« PreviousContinue »
vancing enemy, or to unite himself with Moultrie. It was a time of difficulty; every nerve was strained for the contest; the militia could scarcely be induced to turn out, and when in service, they deserted the ranks to return to their homes, at pleasure. Danger was presenting itself at every door, and individual interest was more regarded than that of the country. But the exertions of Moultrie and governor Rutledge, gathered from all parts the citizen yeomanry; and general Provost, instead of finding Charleston an easy prey, found it guarded and protected, and the hero of Sullivan's Island presiding over all as the genius of safety. A siege was not attempted, and the enemy precipitately withdrew from before the town. Lincoln now began to draw near, and the hitherto pursuing enemy became in their turn the pursued.
About this time Moultrie received the commission of a major-general in the army of the United States. The battle of Stono followed immediately after, which, although uncertain in the result, was sufficiently evincive of the bravery of the American troops, and of the pru. dence and gallantry of Moultrie. The enemy, although left in possession of the field, did not think proper to retain the post, but soon after abandoned it, and retired to Savannah. The pursuit was conducted by Sheldon and Moultrie. He there gave up the command to general Lincoln, and returned to Charleston. Fortunately for him, his laurels were not blighted by the frost of repulse, which general Lincoln sustained in the siege of Savannah.
In the year 1780, a third invasion of South Carolina was projected, and carried into execution under the com mand of sir Henry Clinton. The force was overwhelming and irresistible. In vain did Lincoln and Moultrie endeavour to check their approach ; in vain did they endeavour to retard the works of the besiegers; Charles. ton surrendered to a numerous and well appointed army, and her harbour, filled with the fleet of England, after a gallant resistance, was obliged to surrender. On the 12th of May, 1780, Carolina witnessed mournful spectacle of an army of freemen, piling their arms, and surrendering themselves prisoners of war. Here ended che career of major-general Moultrie as a military man. He remained a prisoner until nearly the close of the American war, when he was exchanged at Philadelphia, and returned to South Carolina, where he was received with proud and enthusiastic joy. His slaves, although having every opportunity during the war to abandon his service, not one of them done so. On hearing of his return, they crowded around their venerable master to kiss his hand, and to show their attachment to his
person and fortune, by the tears of rapturous joy which they shed, at being once more permitted to behold him. He had the pleasure of witnessing the evacuation of Charleston, shortly after his arrival at home, and of seeing peace return“ with healing in her wings, and majesty in her beams,” to irradiate the prospects of America.
The subsequent life of Moultrie was one of tranquil lity, and presents nothing very striking or interesting. He was once governor of South Carolina. He died at Charleston, September 27, 1805, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.
The character of general Moultrie, as an officer, a man, and a citizen, was unexceptionable. The glory of his services was surpassed by his disinterestedness and integrity.
MUHLENBERG, PETER, a brave and distinguished officer during the revolutionary war, was a native of Pennsylvania. In early life he yielded to the wishes of his venerable father, the patriarch of the German Lutheran church in Pennsylvania, by becoming a minister of the Episcopal church, but participating in the spirit of the times, exchanged his clerical profession for that of a soldier. Having in his pulpit inculcated the principles of liberty, and the cause of his country, he found no difficulty in enlisting a regiment of soldiers, and he was appointed their commander. He entered the pulpit with his sword and cockade, preached his farewell ser
mon, and the next day marched at the head of his regiment to join the army.
In the year 1776 he became a member of the convention, and afterwards a colonel of a regiment of that state. In the year 1777, he was appointed a brigadiergeneral in the revolutionary army, in which capacity he acted until the termination of the war which gave liber. ty and independence to his country, at which time he was promoted to the rank of major-general. General Muhlenberg was a particular favourite of the commander in chief, and he was one of those brave men, in whose coolness, decision of character, and undaunted resolution, he could ever rely. It has been asserted with some degree of confidence, that it was general Muhlenberg who commanded the American storming-party at Yorktown, the honour of which station has been attributed, by the different histories of the American revolution, to another person. It is, however, a well known fact, that he acted a distinguished and brave part at the siege of Yorktown.
