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lei While he was thus indefatigably engaged in 2nd weakening the enemy's power, and advancing his for country's interest, he was disinterested and gene
rous in all that related to his private advantage. The brave and worthy opponent, whom the chance of war had thrown in his power, found in him a patron and friend, who, on more than one occasion, was known to restore to the vanquished the fruits of victory.
"In the latter end of the year 1776, captain Biddle was appointed to the command of the Randolph, a frigate of thirty-two guns. With his usual activity, he employed every exertion to get her ready for sea. The difficulty of procuring American seamen at that time, obliged him, in order to man his ship, to take a number of British seamen, who were prisoners of war, and who had
requested leave to enter. edies The Randolph sailed from Philadelphia, in Feb
ruary, 1777. Soon after she got to sea, her
lower masts were discovered to be unsound, and, part in a heavy gale of wind, all her masts went by the
board. While they were bearing away for Charleston, the English sailors, with some others of the crew, formed a design to take the ship. When all
was ready, they gave three cheers on the gun-deck. it like By the decided and resolute conduct of captain Join the Biddle and his officers, the ringleaders were seiz
ed and punished, and the rest submitted without further resistance. After refitting at Charleston, ås speedily as possible, he sailed on a cruise, and three days after he left the bar, he fell in with four
sail of vessels, bound from Jamaica to London.C One of them called the True Briton mounted twenher ty guns. The commander of her, who had frey quently expressed to his passengers, his hopes of ad 4 falling in with the Randolph, as soon as he peraberceived her, made all the sail he could from her, Foto but finding he could not escape, he hove too, and
kept up a constant fire, until the Randolph lrad - bore down upon him, and was preparing for a broadside, when he hauled down his colours. By her superior sailing, the Randolph was enabled to capture the rest of the vessels, and in one week from the time he sailed from Charleston, captain Biddle returned there with his prizes, which proved to be very valuable.
Encouraged by his spirit and success, the state of South Carolina made exertions for fitting out an expedition under his command. His name, and the personal attachment to him, urged forward a crowd of volunteers to serve with him, and in a short time, the ship General Moultrie, the brigs Fair America, and Polly, and the Notre Dame, were prepared for sea. A detachment of fifty men from the first regiment of South Carolina Continental infantry, was ordered to act as marines on board the Randolph. Such was the attachment which the honourable and amiable deportment of captain Biddle had impressed during his stay at Charleston, and such the confidence inspired by his professional conduct and valour, that a general emulation pervaded the corps to have the honour of serving under his command. The tour of duty, after a generous competition among the officers, was decided to captain Joor, and lieutenants Grey and Simmons, whose gallant conduct, and that of their brave detachment, did justice to the high character of the regiment. As soon as the Randolph was refitted, and a new mainmast obtained in place of one which had been struck with lightning, she dropt down to Rebellion Roads with her little squadron. Their intention was to attack the Carysfort frigate, the Perseus twenty-four gun ship, the Hinchinbrook of sixteen guns, and a privator which had been cruizing off the Bar, and had much annoyed the trade. They were detained a considerable time in Rebellion Roads, after
they were ready to sail, by contrary winds and want of water, on the Bar, for the Randolph. As soon as they got over the Bar, they stood to the eastward, in expectation of falling in with the British cruizers. The next day they retook a dismasted ship from New England; as she had no cargo on board, they took out her crew, six light guns, and some stores, and set her on fire. Finding that the British ships had left the coast, they proceeded to the West Indies, and cruised to the eastward, and nearly in the latitude of Barbadoes, for some days, during which time they boarded a number of French and Dutch ships, and took an English schooner from New York, bound to Grenada, which had mistaken the Randolph for a British frigate, and was taken possession of before the mistake was discovered.
On the night of the 7th March, 1778, the 'fatal accident occurred, which terminated the life of this excellent officer. For some days previously, he had expected an attack. Captain Blake, a brave officer, who commanded a detachment of the second South Carolina regiment, serving as marines ôn board the general Moultrie, and to whom we are indebted for several of the ensuing particulars, dined on board the Randolph two days before the engagement. At dinner captain Biddle said, “ We have been cruizing here for some time, and have spoken a number of vessels, who will no doubt give info 'mation of us, and I should not be surprised if my old ship should be out after us. As to any thing that carries her guns upon one deck, I think myself a match for her.” About three P. M. of the 7th of March, a signal was made from the Randolph for a sail to windward, in consequence of which the squadron hauled upon a wind, in order to speak her. It was four o'clock before she could be distinctly seen, when she was discovered to be a ship, though as she neared and
came before the wind, she had the appearance of a large sloop with only a square sail set. About · seven o'clock, the Randolph being to windward, hove to, the Moultrie being about one hundred and fifty yards astern, and rather to leëward, also hove to. About eight o'clock, the British ship fired a shot just ahead of the Moultrie, and hailed her, the answer was the Polly of New York, upon which she immediately hauled her wind and hailed the Randolph. She was then, for the first time, discovered to be a two decker. After several questions asked and answered, as she was ranging up along side the Randolph, and had got on her weather quarter, lieutenant Barnes, of that ship, called out, “This is the Randolph," and she immediately hoisted her colours and gave the enemy a broadside. Shortly after the action commenced, captain Biddle received a wound in the thigh and fell. This occasioned some confusion, as it was at first thought that he was killed. He soon, however, ordered a chair to be brought, said that he was only slightly wounded, and being carried forward encouraged the crew. The stern of the enemy's ship being clear of the Randolph, the captain of the Moultrie gave orders to fire, but the enemy having shot ahead, so as to bring the Randolph between them, the last broadside of the Moultrie went into the Randolph, and it was thought by one of the men saved, who was stationed on the quarter-deck near captain Biddle, that he was wounded by a shot from the Moultrie. The fire from the Randolph was constant and well directed. She fired nearly three broadsides to the enemy's one, and she appeared, while the battle lasted, to be in a continual blaze. In about twenty minutes after the action began, and while the surgeon was examining captain Biddle's wound on the quarter deck, the Randolph blew up.
The enemy's vessel was the British ship YarPrevious to the revolution, Mr. Bryan was in- . : troduced into various public employments. He was a delegate to the congress of 1775, for the purpose of petitioning and remonstrating against the arbitrary measures of Great Britain. After the declaration of independence, he was vice president of the state of Pennsylvania, and upon the death of president Wharton, in May, 1778, he was placed at the head of the government
In 1777, Mr. Bryan was elected a member of the legislature, of which he was one of the most intelligent, active and efficient. Here, amidst the tumult of war and invasion; surrounded with the tory and disaffected, when every one was trembling for himself, his mind was occupied by the claims of humanity and charity. He, at this time, planned and completed an act for the gradual abolition of slavery, and which will remain an imperishable monument to his memory. These were the days that tried men's souls;" and it was in those days that the patriotism, wisdom and firmness, of Mr. Bryan were conspicuously efficient and useful. He furnished evidence, that in opposing the exactions of foreign power, he was opposing tyranny, and was really attached to the cause of liberty. After this period, Mr. Bryan was a judge of the Supreme Court, in which station he continued until his death. In 1784, he was elected one of the council of censors, and was one of its most active members.
Besides the offices already mentioned, judge Bryan filled a number of public, titulary, and charitable employments. Formed for a close application to study, animated with an ardent thirst for knowledge, and blessed with a memory of wonderful tenacity, and a clear, penetrating, and decisive judgment, he availed himself of the labours and acquisitions of others, and brought honour to the stations which he occupied. To his other at