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Page 2

Abraham Clark

1726-1794


   Mr. Clark frequently, after this time, represented New Jersey in the national councils. He was also often a member of the state legislature. But in whatever capacity he acted as a public servant, be 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, lie 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 elections 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 prison ship, 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 keyhole. 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 sixty-ninth 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,
zealous and faithful as a friend to the public,
he loved his country,
and adhered to her cause
in the darkest hours of her struggles
against oppression.

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 230-232. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

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