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

By B. F. Perry | Go to book overview

THOMAS SUMTER.

General Sumter, General Pickens, General Marion and General Hampton were so distinguished as partisan officers in our Revolutionary war that their civil services as statesmen and patriots seem to have been forgotten or overlooked in speaking of them. General Francis Marion was a member of the Legislature which convened at Jacksonboro, before the British Army evacuated Charleston. This Legislature undertook to confiscate the estates of those loyalists and tories who took an active part against the independence of the colonies. General Marion, who had been one of the most active, persevering Whigs, opposed this measure as unwise and impolitic. Having succeeded in our revolution he thought we should be generous and forgiving to our erring fellow citizens. He thought our true policy, as well as humanity and magnanimity, required the Legislature to pursue that course. When a bill was introduced in this legislature to exempt Thomas Sumter, Francis Marion and other partisan officers from suits at law, on account of any trespasses or illegal acts they may have committed, General Marion rose and said: "Mr. Speaker, I move that the name of Francis Marion be stricken from the bill on your table. He has never done anything in war or in peace that he is afraid to account for in a court of justice." This was a noble expression, worthy of the most illustrious Roman or Grecian sage and patriot. General Harry Lee, in his memoirs of the Southern war says: " GeneralFrancis Marion was pure all over." General Hampton was for many years in the Legislature, in the State Convention and in Congress. General Pickens was also a member of Congress, a member of the Legislature

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