« AnteriorContinuar »
rity than lightning; its earthly career can be arrested only by the hand of death.
To reflect, to investigate, to reason, and to analyze, is the province of our intellectual functions. To comprehend the grand and harmonious organic structure of nature, the wisdom of the great Architect of universal worlds, and the relation man bears to man, is to learn that human beings are endowed with equal and inherent rights, and that they are in duty bound to maintain them. Justice marks out the golden path, reason leads the way, and patriotism impels to action.
The man whose mind is cast in the mould of wisdom by the mighty hand of his Creator, if he brings into proper exercise the combined powers of intellectual and physical force, can never be made a willing slave. As his soul is expanded by the genial rays of intelligence, he duly appreciates his native dignity, becomes enraptured with the glories of liberty, and resolves to be free. If he is groaning under the oppressions of tyranny and wears the galling chains of servility, as light shines upon him he will be roused to a inighty effort to burst the ignominious thongs that bind him, assert his inalienable rights, and assume his legitimate station in the scale of being.
Thus acted the patriots of the American revolution--thus acted THOMAS HEYWARD, the subject of this brief sketch. He was the eldest son of Col. Daniel Heyward, a wealthy and highly respected planter, and was born in the parish of St. Luke, South Carolina, in 1746. His opportunities for obtaining a liberal education were freely afforded by his father, and were faithfully improved by the son. He became ardently attached to the Greek and Roman classics, and dwelt with rapture upon the history of republican freedom. The principles of rational liberty became deeply rooted in his mind at an early age, and when manhood dawned upon him they were thoroughly matured.
After completing his elemental education he commenced the study of law with Mr. Parsons, who stood high as a member of the bar. The proficiency of Mr. Heyward in that intricate science was creditable to himself and gratifying to his numerous friends. He possessed an investigating and analyzing mind, and never passed over a subject superficially. He was a close student, and explored the opening fields of civil and common law with a zeal and rapidity seldom known. When he became familiar with the principles laid down by Sir William Blackstone, and understood fully the rights secured to persons and property by Magna Charta and the British constituint, and compared them with the iron rod of restrictions held over the colonists by the mother country, he was roused to a just indignation.
After having completed his course with Mr. Parsons, he repaired to England, and entered the middle temple, where he became a finished lawyer and an accomplished gentleman. Although amply supplied with money, he was not led astray by the allurements of fascinating pleasures, that first flatter and please, then ruin and destroy. To enrich his mind with science and useful knowledge, was the ultimatum of his soul.
He mingled with what was termed refined society in London, which formed a striking contrast with the republican simplicity of that of the same grade in his own country. The fastidious hauteur of Enge lish etiquette was far from being congenial to his mind, and did not accord with his ideas of social life. He there met claims of superiority over native Americans that he knew were based alone upon pride and ignorance. His feelings were often wounded by indignities cast upon the colonial character. All these things combined to rivet his affections more strongly upon the land of his birth. They operated as fuel for the livid flame of patriotism, already glowing in his bosom. The pomp of royalty and the splendour of kingly courts had no charms for him. The awful distance between the haughty prince and the honest peasant, the towering throne and the worthy yeomanry, operated upon his mind like a talisman, and gave his soul a new impetus towards the goal of equal rights. The more he saw of practical monarchy, often the automaton of corrupt and corrupting advisers, the more he became opposed to its potent sway.
