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your respective states; provide effectually for expediting the conveyance of supplies for your armies and fleets, and for your allies; prevent the produce of the country from being monopolized; effectually superintend the behaviour of public officers; diligently promote piety, virtue, brotherly love, learning, frugality and moderation; and may you be approved before Almighty God, worthy of those blessings we devoutly wish you to enjoy."
Mr. Dickinson's political writings were collected and published in two volumes 8vo. 1801.— He died at Wilmington, in the state of Delaware, February 15, 1808, at an advanced age.
DRAYTON, WniiAm Henry, an ardent patriot, and a political writer of considerable eminence, was a native of South Carolina. He was one of his majesty's justices in that province, when they made their last circuit in the spring of 1775, and the only one born in America. In his charges to the grand jury he inculcated the same sentiment! in favour of liberty, which were patronized by the popular leaders. Soon afterwards he was elected president of the provincial congress, and devoted his great abilities with uncommon zeal for the support of the measures adopted by bis native country. In 1774, he wrote a pamphlet, addressed to the American congress, under the signature of a'Freeman,' in which he stated the grievances of America, and drew up a bill of American rights. He published his charge to the grand jury, in April 1776, Avhich breathes all the spirit and energy of the mind, which knows the value of freedom, and is determined to support it
The following is an extract from the charge:
"In short, I think it my duty to declare in the awful seat of justice, and before Almighty God, that in my opinion, the Americans can have no safety but by the Divine favour, their own virtue, and their being so prudent as not to leave it in the Nie power of the British rulers to injure them. Indeed, the rubious and deadly injuries received on our side; and the jealousies entertained, and which, in the nature of things, must daily increase against us, on the other; demonstrate to a mind, in the least given to reflection upon the rise and fall of empires, that true reconcilement never can exist between Great Britain and America, the latter being in subjection to the former. The Almighty created America to be independent of Britain: Let us beware of the impiety of being backward to act as instruments in the Almighty hand, now extended to accomplish his purpose; and by the completion of which alone, America, in the nature of human affairs, can be secure against the craft and insidious designs of her enemies who think her prosperity and power Already By Far Too Great. In a word, our piety and political safety are so blended, that to refuse our labours in this Divine work, is to refuse to be a great, a free, a pious* and a happy people!
"And nowr having left the important alternative, political happiness of wretchedness, under God, in a great degree in your own hands, I pray the Supreme Arbiter of the affairs of men, so to direct your judgment, as that you may act agreeable to what seems to be his will, revealed in his miraculous works in behalf of America, bleeding at the altar of liberty."
His letters published expressly to controvert the machinations of the British commissioners, holding out the fallacious hope of conciliation, have been considered as replete with irresistible argur raents, and written in the best style of composition. His strictures also on the conduct of general C. Lee, disobeying orders at the battle of Monmouth, have been highly approved of. His speech in the general assembly of South Carolina, on the articles of the confederation, was published in 1778. Several M
other productions of his pen appeared, explaining the injured rights of his country, and encouraging his fellow-citizens to vindicate them. He also wrote a history of the American revolution, brought down to the year 1779, in three large volumes, which he intended to correct and publish, but was prevented by his death. He died in Philadelphia, in 1779, while attending his duty in congress, in the 37th year of his age. *RANKLN, BENJAMIN, a philosopher and statesman, was a native of Boston, Massachusetts,
and was born on the 17th of January, 1706. The
paternal branch of his ancestors inhabited the county of Northampton, in England. They were proprictors of a small freehold estate near the village of Eaton, where the family had been established, according to the traditions of that place, for more than three centuries. They pursued gemerally some trade, especially that of blacksmith, and were very honourably distinguished in their neighbourhood, for industry, honesty, and mechanical ingenuity. His father, who was of the persuasion of the Puritans, emigrated in 1682, to the colony of Massachusetts, the common refuge of those of his sect, who fled from the persecutions of their native country ; but unaccustomed to agriculture or commerce, the usual occupations of the colonists, and no trade, in the simple manner of those days conferring dishonour on its professors, he had recourse for a livelihood, without any previous apprenticeship, to that of chandler and soap-boiler, which, during the remainder of his life, he pursued with little success, and lived in an innocent and unambitious poverty. His father was the youngest of four sons, all mechanics, except the eldest, Thomas, who, although bred a smith, qualified himself for the bar, and was conspicuous in his county as ‘the chief mover
of all public-spirited enterprises.” The character of this uncle, as our philosopher pourtrays it in the first pages of his memoirs, and in one of his letters to his wife, has strong points of resemblance to his own; we may, indeed, distinguish certain leading dispositions, and properties of intellect by which he was marked, more or less vigorous, in all the members of his family of whom he has given any account. He constantly attended public worship, and brought up his children in the ways of piety. His mother was a native of Boston, and was descended from one of the principal settlers of New England. We shall here give a sketch of the memoirs of his life and writings, written by himself. He says, “To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, will afford some pleasure. It will be an agreeable employment of a week’s uninterrupted leisure, which I promise myself during my present retirement in the country. There are also other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath, and spent my earliest years, I have raised myself to a state of opulence, and to some degree of celebrity in the world. A constant good fortune has attended me through every period of my life, to my present advanced age; and my descendants may be desirous of learning what where the means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful. And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to Divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which has furnished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success. My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, cither by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, which may happen to me as to so many others. My future fortune is unknown hut to Him in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.
I was sent, at the age of eight years, to a grammar school. My father destined me for the church, and already regarded me as the chaplain of the family. The "promptitude with which, from my infancy, I had learned to read, for I do not remember to have been ever without this acquirement, and the encouragement of his friends, who assured him that I should one day certainly become a man of letters, confirmed him in this design. My uncle Benjamin approved also of the scheme, and promised to give me all his volumes of sermons, written, as, I have said, in the shorthand of his invention, if I would take the pains to learn it.
I remained, however, scarcely a year at grammar school, although, in this short interval, I had risen from the middle to the head of my class, from thence to the class immediately above, and was to pass, at the end of the year, to the one next in order. But my father, burthened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expense of a collegiate education; and considering, besides, as I heard him say to his friends, that persons so educated were often poorly provided for, he renounced his first intentions, took me from the grammar school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a Mi'. George Brownwell, who was a skilful master, and succeeded very well in his profession by employing gentle means only, and such as were calculated to encourage his scholars. Under him I soon acquir.