« AnteriorContinuar »
prevented her removal to a place of safety, and eventually caused her death. Mr. Hart continued by her side, until the enemy had nearly reached the bouse, when he made his escape, his wise being safer alone than if he were present. For some time, he was hunted and pursued with the most un tiring zeal. He was scarcely able to elude his enemies, was often in great want of food, and sometimes destitute of a confortable lodging for the night. In one instance, he was obliged to conceal himself, during the night, in the usual resting place of a large dog, who was his companion for the time. The battles of Trenton and Princeton led to the evacuation of New-Jersey by the British. On this event, Mr. Hart again collected his family, and began to repair the desolation of his farm by the hand of the enemy. His constitution, however, had received an irreparable shock. His health gradually failed him; and though he lived to see brighter prospects opening before his country, he died before the contest was ended. His death occurred in the year 1780. Although the domestic peace and tranquillity of few men had been more disturbed than those of Mr. Hart, he never repented the course he had taken. He enlisted himself in a good cause ; and in the darkest periods, still believed that a righteous Providence would ultimately enable that cause to prevail, and finally to triumph. The personal appearance of Mr. Hart was uncommonly interesting; in his form he was straight and well proportioned. In stature, he was above the middling size, and, when a young man, was said to have been handsome. In his disposition he was uncommonly mild and amiable. He was greatly beloved by his family and friends, and highly respected by a large circle of acquaintance, who often appealed to his wisdom and judgment in the settlement of their local affairs. In addition to this, he enjoyed the reputation of being a sincere and humble christian. He was exceedingly liberal to the Baptist church of Hopewell, to which community he belonged; and greatly assisted them in the erection of a public house of worship; the ground for which he presented to the church, as also the ground for a burial place. Such was the life, and such the last end, of “honest John Hart.”
It is unfortunately the fact, in respect to many of the distinguished actors in the revolutionary drama, but especially in reference to the subject of this memoir, that but few incidents of their lives have been preserved. The truth is, that although men of exalted patriotism, who filled their respective duties, both in public and private life, with great honour to themselves and benefit to all around them, they wer." naturally unobtrusive and unambitious. The incidents of their lives were, indeed, few. Some of them lived in retirement, pursuing the “even tenor of their way,” nor was the regularity of their lives often interrupted, except, perhaps, by an atten. dance upon congress, or by the discharge of some minor civ.; office in the community. - These remarks apply with some justice to Mr. CLARK, but perhaps not with more force, than to several others, who stand enrolled among the signers of the declaration of independence. Mr. Clark was a native of Elizabethtown, New-Jersey, where he was born, on the fifteenth of February, 1726. His father's name was Thomas Clark, of whom he was an only child. His early education, although confined to English branches of study, was respectable. For the mathematics and the civil law he is said to have discovered an early prediiec tion. He was bred a farmer; but his constitution being inade quate to the labours of the field, he turned his attention to surveying, conveyancing, and imparting legal advice. For this last service he was well qualified ; and as ho gave advice gratuitously, he was called, “ the poor man's counsellor.” The course of Mr. Clark's life. his love of study, and thy generosity of his character, naturally rendered him popular. His opinion was valued, and often sought, even beyond the immediate circle within which he lived. He was called to fill various respectable offices, the duties of which he discharged with great fidelity; and thus rendered himself highly useful in the community in which he lived. At an early period of the revolution, as he had formed his opinion on the great question, which divided the British goycrument and the American colonies, he was appointed one of the committee of public safety; and some time after was elected by the provincial congress, in conjunction with the gentlemen, a sketch of whose lives has already been given, a delogate to the continental congress. Of this body he was a member, for a considerable period; and was conspicuous among his colleagues from New-Jersey. A few days after he took his seat for the first time, as a member of congress, he was called upon to vote for, or against, the proclamation of independence. But he was at no loss on which side to throw his influence. His patriotism was of the purest character. Personal considerations did not influence lis decision. He knew full well that fortune and individual safety were at stake. But what were these in comparison with the honour and liberty of his country. He voted, therefore, for the declaration of independence, and affixed his name to that sacred instrument with a firm determination to meet the consequences of the noble, but dangerous action, with a fortitude and resolution becoming a free born citizen of America. Mr. Clark frequently, after this time, represented NewJersey in the national councils. He was also often a member of the state legislature. But in whatever capacity he acted as a public servant, he attracted the respect and admiration of the community, by his punctuality, his integrity, and perseverance. In 1787, he was elected a member of the general convention, which framed the constitution ; but in consequence of ill health, was prevented from uniting in the deliberations of that body. To the constitution, as originally proposed, he had serious objections. These, however, were removed by subsequent amendments ; but his enemies took advantage of his objections, and for a time he was placed in the minority in the clections of New-Jersey. His popularity, however, again revived, and he was elected a representative in the second congress, under the federal constitution; an appointment which he continued to hold until a short time previous to his death. Two or three of the sons of Mr. Clark were officers in the army, during the revolutionary struggle. Unfortunately they were captured by the enemy. During a part of their captivity, their sufferings were extreme, being confined in the notorious prisonship, Jersey. Painful as the condition of his sons was, Mr. Clark scrupulously avoided calling the attention of congress to the subject, excepting in a single instance. One of his sons, a captain of artillery, had been cast into a dungeon, where he received no other food than that which was conveyed to him by his fellow prisoners, through a key hole. On a representation of these facts to congress, that body immediately directed a course of retaliation in respect to a British officer. This had the desired effect, and Captain Clark’s condition was improved.
On the adjournment of congress in June, 1794, Mr. Clark finally retired from public life. He did not live long, however, to enjoy even the limited comforts he possessed. In the autumn of the same year a stroke of the sun put a period to his mortal existence, in the space of two hours. He was already, however, an old man, having attained to his sixtyninth year. The church yard at Rahway contains his mortal remains, and the church of that place will long have reason to remember his benefactions. A marble slab marks the place where this useful and excellent man lies deposited, and the following inscription upon it, records the distinguished traits of his character :
Firm and decided as a patriot,
Rob ERT MoRRIs,
Robert MoRR is was a native of Lancashire, England, where he was born January, 1773–4, O. S. His father was a Liverpool merchant, who had for some years been extensively concerned in the American trade. While he was yet a boy, his father removed to America; shortly after which, he sent to England for his son, who arrived in this country at the age of thirteen years.
Young Morris was placed at school in Philadelphia, but his progress in learning appears to have been small, probably from the incompetency of his teacher, as he declared to his father one day, on the latter expressing his dissatisfaction at the little progress he made, “Sir,” said he, “I have learned all that he can teach me.”
“During the time that young Morris was pursuing his
2 F 20*