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army-of the committee of finance and upon several other working comInittees. The eloquent appeals to the people from Congress, recommending days for fasting and prayer were from his nervous pen. The burning and melting manifesto, protesting against the inhuman treatment of the American prisoners confined on board the filthy prisonships at New York, was supposed to emanate from him.
Dr. Witherspoon was prophetic in his mode of reasoning when pointing out the results of propositions laid before Congress and opposed all those he believed would terminate unfavorably. He strongly remonstrated against the issue of continental money. His predictions of sudden depreciation were too fully realized. It took a rapid downward course and soon reached the ruinous discount of one hundred and fifty dollars of paper for one of silver and then took a fatal leap and plunged into the abysm of worthlessness. So deeply did he probe every subject that he investigated, that his powers of penetration became proverbial. Most of the measures he proposed when he entered the legislative arena that were adopted proved successful and those he opposed and were adopted uniformly proved disastrous.
In the halls of classic literature, the ecclesiastic courts or on the floor of Congress, he was a shining light to those around him. His literary, theological and political writings were numerous, of a high order and are justly celebrated here and in Europe. They exhibit a pleasing and rich variety of thought-a strong and chaste imagination-a luminous and flowing fancy-a keen and sarcastic wit-a brilliant and fascinating style-broad and liberal views-philosophic and logical propositionsclear and convincing conclusions-all mellowed with the rich freshness of living charity and universal philanthropy.
. In 1779 he resigned his seat in Congress in consequence of ill health. His son-in-law, Rev. Dr. Smith was Vice President of the college and relieved him from the most arduous duties of President. The next year he was again elected to Congress and resigned finally in 1782. The trustees of the college then persuaded him to embark for Europe for the purpose of raising funds for the institution. As he predicted before he left, his efforts were unsuccessful. He returned in 1784 and retired to his country seat a mile from Princeton, there to enjoy the blessings of peace and the golden fruits that had been richly earned by years of peril and toil. Surrounded by relatives and friends, enjoying the praise and gratitude of a nation of freemen-his name immortalized as a scholar, divine, civilian, statesman and patriot-he sat down under the bright canopy of a clear conscience-an approving Heaven-antici. pating a crown of unfading glory beyond the skies.
In this manner he glided down the stream of time peaceful and happy until the 15th of November 1794, when he fell asleep in the arms of his Lord and Master, calm as a summer morning, serene as a cerulean sky-welcoming the messenger of death with a seraphic smile. He was buried at Princeton.
A review of the life of this great and good man affords an instructive lesson for every considerate reader. He was endowed with all the qualities calculated to ennoble and dignify man and assimilate him to his Creator. His superior virtues and endowments eclipsed his frailties and placed hirn on a lofty eminence beyond the reach of envy, malice or slander. His fame is clustered with refulgent beauty that will spread a lustre over his name that will brighten and shine until the death knell of LIBERTY shall be sounded and social order rush back to original anarchy.
In all the relations of public and private life, Dr. Witherspoon stood approved, admired, revered. Let all strive to imitate his examples that our lives may be useful in time-our final exit tranquil and happy-ever remembering that virtue is the crowning glory of talent.
The unrestrained oppressions of imperial and kingly power, long exercised with impunity, have been receding before the light of intelligence with an ominous but rather unsteady pace for the last few centuries. As the genial rays of Liberty illuminate the crowding millions of the human family the tenure of thrones will become more slendermonarchies more limited if not annihilated. In Europe kingly power has been vibrating for years in the cradle of a political earthquake. The love of freedom has never been extinguished in the old world. The same motive power that prompted the pilgrims to court the dangers and privations of this western hemisphere, still pervades the bosoms of those held in bondage by military force. Volcanic eruptions occasionally occur-new craters open-the time is rolling on rapidly when these craters will rush together and deluge kingly and imperial power with one broad sheet of liquid fire. In thunder tones of retribution the people will proclaim their FREEDOM.
When our ancestors planted themselves on the granite shores of America they had clear conception of a republican form of government as organized by Greece and Rome. Many of them had read the thrilling history of the rise, progress and fall of those republics in the original languages where none of the beauties or force are lost by transłation. They were prepared to improve upon those governments by aroiding their errors and preserving all that was valuable. With these lights the pilgrim fathers appear to have been illuminated when rearing the incipient superstructure of a more pure republic than any before known. At first, articles of association were entered into by the people of a single or contiguous settlements, based upon the broad platform of equal rights and universal Liberty circumscribed only by eternal justice and sterling honesty. Among the earliest of these miniature republics was that consolidating Windsor, Hartford and Weathersfield in Connecticut. The articles of association adopted by this infant Colony were penned by Roger Ludlow. The revised constitution of that state is either substantially copied from the instrument drawn by Ludlow or the ideas of republicans must run in a channel that has no change.
Among those who directed the destiny of the pioneers of the new world the name of Wolcott stands conspicuous. Henry Wolcott, the patriarch ancestor, removed from England to Dorchester, Mass. in 1630. In 1636 he founded the town of Windsor, Connecticut. During the perils of the Indian wars-the difficulties with the Canadian French and through all the various vicissitudes that have pervaded New England down to the present time, the descendants of Henry Wolcott have acted a conspicuous part. They were ready to go where duty calledto the field or legislative hall.
