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Page 2

Samuel Chase


   It was not compatible with the independent and patriotic spirit of Mr. Chase, quietly to endure such a situation. He left congress, and proceeded to Maryland. He traversed the province, and assisted by his colleagues and friends, assembled county meetings, and persuaded the inhabitants to send addresses to the convention, then sitting at Annapolis, in favor of independence. Such an expression of cordiality to a measure, the convention could not resist, and at length gave an unanimous vote in its favor. With this vote, Mr. Chase hastened to Philadelphia, where he arrived in time to take his seat on Monday morning, having rode, on the two previous days, one hundred and fifty miles, On the day of his arrival, tile resolution to issue a declaration of independence came before the house, and he had the pleasure of uniting with a majority in favor of it.

   This success was a sufficient reward for all the labor which he had sustained, in accomplishing an object so desirable. A pure patriotism only. however, could have sustained the fathers of the revolution, under all the toils and fatigue which they endured. They were fitted for high and mighty enterprises. Common dangers, and common suffer-lugs, they regarded not. The object presented to their view, was connected with the liberty not only of themselves, but with the millions of their future posterity. With this object before them, therefore, they heeded not danger, nor were they subdued, or even disheartened, by the most unexpected reverses.

   Our limits permit us not to enter into a minute detail of the congressional services rendered by Mr. Chase, during several years which followed the declaration of independence. In the number, variety, and importance of those services, he was probably surpassed by few. He possessed, beyond most others, an ardor of mind, which sometimes, in debate, carried him almost beyond the bounds of propriety. There were some others from time to time in congress of a similar stamp. They were important members; they served to animate that body by the warmth which they manifested in debate, and to rouse the more supine or timid to action, as the necessity of the times required.

   In 1783 Mr. Chase being accidentally in Baltimore, was invited to attend the meeting of a club of young men, who assembled at stated times, for the purpose of debating. Among the speakers of the evening, there was one who, from his force of argument, and gracefulness of delivery, attracted his attention. At the close of the debate, Mr. Chase entered into conversation with him, and advised him to think of the profession of law. The young man was at the time a clerk in an apothecary's shop. Finding him destitute of the means necessary for an undertaking so expensive, Mr. Chase kindly offered him the benefit of his library, his instruction, and his table. That young man was William Pinkney. He accepted the invitation of his generous benefactor, who afterwards had the pleasure of seeing him one of the most distinguished lawyers ever at the American bar. It may be proper to add in this place, that he was afterwards attorney general of the United States, and a minister in successive years at the courts of St. James, at Naples, and St. Peters-burg. In the same year, Mr. Chase visited England, on be-half of the state of Maryland, for the purpose of reclaiming a large amount of property, which, while a colony, she had entrusted to the bank of England. In the prosecution of this business, he continued in England about a year, in which time he had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with many of the distinguished men of that country, among whom were Pitt, and Fox, and Burke. Although unsuccessful in accomplishing the object of his mission, while he continued in England, he put the claim in so favorable a train, that at a subsequent period, the state recovered about six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. While in England, he was married to his second wife, the daughter of Dr. Samuel Giles, of Kentbury, with whom, in 1784, he returned to America.

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Last modified January 5, 2005