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ral constitution, when he was appointed chief justice of the United States.
In 1794, he was appointed envoy extraordinary to Great Britain, and signed the treaty which has since borne his name.
In 1795, he was elected governor of the state of New York, and in 1801, declined a re-election, and withdrew altogether from public life.
In person, Mr. Jay was tall and of slender make; with a countenance indicative of the highest degree of intelligence. To his pen, while in Congress, was America indebted for some of those masterly addresses which reflect such high honour upon the government; to his firmness and penetration, were in no considerable degree to be ascribed those intricate negotiations which were conducted, towards the close of the war, both at Madrid and Paris.
With a mind improved by extensive reading and great knowledge of public affairs; unyielding firmness and inflexible integrity ; his character, perhaps, approaches nearer than any other of modern times, to the Aristides of Plutarch. He died May 17, 1829.
RICHARD HENRY LEE. Richard Henry Lee, president of Congress, was a native of Virginia, and from his earliest youth devoted his talents to the service of his country. His public life was distinguished by some remarkable cir
He had the honour of originating the first resistance to British oppression in the time of the stamp act in 1765. He proposed in the Virginia house of burgesses, in 1773, the formation of a committee of correspondence, whose object was to disseminate information, and to kindle the flame of liberty throughout the continent. He was a conspicuous member of the first Congress, and throughout the contest with Great Britain no member of that enlightened and patriotic body acted with more patriotism and zeal.
a 1784, he was chosen president of Congress, and continued a member of that body till 1787, when the constitution of the United States was submitted to the consideration of the people, he contended for the necessity of amendment, previous to its adoption.
After the government was organized, he and Mr. Grayson were chosen the first senators from Virginia, in 1789. This station he held until his resignation, in 1792, when John Taylor was appointed in his place.
He died at Chantilly, in Westmoreland county, Virginia, June 22, 1794, in the sixty-third year of his age.
He supported through life the character of a philosopher, a patriot, and a sage; and died as he had lived, a blessing to his country.
The following character of Mr. Lee is from the classic pen of William Wirt, Esq.
“ Mr. Lee,” says he, “had studied the classics in the true spirit of criticism. His taste had that delicate touch which seized with intuitive certainty every beauty of an author, and his genius that native affinity which combined them without an effort. Into every walk of literature and science, he had carried this mind of exquisite selection, and brought it back to the business of life, crowned with every light of learning, and decked with every wreath that all the muses and all the graces could entwine. Nor did those light decorations constitute the whole value of its freight. He possessed a rich store of historical and polítical knowledge, with an activity of observation, and a certainty of judgment, that turned that knowledge to the very best account. He was not a lawyer by profession; but he understood thoroughly the constitution both of the mother country and of her colonies; and the elements also of the civil and municipal law. Thus while his eloquence was free from those stiff and technical restraints, which the habits of forensic speaking are so apt to generate, he had all the legal learning which is necessary to a statesman. He reasoned well, and declaimed freely and splendidly. Such was his promptitude, that he required no preparation for debate. He was ready for any subject as soon as it was announced; and his speech was so copious, so rich, só mellifluous, set off with such cadence of voice, and such captivating grace of action, that, while you listened to him, you desired to hear nothing superior, and indeed thought him perfect."
ARTHUR LEE. ARTHUR LEE, M. D., a distinguished statesman, was a native of Virginia, and the brother of Richard Henry Lee. He received his education at the university of Edinburgh, where he also pursued for some time the study of medicine. On his return to this country, he practised physic four or five years in Williamsburgh. He then went to London and commenced the study of the law in the temple. During his residence in England, he kept his eye upon the measures of the government, and rendered the most important services to his country by sending to America the earliest intelligence of the plans of the ministry. When the instructions to Governor Bernard were sent over, he at the same time communicated information to the town of Boston respecting the nature of them. He returned, it is believed, before 1769, for in that year he published the Monitor's letters in vindication of the colonial rights.
In 1775, he was sent to London as the agent of Virginia, and in the same year presented the second petition of Congress to the king. All his exertions
now directed to the welfare of his cou try. When Mr. Jefferson declined the appointment of a minister to France, he was appointed in his place, and joined his colleagues, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Deane, at Paris, in December, 1776. He assisted in negotiating the treaty with France.
On Dr. Franklin being appointed sole minister to France, Dr. Lee returned home, and was afterwards appointed one of the commissioners for holding a treaty with the Indians of the Six Nations. He accordingly went to fort Schuyler and executed this trust in a manner which did him much honour.
After a short illness, he died at Urbanna, in Middlesex county, Virginia, December 14, 1792.
He was a man of uniform patriotism, of a sound understanding, of great probity, of plain manners, and strong passions. During his residence in England, he was indefatigable in his exertions to promote the interests of his country: To the abilities of a statesman he united the acquisitions of a scholar. He was a member of the philosophical society.
RUFUS KING. Rufus King, a distinguished statesman, and one of the signers of the federal constitution, was born in the year 1755, in th
town of Scarborough, district of Maine.
In the year 1773, he was admitted a student of Harvard college, and graduated in 1777. In this seminary he acquired great reputation for his classical attainments, and more especially for his extraordinary powers of oratory. From Cambridge he went to Newburyport, and entered as a student of law in the office of the late Chief Justice Parsons, with whom he completed his studies, and was admitted to the bar in 1780.
In 1783, he was elected a member to the state Legislature of Massachusetts.
In the years 1784, '5, and ’6, he was a member of the old Congress, and on several occasions, he delivered some of the most masterly speeches ever heard.
In 1787, he was appointed by the Legislature of Massachusetts, a delegate to the general convention, held at Philadelphia, and bore a large share in the discussion and formation of our present system of government. He attended during the whole session of the convention, and was one of the committee appointed by that body to prepare and report the final draft of the constitution of the United States. He was afterwards a conspicuous and leading member of the Massachusetts convention, which met to ratify and adopt it.
In the year 1786, he married Miss Alsop, of the city of New York, to which place he removed in 1788.
In the summer of 1789, he and General Schuyler were elected the first senators from the state of New York, under the constitution of the United States.
In 1794, soon after the promulgation of the British treaty, a series of papers was published in its defence, under the signature of Camillus. The ten first numbers were written by General Hamilton, and the remainder by Mr. King. In these masterly papers there is discovered a depth of research, and an acquaintance with the various treaties and laws of different nations, on the subjects of navigation, trade, and maritime law, which render them of inestimable value.
In the spring of 1796, he was appointed by President Washington, minister plenipotentiary to the Court of Great Britain. After an absence of seven years he resigned his mission, and returned home in 1803. During his residence abroad, few foreigners lived on more intimate terms with the public men of the day, as well those in administration as the opposition. He frequented the society of literary men, and has since maintained a correspondence with some of the most distinguished civilians of the old world.
In 1813, he was again chosen by the Legislature of New York, a senator of the United States.
In person, Mr. King was above the middle size, and somewhat athletic. His countenance is manly, and bespeaks intelligence of the first order. His conversation and writings are remarkable for conciseness, force, and simplicity.