Carolina, where he attained as high a rank in his profession as he had done in Virginia. The following year, he was chosen a delegate from North Carolina to the General Congress, in which body he took his seat on the 12th of October. He was successively reëlected to Congress, in the years 1777, 1778, and 1779, and was respected for his promptitude and fidelity in the discharge of the duties assigned him. He was seldom absent from his seat, and was a watchful guardian of the rights and liberties of his constituents. He was urgent in forwarding the measures which led to the total emancipation of the colonies.

After the return of peace, Mr. Penn betook himself to private retirement. The even tenor of his way was marked by few prominent incidents after this period. He departed from this world, September, 1788, at the age of forty-six years. He had three children, two of whom died unmarried.

GEORGE READ was born in Maryland, in the year

1734. Being designed by his parents for one of the learned professions, he was placed at a seminary at Chester, Pennsylvania. Having there acquired the rudiments of the languages, he was nsferred to the care of the accomplished Dr. Allison, with whom he remained until his seventeenth year. He was then placed in the office of John Morland, Esq., a lawyer in the city of Philadelphia, for the purpose of fitting himself for the legal profession.

In 1753, at the age of nineteen years, Mr. Read was admitted to the bar. In the year following, he commenced the practice of the law, in the town of New Castle. In 1763, he was appointed attorney-general of the three lower counties on the Delaware. In the year 1765, Mr. Read was elected a representative from New Castle county to the General Assembly of Delaware, a post which he occupied for twelve years.

On the 1st of August, 1774, Mr. Read was chosen a delegate from Delaware to the Continental Congress. To this station he was annually reëlected, during the whole

revolutionary war. Mr. Read did not vote for the declaration of independence. But when, at length, the measure had received the sanction of the great national council, and the time arrived for signing the instrument, Mr. Read affixed his signature to it, with all the cordiality of those who had voted in its favor.

Mr. Read was president of the Convention which formed the first constitution of the state of Delaware. In 1782, he accepted the appointment of judge of the Court of Appeals, in admiralty cases, an office which he held until the abolition of the court. In 1787, he represented the state of Delaware, in the Convention which framed the constitution of the United States, under which he was immediately chosen a member of the Senate. The duties of this exalted station he discharged till 1793, when he accepted of a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court of Delaware, as chief justice. He died in this office, in the autumn of 1798.

The legal attainments of Mr. Read were extensive; and his decisions are still respected as precedents of no slight authority. In private life he was esteemed for an expanded benevolence to all around him.

CÆSAR RODNEY. CÆSAR Rodney was a native of Dover, in Delaware, where he was born about the year 1730. He inherited from his father a large landed estate. At the age of twenty-eight, he was appointed high sheriff in the county where he resided, and, on the expiration of his term of service, was created a justice of the peace and a judge of the lower courts. In 1762, and perhaps at an earlier date, he represented the county of Kent, in the provincial legislature. In the year 1765, he was sent to the first General Congress, which assembled at New York, to adopt the necessary measures for obtaining a repeal of the stamp act, and other odious measures of the British ministry.

In 1769, Mr. Rodney was elected speaker of the House of Representatives, an office which he continued to fill for several years. About the same time, he was appointed

chairman of the committee of correspondence with the other colonies. He was a member of the well-known Congress of 1774, when he had for his colleagues Thomas M'Kean and George Read.

At the time that the question of independence came before Congress, Mr. Rodney was absent, on a tour of duty, in the southern part of Delaware. Mr. M'Kean and Mr. Read, his colleagues, were divided upon the subject. Aware of the importance of a unanimous vote, Mr. M'Kean despatched, at his private expense, an express into Delaware, to acquaint Mr. Rodney of the delicate posture of affairs, and to hasten his return to Philadelphia. With great exertion, he arrived on the spot just as the members were entering the door of the State-House, at the final discussion of the subject.

