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happiness; planting my vineyards, and eating their lus. cious fruit; sowing my fields, and reaping the golden grain; and seeing millions of brothers all around me, equally free and happy, as myself. This, sir, is what I long for.”
The officer replied, that both as a man and a Briton, he must certainly subscribe to this as a happy state of things.
“Happy," quoth Marion, “yes, happy, indeed: and I would rather fight for such blessings for my country, and feed on roots, than keep aloof, though wallowing in all the luxuries of Solomon. For now, sir, I walk the soil that gave me birth, and exult in the thought, that I am not unworthy of it. I look upon these venerable trees around me, and feel that I do not dishonour them. I think of my own sacred rights, and rejoice that I have not basely deserted them. And when I look forward to the long, long ages of posterity, I glory in the thought that I am fighting their battles. The children of distant generations may never hear my name; but still it gladdens my heart to think that I am now contending for their freedom, with all its countless blessings.
I looked at Marion as he uttered these sentiments, and fancied I felt as when I heard the last words of the brave De Kalb. The Englishman hung his honest head, and looked, I thought, as if he had seen the upbraiding ghosts of his illustrious countrymen, Sidney and Hamden.
On his return to Georgetown, he was asked by colonel Watson, why he looked so serious.
“I have cause, sir,” said he,“ to look so serious. “ What! has general Marion refused to treat ?"
“Well, then, has old Washington defeated sir Henry Clinton, and broke up our army?"
No, sir, not that neither, but worse. “ Ah! what can be worse?”
“Why, sir, I have seen an American general and his officers, without pay, and almost without clothes, living on roots, and drinking water; and all for LIBERTY !! What chance have we against such men?”
It is said colonel Watson was not much obliged to him for his speech. . But the young officer was so struck with Marion's sentiments, that he never rested until he threw up his commission, and retired from the service.
General Marion was, in stature, of the smallest size, thin, as well as low. His visage was not pleasing, and his manners not captivating. He was reserved and silent, entering into conversation only when necessary, and then with modesty and good sense.
He possessed a strong mind, improved by its own reflections and observations, not by books or travel. His dress was like his address; plain, regarding comfort and decency only. In his meals he was abstemious, eating generally of one dish, and drinking water only.
He was sedulous and constant in his attention to the duties of his station, to which every other consideration yielded.
The procurement of subsistence for his men, and the contrivance of annoyance to his enemy, engrossed his entire mind. He was virtuous all over ;. never, even in manner, much less in reality, did he trench upon right. Beloved by his friends, and respected by his enemies, he exhibited a luminous example of the beneficial effects to be produced by an individual, who, with only small means at his command, possesses a virtuous heart, a strong head, and a mind devoted to the common good. After the war the general married, but had no issue.
General Marion died in February, 1795, leaving behind him an indisputable title to the first rank among the patriots and soldiers of our revolution.
MERCER, Hugh, was born at Aberdeen, in the north of Scotland, and received his education in the university of that place. His profession was that of a physician, and he acted in the capacity of surgeon's-mate, at the memorable battle of Culloden. Soon after that event, 1746, he left his native country, and came to this. He settled in the then colony of Pennsylvania, and took an active part in the wars of that day, carried on in the back parts of the settlement, against the savages. He
was with general Braddock in the disastrous campaign of 1755, and was thus the early companion in arms of the illustrious Washington. He served in the expedition under colonel Armstrong, in the year 1756, and received a medal for his good conduct at the battle of Kittaning, from the corporation of the city of Philadelphia. This mark of approbation is still preserved by his children, as a sacred memorial of his public worth, and private virtues. In this battle, which terminated in the defeat of the Indians and the destruction of their town, general Mercer was severely wounded in the right arm, which was broken. Upon that occasion he narrowly escaped being taken prisoner, and being separated from his party, wandered a fortnight in the wilderness, slaking his thirst in the brook of the forest, and subsisting on the body of a rattle-snake which he had killed, until he reached the settled country.
