« ForrigeFortsett »
everything else, his patriotism was conspicuous, and General Washington in his official account of the siege, made honorable mention of the great services of Governor Nelson and his militia.
Within a month after the battle of Yorktown, Governor Nelson, finding his health declining, resigned his office and retired to private life. It was at this period, while endeavoring to recruit his health by quiet and repose, that he was charged with mal-practice, while governor, as alluded to in a preceding note. A full investigation took place, and the legislature, as before mentioned, legalized his acts, and they also acquitted him of all the charges preferred. He never again appeared in public life, but spent the remainder of his days alternately at his mansion in Yorktown, and his estate at Offly. His health gradually declined until 1789, when, on the fourth day of January, his useful life closed. He was in the fiftythird year of his age.
firing in the direction of his house. Governor Nelson inquired why his house was spared, and was informed that it was out of personal regard for him. He at once begged them not to make any difference on that account, and at once a well di. rected fire was opened upon it. At that inoment a number of British officers occupied it, and were at dinner enjoying a feast, and making merry with wine. The shots of the Americans entered the house, and killing two of the officers, effectually ended the conviviality of the party.
RANCIS Lightfoot LEE, a younger brother of Richard Henry Lee, was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, on the fourteenth day of October, 1734. He was too young when his father died
to be sent abroad to be educated, but was favoi ed with every advantage in the way of learning which the colony afforded. He was placed at an early age under the care of the Reverend Doctor Craig, a Srotch clergyman of eminent piety and learning. His excellent tutor not only educated his head but
his heart, and laid the foundation of character, upon which the noble superstructure, which his useful life exhibited, was reared.
On the returu of Richard Henry Lee from England, whither he had been to acquire a thorough education, Francis, who was then just stepping from youth into manhood, was deeply impressed with his various acquirements and polished manners, and adopted him as a model for imitation. He leaned upon his brother's judgment in all matters, and the sentiments which moved the one impelled the other to action. And when his brother with his sweet voice and persuasive manner, endeavored, by popular harangues, to arouse his friends and neighbors to à sense of the impending danger, which act after act of British oppression shadowed forth, Francis caught his spirit ; and when he was old enough to engage in the strife of politics, he was a full-fledged patriot, and with
pure heart and clean hands” he espoused the cause of freedom.
In 1765, Mr. Lee was elected a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, for Loudon county, while his brother was member of the same House, for Westmoreland county. By annual election, he continued a member of the Virginia Assembly for Loudon, until 1772, when he married the daughter of Colonel John Taylor, of Richmond, and moved to that city. He was at once elected a member for Richmond, and continued to represent that county until 1775, when the Virginia Convention elected him a delegate to the Continental Congress. During his whole term of service in the General Assembly of his State, he always acted in concert with the patriotic burgesses. Mr. Lee was not a fluent speaker, and seldom engaged in debate ; but his sound judgment, unwavering principles, and persevering industry, made him a useful member of any legislative assembly. He sympathized with his bro
ther in his yearnings for independence, and it was with great joy, that he voted for and signed the instrument which declared his country free.
Mr. Lee continued in Congress, until 1779, and was the member, for Virginia, of the committee which framed the Articles of Confederation. Early in the spring of 1779, he retired from Congress and returned home, with the intention of withdrawing wholly from public life, to enjoy those sweets of domestic quiet which he so ardently loved. But his fellow citizens were unwilling to dispense with his valuable services, and elected him a member of the Virginia Senate. He, however, remained there but for a brief season, and then bade adieu to public employments. He could never again be induced to leave his domestic pleasures; and he passed the remainder of his days in agricultural pursuits, and the enjoyments to be derived from reading and study, and the cheerful intercourse with friends. Possessed of ample wealth, he used it like a philosopher and a Christian in dispensing its blessings for the benefit of his country and his fellow men.
In April, 1797, he was prostrated by an attack of pleurisy, which terminated his life in the course of a few days. He was in the sixty-third year of his age. His wife was attacked by the same disease, and died a few days after the decease of her husband.
ARTER BRAXTON was born at Newington, in King and Queen's county, Virginia, on the tenth of September, 1736. His father, George Braxton, was a wealthy farmer, and
highly esteemed among the planters of Virginia. His mother was the daughter of Robert Carter, who, for a time, was president of the royal council for that State. They both died while Carter and his brother George were quite young.
Carter Braxton was educated at the college of William and Mary, and at the age of nineteen years, on leaving that institution, he was married to Miss Judith Robinson, the daughter of a wealthy planter in Middlesex county. His own large fortune was considerably augmented by this marriage, and he was considered one of the wealthiest men in his native county.*
In 1757, Mr. Braxton went to England, for the purpose of self-improvement and personal gratification. He remained there until 1760, when he returned to America, and soon afterward married the daughter of Mr. Corbin, the royal receiver-general of the customs of Virginia.t Notwithstanding the social position, and patrician connections of Mr. Braxton, which would seem naturally to have attached him to the aristocracy, he was among the earliest in Virginia who raised the voice of patriotism. In 1765 he was a member of the House of Burgesses. How much earlier he appeared in public life is not certainly known. He was present when Patrick Henry's
* His wife died at the time of the birth of her second child, when she was not quite twenty-one years
age. † Mr. Braxton had a large family by his second wife. She was the mother of sixteen children.