Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

                    Thomas Lynch, Junior, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born August 5, 1749, in the Prince George parish, located upon the North Santee River in South Carolina.  He descended from an ancient Austrian family who were natives of Lintz.  His branch of the family moved to the county of Kent in England and then to Connaught in Ireland.  Thomas's great-grandfather emigrated from Ireland to America where he settled in South Carolina where he purchased large tracts of land.  When Thomas's father inherited these tracts of land, they were of great value and gave him a "splendid fortune."  He "was a man of great influence" and was an early supporter of the cause of liberty.  He was elected to be a delegate to the first Continental Congress, meeting with that body of men in Philadelphia in 1774 and continuing as a member there until his death.

                    Thomas received a good education at Georgetown, South Carolina, before being sent to England at age thirteen to further his education.  He entered Eton School, a "seminary of preparation for higher instruction" that educated many eminent men.  I believe that this is the same school that Prince William and Prince Harry attended.  After Thomas completed his "preparatory studies" at Georgetown, he entered the University of Cambridge.  After receiving a degree there, he left the university "bearing the highest respect of the tutors, because of his studious and virtuous career while there."

                    When Thomas left Cambridge, he embarked upon the study of law in one of the inns of the Temple where he became a "finished lawyer."  He also became acquainted with some of the "leading politicians of the day" and gained knowledge of the workings of the government.  He felt "an irrepressible desire to return home" after hearing the "murmur of discontent" from America and the "haughty tone of British statesmen, when speaking of the colonies."  With his father's permission, Thomas left England and arrived in South Carolina in 1772. 

                    Soon after Thomas returned to America, he married a "beautiful young lady" named Elizabeth Shubrick.  Thomas and Elizabeth had a "mutual attachment" from the time they were children.  Thomas could have enjoyed a life of ease and enjoyment with the love of his life and his ample fortune, but he "had caught the spirit of his patriotic father" and made his stand in the "storm of the Revolution."

                    Thomas first came into the public eye in Charleston in 1773 when he spoke about the "injuries Great Britain was inflicting on her colonies."  He spoke with such "patriotic eloquence" that he won the hearts of the people who considered him to be "an efficient instrument in working out the freedom of his country."  Thomas was elected to "many civil offices of trust" and was commissioned as a captain in South Carolina's "first provincial regiment" in 1775.   Thomas's father, then a member of Congress in Philadelphia, wanted his son to receive a higher rank, but Thomas thought his experience warranted a rank of captain.

                    As a captain, Thomas accompanied General C. C. Pinckney into North Carolina to recruit a company for Thomas.  Exposure to the weather on this trip caused some health problems for Thomas from which he never recovered.  He recruited his company and joined his regiment just a few days before learning that his father was suddenly and severely ill from paralysis at Philadelphia

Thomas requested leave from his military duties to visit his father but was denied.  The problem was solved, however, when his father resigned his seat in Congress and Thomas was elected to fill it.  He accepted the appointment with joy and hurried to Philadelphia where he was seated in Congress in 1776.   Thomas supported the proposal for independence from England and signed the Declaration of Independence.

Due to his own declining health as well as that of his father, Thomas resigned his seat in Congress, and the two of them traveled towards home slowly.  His father suffered another "paralytic stroke" and died in Annapolis.  Bereaved and ill, Thomas returned home.  Upon the advice of physicians, he decided to travel to southern Europe with the hope of gaining better health near the end of 1779.  At that time it was "perilous" to travel in an American ship so he and Elizabeth sailed for the West Indies expecting to find a neutral ship on which to travel to Europe.  Apparently their ship "foundered at sea" because it was never heard from again.

"Thus, at the early age of thirty years, terminated the life of one of that sacred band who pledged life, fortune and honor, in defence of American freedom.  Like a brilliant meteor, he beamed with splendor for a short period, and suddenly vanished forever." 

Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp  

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