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Page 4

Edward Rutledge


   As an orator, he was deservedly eminent. He had faults indeed, both in point of manner and style, being too studied in respect to the former, and too metaphorical, and sometimes inaccurate, in respect to the latter. He also, it is said, addressed himself rather to the passions than to the understanding; yet, with these faults there were few speakers who commanded greater attention, or were more successful. He was less impetuous, and perhaps less commanding, than his brother John Rutledge; but he possessed more of the style of Cicero. There was a suavity in his manner, a conciliatory attraction in his arguments, which had frequently the effect of subduing the prejudices of the unfriendly, and which seldom failed to increase the ardor and inflexibility of steady friends. The eloquence of John Rutledge, like that of Patrick Henry of Virginia, was as a mountain torrent; that of Edward Rutledge, that of a smooth stream gliding along the plain; the former hurried you forward with a resistless impetuosity; the latter conducted you with fascinations, that made every progressive step appear enchanting.

   In his person, Mr. Rutledge was above the middle size, and of a florid, but fair complexion. His countenance expressed great animation; and, on account of his intelligent and benevolent aspect, was universally admired.

   On his return from Europe, Mr. Rutledge married the daughter of Henry Middleton, by whom he left a son, Major Henry M. Rutledge, of Tennessee; and a daughter, who, it is believed, now resides at Charleston. Upon the death of his first wife, he married the widow of Nicholas Eveleigh, comptroller of the treasury of the United States, in the time of Washington's administration. This lady is supposed to be still living [in 1829].

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 436-440. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

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