Biographical Sketches of Eminent American Statesmen, with Speeches, Addresses and Letters

By B. F. Perry | Go to book overview

DAVID RAMSAY.

The United States are indebted to the Irish and their descendants for a great many of the patriots and heroes of the Revolution. The Scotch, with some distinguished exceptions, such as Witherspoon, Lord Stirling and others, were mostly tories in the war of Independence. Their clanships, following a chieftain and obeying all his orders, have made them loyal, and that loyalty, on the extinction of the Stuarts, was transferred with equal fidelity to the House of Hanover. The Irish, from the long and cruel oppressions of their government, are devotees of liberty and have no loyalty. They and their descendants in America were ready at any time to throw off their allegiance to the crown of Great Britain, and become ardent and zealous revolutionists.

David Ramsay, the subject of this sketch, was the son of an Irishman. He was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, on the 2d day of April, 1749. His father, James Ramsay, was a respectable farmer, who by his own labor supported his family and educated his children. His sons all had a collegiate education. David graduated at Princeton. In his infancy he manifested an extraordinary love of reading and study. Before he was twelve years old he was prepared to enter college! and was appointed assistant tutor in a respectable academy at that early age. Governor Hayne, in his memoir of Dr. Ramsay, says, whilst a child at school, grown young men would take the little fellow on their knees and get him to learn them their lessons. After teaching one or two years, young David entered the sophomore class in Princeton college. He was prepared, it is said, to enter the junior class, but in consequence of his youth he was persuaded to enter a lower class. He passed

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