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called the management of the house of commons, and of course he spoke on every topic involving the character of the administration; but, at the opening of the next session, in December, 1803, in order to strengthen the ministry in the house of lords, he was summoned by writ to that house, to sit in his father's barony.
Lord Hawkesbury was not unfriendly to the United States, and shortly before Mr. King's return to this country, a convention was signed by him, definitively adjusting the northern and eastern boundary lines of the United States, in a manner advantageous to us. He also assented to an article, renouncing all pretensions, on the part of Great Britain, to impress any person of whatever country, out of a vessel under the American flag. The convention, however, was rejected by Mr. Jefferson, from a mistaken idea of its effect on the boundary of Louisiana, and the article relative to impressment was not executed, through the opposi. tion of Lord Stowel.
ation in the cabinet as secretary of state for the home department ; still declining any higher, and especially avoiding the highest office. In the defence of all the great measures of government,-particularly the expedition to Copenhagen, and the celebrated orders in council,he took a prominent part.
By the death of his father, in 1808, he became the head of his family, as second Earl of Liverpool.
When the quarrel and subse. quent duel between Lord Castle. reagh and Mr. Canning induced them to resign their situations in the government, and the Duke of Portland to withdraw from being its nominal head, Mr. Percival, still finding the Earl of Liverpool averse to the premiership, united in name, as he had already done in effect, the two offices of first Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Earl of Liverpool, however, consented, in this new arrangement, to become secretary of state for the war department.
At length, an event as unexpect. ed as it was calamitous, the assassination of Mr. Percival, on the 11th of May, 1812, left the ministry in so disjointed a state, that the Earl of Liverpool yielded to the request of the Prince Regent, to place himself at its head. So reluctant, however, was he, to the last, to become the chief minister of the realm, that he did not consent until Marquis Wellesley, and Lords Grey and Grenville, had decidedly declined the offer.
No man ever rose to an exalted station by more gradual or more natural steps, than those by which the Earl of Liverpool attained the
premiership. He had now been in parliament twenty years, taking in each house successively a leading part in every debate of national importance; and he had been, during more than half that period, in the confidential service of the
On the 8th of June, 1812, he was appointed first commissioner of the treasury. The only additions to the ministry, on the occasion, were LordSidmouth, and Mr. Van sittart, now Lord Bexley.
On the 9th of June, 1814, the Earl of Liverpool was elected a knight of the most noble order of the Garter.
After the animated debates on the subject of the second regency, the premier had glided, by an easy transition from the councils of the father to those of the son; and when the reign of the former was closed by death, the changes frequently consequent on such occurrences, were neither expected nor witnessed. When the premier and the other ministers resigned their seals, pro formá, on the morning after the king's demise, they were severally reinstated in their respective offices.
The Earl of Liverpool's last ap. pearance in public was in February, 1827. The two last motions he made in the house of peers, were personally connected with the royal family-those of moving an address of condolence to his majesty, on the death of the Duke of York, and for a further provision for the duke and duchess of Cla rence. The latter duty was performed on the 16th of February. He retired to rest at Fife House at his usual hour, and apparently in good health. On the
following morning, Saturday, the 17th of February, he took his breakfast alone, in his library, at ten o'clock. At about that hour also, he received the post letters. Some time after, his servant, not having, as usual, heard his bell, entered the apartment, and found him stretched on the floor, motionless and speechless. From his position, it was evident that he had fallen in the act of opening a letter. It appeared that he had been seized by a fit, both of an apopletic and a paralytic nature, which affected the whole of his right side. As soon as his situation would admit, he was removed to his seat in Combe Wood. There he remained for the nearly two remaining years of his life, with various fluctuations of his disease, although at no time with the slightest prospect of convalescence.
He had been for some days in his ordinary state, and no symptoms calculated to excite immediate apprehension had occurred, when, on Thursday, the 4th of December, 1828, he was attacked with convulsions and spasms soon after breakfast, and before Mr. Sandford, a medical friend in the neighbourhood, could arrive, his lordship had breathed his last. The countess, his brother, and Mr. Child, his steward, were present in the apartment.
If the Earl of Liverpool was not a man of brilliant genius, or lively fancy, he was possessed of powerful talents, sound principles, and unimpeachable integrity. From his youth, he abstained from mixing in the common-place business of the world; he had no relish for those amusements and occupations which other men pursue with such
eagerness; he looked upon life as a gift bestowed upon him, with the condition that it should be entirely devoted to the service of his country. He combined, in an extra. ordinary degree, firmness with moderation. His measures were the result of deep deliberation; but when once adopted, were pursued with inflexible resolution, and de. spondency formed no feature of his character.
Lord Liverpool's eloquence, if it did not reach the highest point of excellence, always impressed the hearer with a conviction of the sincerity and the patriotism of the speaker. In debate, he was vehement, but never intemperate. He did not seem to entertain one angry feeling towards his parliamenta. ry antagonists, however wanton their attacks, or undeserved their insults; and his courteous, though dignified deportment, unruffled by the coarsest personalities which could be vented against him, frequently disarmed his fiercest adversary.
that soon arose, engrossed his feelings, and enlisted all the faculties of his mind on the side of his country. He soon became the champion and leader of the whigs in the vicinity of Salem.
