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Charity, like the patriotism of '76, is more admired than used--more preached than practiced. It descended from heaven to soften the hearts of the human family--mellow the asperities of human nature. It is the substratum of philanthropy, the main pillar of earthly felicity, the brightest star in the Christian's diadem, the connecting link between man and his Creator, the golden chain that reaches from earth to mansions of enduring bliss. It spurns the scrofula of green-eyed jealousy, the canker of self-tormenting envy, the tortures of heart-burning malice, the typhoid of boiling revenge, the cholera of damning ingratitude. It tames the fierce passions of man, prepares him for that brighter world where this crowning attribute of Deity reigns triumphant. Could its benign influence reach the hearts of all mankind the partition walls of sectarianism would be lost in pure philanthropy, individual and universal happiness would be immeasurably advanced, many of the dark clouds of human misery would vanish before its heart cheering soul reviving rays like a morning fog before the rising sun. It is an impartial mirror set in the frame of love embossed with equity and justice. Let broad and universal charity pervade the family of man with its sunbeams of living light--then a blow will be struck for the KING of kings that will resound through the wilderness of mind and cause it to bud and blossom as the rose. Then the human race will be rapidly evangelized and made free in the fraternizing gospel of the WORD--a gospel untrammeled by the inventions and dogmas of men--a gospel crowned with all the glory of original simplicity and heavenly love.

These practical remarks are induced from a review of the life of Joseph Hewes whose father was one of the persecuted Quakers of New England and was compelled to fly from Connecticut in consequence of his religions tenets. A marked inconsistency has often been fearfully exemplified by those who have fled from religious persecution. The moment they obtained the reigns of power they have become the relentless persecutors of all who would not succumb to their authority and dogmatical dictation. In the biography of Charles Carroll the reader has one example. Under the administration of the Saybrook and Cambridge platforms a sterner policy was pursued towards the Quakers of New England than against the Roman Catholics of Maryland. Before these platforms were systematically dovetailed together the Baptist denomination was banished from the old settlements. Roger Williams came from Wales to Massachusetts in 1631 and preached the Baptist doctrine at Salem and Plymouth until 1636 when he and his flock were banished for their religious opinions. He and his adherents removed into the wilderness of Rhode Island and commenced the town of Providence. They formed the first church in New England where undisturbed freedom of conscience was enjoyed with a republican form of church government. The frame-work of the Cambridge platform was commenced by an ecclesiastical convention in 1646 and the superstructure completed in 1648. On this platform the municipal and legislative proceedings of Massachusetts were based for sixty years. In 1656 the legislature passed a law prohibiting any master of a vessel from bringing a Quaker into the Colony under a penalty of one hundred pounds. The next year a law was passed inflicting the most barbarous cruelties upon the members of this peace-loving sect--such as cutting off their ears, boring their tongues with a hot iron, unless they would desist from their mode of worship and doff their straight coats and ugly bonnets. In 1669 a law was passed banishing them on pain of death. Four of them who refused to go were executed. Some historians have had the effrontery to excuse this cruelty because the Quakers promulged their doctrines too boldly and thus provoked the Cambridge authorities. This sophistical apology is too far fetched. It shrinks from the mellow touch of charity and the fair scrutiny of justice. The cruelty admits of no palliation until we can convert the baser passions into virtues. By recurring to the bigotry and fanaticism of that period we can readily learn _why_ such a course was pursued. This affords no healing balm for the mind of a true philanthropist. We can only regret the past and rejoice that charity and liberty have so far triumphed in our now free and happy country as to dispel religious darkness and restore man to a degree of reason that has paralyzed persecution unto blood for opinion's sake--the brightest luminary in the constellation of a free government.

To avoid the penalties imposed, Adam Hewes, the father of Joseph, fled from Connecticut with his wife Providence and located near Kingston, New Jersey, where they lived peacefully and died happily. When they crossed the Housatonic river in their flight they were so closely pursued by the Indians that Providence was severely wounded in the neck by a ball from one of their guns. Joseph Hewes was born at the new residence of his parents in 1730. After receiving a good education in the Princeton school he commenced a commercial apprenticeship in Philadelphia. On completing this he entered into a successful mercantile business. For several years he spent his time in New York and Philadelphia and engaged largely in the shipping business. He was of a cheerful turn, had a penetrating mind, a sound judgment, a good heart and was persevering in all his undertakings. He was fond of social intercourse, convivial parties and sometimes exhibited the light fantastic toe. He entered into the full fruition of rational enjoyment without abusing it.

