BOWDOIN, JAMES, a governor of Massachusetts, was born at Boston, in the year 1727, and was graduated at Harvard College, in 1745. He took an early stand against the encroachments of the British government upon the provincial rights, and, in 1774, was elected a delegate to the first Congress. The state of his health prevented his attendance, and his place was afterwards filled by Mr. Hancock. In 1778, he was chosen president of the convention which formed the constitution of Massachusetts, and, in 1785, was chosen governor of that state.

He was a member of the Massachusetts convention assembled to deliberate on the adoption of the constitution of the United States, and exerted himself in its favor. He was the first president of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, established at Boston in 1780, and was admitted a member of several foreign societies of distinction. He died at Boston, in 1790.

BIDDLE, NICHOLAS, an American naval officer, was born in Philadelphia, in 1750. He entered the British fleet in 1770, having previously served several years as a seaman on board merchant ships. On the commencement of hostilities between the colonies and the mother country, he returned to Philadelphia, and received from Congress the captaincy of the Andrew Doria, a brig of fourteen guns, employed in the expedition against New Providence. Towa the close of 1776, he received command of the Randolph, a new frigate of thirty-two guns, with which he soon captured a Jamaica fleet of four sail, richly laden. This prize he carried into Charleston, and was soon after furnished by the government of that town with four additional vessels, to attack several British cruisers, at that time harassing the commerce of the vicinity. He fell in with the royal line of battle ship Yarmouth, of sixty-four guns, on the 7th of March, 1778, and, after an action of twenty minutes, perished, with all his crew except four, by the blowing up of the ship.

BRADDOCK, EDWARD, major-general of the British army, and commander of the detachment engaged in the expedition against the French on the River Ohio, in 1755, arrived in Virginia in February of that year, and in the spring marched against Fort Du Quesne. On his march

thither, he fell into an ambuscade of the Indians, by which he lost nearly one half of his troops, and received himself a mortal wound.

BAYARD, JAMES A., an eminent American lawyer and politician, was born in Philadelphia, in 1767, and educated at Princeton College. In the year 1784, he engaged in the study of the law, and, on admission to the bar, settled in the state of Delaware, where he soon acquired practice and consideration. He was elected to a seat in Congress towards the close of the administration of Mr. Adams, and first particularly distinguished himself in conducting the impeachment of senator Blount. In 1804, he was elected to the Senate of the United States by the legislature of Delaware, and remained for several years a conspicuous member of that assembly. In 1813, he was appointed, by President Madison, one of the ministers to conclude a treaty of peace with Great Britain, and assisted in the successful negotiations at Ghent, in the following year. He then received the appointnient of minister to the court of St. Petersburg; but an alarming illness induced him to return immediately to the United States. He died soon after his arrival home, in July, 1815.

BARNEY, JOSHUA, a distinguished naval commander in the service of the United States, was born at Baltimore, Maryland, in 1759. He went to sea at a very early age; and, when the war commenced between Great Britain and the colonies, Barney offered his services to the latter, and obtained the situation of master's mate in the sloop of war Hornet. During the war, he was several times taken prisoner by the enemy, and displayed, on numerous occasions, great valor and enterprise. In 1795, he received the commission of captain in the French service, but in 1800, resigned his command, and returned to America. In 1812, when war was declared against Great Britain, he offered his services to the general government, and was appointed to the command of the flotilla for the defence of the Chesapeake. While in this situation, during the summer of 1814, he kept up an active warfare with the enemy; and in the latter part of July, he was severely wounded in a land engagement near Bladensburg. In the following year, he was sent on a mission to

Europe. He died at Pittsburg, in 1818, in the sixtieth year of his age.

BROWN, JOHN, was born in 1736, in Providence, Rhode Island, and was a leader of the party which, in 1772, destroyed the British sloop of war Gasper in Narraganset Bay. He became an enterprising and wealthy merchant, and was the first in his native state who traded with the East Indies and China. He was chosen a member of Congress, and was a generous patron of literature, and a great projector of works of public utility. He died in 1803.

BURNET, WILLIAM, the son of Bishop Burnet, was born at the Hague, in 1688. After having held the office of comptroller of the customs in England, he was, in 1720, appointed governor of New York and New Jersey.

In 1728, he was appointed to the government of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where his administration was rendered unpleasant by a controversy with the Assembly. He died at Boston, in 1729. He was a man of learning, and published several works on theological and philosophical subjects.

