be washed out speedily and effectually. The combined powers of public opinion, legislative, judicial and executive authority, should be brought to bear upon it with the force of an avalanche. Flagrant crimes are suppressed only by strong measures. This is the acknowledged policy of the penal code of every nation where laws are known and respected.
Among the victims of this cruel practice, was Button Gwinnett, a man of splendid talents and a pure patriot of the revolution, whose private character was without a stain, and his public career as brilliant as it was transient. He was born in England in 1732. His parents were respectable, but not wealthy. Being a boy of promise, they bestowed upon him an accomplished education, and at his majority he commenced a successful career in the mercantile business at Bristol, in his native country. He was commanding in appearance, six feet in height, open countenance, graceful manners, and possessed of fine feeling. Surrounded by an increasing family, he resolved on seeking another and a broader country, and in 1770 embarked for America. He landed at Charleston, S. C., where he commenced commercial business and remained two years. He then disposed of his merchandise and purchased a plantation upon St. Catharine's Island, in Georgia, to which he removed and became an enterprising agriculturalist. He was a man of an active and penetrating mind, and a close observer of passing events. Having been in England during the formation of the visionary and impolitic plan of taxing the colonies, he understood well the frame work of the British cabinet, and from his course in the struggle that ensued, it is reasonable to infer that he had imbibed strong whig principles before his removal to this country. The subject of raising a revenue from the pioneers of the new world had been long and ably discussed in England. Many of her profoundest statesmen, and the most sagacious one that ever graced her parliament, lord Chatham, portrayed with all the truth of prophecy, the result of the unjust, the blind course of ministers towards the Americans. Connected with commerce and intelligent men as he was at Bristol, Mr. Gwinnett had become well informed upon
the litigated points in controversy, and was well acquainted with the relative feelings and situation of the two countries. When the question of liberty or slavery was fairly placed before the people of his adopted land, he declared himself in favour of the latter. Knowing as he did the superior physical force of Great Britain and the comparative weakness of the colonies, their freedom, at first, seemed to him a paradox. His doubts upon the subject were removed in 1775, by the enthusiasm exhibited by the patriots, and by the lucid demonstrations of Lyman Hall, a bold and fearless advocate of equal rights, with whom he became intimate. Convinced from the beginning of the justice of the cause, and now convinced of its feasibility, he soon became a public champion in its favour. He had counted the cost, he had revolved in his mind the dangers that would accumulate around his family, himself and his property, which he truly predicted would be destroyed by his enemies, and had deliberately and nobly resolved to risk his life, his fortune and his sacred honour, in defence of chartered rights and constitutional franchises.
He enrolled himself among the leaders of the popular party and became a conspicuous and active member of public meetings, and of the several revolutionary committees. For some time after the other colonies had united in a concert of action against the common enemy, that of Georgia refused to join them. She stood perched upon the pivot of uncertainty, indeterminate, irresolved and doubting. Some of her noblest sons had become shining lights in the glorious cause, the fire of patriotism was extending, oppression was increasing, and, at length, the cry of blood was heard from Lexington. The work was done. Like a lion roused from his lair, Georgia started from her lethargy and prepared for the conflict. She resolved “to do or die."
On the 2nd of February, 1776, Mr. Gwinnett was appointed a member of the Continental Congress, and took his seat in that venerable body on the 20th of the ensuing May. Although his constituents were now determined to maintain their rights at all hazards, the plan of independence was to the most of them more than problematical; 'a thing of visionary fancy, merely ideal, and not to be hoped for, much more not to be seriously, attempted. The subject, however, gained new strength daily, and began to emerge from its embryo form. At this juncture, the Rev. Mr. Zubly, a colleague with Mr. Gwinnett, with an Iscariot heart, wrote a letter to the royal governor of Georgia, disclosing the contemplated measure, a copy of which was in some way obtained by one of the clerks and placed in the hands of Mr. Chase, who was proverbial for boldness, and who immediately denounced the traitor on the floor of Congress. The Judas at first attempted a denial by challenging his accuser for the proof, but finding that the betrayer had been betrayed, he fled precipitately for Georgia, in order to place himself under the protection of the governor, who had just escaped from the enraged patriots and was safely ensconced in a British armed vessel in Savannah harbour, and could render him no aid on terra firma. He was pursued by his colleague, Mr. Houston, but upon the wings of guilt he flew too rapidly to be overtaken.
When the proposition came before Congress for a final separation