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Page 5

Caesar Rodney

1730-1783

   Although thus removed from congress, Mr. Rodney still continued a member of the council of safety, and of the com-mittee of inspection, in both of which offices he employed himself with great diligence, especially in collecting supplies for the troops of the state, which were at that time with Washington, in the state of New Jersey. In 1777, he repaired in person to the camp near Princeton, where he remained for nearly two months, in the most active and laborious services.

   In the autumn of this year, Mr. Rodney was again appointed as a delegate from Delaware to congress, but before taking his seat he was elected president of the state. This was an office of great responsibility, demanding energy and promptness, especially as the legislature of the state was tardy in its movements, and the loyalists were not infrequently exciting troublesome insurrections. Mr. Rodney continued in the office of president of the state for about four years. During this period, he had frequent communications from Washington, in relation to the distressed condition of the army. In every emergency, he was ready to assist to the extent of his power; and by the influence which he exerted, and by the energy which he manifested, he succeeded in affording the most prompt and efficient aid. The honorable course which he pursued, his firm and yet liberal conduct, in circumstances the most difficult and trying, greatly endeared him to the people of Delaware, who universally expressed their regret when, in the year 1782, he felt himself obliged, on account of the arduous nature of his duties, and the delicate state of his health, to decline a re-election.

   Shortly after retiring from the presidency, he was elected to congress, but it does not appear that he ever after took his seat in that body. The cancer which had for years afflicted him, and which for a long time previously had so spread over his face as to oblige him to wear a green silk screen to conceal its ill appearance, now increased its ravages, and in the early part of the year 1783, brought him to the grave.

   It would be unnecessary, were it in our power, to add any thing further on the character of Mr. Rodney. He was, as our biographical notice clearly indicates, a man of great integrity, and of pure patriotic feeling. He delighted, when necessary, to sacrifice his private interests for the public good. He was remarkably distinguished for a degree of good humor and vivacity; and in generosity of character was an ornament to human nature.
 
 

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 313-319. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

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Last modified January 1, 2004