After closing his course in the law temple, he made the tour of Europe, and then returned to the warm embrace of his relatives and friends, richly laden with the treasures of classic science and useful knowledge. He had become familiar with the theories of European governments, and had seen their principles practically demonstrated. He understood well the feelings and policy of the mother country relative to her American colonies. He had witnessed her political artificers at the forge of despotism, preparing chains for his beloved country. He had seen her coffers yawning wide, to' receive the ill gotten treasures, wrested from his fellow citizens by hireling tax gatherers, in violation of chartered rights, legal justice, and the claims of mercy. His own estate had been laid under contribution to swell the unholy fund. His neighbours around him were groaning under the lash of British oppression. To enlighten their minds, and make them understand fully their danger, their interest, and their duty, became the business of this zealous patriot. Possessed of a bold and fearless mind, directed by a clear head, an honest heart, a sound judgment, and a rich fund of useful intelligence, his exertions were crowned with glorious success. His salutary influence was extensively felthis sterling worth was duly appreciated. He was a member of the first assembly of South Carolina that set British power at defiance, and was also a member of the council of safety. He discharged his duties with firmness, prudence, and zeal. No fugitive fear disturbed his mind, no threatened vengeance moved his purposes. His eyes were fixed on the temple of freedom, his soul was insulated by the fluid of patriotism, his heart was resolved on liberty or death. His life, his property, and his sacred honour, were pledged in the noble cause. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, but at first declined serving, in consequence of his young age. A large delegation of citizens subsequently waited upon him, and, at their urgent request, he took his seat in that august assembly of sages in 1776, and became a warm advocate for that memorable instrument, that proclaimed the birth of our nation to an astonished world, and shed fresh lustre on the intellect of man. His voice and his signature
sanctioned its adoption—his conscience, his country, and his God, approved the act.
In two years after he was called to perform more painful duties. He was appointed a judge of the civil and criminal courts of his native state, under the new order of things. Several persons were arraigned before him, charged with a treasonable correspondence with the enemy—they were found guilty, and condemned to be hung in sight of the British lines at Charleston. With feelings of humanity, but with the firmness of a Roman, he performed his duty, and pronounced upon them the penalty of the law.
Judge HEYWARD also participated in the military perils of the times that tried men's souls." He commanded a company of artillery at the battle of Beaufort, and was severely wounded. At the attack upon Savannah he was also actively engaged. At the siege of Charleston he commanded a battalion, and was one of the unfortunate prisoners who were transferred to St. Augustine. During his absence his property was pillaged, and his amiable and accomplished wife, the daughter of Mr. Matthews, whom he had married in 1773, was laid in the grave. The tidings of these heart-rending afflictions did not reach him until he was exchanged and returned to Philadelphia. With the calm and dignified fortitude of a christian, a philosopher, and a hero, he met the shafts of afflictive fate. He mourned deeply, but submissively, the premature exit of the companion of his bosom. His physical sufferings and loss of property he freely offered at the altar of liberty, without a murmur or a sigh.
He again resumed his judicial duties upon the bench, and discharged them ably and faithfully until 1798. He was an influential member of the convention that framed the Constitution of South Carolina in 1790. Old age and infirmity finally admonished him that his mission on earth was fast drawing to a close, and he retired from the public arena, covered with epic and civic honours, lasting as the pages of history. In the full fruition of a nation's gratitude and of a nation's freedom he spent his last years, and in March, 1809, went to his final rest, leaving his second wife, Miss E. Savage, and his children, to mourn the loss of a kind husband and tender father; and his country to regret the loss of a devoted patriot, an able judge, and an honest man.
MEN, whose motives inducing them to action are free from self, aiming exclusively at public good, are like angels' visits, few and far between. Perhaps no era recorded on the pages of ancient or modern history, presents as many examples of disinterested patriotism as that of the American revolution. The sages who conceived, planned, and consummated the declaration of our independence, pledged their LIVES, THEIR FORTUNES, AND THEIR SACRED HONOURS, to carry out the principles promulgated by that sacred instrurnent. Never did men perform their vows more faithfully; never did men redeem their pledges more nobly. Many of them not only placed all their available means in the public treasury, but extended their private credit to its utmost tension, to obtain supplies for the infant Republic, then bursting from embryo.--No one rendered more efficient pecuniary aid in the advancement of the cause of equal rights and American liberty than ROBERT Morris. He was an Englishman by birth, born at Liverpool, Lancashire, England, on the 20th day of January, 1754. His father was a respectable merchant, and immigrated to this country in 1746, and settled at Oxford, on the eastern shore of Maryland. He then sent for his son, whom he had left behind, who arrived when he was thirteen years
of age. He received a good commercial education, but not classical.