BURR, AARON, vice-president of the United States, was born at Newark, New Jersey, February 6, 1756.

His father, Rev. Aaron Burr, was the first president of Nassau Hall College. He was a divine of great eloquence and piety, though rather eccentric. He married the daughter of the celebrated Jonathan Edwards.

They both died before the subject of this memoir was three years old. Thus in his infancy deprived of his natural guardians, with a large estate to purchase the smiles of the world and quench its frowns, he gave way to all the vagaries of a naturally wayward disposition. At the

age of four years, he ran away from his teacher, and could not be found till three or four days had expired.

At the

age of ten, he performed the same feat, and entered as a cabin boy on board of an outward-bound vessel, where he was found by his uncle, perched on the mast-head, ready to receive him and arrange articles of capitulation, before he put himself into the power of the enemy. He entered the sophomore class at Nassau Hall College at the age of thirteen, and was exceedingly disappointed in

being excluded from entrance into the junior class, for which he was prepared.

For a few months, he pursued his studies with great vigor ; but, on comparing himself with his classmates, he found them so much belo himself in attainment, that he lost the desire to shine as a scholar, and left college with a reputation for great talents, based on the result of a few months' application in the early part of his college life.

He, however, took his diploma, left his books, and leaped upon the stage of active life. Armed with the keenest weapons that could be drawn from the armory of a powerful mind, an indomitable will, a quenchless energy, and a self-possession which was never known but once to forsake him in the whole course of his eventful life, — no competition could arrest him, though it might divert him from his immediate object; no power could chain him, till it attacked a vulnerable part, his moral character.

On leaving college, he entered the family of Rev. Jonathan Bellamy, to pursue a course of reading on theology, where he remained about six months, when he believed that he had learned “ that the way to heaven was open alike to all.” He then commenced the study of law, which was continually interrupted by the turmoil of political strife. At this period, the subject of taxation and of human rights was every where debated in our land, and Aaron Burr gave his whole soul to the contest, and embraced the cause of patriotism.

He joined the army at Cambridge as a volunteer ; but, dissatisfied with a state of inactivity, though of slender frame, and enfeebled by disease, he resolved to join the expedition of Arnold up the Kennebec, through the wilderness to Quebec. A messenger from his uncle, who was his guardian, announced to Burr, that he had been sent to convey him home. « There are but two ways to effect your purpose,” said Burr; “the one, to obtain my consent, which you shall never have; the other, to take me by force, which if you attempt, I will have you hung up in ten minutes.". He accordingly departed from Newburyport with the expedition, September 20, 1775.

The sufferings of this detachment from wet, cold, hun

ger, and fatigue, were excessive. On one occasion, Burr was carried over a fall of nearly twenty feet, where one man was drowned, and a large quantity of baggage lost.

His fortitude and sagacity usually procured for him appointments of a particularly delicate or dangerous character.

On the arrival of the troops at Chaudiere Pond, Arnold sent him with a verbal message to General Montgomery. Furnished with a guide, and disguised as a priest, he penetrated the enemy's country as far as Three Rivers, where the guide, becoming alarmed, refused to proceed; they remained, therefore, three days, concealed in a convent, and, finding no further cause of alarm, they recommenced their toilsome and dangerous journey, and arrived in safety at the camp of Montgomery.

The general was astonished at the boyish appearance of the messenger of news so important; but, after listening to the incidents of his journey, he was still more aston-ished at his maturity of judgment, and his skill manifested in the execution of his trust, and appointed him one of his aids, though but nineteen



age. After the arrival of Arnold, preparations were made to storm the city. General Montgomery, M'Pherson, Cheeseman, Burr, and a French guide, led the van, and the Canadians fled before them. But by the accidental discharge of a piece of artillery, three out of the five in the van of the column were killed, leaving only Burr and the French guide, on which Colonel Campbell ordered a retreat.

Soon after his return from Quebec, at the invitation of General Washington, Burr joined his family; but, a mutual dislike arising between them, he remained but a short time. Whatever may have been the cause of this dislike, General Washington, even while doing justice to his merit as a skilful officer, from that time, never extended to Burr his confidence.

Burr at length received a commission as lieutenantcolonel in the regiment of Colonel Malcolm, stationed in Orange county, New York. On presenting himself for the first time at the head-quarters of the regiment, Colonel Malcolm was greatly disappointed; for, having had little

« ForrigeFortsett »