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In the revolutionary contest, Mr. Wolcott was one of the strong pillars of the American cause. He inherited much of the independent feeling of the ancestor of the family, of whom we have spoken in the commencement of this memoir. In 1776, he was summoned by his native state to represent it in the national congress in Philadelphia. He had the honour of participating in the deliberations of that body, on the declaration of independence, and of recording his vote in favour of its adoption.
Immediately after the adoption of that instrument, he returned to Connecticut, and was now invested with the command of fourteen regiments of the state militia, which were raised for the defence of New-York. In November, he resumed his seat in congress, and on the adjournment of that body to Baltimore, he accompanied them, and there spent the winter of 1777. In the ensuing summer, he was engaged in several military movements; after which, he joined the northern army, under General Gates, with a corps of several hundred volunteers, and assisted in the memorable defeat of the British army under General Burgoyne. From this period, until 1786, he was either in attendance upon congress, in the field in defence of his country, or, as a commissioner of indian affairs for the northern department, he was assisting in settling the terms of peace with the six nations. In 1786 he was elected lieutenant governor, an office to which he was annually elected for ten years, when he was raised to the chief magistracy of the state. This latter office, however, he enjoyed but a little time, death putting an end to his active and laborious life, on the first of December, 1797, in the 72d year of his age.
The life of Mr. Wolcott was extended beyond the common age of man, but it was well filled with honourable services for his country. He merited and received the confidence of his fellow citizens. In his person, he was tall, and had the appearance of great muscular strength. His manners were dignified. He had great resolution of character, and might be said to be tenacious of his own opinions; yet he could surrender them, in view of evidence, and was ready to alter
a course which he had prescribed for himself, when duty and propriety seemed to require it.
In 1755, he was married to a Miss Collins, of Guilford, with whom he enjoyed great domestic felicity, for the space of forty years. Few women were better qualified for the discharge of domestic duties, than was Mrs. Wolcott. During the long absence of her husband, she superintended the education of her children, and by her prudence and frugality administered to the necessities of her family, and rendered her house the seat of comfort and hospitality.
Mr. Wolcott never pursued any of the learned professions, yet his reading was various and extensive. He cultivated an acquaintance with the sciences, through the works of some of the most learned men of Europe, and was intimately acquainted with history, both ancient and modern. He has the reputation, and it is believed justly, of having been an accomplished scholar. o
Mr. Wolcott was also distinguished for his love of order and religion. In his last sickness he expressed, according to Dr. Backus, who preached his funeral sermon, a deep sense of his personal unworthiness and guilt. For several days before his departure, every breath seemed to bring with it a prayer. At length, he fell asleep. He was an old man, and full of years, and went to his grave distinguished for a long series of services rendered both to his state and nation. The memory of his personal worth, of his patriotism, his integrity, his christian walk and conversation, will go down to generations yet unborn.
WILLIAM Floyd, who was the first delegate from NewYork that signed the Declaration of Independence, was born on Long Island, on the 17th of December, 1734. His father was Nicoll Floyd, an opulent and respectable landholder, whose ancestors came to America from Wales, about the year 1680, and settled on Long Island. The father of William died while his son was young, and left him heir to a large estate.
The early education of young Floyd, by no means corres
ponded to the wealth and ability of his father. His studies
were limited to a few of the useful branches of knowledge, and these were left unfinished, in consequence of the death of that gentleman. The native powers of Floyd were, however, respectable, and his house being the resort of an exten
* This gentleman was present when congress expressed their approbation of the Declaration of Independence, and voted in favour of it. But, before the engrossed copy was signed by the several members, Mr. Misner left congress, and thus failed of affixing his name to this memorable instrument.
sive circle of connexions and acquaintance, which included many intelligent and distinguished families, his mind, by the intercourse which he thus enjoyed with those who were enlightened and improved, became stored with rich and varied knowledge. His wealth enabled him to practice a generous hospitality, and few enjoyed the society of friends with more pleasure. At an early period in the controversy between Great Britain and the colonies, the feelings of Mr. Floyd were strongly enlisted in the cause of the latter. He was a friend to the people; and, with zeal and ardour, entered into every measure which seemed calculated to ensure to them their just rights. These sentiments on his part excited a reciprocal confidence on the part of the people, and led to his appointment as a delegate from New-York to the first continental congress, which met in Philadelphia on the fifth of September, 1774. In the measures adopted by that body, so justly eulogized by the advocates of freedom, from that day to the present, Mr. Floyd most heartily concurred. In the following year, he was again elected a delegate to congress, and continued a member of that body until after the Declaration of American Independence. On that occasion, he assisted in dissolving the political bonds which had united the colonies to the British government; and in consequence of which, they had suffered numberless oppressions for years. Into other measures of congress, Mr. Floyd entered with zeal. He served on numerous important committees, and by his fidelity rendered essential service to the patriotic cause. It was the lot of not a few, while thus devoted to the public good, to experience the destructive effects of the war upon their property, or the serious inconveniences arising from it in relation to their families. In both these respects Mr. Floyd suffered severely. While at Philadelphia, attending upon congress, the American troops evacuated Long Island, which was taken possession of by the British army. On this latter event, the family of Mr. Floyd were obliged to flee for safety to Connecticut. His house was occupied by a
company of horsemen, which made it the place of their ren-