In 1760 he located at Edenton, North Carolina. He was soon after elected to the Assembly of that province and became a substantial and useful member. He made no pretensions to public speaking, was a faithful working man, a correct voter and punctually in his place. When the revolutionary storm commenced he faced its fury without the umbrella of doubt or the overcoat of fear. He was among those who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honors in the cause of Independence. He was a member of the Congress of 1774 and one of the committee that reported the rights of the American Colonies--the manner they had been violated and the proposed means for obtaining redress. From this circumstance we may infer that Joseph Hewes was a man of cool deliberation, clearness of perception and understood well the principles of constitutional law and chartered rights. The report of this committee is a lucid and elaborate document. By referring to the Declaration of Independence the reader will have the features of the first part portraying the rights of the colonies. By reading the instructions from the primary convention of Pennsylvania in the biography of James Smith the second part will be seen pointing out the violations. The third part proposing the preliminary means for obtaining redress are fully set forth in the following extract. After relating the injuries of the mother country the report proceeds--

"Therefore we do, for ourselves and the inhabitants of the several colonies whom we represent, firmly agree and associate under the sacred ties of virtue, honor and love of our country as follows--

"_First._ That from and after the first day of December next we will not import into British America from Great Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares or merchandize whatsoever or from any other place any such goods, wares or merchandize as shall have been exported from Great Britain or Ireland--nor will we, after that day, import any East India tea from any part of the world nor any molasses, syrups, coffee or pimento from the British plantations or from Dominico nor wine from Madeira or the West Indies nor foreign indigo.

"_Second._ We will neither import nor purchase any slaves imported after the first day of December next, after which time we will wholly discontinue the slave trade and will neither be concerned in it ourselves nor will we hire our vessels nor sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it."

"_Third._ As a non-consumption agreement, strictly adhered to, will be an effectual security for the observation of the non-importation, we as above solemnly agree and associate, that from this day we will not purchase or use any tea imported on account of the East India Company or any on which a duty has been or shall be paid and from the first day of March next we will not purchase or use any East India tea whatever--nor will we nor shall any person for or under us purchase or use any of these goods, wares or merchandize we have agreed not to import which we shall know or have cause to suspect were imported after the first day of December, except such as come under the rules and directions of the tenth article hereafter mentioned.

"_Fourth._ The earnest desire we have not to injure our fellow subjects in Great Britain, Ireland or the West Indies, induces us to suspend a non-importation until the 10th day of September 1775 at which time, if the said Acts and parts of Acts of the British Parliament therein mentioned [see them in the life of James Smith] are not repealed, we will not directly or indirectly export any merchandize or commodities whatsoever to Great Britain, Ireland or the West Indies except rice to Europe.

"_Fifth._ Such as are merchants and in the British and Irish trade will give orders as soon as possible, to their factors, agents and correspondents in Great Britain and Ireland not to ship any goods to them on any pretence whatever as they cannot be received in America and if any merchants residing in Great Britain or Ireland shall directly or indirectly ship any goods, wares or merchandize for America in order to break the said non-importation agreement or in any manner contravene the same, on such unworthy conduct being well tested it ought to be made public and on the same being so done we will not from henceforth have any commercial connection with such merchants.

"_Sixth._ That such as are owners of vessels will give positive orders to their captains or masters not to receive on board their vessels any goods prohibited by the said non-importation agreement on pain of immediate dismission from service.

"_Seventh._ We will use our best endeavors to improve the breed of sheep and increase their number to the greatest extent and to that end we will kill them as seldom as may be, especially those of the most profitable kind nor will we export any to the West Indies or elsewhere and those of us who are or may become overstocked with or can conveniently spare any sheep will dispose of them to our neighbors, especially to the poorer sort, on moderate terms.

"_Eighth._ We will in our several stations encourage frugality, economy and industry and promote agriculture, arts and the manufactures of this country especially that of wool and will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse-racing and all kinds of gaming, cock-fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainments and on the death of any relation or friend, none of us or any of our family will go into any further mourning dress than a black crape or ribbon on the arm or hat for gentlemen and a black ribbon and necklace for ladies and that we will discontinue the giving of gloves and scarfs at funerals.

"_Ninth._ Such as are venders of goods and merchandize will not take the advantage of the scarcity of goods that may be occasioned by this association but will sell the same at the rate we have been respectively accustomed or merchandize shall sell any such goods on higher terms or shall in any manner or by any device whatsoever depart from this agreement, no person ought nor will any of us deal with any such person or his or her factor or agent at any time hereafter for any commodity whatever.

"_Tenth._ In case any merchant, trader or other persons shall import any goods or merchandize after the first day of December and before the first day of February next, the same ought forthwith, at the election of the owners, to be either re-shipped or delivered up to the committee of the county or town wherein they shall be imported, to be stored at the risk of the importer until the non-importation agreement shall cease or be sold under the direction of the committee aforesaid--and in the last mentioned case the owner or owners of such goods shall be reimbursed out of the sales the first cost and charges, the profits, if any, to be applied towards relieving and employing such poor inhabitants of the town of Boston as are the immediate sufferers by the Boston Port Bill and a particular account of all goods so returned, stored or sold, to be inserted in the public paper and if any goods or merchandize shall be imported after the first day of February the same ought forthwith to be sent back again without breaking any of the packages thereof.

