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and Heroes of the American Revolution aimed to form and have perpetuated by posterity.
Among those who laid the foundation and commenced the superstructure of our growing Republic was George Taylor, born in Ireland in 1716. His father was a clergyman and gave him a good education. He then placed him with a physician under whose direction he commenced the study of medicine. Not fancying the idea of becoming a son of Æsculapius he flew the course and without money or the knowledge of his friends entered as a redemptioner on board a vessel bound for Philadelphia. Soon after his arrival his passage was paid by Mr. Savage of Durham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for which George bound himself as a common laborer for a term of years. This gentleman carried on iron works and appointed his new servant to the office of filler his work being to throw coal into the furnace when in blast. His hands became cruelly blistered but being ambitious to gain the approbation of all around him he persevered without a complaint. Learning his situation his humane master entered into a conversation with him and was surprised to find him possessed of a good education and superior talents. He immediately promoted him to a clerkship in the counting house. He filled his station admirably and gained the esteem and friendship of all his new acquaintances. He endeavored to improve by everything he saw, heard and read. His reflecting and reasoning powers became rapidly developed. He made himself acquainted with the formula of business, the customs and laws of his adopted country and reduced to practice the theories he had acquired at school. To add to his importance in society Mr. Savage was removed by death and after the usual season of mourning had passed, the widow Savage became Mrs. Taylor and Mr. Taylor came in possession of a large property and a valuable and influential wife. By persevering industry and good management he continued to add to the estate and in a few years purchased a tract of land on the bank of the Lehigh River in Northampton County upon which he built a splendid mansion and iron works, making it his place of residence. Not being prospered there he removed back to Durham. During his residence in Northampton County he became extensively and favorably known.
In 1764 he was elected to the provincial Assembly and took a prominent part in its deliberations. He was endowed with a strong mind, clear perception and sound judgment. He had not been an idle spectator or careless observer of passing events or of subjects discussed. He nad examined the principles upon which various governments were predicated and became enraptured with the republican system. He
had closely observed the increasing advances of British oppression. He had not imported a large share of love for the mother country. He was too patriotic to tamely submit to the English yoke. So fully nad he gained the confidence of his fellow citizens that he was placed upon the important committee of grievances. He took a bold stand against the corruptions of the proprietary government and strongly advocated an alteration of the charter that peculation might be diminished and abuses corrected.
The ensuing year he was again elected to the Assembly and was one of the committee that prepared instructions for the delegates to Congress that convened in New York in 1765 to adopt measures for the restoration and preservation of colonial rights. This document combined caution and respect with firmness of purpose and deliberation of action. It instructed the delegates to move within the orbit of constitutional and chartered rights and to respectfully but clearly admonish the mother country and her advisers not to travel out of the same circle. Shortly after that the Stamp Act was repealed. Mr. Taylor was on
. the committee to prepare a congratulatory address to the king on the happy event. So ably did he discharge his public duties that he was uniformly placed upon several of the standing committees of great importance, assigning to him an onerous portion of legislative duties. Upon the committee of grievances, assessment of taxes, judiciary, loans on bills of credit, navigation, to choose a printer of public laws, the name of George Taylor was generally found and often the first. He was a member of the Assembly for six consecutive years. In 1768 he was upon a committee to prepare an address to the governor censuring him for a remissness of duty in not bringing to condign punishment certain offenders who had openly and barbarously murdered several Indians thereby provoking retaliation. It was respectful and manly but keen and cutting as a Damascus blade. It was a lucid exposition of political policy, sound law, equal justice and public duty. In 1775 Mr. Taylor was one of the committee of safety for Pennsylvania, then virtually the organ of government. The awful crisis had arrived wneu American blood was crying for vengeance. The revolutionary storm had commenced-the mountain waves of British wrath were rolling over the Colonies. Firmness, sound discretion and boldness of action were required. Mr. Taylor possessed and endeavoured to inspire these requisites in others. He was a faithful sentinel in the cause of freedomnot a blazing luminary but a reliable light. Although cautious he was not affected by the temporizing spirit that paralyzed many who desired Liberty but preferred that others should fight for it. He continued to
exercise a salutary influence in the Assembly until the summer of 1776 when he became a member of the Continental Congress and sanctioned the principles of freedom he had boldly advocated by his vote for and signature upon the Magna Charta of our Liberty. Although he did not tempt the giddy height of declamation Mr. Taylor knew where and when to speak, what to say and how to vote-the highest qualifications of a legislator.
In the spring of 1777 he retired from public life crowned with the honors of a devoted and ardent patriot, an industrious and useful legislator, an enlightened and valuable citizen, a worthy and honest man. On the 23d of February 1781 he closed his eyes upon terrestrial things, bid a last farewell to earth and its toils and bowed submissively to the king of terrors. He died at Easton, Pennsylvania, where he had but recently removed.
