« PreviousContinue »
United States. He retursed to the United States in 1805, and though not afterwards employed in public life, continued to be eminently useful, by promoting the progress of the arts and agriculture. He was a principal founder and the president of the New York Academy of Fine Arts, and also of the Society for the promotion of agriculture. He died in Christian hope on the 15th of February, 1813, in his sixtyseventh year, lamented as one of the most distinguished among his countrymen in talents, learning, public spirit, and usefulness. He possessed an active and vigorous mind, uncommon quickness of perception, was a profound lawyer and statesman, and ranked among the first Americans in eloquence.
BROCKHOLST LIVINGSTON. Brockholst Livingston, judge of the supreme court of the United States, was the son of William Livingston, governor of New Jersey, and was born in the city of New York, November 25th, 1757. He entered Princeton college, but in 1776 left it for the field, and became one of the family of general Schuyler, commander of the northern army. He was afterwards attached to the suite of general Arnold, with the rank of major, and shared in the honors of the conquest of Burgoyne. In 1779 he accompanied Mr Jay to the court of Spain as his private secretary, and remained abroad about three years.
On his return he devoted himself to law, and was admitted to practise in April, 1783. His talents were happily adapted to the profession, and soon raised him into notice, and ultimately to eminence. He was called to the bench of the supreme court of the state of New York, January 8th, 1802, and in November, 1806, was transferred to that of the supreme court of the United States, the duties of which station he discharged with distinguished faithfulness and ability until his death, which took place during the sittings of the court at Washington, March 18th, 1823, in the 66th year of his age. He possessed a mind of uncommon acuteness and energy, and enjoyed the reputation of an accomplished scholar, an able pleader and jurist, an upright judge, and a liberal patron of learning.
Richard Montgomery, a major general in the army of the United States, was born in the north of Ireland, in 1737. He possessed an excellent genius, which was matured by a fine education. Entering the army of Great Britain, he successfully fought her battles, with Wolfe, at Quebec, in 1759 ; and on the very spot where he was, afterwards, doomed to fall, when fighting against her, under the banners of freedom.
He early imbibed an attachment to America ; and, after his arrival in New York, purchased an estate, about one hundred miles from the city, and married a daughter of Judge Livingston. When the struggle with Great Britain commenced, as he was known to have an ardent attachment to liberty, and had expressed his readiness to draw his sword on the side of the colonies, the command of the continental forces, in the northern department, was entrusted to him and Gen. Schuyler, in the fall of 1775.
By the indisposition of Schuyler, the chief command devolved upon him in October. After a succession of splendid and important victories, he appeared before Quebec. In an attempt to storm the city, on the last of December, this brave commander fell, by a discharge of grape shot, both of his aids being killed at the same time. In his fall, there was every circumstance united, that could impart fame and glory to the death of a soldier. His exit was deeply lamented, both in Europe and America. The American congress celebrated his funeral obsequies, and ordered a monument to be erected to his memory.
Lewis Morris was born at Morrisania, West Chester county, in the year 1726. He was educated at Yale Cor lege, where he graduated in 1746. He then returned to his paternal estate, and devoted his attention to the theory and practice of agriculture. His illustrious descent and connexions, his large possessions, and, above all, his pa
triotisin and attachment to freedom, rendered him a conspicuous member of the community; and, in 1775, he was appointed a delegate to the general congress.
Mr Morris was, very early, a determined advocate for independence, and affixed his signature to the celebrated declaration of 1776. His beautiful and valuable estate was soon after in the power of the enemy, and given up to plander and conflagration. He relinquished his seat in congress, in 1777, to his brother, on which occasion the convention passed a resolution of thanks to him and his colleagues, " for their long and faithful services, rendered to the colony and state of New York."
He was afterwards an important and highly valued member of the legislature, and an officer of the militia. As an officer, he contributed essentially to the effective organization and equipment of the militia of New York.
