« ForrigeFortsett »
in the Convention of his State, in favor of the Constitution of 1787, and when it was adopted, he was elected a member of the first Senate that convened under it in the city of New York. But he declined the honor, and did not take his seat there. He had been previously chosen President of New Hampshire, and held that responsible office until 1793, when he was elected the first governor of that State, under the Federal Constitution.* He held the office one year, and then resigning it, he retired to private life, and sought that needful repose which the declining years of an active existence required. He had served his country faithfully in its hour of deepest peril, and the benedictions of a free people followed him to his domestic retreat. But he was not permitted long to bless his family with his presence, nor was he allowed to witness his country entirely free from perils of great magnitude, that threatened its destruction, while the elements of the new experiment in government were yet unstable, for in 1795 death called him away. He died on the nineteenth of May of that year, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.
* So jealous were the people of State Rights, that the Federal Constitution was warmly opposed in many parts of the Union, because of its apparent nullification of those rights, and that is the reason why several of the States so long delayed to ratify that instrument. The following table exhibits the dates of the ratification of the Constitution by the thirteen old States. Delaware, Dec. 7....
South Carolina, May 23.... ...1788 Pennsylvania, Dec. 12.. ...1787
New Hampshire, June 21.. .1788 New Jersey, Dec. 18... ..1787 Virginia, June 26,.
..1788 Georgia, Jan. 2, . ..1788 New York, July 26.
..1788 Connecticut, Jan. 9.
.1788 North Carolina, Nov. 21. ..1789 Massachusetts, Feb. 6,. ..1788 Rhode Island, May 29.
.1790 Maryland, April 28,.
ILLIAM WHİPPLE was born at Kittery, in New Hampshire (that portion which is now the State of Maine) in the year 1730. His early education was received at a common school in his native town. When quite a lad, he went to sea, in
which occupation he was engaged for several years. At the age of twenty nine a he quitted the seafaring life, and, with his brother, Joseph Whipple, entered into mercantile pursuits in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He early espoused the cause of the colonies and soon
became a leader among the opposition to British authority. In 1775 he was elected a member of the Provincial Congress of New Hampshire, and was chosen by that body, one of the Committee of Safety. * When, in 1775, the people of that State organized a temporary government, Mr. Whipple was chosen a member of the Council. In January, 1776, he was chosen a delegate to the Continental Congress, and was among those who, on the fourth of July of that year, voted for the Declaration of Independence. He remained in Congress until 1777, when he retired from that body, having been appointed a Brigadier General of the New Hampshire Militia. He was very active in calling out and equipping troops for the campaign against Burgoyne. He commanded one brigade, and General Stark the other. He was under Gates at the capture of Burgoyne, and was one of the commissioners to arrange the terms of capitulation. He was afterward selected one of the officers to march the British prisoners to Cambridge, near Boston.
He joined Sullivan in his expedition against the British on Rhode Island in 1778, with a pretty large force of New Hampshire Militia. But the perverse conduct of the French Admiral D'Estaing, in not sustaining the siege of Newport,t caused a failure of the expedition, and General Whipple, with his brigade, returned to New Hampshire.
In 1780, he was offered the situation of Commissioner
* These committees were organized in several of the States. Their business was to act as an executive body to regulate the general concerns of the government during the continuance of the war. These committees were of vast importance, and acted efficiently in conjunction with the committees of correspondence. In some instances they consisted each of the same men.
The Count D'Estaing agreed to assist Sullivan in reducing the town of Neno port, but just as he was entering the harbor, the fleet of Lord Howe, from New. York, appeared, and he proceeded to attack him. A storm prevented an engagement, and both fleets were grcatly damaged by the gale. D'Estaing, instead of remaining to assist Sullivan, sailed for Boston, under the pretence of repairing his shattered vessels.
of the Board of Admiralty, but declined it. In 1782, he was appointed by Robert Morris, financial agent in New Hampshire, * but he resigned the trust in the course of a year. During that year, he was appointed one of the commissioners to settle the dispute between Pennsylvania and Connecticut, concerning the Wyoming domain, and was appointed president of the Court. He was also appointed, during that year, a side judge of the Superior Court of New Hampshire. I
Soon after his appointment, in attempting to sum up the arguments of counsel, and submit the case to the jury, he was attacked with a violent palpitation of the heart, which ever after troubled him. In 1785 he was seriously affected while holding court; and, retiring to his cham. ber, he never left it again while living. He expired on the twenty-eighth day of November, 1785, in the fiftyfifth year of his
age. He requested a post mortem examination, which being done, it was found that a portion of his heart had become ossified, or bony. Thus terminated the valuable life of one who rose from the post of a cabin boy, to a rank among the first men of his country. His life and character present one of those bright examples of self-reliance which cannot be too often pressed upon the attention of the young; and, although surrounding circumstances had much to do in the development of his talents, yet, after all, the great secret of his success was doubtless a hopeful reliance upon a conscious ability to perform any duty required of him.
* Robert Morris was then the manager of the finances of the Confederation, and these agents in the various States were a kind of sub- treasurers. Hence it was an office that required honest and faithful incumbents.
† The early western boundary of Connecticut, before the organization of New York, was, like most of the other States on the Atlantic, quite indefinite. A Colony from this province had settled in the Wyoming valley, and that region was not included in New York. It was within the bounds of Pennsylvania, hence the dispute.
† At that time the Courts in New Hampshire were constituted of four judges, of whom the first, or Chief Justice, only, was a lawyer, the others being chosen from among civilians, distinguished for sound judgment, and a good education.
ATTHEW THORNTON was born in Ireland, in 1714, and was brought to this country by his father when he was between two and three
of age. His father, when he emigrated to America, first settled at Wiscasset,
in Maine, and in the course of a few years moved to Worcester, in Massachusetts, where he gave his son an academical education, with a view to fit him for one of the learned professions. Matthew chose the medical profession, and at the close of his preparatory studies, he commenced his business career in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He became eminent as a physician, and in the course of a few years acquired a handsome fortune.
In 1745 he was appointed surgeon of the New Hampshire troops, and accompanied them in the expedition against Louisburg.* After his return he was appointed by the royal governor (Wentworth) a Colonel of Militia, and also a Justice of the Peace. He early espoused the 'cause of the colonists, and soon, like many others, became obnoxious to the governor. His popularity among the people was a cause of jealousy and alarm on the part of the chief magistrate.
When the provincial government of New Hampshire was organized, on the abdication of Governor Wentworth,
* Louisburg was a fortress upon the island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, then in possession of the French, and was considered one of the strongest fortifica. tions in America.