After, the peace, general Muhlenberg was chosen by his fellow-citizens of Pennsylvania, to fill in succession the various stations of vice-president of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania, member of the house of representatives, and senator of the United States; and afterwards appointed by the president of the United States, supervisor of the excise in Pennsylvania, and finally, collector of the port of Philadelphia, which office he held at the time of his death. In all the above military and political distinctions, general Muhlenberg acted faithfully to his country and honourably to himself. He was brave in the field, and firm in the cabinet. In pri. vate life he was strictly just ; in his domestic and social attachments, he was affectionate and sincere ; and in his intercourse with his fellow citizens, always amiable and unassuming.
He died on the first day of October, 1807, in the sixtysecond year of his age, at his seat near Schuylkill, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.
NELSON, THOMAS, governor of Virginia, was a distinguished patriot in the revolution, and uniformly ar dent in his attachment to liberty. He was among the first of that glorious band of patriots, whose exertions, dashed and defeated the machinations of British tyranny, and gave to America, freedom and independent empire At a most important crisis, during our struggle for American liberty, when Virginia appeared to be designated the theatre of action for the contending armies, he was selected by the unanimous suffrage of the legis. lature, to command the virtuous yeomanry of his country; in which honourable employment he remained to the end of the war. As a soldier, he was indefatigably active, and coolly intrepid. Resolute and undejected in misfortunes, he towered above distress, and struggled with the manifold difficulties to which his situation exposed him, with constancy and courage.
In the year 1781, when the force of the southern Bri. tish army was directed to the immediate subjugation of that state, he was called from the helm of government, and took the field, at the head of his countrymen. The commander in chief, and the officers at the siege of Yorktown, witnessed his merit and attachment to civil and religious liberty. He was an intrepid soldier, and an able statesman. He died in February, 1789.
OTIS, JAMES, a distinguished patriot and statesman, was the son of the honourable James Otis, of Barnstable, Massachusetts, and was graduated at Harvard college, in 1743. After pursuing the study of the law under Mr. Gridley, the first lawyer and civilian of his time, at the age of twenty-one he began the practice at Plymouth. In 1761, he distinguished himself by pleading against the writs of assistance, which the officers of the customs had applied for to the judges of the supreme court. His antagonist was Mr. Gridley. He was in this, or the following year, chosen a member of the legislature of Massachusetts, in which body, the powers
of his eloquence, the keenness of his wit, the force of his arguments, and the resources of his intellect, gave him a most commanding influence. When the arbitrary claims of Great Britain were advanced, he warmly engaged in desence of the colonies, and was the first champion of American freedom who had the courage to affx his name to a production that stood forth against the pretensions of the parent state. He was a member of the congress which was held at New York, in 1765, in which year his Rights of the Colonies Vindicated, a pamphlet, occasioned by the stamp act, and which was considered as a masterpiece, both of good writing and of argument, was published in London. For the boldness of his opinions he was threatened with arrest; yet he: continued to support the rights of his fellow citizens. He resigned the office of judge advocate in 1767, and renounced all employment under an administration which had encroached upon the liberties of his country. His warm passions sometimes betrayed him into un. guarded epithets, that gave his enemies an advantage, without benefit to the cause which lay nearest his heart. Being villified in the public papers, he in return published some severe strictures on the conduct of the commissioners of the customs, and others of the ministerial party. A short time afterwards, on the evening of the 5th of September, 1769, he met Mr. John Robinson, one of the commissioners, in a public room, and an affray followed, in which he was assaulted by a number of ruffians, who left him and a young gentleman who interpos
in his defence, covered with wounds. The wounds were not mortal, but his usefulness was destroyed, for his reason was shaken from its throne, and the great man in ruins lived several years, the grief of his friends. In an interval of reason he forgave the men who had done him an irreparable injury, and relinquished the sum of five thousand pounds sterling, which Mr. Robinson had been, by a civil process, adjudged to pay, on his signing an humble acknowledgment. He lived to see, but not fully to enjoy, the independence of America, an event towards which his efforts had greatly contributed. At length, on the twenty-third day of May, 1783, as he was leaning on his. cane at the door of Mr. Osgood's house