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Edward Rutledge


   Mr. Rutledge was again appointed to congress, in the year 1779; but in consequence of ill health he was unable to reach the seat of government, and returned home. In 1780, during the investment of Charleston by the British, Mr. Rutledge was taken prisoner by the enemy, and sent to St. Augustine as a prisoner, where be was detained nearly a year before he was exchanged. Soon after his exchange was effected, he landed at Philadelphia, near which he resided, until a short time before the city of Charleston was evacuated by the British, when he returned to the place of his nativity, and to the enjoyment of the society of his friends and relations.

   From this period, for the space of seventeen years, Mr. Rutledge was successfully engaged in the practice of his profession, and from time to time in important services which he rendered to the state, as a member of her legislature.

   In 1798, he relinquished his station at the bar, and was elected the chief magistrate of South Carolina. His constitution, however, became much impaired in consequence of severe and repeated attacks of the gout, to which he was subject. He continued, however, to perform his official duties until within a short time before his death. This event is supposed to have been somewhat hastened, by a necessary attendance upon the sitting of the legislature at Columbia, and an unfortunate exposure to rain and cold during his return from the latter place to Charleston. On reaching home, he was confined by a severe illness, which terminated his life on the 23d day of January, 1800.

   The death of Mr. Rutledge was felt to be a severe loss, both by the people of Charleston and by the state at large. Few men were more deservedly respected; no one could be more generally beloved. Military and other funeral honors were paid to him on the occasion of his being carried to his long home; and the universal regret expressed at his departure, showed full well how sincerely he was lamented.

   Both in his public and private character, Mr. Rutledge was adorned with many virtues. In his disposition, be was uncommonly benevolent; he entered with great feeling into the sufferings of his fellow men, and felt it not only his duty, but his pleasure, to administer to their necessities. His deeds of kindness were many, were widely extended, and are still remembered with affection and gratitude.

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Last modified January 1, 2004