Page images

be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicing of that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow-citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world, what I believe it will be (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day, forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have met my ancient neighbors of the city of Washington and its vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse ; an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections as never to be forgotten. With my regret that ill health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to receive for yourself, and those for whom you write, the assurance of my highest respect and friendly attachments.




David RAMSAY was a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was educated at Princeton, studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and removed to Charleston, S. C., for the practice of his profession. He soon acquired celebrity both as a physician and as a patriot in the Revolutionary struggles. He was a member of the Council of Safety and a surgeon in the army. He was one of the forty prominent citizens who were sent as hostages to St. Augustine at the capture of Charleston in 1780 and kept for eleven months in close confinement. His death was caused by wounds received from a maniac, who shot him in the street for testifying as to his mental unsoundness.

His second wife was Martha Laurens, daughter of Henry Laurens, who had spent ten years in Europe and who was always active in intellectual and benevolent pursuits. She assisted her husband in his writing and prepared her sons for college Two of their daughters long had an excellent and celebrated school for girls in Charleston.


Orations; Medical Essays.

Memoir of Martha L. Ramsay. History of South Carolina.

Universal History Americanized (12 Life of Washington.

volumes.) Dr. Ramsay holds a high place as a historian, being char. acterized by impartiality, a fine memory, a clear simple

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

style, and a personal knowledge of many of the persons and events he describes,

SERMON ON TBA, (1775). Touch not, taste not, handle not.


(From History of South Carolina.) In the course of eighty years, or about the middle of the eighteenth century, the most valuable lands in the low country were taken up: and settlements were gradually progressing westwardly on favorite spots in the middle and upper country. The extinction of Indian claims by a cession of territory to the king, was necessary to the safety of the advancing settlers. This was obtained in 1755. In that year, Governor Glen met the Cherokee warriors in their own country, and held a treaty with them. After the usual ceremonies were ended, the governor made a speech to the assembled warriors in the name of his king; representing his great power, wealth, and goodness, and his particular regard for his children, the Cherokees. He reminded them of the happiness they had long enjoyed by living under his protection ; and added, that he had many presents to make them and expected they would surrender a share of their territories in return. He informed them of the wicked designs of the French, and hoped they would permit none of them to enter their towns. He demanded lands to build two forts in their country, to protect them against their ene. mies, and to be a retreat to their friends and allies, who furnished them with arms, ammunition, hatchets, clothes, and everything that they wanted.

When the governor had finished his speech, Chulochcul. lak arose, and in answer spoke to the following effect :

“What I now speak, our father the great king should hear. We are brothers to the people of Carolina, one house covers us all.” Then taking a boy by the hand, he presented him to the governor, saying, “We, our wives, and our children, are all children of the great king George ; I have brought this child, that when he grows up he may remember our agreement on this day, and tell it to the next generation, that it may be known forever.” Then opening his bag of earth, and laying the same at the governor's feet, he said : “We freely surrender a part of our lands to the great king. The French want our possessions, but we will defend them while one of our nation shall remain alive.” Then delivering the governor a string of wampum, in confirmation of what he said, he added : “My speech is at an end-it is the voice of the Cherokee nation. I hope the governor will send it to the king, that it may be kept forever."


(From the History of South Carolina.) The loss of the garrison was ten men killed and twentytwo wounded. Lieutenants Hall and Gray were among the latter. Though there were many thousand shots fired from the shipping, yet the works were little damaged: those which struck the fort were ineffectually buried in its soft wood. Hardly a hut or tree on the island escaped.

When the British appeared off the coast, there was so scanty a stock of lead, that to supply the musketry with bullets, it became necessary to strip the windows of the dwelling-houses in Charleston of their weights. Powder was also very scarce. The proportion allotted for the defence of the fort was but barely sufficient for slow firing. This was expended with great deliberation. The officers in their turn pointed the guns with such exactness that most of their shot took effect. In the beginning of the action,

« PreviousContinue »