Memories of her most worthy citizens are the best wealth of the state. That people is poor indeed, that has never possessed such treasures; but poorer still that having had, has lost them. No improvidence is comparable with that which permits the recollections of the distinguished great or good to be wasted by neglect, or consumed by time- to fade into obscurity or to be lost in entire oblivion. Mortifying as may be the confession, the citizen of Maryland is unable to deny that his state, in common with all those which custom calls the South, a term which happily has lost much of its significance, is in this regard obnoxious to reproach. He may not be willing to acknowledge that his state is insensible of gratitude for valuable service, or incapable of appreciating exemplary virtue; yet it is too true, that men who in almost every department of human effort have illustrated the history of this commonwealth, or shall illustrate it when that history shall be worthily written; men who have wrought ably and thought wisely for the good of Maryland, as well under the limitations and restrictions of a colonial condition and a proprietary rule, as in the greater freedom and with the wider scope of state and national independence; that such men have been almost as completely forgotten, when the generation to which they belonged had passed away, as though they had lived in the heroic age of a Grecian or Roman antiquity. If their memories have been preserved at all in any degree of freshness, they have been perpetuated by the respectful veneration of their immediate descend- ants; or, more frequently, by a pride of birth, which cannot be wholly condemned, that seeks its justification, even when all else is lost, in tracing an origin to a reputable, - and perhaps distinguished ancestry. The historian or annalist of Maryland, in his attempts to recover the lost lineaments of those lives which once blessed with their benefits or adorned with their graces his native state, looks in vain through the long galleries of literary portraiture, drawn by reverent or grateful hands, for the "counterfeit presentments" of Maryland's notable men. There he finds delineated only the dead of other commonwealths; or, if placed there by chance, and not by design, he may discover some meagre and colorless sketches, some biographical silhouettes,, of a few worthies of that state whose great merits compelled the tribute of a stranger's pen or pencil. If he would find memorials of his own compatriot he must seek them, not upon the shelves of libraries groaning under their weight of "lives;" not in the archives of learned societies filled to repletion with their "memoirs;" nor even in the all embracing columns of the dictionaries of biography: but he must look for them, hid away among the musty rubbish of our offices of public record, or thrust into the dusty garrets or vermin-infested chests and drawers of our old and decaying family mansions. When found, if found at all, these memorials are seen to be obscured, mutilated, and for all useful purposes to the historian, destroyed-they are but relies that serve to minister to the superstition of ancestral worship. Others of the sisterhood of states have sought to give a perpetuity to the memory of their noble dead by preserving recollections of them with all the spicery and cerements of literary embalmment. Mary- land has consigned her worthies to the oblivious earth, to mingle their dust with that of the undistinguished many. If by chance some curious antiquary seeking historic relics of a shadowy past, or some patient genealogist tracing the dubious thread of a long lost pedigree, or some more sordid searcher for defective titles to ancestral acres long since alienated, should in turning over the records in our public offices or parish vestries, discover evidences of the former existence, in our midst, of men who had filled the highest civic stations in the commonwealth with dignity and usefulness, or given lustre to her army in war, his surprise is like that of the rustic who turns up with his spade the fossil bones of some huge animal of a former age. It is the object of this memoir to attempt the recovery from the obscurity of neglect, where they have lain for nearly one hundred years, like an antique statue covered with the debris of centuries, the lineaments that marked the character, and the incidents that clothed the life of a good, a wise, and a brave man, to whom Maryland gave parentage, birth, career and sepulture. In this attempt to revive, and perchance perpetuate his memory, in some degrees will be removed, it is hoped, the reproach which adheres to his native state of forgetfulness of the deeds and indifference to the fame of her sons, and Maryland be admonished, when she shall call her roll of honor, with all her sister states, in this centennial year, to add one other name to the already long and lengthening list of her noble dead-the name of Tench Tilghman.
TENCH TILGHMAN was born on the 25th of December in the year 1744, at Fausley, the plantation of his father situated upon Fausley creek, a branch of St. Michaels' river in the county of Talbot, Maryland, about two miles from the town of Easton. He was of one of the most respectable families of the province. Richard Tilghman, surgeon, emigrated from the county of Kent, England, in or about the year 1662, settling first upon Canterbury Manor, of which he was the original patentee, upon Third Haven river, in Talbot. Thence he removed, after a short time, to the Hermitage, upon Chester river, then in Talbot, now in the county of Queen Anne's. This Richard Tilghman, was the grandfather of James Tilghman, the father of the subject of this memoir, and a lawyer by profession, who after removing from Talbot to Chestertown, in Kent, thence removed to Philadelphia in the year 1762. He was well known to the profession in Pennsylvania, where be became secretary to the Proprietary Land office, which department of the government " by the accuracy of his mind and the steadiness of his purpose he brought into a system as much remarked for order and equity as, from its early defects, it threatened to be otherwise."1 He was one of the commissioner for the province of Pennsylvania, appointed by Governor Penn, for settling the boundary line between the colonies and the Indian territory, at the treaty held at Fort Stanwix in October and November 1758. He was also a member of the governor's council, and private secretary of Julianna, the widow of the late proprietary. In the dispute between the colonies and the mother country, he espoused the cause of the latter. The adoption of the principles of a loyalist involved the resignation of his public trusts and the loss of his private business, so that not long after the outbreak of hostilities he returned to Chestertown in Maryland, where he spent the remainder of his days. Such was his moderation and discretion, that, although his opinions were obnoxious, he enjoyed the respect of his fellow citizens, and received the considerate notice of Washington himself. It may be interesting to those who are fond of tracing the hereditary transmission of mental qualities, to state that the wife of Mr. James Tilghman, and the mother of Tench Tilghman, was the daughter of Tench Francis, Esquire, the elder, originally of Ireland, from which he emigrated when a boy to Talbot county in Maryland, where he married, under romantic circumstances, the daughter of Foster Turbutt of Ottwell in that county, became clerk of the court and deputy commissary general. He removed to Philadelphia, where he became attorney general of the province of Pennsylvania, and rose to great eminence as a lawyer. He was the brother of Richard Francis, the author of a work entitled Maxims of Equity, and also brother of Dr. Philip Francis, the translator of Horace, who was the father of Sir Philip Francis, the putative author of Junius's Letters.
