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269 his talents to the service of his country. His public life was distinguished by some remarkable circumstances. He had the honour of originating the first resistance to British oppression, in the time of the stamp act, in 1765. He proposed in the Virginia house of burgesses, in 1773, the formation of a committee of correspondence, whose object was to disseminate information, and to kindle the flame of liberty throughout the continent.
He was a member of the first congress, and it was he who made and ably supported the motion for the declaration of independence, June 10, 1776. The motion was seconded by Mr. John Adams, of Massachusetts.
He delivered a speech in support of his motion to declare the colonies independent, from which we give the following extract:
“Who doubts then that a declaration of independence will procure us allies? All nations are desirous of procuring, by commerce, the production of our exuberant soil; they will visit our ports, hitherto closed by the monopoly of insatiable England. They are no less eager to contemplate the reduction of her hated power; they all loath her barbarous dominion ; their succours will evince to our brave countrymen the gratitude they bear them for having been the first to shake the foundation of this Colossus. Foreign princes wait only for the extinction of all hazard of reconciliation to throw off their present reserve. If this measure is useful, it is no less becoming our dignity. America has arrived at a degree of power which assigns her a place among independent nations. We are not less entitled to it than the English themselves. If they have wealth, so have we; if they are brave, so are we; if they are more numerous, our population, through the incredible fruitfulness of our chaste wives, will soon equal theirs; if they have men of renown, as well in peace as in war, we likewise have such; for political revolutions usually produce great, brave, and generous spirits. From what we have already achieved in these painful beginnings, it is easy to presume what we shall hereafter accomplish; for experience is the source of sage counsels, and liberty is the mother of great men. Have you not seen the enemy driven from Lexington, by thirty thousand citizens armed and assem.
bled in one day? Already their most celebrated generals have yielded in Boston to the skill of ours; already their seamen, repulsed from our coasts, wander over the ocean, where they are the sport of the tempest, and the prey of famine. Let us hail the favourable omen, and fight, not for the sake of knowing on what terms we are to be the slaves of England, but to secure to ourselves a free existence, to found a just and independent government. Animated by liberty, the Greeks repulsed the innumerable army of Persians; sustained by the love of independence, the Swiss and the Dutch humbled the power of Austria by memorable defeats, and conquered a rank among nations. But the sun of America also shines upon the heads of the brave; the point of our weapons is no less formidable than theirs; here also the same union prevails, the same contempt of danger and of death in asserting the cause of our country,
“Why then do we longer delay? why still deliberate? Let this most happy day give birth to the American Republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of the laws. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us! she demands of us a living example of freedom, that may contrast, by the felicity of the citizens, with the ever increasing tyranny
which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repose. She entreats us to cultivate a propitious soil, where that generous plant which first sprung up and grew in England, but is now withered by the poisonous blasts of Scottish tyranny, may revive and Hourish, sheltering under its salubrious and interminable shade, all the unfortunate of the human race. This is the end presaged by so many omens, by our first victories, by the present ardour and union, by the flight of Howe, and the pestilence which broke out amongst Dunmore's people, by the very winds which baffled the enemy's fleets and transports, and that terrible tempest which ingulfed seven hundred vessels upon the coast of Newfoundland. If we are not this day. wanting in our duty to the country, the names of the American legislators will be exalted, in the eyes of posterity, to a level with those of Theseus, Lycurgus, of Romulus, of Numa;
of the three Williams of Nassau, and of all those whose memory has been, and will be, for ever dear to virtuous men and good citizens.”
After the adoption of the articles of the confederation, Mr. Lee was under the necessity of withdrawing from congress, as no representative was allowed to continue in congress more than three years in any term of six years; but he was re-elected in 1784, and continued till
In November, 1784, he was chosen president of congress. When the constitution of the United States was submitted to the consideration of the public, he contended for the necessity of amendments previously to its adoption. After the government was organized, he was chosen one of the first senators from Virginia, in 1789. This-station he held till his resignation, in 1792.