He died in January, 1798, in the seventysecond year of his age; and his remains were interred, with military and civic honors, in the family vault at Morrisania.*
GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. Gouverneur Morris, an eminent political character, was a descendant from the distinguished family of that name of Morrisania. He was born in 1751, and graduated at the college in New York, in 1768. He was called into public life at an early age, being elected a member of the provincial legislature of New York in 1775. In 1777 he was a member of the convention which formed the constitution of that state, and was appointed one of the delegates to congress. He was a decided friend of independence, and when the overtures for reconciliation were made known to congress by the British commissioners, in 1778, their rejection was advocated with great force of argument and poignancy of wit by Mr Morris and William Henry Drayton. Residing afterwards in Pennsylvania, he was a delegate from that state to the convention which framed the constitution of the United States. He was one of the committee who revised the draught, and to whom it was indebted for the beauty and perspicuity of its style. In 1792 he was appointed minister plenipotentiary to France. In that period of enthusiasm, an ardent attachment to the principles, and a cordial sympathy with the friends of the revolution was esteemed an indispensable qualification in the minister of the United States. But although a decided republican, he had too much wisdom not to doubt the ultimate utility of some of the measures then pursuing in that kingdom, or to participate in the sanguine anticipations of the leaders who directed them. In consequence, although his conduct was marked by the utmost prudence and urbanity, he failed to secure the confidence of the Directory, and when a request was made for the recall of Mr Genet, by the American government, it was met by a similar one from that of France, in relation to Mr Morris, who returned to the United States in 1794. In 1797, he was elected a senator from the state of New York, in congress. He was a leading member of the federal party, and exercised a degree of influence which few other men possessed. His powers of eloquence were of the highest order. In the celebrated debate on the subject of abolishing the judiciary system, in 1802, he took an active part in conjunction with Mr Bayard and other distinguished statesmen, in opposition to that measure, and his speeches on that occasion were among the most powerful and impressive which have been known in the annals of American legislation. After his term as a senator expired, he retired to private life, to the enjoyment of an ample fortune, and the indulgence of a liberal hospitality. He married in 1809, a daughter of Thomas Randolph of Virginia, and died at his seat at Westchester, November 6th, 1816, aged 65. In addition to his speeches in congress, several of his orations on various occasions were published. Among these the most celebrated were, one delivered before the corporation of New York, 1800, occasioned by the death of Washington ; and another delivered before an assembly of citizens convened to celebrate the downfal of the Emperor, and the restoration of the Bourbons to the throne of France. He also published an Oration before the New York Historical Society in 1816.*
PETER SCHUYLER. Peter Schuyler, mayor of Albany, was distinguished for patriotism, and, by means of his popularity with the Indians, rendered important services to the Colony of New York, in securing their friendship and assistance during the wars with the French. In 1691, with a party of English and Mohawks, he attacked the French at the north end of Lake Champlain, and defeated them. He had great influence with the five Indian nations, and, in 1710, went to England with five of their chiefs, for the purpose of exciting the government to expel the French from Canada. In 1719, he, being the oldest member of the council, held the chief command in the colony.During his short administration, the public affairs were conducted with prudence and integrity.
PHILIP SCHUYLER. Philip Schuyler, a major general in the revolutionary war, was born in 1731. He received his appointment from Congress in June, 1775, and was directed to proceed to Ticonderoga, and make preparations for entering Canada. Being taken sick in September, the command devolved upon Montgomery. On his recovery, he devoted himself zealously to the management of affairs in the northern department. On the approach of Burgoyne, in 1777, he made every exertion to obstruct his progress, but the evacuation of Ticonderoga by St Clair, occasioning unreasonable jealousies in regard to Schuyler in New England, he was superseded by Gates, in August, and had the mortification to be recalled, when he was about to take ground, and face the enemy.
He afterwards, though not in the regular service, rendered important services to his country in the military transactions of this State. He was a member of the old congress, and appointed a senator under the new federal constitution. He was again appointed senator in the place of Aaron Burr in 1797. He died at Albany in November, 1804, in the seventythird year of his age. He was distinguished by strength of intellect, and