When, in 1775, the British parliament, by an act usually called the Boston Port-Bill, shut up the capital of Massachusetts from the sea, thereby prostrating its active and extensive commerce, the seat of the provincial government was removed from Boston to Salem. Sympathizing with the sufferers of Boston, the inhabitants of Salem, in full town-meeting, voted an address to the new governor, General Gage; the great object of which was, so far as an expression of their sentiments would go, to procure relief for their brethren in Boston. That address was written by Co. lonel Pickering; it concluded with these remarkable words: "By shutting up the port of Boston, some imagine that the course of trade might be turned hither, and to our benefit: but nature, in the forma tion of our harbour, forbid our be. coming rivals in commerce with that convenient mart; and were it otherwise, we must be dead to every idea of justice, lost to all feelings of humanity, could we in. dulge one thought to seize on wealth, and raise our fortunes on the ruins of our suffering neighbours."
On the 19th of April, 1775, the battle of Lexington took place. About nine o'clock in the morning, Colonel Pickering being in his office, (the registry of deeds for the county of Essex,) a captain of militia, from the adjacent town of Danvers, came in, and informed him, that a man had ridden into that town, and reported that the British troops had
marched from Boston to Lexing ton, and attacked the militia. This officer, whose company belonged to Colonel Pickering's regiment, asked for orders, and received a verbal answer, that the Danvers companies should march without waiting for those of Salem.
Immediately Colonel Pickering went to the centre of the town, and met a few of the principal inhabitants. A short consultation ensued. Those who knew the distance of Lexington froin Salem, and its relative situation to Boston, observed, that the British troops would certainly have returned to Boston long before the Salem militia could reach the scene of the reported action; and that to march would therefore be useless. It was nevertheless concluded to assemble the militia, and commence the march; and for this sole reason,— that it would be an evidence to their brethren in the country, of their disposition to co-operate in every measure which the com. mon safety required. This idea, however, of the fruitlessness of their march, was so predominant, that they halted a short time, when about two miles from the town; expecting every moment intelligence that the British troops had returned. But receiving none, they resumed their march, and proceeded to Medford, which was about five miles from Boston. Here Colonel Pickering first received certain information that the British troops were still on their march, and on a route which rendered it possible to meet them. He hastened the march of the militia on the direct road to Charlestown and Boston; until on an elevated part of the road, the smoke was
seen from the fire of a small number of militia muskets discharged at a distance, at the British troops. He halted the companies, and ordered them to load, in the full expec tation of coming to an engagement. At that moment a messenger arrived from General Heath, who informed Colonel Pickering that the British troops had their artillery in their rear, and could not be approached by musketry; and that the general desired to see him. Leaving the companies in that position, he went across the fields and met General Heath. They soon after saw the British troops ascend the high ground called Bunker's Hill. It was about sunset. The next day they entered Boston.
It was before the close of the year 1775, that in organizing the provisional government of M..ssa. chusetts, Colonel Pickering was appointed one of the judges of the court of common pleas for Essex, his native county, and sole judge of the maritime court, (which had cognizance of all prize-causes,) for the middle district, comprehending Boston, with Salem, and the other ports in Essex; offices which he held, until he accepted an appoint. ment in the army.
In the fall of 1776, the army under General Washington's command, being greatly reduced in numbers, a large re-enforcement of militia was called for; 5000 from Massachusetts. Colonel Pickering took the command of the regiment of 700 men furnished from Essex. The quota of Salem was composed of volunteers.
This tour of militia duty was performed in the winter of 1776-7; terminating at Boundbrook, in New Jersey; General Washing.
ton's head-quarters being at Mor- party of the British troops had taken post in a large and strong house, since well known by the name of Chew's house, on which the light field artillery of the Americans could make no impression. This house stood back a few rods from the road. Colonel Pickering first discovered the enemy to be there by their firing at him from the windows on his return to General Sullivan.
Soon after his return home, Co. lonel Pickering received an invitation from General Washington, to take the office of adjutant-general. Colonel Lee had been recommend. ed by congress, to the commander. in-chief, for that office, but he deemed it proper to offer the office first to Colonel Pickering. The office was at first declined, but afterwards, upon th recommendation of Colonel Lee himself, it was accepted by Colonel Pickering, who repaired to the army, and join ed it at Middlebrook, New-Jersy.
General Howe having embarked his army at New-York, to proceed, as it was understood, either to Deławare or Chesapeake Bay, General Washington's army marched from New-Jersey, to the state of Delaware; and thence into the adjacent part of Pennsylvania, to op. pose the British army, then march ing from the head of Elk for Phila'delphia. On the 14th of Septem. ber, 1777, the battle of Brandywine took place. After carrying General Washington's orders to a general officer at Chadsford, Colonel Pickering repaired to the right, where the battle commenced; and remained by the general's side to its termination at the close of the day.
On the 4th of October following, General Washington attacked the British troops at Germantown. Af ter the right wing, commanded by General Sullivan, had for some time been briskly engaged, General Washington sent Colonel Pickering forward with an order to that officer. Having delivered it, he returned to rejoin the commander-in'chief. It had been found that a
On rejoining General Washington, Colonel Pickering found the question was agitated, "Whether the whole of the troops then behind, should pass on regard. less of the enemy in Chew's house, or summon then to surrender." A distinguished officer urged a summons. He said it would be unmilitary to leave a castle in our rear." Colonel Pickering answer. ed-" doubtless that is a correct general maxim; but it does not apply in this case. We know the extent of this castle, (Chew's house ;) and to guard against the danger from the enemy's sallying out and falling on the rear of our troops, a small regiment may be posted here to watch them; and if they sally out, such a regiment will take care of them. But, to summon them to surrender will be useless. We are now in the midst of the battle; and its issue is unknown. In this state of uncertainty, and so well secured as the enemy find themselves, they will not regard a summons; they will fire at your flag." However, a subaltern officer, with a white flag and drum, was sent with a summons. He had reached the gate at the road, when a shot from a window gave him a wound, of which he died.