Mr. Lee died at his seat at Chantilly, in Westmoreland county, Virginia, June 22, 1794, in the sixty-third year of his age. He supported through life the character of a philosopher, a patriot, and a sage; and he died, as he had lived, blessing his country.
LEE, HENRY, a distinguished officer in the revolu tionary war, entered the army as a captain of cavalry, in the Virginia line, at the age of nineteen, in which sit on he soon commanded the respect and attention of his country, by his active and daring enterprise, and the confidence of the illustrious commander in chief of the military forces of the United States; a confidence which continued through life. He was rapidly promoted to the rank of major, and soon after, to that of lieutenantcolonel-commandant of a separate legionary corps.While major, he planned and executed the celebrated attack on the enemy's post at Paulus Hook, opposite to the city of New York, their head quarters; surprised and took the garrison, under the eye of the British army and navy, and safely conducted his prisoners into the American lines, many miles distant from the post taken. There are few enterprises to be found on military record,
equal in hazard or difficulty, or conducted with more consummate skill and daring courage. It was, too, accomplished without loss; filled the camp of the enemy with shame and astonishment, and shed an unfading lustre on the American arms. Some time after, he accom. panied general Greene to the southern department of the United Stalls; subsequent to the memorable and disastrous battle of Camden, which reduced under the power of the enemy the three states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The many brilliant achievements which he performed in that difficult and arduous war, under this celebrated and consummate commander, it is not necessary to enumerate; they are so many illustrious monuments of American courage and prowess, which, in all future ages, will be the theme of historical praise, of grateful recollection by his countrymen, and of ardent imitation by every brave and patriotic soldier. Those states were recovered from the enemy. The country enjoys in peace, independence and liberty, the benefits of his useful services. All that remains of him is a grave, and the glory of his deeds.
At the close of the revolutionary war, he returned to the walks of civil life." He was often a member of the legislature of Virginia, one of its delegates to congress, under the confederation, and one of the convention which adopted the present constitution of the United States, and which he supported; three years governor of the state, and afterwards a representative in the congress of the United States, under the present organization.
While governor of Virginia, he was selected by pre. sident Washington, to command the army sent to quell the insurrection which had been excited from untoward and erroneous impressions in the western counties of Pennsylvania, in which he had the felicity to bring to order and obedience, the misguided inhabitants, without shedding the blood of one fellow citizen. He possessed this peculiar characteristic as a military commander, of being always careful of the health and lives of his soldiers, never exposing them to unnecessary toils, or fruitleșs hazards; always keeping them in readiness for useful and important enterprises. Every public station to which he was called, he filled with dignity and propriety. He died on the 25th of March, 1818, at the house of a friend, on Cumberland island, Georgia, on his return from the West Indies to his native state, Virginia, in the sixty-first year of his age.
In private life he was kind, hospitable and generous. Too ardent in the pursuit of his objects, too confident in others, he wanted that prudence which is necessary to guard against imposition and pecuniary losses, and accumulate wealth. Like many other illustrious commanders and patriots, he died poor.
He has left behind him a valuable historical work, entitled “Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States,” in which the difficulties and privations endured by the patriotic army employed in that quarter; their courage and enterprise, and the skill and talents of their faithful, active, and illustrious commander, are displayed in never-fading colours; a work, to use the language of the publishers, by the perusal of which “ the patriot will be always delighted, the statesman informed, and the soldier instructed: which bears in every part the ingenious stamp of a patriot soldier, and cannot fail to interest all who desire to understand the causes, and to know the difficulties of our memorable struggle. The facts may be relied on," all of which he saw, and part of which he was.'
Fortune seems to have conducted him, at the close of his life, almost to the tomb of Greene, and his bones may now repose by the side of those of his beloved chief; friends in life, united in death, and partners in a never. dying fame.
LEE, Ezra, was a brave officer in the revolutionary army. It is not a little remarkable that this officer is the only man, of which it can be said, that he fought the enemy upon land, upon water, and under the water; the latter mode of warfare was as follows:
When the British fleet lay in the North River, oppogite the city of New York, and while general Washington