WILLIAM IRVINE was born near Enniskillen, in Ireland, in 1744, and received his classical education at the University of Dublin. He evinced at an early age a partiality for the military profession, but his desire to enter it was overruled by his parents, in compliance with whose wishes he studied medicine and surgery. Upon receiving his diploma, however, he obtained the appointment of surgeon in the British navy, in which he continued until near the close of the war with France, from 1754 to 1763, when he resigned his place, removed to America, and settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where in a few years he acquired a high reputation and an extensive practice as a physician.
From the beginning, Dr. Irvine was deeply interested in the controversy between the colonies and the home government. He was a member of the Pennsylvania convention which assembled in Philadelphia on the 15th of July, 1774, to take into consideration the state of the country, and as a member of this body supported the resolutions denouncing the Boston Port Bill, and recommending a continental Congress. He was the representative of Carlisle until January, 1776, when he was commissioned to raise and command a regiment in the Pennsylvania line. At the head of his troops he reached the mouth of the Sorel, in Canada, on the 10th of June; was associated with General Thompson in the unsuccessful attempt which was made to surprise the van-guard of the British army at Trois Rivieres; and with his commander, and about two hundred subordinate officers and privates, was captured and conveyed to Quebec, where in consequence