From this brief sketch of Mr. Taylor the reader may learn that without the luminous talents of a Lee, the towering intellect of a Jefferson or the profound researches of a Franklin, a man can be substantially useful and render important services to his country and the world. In the grand machinery of human society there is a place for every individual to occupy. Let all fulfil the design of their creation and exert their best energies to preserve our blood-bought Liberty and perpetuate our glorious UNION until Time shall be merged in ETERNITY.
The study of human nature is one of the highest importance but criminally neglected. Many who do undertake it begin at the wrong place. They commence upon their neighbors instead of first exploring the avenues of their own nature and there learning the thousand springs that put their own machinery in motion. In no other school can we successfully acquire this branch of knowledge. Self examination is deplorably neglected. But few men know themselves and are sadly mistaken when they suppose they fully understand those around them. To a large portion of the human family man is a sealed 'book. But few parents study or understand the nature and disposition of their children. If asked to define them they would succeed no better than the unlettered red man would in expounding geology and botany. Both live in the midst of the subjects of investigation but only know them by sight. Upon the closest application we can only arrive at general rules by which to try others. I deny the hackneyed doctrine that the minutiæ of human nature is the same in every individual. It cannot be deduced from an examination of man mentally or physically. It cannot be shown from analogy in the laws of nature. It cannot be proved by revelation but the reverse. Hence so few become masters of this intricate study. The error lies in looking at human nature as a mass. The man who does not understand geology may be shown every variety of rock selected and pļaced in layers before him and he can give you but one name for the whole-rock. The same with reference to the other departments in the kingdom of nature. So in the great machinery of society. Every observing person knows that what will impel one man to do certain acts would not move another one inch. Apply a great principle that operates upon every man-say the law of self-preservation-its operation is not alike on different persons. On the field of battle I have noticed a striking difference in the effect upon different men. This was exemplified at the commencement and during the American Revolution. The machinery that was put in motion was composed of wheels from the smallest to the largest and springs of every elasticity. To rouse the people to a becoming sense of their injured rights and induce them to rise in the majesty of their might and vindicate them, was the first business of the illustrious patriots who boldly achieved our Independence. To effect this all the varied forms of eloquence were necessary-the rushing torrent of logic that overwhelms-the keen sarcasm that withers and the mild and winning persuasion that leads.
The latter talent was the forte of Matthew Thornton born in Ireland in 1714 and came to this country with his father in 1717 who settled at Wiscasset in Maine. This son received a good academical education and was greatly admired for industry, correct deportment and blandness of manners. After completing his course at school he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Grant of Leicester, Mass. He made rapid progress in the acquisition of that important department of science and gave great promise of future usefulness. When he finished his course he commenced practice in Londonderry, N. H. which was principally settled by people from his native country. He soon acquired a lucrative business and the confidence of his numerous patrons. In the expedition against Cape Breton, then belonging to the French, he was appointed surgeon to the New Hampshire division of the army and performed his duty with great skill and credit.
He was an early and prominent advocate of American rights-a bold and uniform opposer of British usurpations. He had a great opportunity to disseminate liberal principles among the people and most effectually
improved it. When the revolutionary storm burst upon the Colonies he had command of a regiment. He had filled various important offices which had made him widely and favorably known. His urbanity of manners, sincerity of purpose and uncommon powers of persuasion gave him great influence in private intercourse and public assemblies.
He was President of the first convention of New Hampshire after the expulsion of kingly government. At the commencement of the Revolution the people of that province did not form into line with the patriots but Dr. Thornton and other kindred spirits soon brought them into the rank and file of opposition to the invading foe and banished from them all fugitive fear. In 1774 they sent delegates to Congress and came nobly up to the work. In December of that year several members of the committee of safety in the town of Portsmouth entered the fort and carried off one hundred barrels of gun powder before the governor could rally crownites to prevent them. Great Britain had prohibited the exportation of this article to the Colonies.
Soon after the flight of Gov. Wentworth upon being apprised of the battle of Lexington, an address was prepared and published by a provincial committee over the signature of Matthew Thornton President. To the young reader this may seem not important unless informed that it was evidence to convict him of high treason and consign him to the gallows had he fallen into the hands of the British. The address was written in strong and bold language. Sample_“ You must all be sensible that the affairs of America have come to an affecting crisis. The horrors and distresses of a civil war which of late we only had in contemplation, we now find ourselves obliged to realize. Painful, beyond expression, have been those scenes of blood and devastation which the barbarous cruelties of British troops have placed before our eyes. Duty to God, to ourselves, to posterity-enforced by the cries of slaughtered innocents, have urged us to take up arms in our own defence. Such a day as this was never before known either to us or our fathers. We would therefore recommend to the Colony at large to cultivate that Christian union, harmony and tender affection which constitute the only foundation upon which our invaluable privileges can rest with any security or our public measures be pursued with the least prospect of success.”
On the 10th of January 1776, Dr. Thornton was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of New Hampshire. On the 12th of September of the same year he was elected to the Continental Congress and when he took bis seat, affixed his name to the Declaration of Independence. It may be supposed by many that those who signed this instrument, so often referred to, were all present on the memorable 4th of July when it