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states, can hardly be said, at this period, to have established a national character. They all retain, in a greater or less degree, the distinguishing characteristics of the particular nation from which they originated. The Dutch, being the earliest settlers, imparted a bias to the others, which is still perceptible, and, probably, will long continue.
New York has furnished her full proportion in the bright catalogue of American worthies, and has ever been distinguished for patriotism and attachment to freedom. In the progress of the common and liberal arts, and in developing and improving her natural resources, she has been surpassed by none of the United States. The activity everywhere apparent in her cities and villages, the high state of cultivation, and the neatness and order, exhibited in most sections of the country; above all, the great works of internal improvement, which have been executed, particularly within the last ten years, sufficiently attest the industry and enterprise of her inhabitants.
For what have they been distinguished?to industry and enterprise?
-What is said in regard
Sketches of the lives and characters of some distinguished men in the colony and state of New York.
George Clinton was born in July, 1739, in the precinct of the highlands, in the county of Ulster, now the town of New Windsor, in the county of Orange.
At an early age, he displayed that spirit of enterprise and energy of character, which distinguished his conduct through life. During the French war, he entered on board a privateer, which sailed from the port of New York; and, after undergoing great dangers and hardships, returned, and accepted the commission of a lieutenant, in a company commanded by his brother James. This company composed part of a regiment commanded by his father; and which, united with other forces under Col. Bradstreet, captured Fort Frontenac, now Kingston, near the mouth of Lake Ontario. During this expedition, Capt. Clinton's company signalized itself by attacking a French sloop of war, which annoyed the army in its descent down the lake; and which, after a bloody engagement, was compelled to strike its colors.
After this campaign, he commenced the studies preparatory for the legal profession; and, in 1764, was admitted to the bar of the supreme court. He established himself in his native county, where he practised with great reputation and success. He had previously filled the office of clerk of Ulster county, to which he was appointed by Gov. Clinton, the father of Sir Henry Clinton. He was soon after chosen a member of the colonial assembly, after a violent struggle, and a formidable opposition from all the influence of the crown. He immediately
became the head of the whig party in this assembly, where he continued usefully and actively employed until the revolution, on the side of the people, defying the frowns of power, spurning the seductions of corruption and intrigue, and displaying the resources of a powerful intellect, and the energies of undaunted patriotism.
In April, 1775, he was appointed a delegate to the continental congress, and took his seat in that body in May following. In January, 1776, he attended an adjourned meeting, having been continued in office by the provincial convention which assembled in New York in December of the preceding year. In 1776, he was also appointed brigadier general of the militia of Ulster county; and, some time after, a brigadier in the army of the United States.
At the first election under the constitution of the state, he was chosen both governor and lieutenant governor. On his acceptance of the former office, the venerable Pierre Van Cortland was elected to the latter. After having been continued in the office of governor, by six triennial elections, for the term of eighteen years, Mr Clinton declined another election, and published an address to the freeholders of the state, stating, that his respect for the republican principle of rotation in office, would no longer permit him to fill his recent honorable station.
During the revolutionary war, his situation, as chief magistrate of the state of New York, owing to its exposure to the incursions of the enemy, was the most arduous, critical, and important of any office in the new empire, except that of commander in chief of the army. In all the trying exigencies of that protracted conflict, he maintained his well earned reputation for patriotism and intrepidity. The actual, as well as the nominal head of the state militia, he was seen at one period driving the enemy into the forests of the west, at another time meeting him on the frontier and chastising his temerity.
His energy and decision were very remarkable. the conclusion of the revolutionary war, when violence against the tories was the order of the day, a British officer was placed on a cart, in the city of New York, to be tarred and feathered. This was the signal for violence and assassination. Gov. Clinton, at this moment, deter
mined in his purpose, rushed in among the mob with a drawn sword, and rescued the victim.
Some years after, a furious assemblage of people collected, called the doctors' mob, and raged through New York, with intentions to kill the physicians of that city, and pull down their houses, for having dug up bodies for dissection. This mob was inconceivably terrible, and, by their violence, intimidated the local magistracy. Gov. Clinton fortunately appeared in person, called out the militia, and restored peace to the city.
After a retirement of five years from public life, Mr Clinton was called by the citizens of New York to represent them in the assembly of the state. In 1801, he was again prevailed upon to accept of a reelection as governor, and after continuing in that office for three years, he was elected Vice President of the United States, in which station he continued until his decease, which took place on the 20th of April, 1812, at the city of Washington.
Gov. Clinton's oonduct was amiable in private, as it was dignified in public life. No man felt more powerfully the charities of the love of his family and associates. In all the vicissitudes of an eventful career, he never abandoned a faithful friend. And while he made it a sacred rule to disregard the claims of consanguinity in the dispensation of patronage, his virtuous adherents, who were connected with him by the kindred feelings of patriotism and the sympathies of friendship, never failed to experience the full extent of his liberality.
As a public character, he will live in the veneration of posterity, and the progress of time will thicken the laurels that surround his monument. The characteristic virtues, which distinguished his life, appeared in full splendor in the trying hour of death; and he died as he lived-without fear and without reproach.
James Clinton, brother to the preceding, was born in Ulster county, August, 1736, and received the advantages of a superior education. The predominant inclination of his mind was for a military life. After having success
fully held several offices in the militia and provincial troops, he was, in 1763, appointed by Lieut. Gov. Colden captain commandant of the four companies in the pay of the province of New York, raised for the defence of the western frontiers of the counties of Ulster and Orange; and, in 1774, lieutenant colonel of the militia in Ulster county. In the French war of 1756, he was a captain under Col. Bradstreet at the capture of Fort Frontenac, and rendered important service in that expedition, particularly, by the capture of a French sloop of war on Lake Ontario, which impeded the progress of the army.
At the commencement of the revolution in 1775, he was appointed by the continental congress colonel of the 3d regiment of the New York forces. He was the same year appointed, by the provincial congress of New York, colonel of the militia foot in Ulster county; and, in March 1776, by the continental congress, colonel of the 2d battalion of New York troops; and, in August, a brigadier general in the army of the United States. In this station, he continued during the greater part of the war, having the command of the New York line, or the troops of this state, and at its close was constituted a major general. In 1775, his regiment composed part of the army, which invaded Canada under Montgomery; and, in 1777, he commanded at Fort Clinton, which with Fort Montgomery constituted the defence of the Hudson river against the ascent of the enemy. When these forts were stormed by the enemy under Sir Henry Clinton, Gen. James Clinton, with his brother, then governor, made a desperate, but ineffectual resistance. During a considerable part of the war, he was stationed at Albany, where he commanded in the northern department, a place of high responsibility, and requiring uncommon vigilance and constant exertion. He took part in the expedition against the Indians in 1779, and was present at the capture of Cornwallis at Yorktown, where he distinguished himself by his usual intrepidity. His last appearance in arms was on the evacuation of the city of New York, where he bid the commander in chief a final and affectionate farewell, and retired to his estates.
He was, however, frequently called from his retirement by the unsolicited voice of his fellow-citizens. He was