"_Eleventh._ That a committee be chosen in every county, city and town by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in the legislatures whose business it shall be attentively to observe the conduct of all persons touching the association and when it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of a majority of any such committee that any person within the limits of their appointment has violated this association, that such majority do forthwith cause the truth of the case to be published in the Gazette to the end that all such foes to the rights of British America may be publicly known and universally condemned as the enemies of American liberty and henceforth we respectively will break off all dealings with him or her.

"_Twelfth._ That the committee of correspondence in the respective Colonies do frequently inspect the entries of the custom house and inform each other from time to time of the true state thereof and of every other material circumstance that may occur relative to the association.

"_Thirteenth._ That all manufactures of this country be sold at reasonable prices so that no undue advantage be taken of a future scarcity of goods.

"_Fourteenth._ And we do further agree and resolve that we will have no trade, commerce, dealings or intercourse whatsoever with any colony or province in North America which shall not accede to or which shall hereafter violate this association but will hold them unworthy the rights of freemen and inimical to the rights of their country.

"And we do solemnly bind ourselves and our constituents under the ties aforesaid to adhere to this association until such parts of the several Acts of Parliament passed since the close of the [French] war as impose or continue duties on tea, wine, molasses, syrups, coffee, sugar, pimento, indigo, foreign paper, glass, painter's colors imported into America and extend the powers of the Admiralty Courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subjects of trial by jury, authorize the judge's certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages that he might otherwise be liable to from a trial by his peers, require oppressive security from a claimant of ships or goods before he shall be allowed to defend his property are repealed. And we recommend it to the Provincial Conventions and to the committee in the respective Colonies to establish such further regulations as they may think proper for carrying into execution this association."

Upon this report all the subsequent proceedings of Congress were predicated. It is a reasonable conclusion that nothing but the most aggravated violations of their rights could induce such men as composed the first general Congress to enter into a solemn agreement like the one here recited. By every true patriot it was adhered to with the most scrupulous fidelity. The spirit of liberty was infused through the whole mass of patriots--men, women and children. The oppression had become intolerable.

After a session of about two months Congress adjourned to the ensuing May when Joseph Hewes again took his seat with the venerable sages of the nation. He was an important member of committees. He was continued at his post the next year and hailed with joy the proposition to cut the gordian knot that bound the Colonies to mother Britain. When the set time arrived to strike the final blow for liberty he sanctioned the procedure with his vote and signature. His industry, accurate knowledge of business, his systematic mode of performing every duty, gained for him the admiration and esteem of all the members, one of whom remarked of his duties upon the secret committee--"Mr. Hewes was remarkable for a devotedness to the business of this committee as even the most industrious merchant was to his counting house." He was upon several of the most important committees. Upon the one for fitting out a naval armament he stood in the front rank. He was virtually the first Secretary of the Navy. With scanty funds he speedily fitted out eight armed vessels. He was very active in raising supplies in his own state to strengthen the sinews of war and oil the wheels of the general government. In 1777 when the enemy threatened vengeance on his state he declined his seat in Congress and gave his services specially to her until 1779 when he resumed his place in the national legislature. He was then worn down with labor and in poor health. He attempted active duty but disease had prostrated his physical powers and sown the seeds of death. He continued to attend in the House when able until the 29th day of October when he left the Hall for the last time. On the 10th of November 1779 his immortal spirit left its earthy tabernacle and returned to Him who gave it. His premature death was deeply lamented and sincerely mourned. Congress passed the usual resolutions--the members and officers wore the badge of mourning for thirty days. His remains were buried in Christ Church yard, Philadelphia, followed by the members and officers of Congress, the General Assembly and Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, the French minister, the military and a large concourse of other persons all anxious to pay their last respects to one whom they esteemed in life and whose memory they delighted to honor after death. The funeral ceremony was performed by Bishop White, then chaplain of Congress. His dust has ever since reposed in peace undisturbed by malice or slander. His name is recorded on the Magna Charta of our Liberty--his fame will live until the last vestige of American history shall be blotted from the world. Not a blemish rests upon his private character or public reputation. In all things he was an honest man.

The person of Joseph Hewes was elegant, his countenance open and intelligent, his manners pleasing and polished, his whole course honorable and just. He would have been a good man had there been no Heaven to gain or misery to shun. He practised virtue for its intrinsic worth--not to gain the applause of men. It was not a cloak for him--it emanated from the inmost recesses of his pure heart. With such men to guide our ship of state our UNION is safe. 

Source: Sages and Heroes of the American Revolution, by L. Carroll Judson: Copyright, 1854 Available for download at the Project Gutenberg website.