Oliver Wolcott, the subject of this brief sketch, was the son of Roger Wolcott who was appointed Governor of Connecticut in 1751. This son was born on the 26th of November 1726 and graduated at Yale College in 1747. The same year he was commissioned to raise and command a company which he marched to the defence of the northern frontiers where he remained until the peace of Aix la Chapelle. He then returned and applied himself to the study of medicine until he was appointed the first sheriff of Litchfield County formed in 1751, In 1755 he married Laura Collins a discreet woman of great merit. In 1774 he was appointed counsellor which station he filled for twelve consecutive years. He was also chief judge of the Common Pleas Court and for a long time a judge of the Probate Court. In the military field he rose from the grade of captain to that of major-general. In the summer of 1776 he commanded the fourteen regiments raised by Gov. Trumbull to act with the army in New York. He headed his division at the memorable battle that resulted in the capture of Burgoyne
and revived the drooping spirits of those who were engaged in
the glorious cause of equal rights. He was uniformly consulted on im. portant military movements and listened to with great confidence. From its commencement he was a zealous and efficient advocate of the cause of freedom and stood firm amidst the revolutionary storm undaunted by the roaring of the British lion.
In 1775 Congress made him commissioner of Indian affairs for the Northern Department then an important trust. During the same year he effected much towards reconciling disputes between Colonies relative to their boundaries. Amiable and persuasive in his manners-imbued with a clear sense of justice, he was an admirable mediator. He merited the blessing pronounced on peace-makers.
In 1776 he took his seat in Congress and remained until he affixed his signature to that Declaration of Rights which burst the chains of maternal bondage-gave birth to our nation in a day-astonished gazing millions-shook the British throne to its centre and gave us a Republic that surpasses all Greek-all Roman fame.
He then returned to the field and on all occasions proved a brave, skilful and prudent officer. When he deemed his services more useful in Congress than in the army he would take his seat in that body, which he did at intervals up to 1783. In 1785 he was associated with Arthur Lee and Richard Butler to conclude a treaty of peace with the Six Nations of Indians. The year following he was elected lieutenantgovernor and performed the duties of that office with great ability and dignity up to the time of his death which occurred on the 1st day of December 1797. He died regretted by the nation at large, but most by those who knew hiin best.
His numerous public services were highly appreciated. They were promptly and judiciously performed without any parade, pomp or vain show. His private character was adorned by all the richness of puritypurpose and action, that render a man an ornament among the virtuous. He possessed all the sterling virtues-was a devout and consistent Christian-a useful and honest man. In the hands of such men our government is secure-our UNION safe.
To be born rich is oftener a misfortune than a blessing. Action is designed by the great Creator-noble and god-like action. Riches are prone to produce inertness. With the young, who are left to the bent of their own inclinations either by the erroneous indulgence of parents
or for the want of parents or an efficient and kind guardian, an'abundance of riches often proves their ruin. A thousand emissaries are abroad to lead them into the purlieus of vice and hurry on their sure destruction. Money attracts attention in all circles. Although the love of it is the root of all evil-still it commands undue attention. Thousands live who will not earn, but must have it. These sharks are ever on the lookout for young men of fortune and too often succeed in plucking every feather from their newly fledged wings. The poor young man. 's in less danger. He has no attractions for fashionable blacklegs-the viiest things that creep on earth. Necessity impels him to action. He labors industriously-studies economy-saves his earnings and eventually becomes rich. Many of the most wealthy men of our country commenced without a dollar. Few who are left large fortunes retain them and but few who have lost them in profligacy have moral courage to break the fetters of vice, spurn the demons who have robbed them, return to the paths of rectitude, redeem a lost fortune-a shattered reputation and again stand up like men. We wonder and admire to behold such instances-rare to be sure-but they have occurred.
This was fully exemplified by George Wythe born in Elizabeth City, Virginia, in 1728. His father was a wealthy planter-his mother a woman of unusual talents, learning and worth. To her this son was indebted for his education and early impressions of the correct and noble principles that actuated him after he assumed the dignity of a man. From her he acquired the Greek and Latin languages and general science. Unfortunately for him both his parents were snatched away by death nearly at the same time, leaving him a buoyant youth without a hand to guide or a voice to warn him against the allurements of 'vain pleasure or the seductions of ruinous vice.
His father left him a fortune which was sufficient to have made a prudent man in easy circumstances for life. Like too many only sons, he had been put to no business. He was a stranger to labor and had no inclination to make its acquaintance. He was soon led away by idle company, became dissipated and pursued the road to ruin until he was thirty years of age, neglecting study and business and spending all his substance.
Like the prodigal he then came to himself-returned to the paths of virtue, studied the profession of law, was admitted to the Bar and became one of its brightest ornaments. During the remainder of his life he walked in the ways of wisdom most scrupulously and proved to his friends and the world that a young man may be led astray by the prowling wolves of vice-be torn and lacerated by the demon robbers