In the autumn of 1776, a Convention was called in Delaware, for the purpose of framing a new constitution, and of appointing delegates to the succeeding Congress. In this Convention, the influence of the royalists proved sufficiently strong to deprive Mr. Rodney of his seat in Congress. He remained, however, a member of the council of safety, and of the committee of inspection, in both of which offices he exerted himself with great diligence. In 1777, he repaired in person to the camp near Princeton, where he remained for nearly two months, in the most active and laborious employment. During the same year, he was reappointed a delegate to Congress, but, before taking his seat, was elected president of the state. In the latter office he continued for about four years, at the close of which period he retired from public life. again elected to Congress, but it does not appear that he ever after took his seat in that body. A cancer, which had afflicted him for some time, and which had greatly disfigured his face, now increased its ravages, and, in the early part of the year 1783, brought him to the grave. Mr. Rodney was distinguished for a remarkable degree of good humor and vivacity, and, in generosity of character, was an ornament to human nature.

He was

GEORGE ROSS. George Ross was born at New Castle, Delaware, in the year

1730. At the age of eighteen, he entered upon the study of the law, and, when admitted to the bar, established himself at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here he married, and devoted himself with great zeal to the duties of his profession.

Mr. Ross commenced his political career in 1768, when he was sent a representative to the Assembly of his adopted state. Of this body he continued a member until the year 1774, when he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress. To this office he was annually réelected till January, 1777, when he retired. The high sense entertained, by his constituents, of his public services and patriotism, was expressed, not merely by thanks, but by a present of one hundred and fifty pounds. This offer was respectfully but firmly declined.

Mr. Ross was an active and influential member of the provincial legislature. He was also a member of the Convention which assembled to prepare a declaration of rights on behalf of the state, and to define what should be considered high treason against it. In 1779, he was appointed a judge of the Court of Admiralty for the state of Pennsylvania. In July of the same year, he died of a sudden attack of the gout, in the fiftieth year of his age. He left behind him the reputation of a thorough and skilful lawyer, a consistent politician, and an estimable man.

BENJAMIN RUSH. BENJAMIN Rush was born in Byberry, Pennsylvania, on the 24th of December, 1745. His father died when he was only six years of age, and the care of his education devolved upon his mother, whose prudent management of her son may be learned from the result.

After completing his preparatory studies, he was entered, in 1759, a student in the College of Princeton. On leaving college, he commenced the study of medicine, under the superintendence of Dr. Redman, of Philadel

phia. In 1766, he went to Edinburgh, where he spent two years at the university in that city, and from which he received the degree of M. D., in 1768. The next winter after his graduation he passed in London, and, having visited France, he returned, in the autumn of the same year, to Philadelphia, and commenced the practice of medicine. In 1769, he was elected professor of chemistry in the College of Philadelphia'; and was afterwards appointed professor of the institutes and practice of medicine, and of clinical practice, in the same university

In the year 1793, Philadelphia was visited by that horrible scourge, the yellow fever. For some time after its commencement, no successful system of management was resorted to. Dr. Rush afterwards met with a manuscript, which contained an account of the yellow fever, as it prevailed in Virginia, in 1741, and which was given to him by Dr. Franklin, and had been written by Dr. Mitchell, of Virginia. In this manuscript, the efficacy of powerful evacuants was urged, even in cases of extreme debility. This plan Dr. Rush adopted, and imparted the prescription to the college of physicians. An immense accession of business was the consequence, and his mode of treatment was wonderfully successful. The following entry, dated September 10th, is found in his note-book : “ Thank God, out of one hundred patients, whom I visited or prescribed for this day, I have lost none."

Between the 8th and 15th of September, Dr. Rush visited and prescribed for a hundred and a hundred and twenty patients a day. In the short intervals of business, which he spent at his meals, his house was filled with patients, chiefly the poor, waiting for his gratuitous advice. For many weeks he seldom ate without prescribing for many as he sat at table. While thus endangering his health and his life by excess of practice, Dr. Rush received repeated letters from his friends in the country, entreating him to leave the city. To one of these letters he replied, " that he had resolved to stick to his principles, his practice, and his patients, to the last extremity.”

The incessant labors of Dr. Rush, during this awful visitation, nearly prostrated his constitution ; but he was

« ForrigeFortsett »