Being a physician, he applied temporary relief to his wound. While wandering in the woods, much exhausted from loss of blood, and the want of proper food and nourishment, and surrounded by hostile savages, he took refuge in a hollow tree which lay on the ground. In that situation he was, when many of the savages came up, and seated themselves on the tree. They remained there some time, and departed without discovering that a wounded soldier and foe was near them. General Mercer then endeavoured to return by the route in which the army
had advanced, and, incredible as it may appear, he reached fort Cumberland, through a trackless wild of more than a hundred miles, with no other nutriment than that already mentioned.
After the peace of 1763, doctor Mercer came from Pennsylvania, and settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and married Ísabella, the youngest daughter of John and Margaret Gordon.
General Mercer was a zealous advocate for the rights of the colonists; and upon the breaking out of the war between them and the mother country, was among the first who entered the revolutionary army. He was soon afterwards honoured by congress with a brigadier-general's commission. For a long time previous to the Ame.' rican revolution, he pursued his profession as a physician, and had a very extensive practice. To the poor, he was studiously kind, often bestowing on them his professional attendance; and in his last will, he left it in special charge to his executors, not to require payment of the debts due by those in indigent circumstances.
General Mercer's brigade formed a part of the left wing of Washington's army, in the capture of the Hessians, at Trenton, in December, 1776. The battle of Princeton, on the morning of the third of January, 1777, was commenced by general Mercer with his column, consisting of about three hundred and fifty men, near Stoney-brook. Upon hearing the firing, general Washington, in
person, led on his force to the support of Mercer, with two pieces of artillery. The force engaged against him was the British 17th regiment, commanded by colonel Mawhood. After the third fire, in consequence of a charge made by the British, Mercer's corps, chiefly raw militia, fed in disorder.
General Mercer made great exertions to rally them, and was much exposed to the enemy's fire. His horse becoming restive and unmanageable, he dismounted, thinking he could then the more effectually rally his broken troops, but he was surrounded by the enemy, whom he resisted with great determination and bravery, but was overpowered. It is said that he was stabbed after he had surrendered. General Washington coming up at this juncture, changed the fortune of the day. After the battle of Princeton, general Mercer lived a week, being about fifty-five years of age. He was buried at Princeton, but the body was afterwards removed to Philadelphia, and interred in Christ church-yard, with military honours. Provision was made by congress, in *1793, for the education of his youngest son, Hugh Mercer.
General Wilkinson, in his memoirs, in giving the particulars of the battle of Princeton, says: “But in general Mercer we lost a chief, who, for education, experience, talents, disposition, integrity and patriotism, was second to no man but the commander in chief, and was qualified to fill the higher trusts of the country. General Wilkinson, in the same work, observes, " That the evening of January 1st, 1777, was spent with general St. Clair, by several officers, of whom Mercer was one, who, in
conversation, made some remarks disapproving the appointment of captain William Washington to a majority in the horse, which was not relished by the company: he thus explained himself: "We are not engaged in a war of ambition; if it had been so, I should never have accepted a commission under a man (Patrick Henry) who had never seen a day's service; we serve not for ourselves, but for our country: and every man should be content to fill the place in which he can be most useful. I know Washington to be a good captain of infantry, but I know not what sort of a major of horse he may make; and I have seen good captains make indifferent majors. For my own part, my views in this contest are confined to a single object, that is, the success of the cause, and God can witness how cheerfully I would lay down my life to secure it.'"
Little did he then expect, that a few fleeting moments would have sealed the compact. His death was a most serious loss to his country, his family and friends.
MEIGS, RETURN JONATHAN, was born in Middletown, in the state of Connecticut. Immediately after the battle of Lexington, which opened the bloody drama of the revolution, he marched a company of light infantry, completely uniformed and equipped, which he had previously organized and disciplined, for the environs of Boston. He was soon appointed a major by the state of Connecti. cut, and marched with colonel Arnold in his tedious and suffering expedition to Canada. In the bold enterprise of storming Quebec, he commanded a battalion; and, after penetrating within the walls of the city, was made prisoner, together with captains Morgan and Dearborn, since become generals, and well distinguished in American history. In 1776, major Meigs was exchanged, and returned home. In 1777, general Washington appointed him colonel, with authority to raise a regiment. Colonel Meigs having raised a part of his regiment, marched to New Haven, to carry into execution a plan