At the age of fifteen, he was deprived of his father by death. He had previously entered the counting house of Charles Willing, then one of the most thorough and enterprising merchants of the city of Philadelphia. After having acquired a knowledge of commercial concerns, Mr. Willing established him in business, and remained his constant friend and adviser. For several years he prospered alone, but finding the cares of time pressing upon him, he concluded to take a partner, to aid him in the journey of life. That partner was the amiable and accomplished Mary, daughter of Col. White, and sister to the late venerable and learned Bishop White of Philadelphia. She possessed every quality calculated to adorn her sex and render connubial felicity complete; and withal, was rich-a desideratum with some, but a miserable substitute for genuine esteem, sincere affection and true friendship. No man or woman, with a clear head, a good heart, and sound discretion ever married for the sake of riches alone.
"Can gold buy FRIENDSHIP? Impudence of hope!
As well mere man an angel might beget.” Fortunately for Mr. Morris and his partner, their highest treasure was mutual affection, flowing from the pure fountain of their kindred hearts, anxious to promote the reciprocal happiness of each other, and the felicity of all around them.
Nothing occurred to mar their prosperity until the revolutionary storm burst upon the colonies. Had self interest been consulted so far as pecuniary matters were concerned, Mr. Morris would have adhered to the crown. His interests, in point of property, were entirely commercial; and, in case of an opposition by him to the mother
country, his wealth was very much exposed. But he bad inhaled the atmosphere of freedom; his soul was fired with patriotism; he resolved to pledge his all in the cause of liberty. His influence was extensive; he was a cool, reflecting and high minded man, and arrived at conclusions only from mature deliberation. This being his character, his examples had great weight.
He was elected a member of the congress of 1774, and took a decided stand against British oppression. Being an able financier, he was looked up to as the most efficient manager of monetary matters, and, so far as providing ways and means were concerned, he was authorized to act. Most nobly did he acquit himself in the performance of this important trust. As no office of finance was then created, unfortunately for his country, he could not control the disbursements, but continued to provide money, often froin his own resources. When Congress adjourned from Philadelphia to Baltimore on the approach of the conquering British army in 1776, after the declaration of independence, then called by many the death warrant of the signers, Robert Morris, who had affixed his name to that bold instrument, remained at the former city some time after his colleagues left, periling his personal safety in order to make arrangements to raise funds for the prosecution of the glorious cause he had espoused. During his stay, it became necessary that congress should raise a specific sum in specie for the use of the American army. Information was immediately communicated to Mr. Morris of the imperious wants of the commander-in-chief. Not a solitary dollar was in the government treasury. In a few hours after he received the intelligence, he met a member of the society of Friends whose confidence he possessed, who enquired of him “what news?” “The news is,” replied Mr. Morris, that I am in immediate want of dollars of hard money, and that you are the man to obtain it for me. Your security is to be my note of hand and my honour.” The reply was as laconic as the appeal : “Robert thou shalt have it." The money was promptly forwarded to the commander-in-chief and placed at his disposal, and enabled Washington to meet the enemy at Trenton with signal success.
Mr. Morris made no parade or vain show in the performance of his duties, and often furnished funds through agents under the injunction of secrecy, who, at the time, had the credit of affording relief on their own account.' One instance will suffice for an example,
When General Green took the command of the troops in South Carolina, their destitute situation was deplorable. They were only partially covered with tattered garments; their food was of the coarsest kind, and but a scanty supply of that; their quantity of ammunition was small, and nothing but certain destruction seemed to hover around them. At that alarming crisis, Mr. Hall, of that state, advanced the necessary funds to supply the immediate wants of the army, and enable General Green to commence vigorous operations.
After the war had closed, and an account of the disbursements was exhibited, it was found that Mr. Hall had acted under the direction of Robert Morris, who had furnished the needful at the very time it was necessary to save the southern army from dissolution. General Green, on being made acquainted with the fact on his final settlement