Tench Tilghman was one of a family of twelve children. Of these six were brothers, he being the eldest, all of whom became men of good repute in their several positions, and some eminently distinguished. The second brother was Richard,2 who was educated as a lawyer at the Temple, in London, going abroad in the ship which conveyed Governor Eden of Maryland. He obtained employment in the civil service of the East India Company, under Warren Hastings of whom he was the friend, and by whom he was recommended to the directory for the post of attorney general of India; but he died at sea, when returning from the East, before receiving the promised honor. The third brother was James Tilghman, also a lawyer by education, who settling in Mary- land became, after the reform of the judiciary system of that state in 1790, one of the associate justices of the court from Talbot county, a kinsman of the same name being the chief judge. The fourth brother was the Hon. William Tilghman, for many years chief justice of Pennsylvania, a character as admirable as ever adorned the bench, if we may trust the words of one who knew him well, and who was every way capable of estimating his intellectual abilities and moral worth, the Hon. Horace Binney, who in a eulogy of unsurpassed eloquence has commemorated his achievements in law, and his private virtues. The fifth brother was Philemon Tilghman, who, in politics sympathizing with his father, at the early age of fifteen went to England, entered the British navy, in which he received a commission, and further connected himself with that service by marrying the daughter of Admiral Milbanke. The youngest brother was Thomas Ringgold Tilghman, a well known merchant, first of Alexandria and then of Baltimore, a man of great probity, but dying early rose to no prominence. The sisters were married to gentlemen of the first respectability upon the eastern shore of Maryland.
Of the early education of Tench Tilghman, the eldest of the brothers, little authentic information has been transmitted. He probably received his rudiments at some of the schools in Easton, near to which town he lived. There is a tradition that he was subsequently instructed by the Rev. John Gordon, rector of St. Michaels parish, a gentleman of attainments. At an early age, however, possibly before the removal of his father to Philadelphia, in 1762, his maternal grandfather, Tench Francis, for whom he was named, assumed the direction of his education, and he then obtained the instruction of the best masters, and the advantages of the best schools. His letters and other writings, which remain in the hand of his family, evince literary acquirements of no mean order, and a taste which is really admirable.
The advice of his grandfather, who had assumed as well the direction of his education as the care of his fortunes in life, supported as it was by the approbation of his father and his own inclinations, determined him in the selection of his calling and career. At a proper age, there- fore, and doubtless after a proper apprenticeship, he connected himself with his uncle, Tench Francis, the younger of the name, and earnestly engaged in commercial pursuits in Philadelphia. This business connection, although of short duration, seems to have been attended with gratifying results as regards his fortune, for in a letter written years after, he states that it enabled him to accumulate, before its dissolution in 1775, a moderate competency. A business which was commenced under the most favorable auspices and which had been conducted with so much success, was destined very soon to be destroyed, not through any lack of judgment or of prudence, but by the breaking of the political storm of the American revolution, which shipwrecked so many mercantile adventures. The manner in which Mr. Tilghman acted in the emergency evinces the man of honor, who scorns to take advantage of public disturbances and the suspension of law, for his own benefit. But an account of his conduct is best given in his own language. "Upon the breaking out of the troubles, I came to a determination to share the fate of my country, and that I might not be merely a spectator, I made as hasty a close, as I possibly could, of my commercial affairs, making it a point to coueet and deposit in safe hands, as much as would, when times and circumstances would permit, enable me to discharge my European debts, which indeed were all I had, except £- put in my hands by Mr. R., sen., in trust for my youngest brother: but as security for that I left, and have yet, a much larger sum in my father's hands. After I had happily collected and deposited the sum first mentioned, my outstanding debts began to be paid in depreciated money; and as I never took the advantage of a single penny in that way, I have sorely felt the pernicious effect of tender laws." What is here related to one who had every opportunity of knowing the truth of every incident is nothing more than might have been expected of a man of such scrupulous integrity, a feature in his character universally and at all times recognized.
But disappointed as Mr. Tilghman was in his cherished hopes of realizing wealth, apprehensive as he must have been, from the first, that what little he had accumulated would be swept away in the cataclysm which was upon the country, all these painful emotions were scarcely felt in that exaltation of patriotic sentiment which he shared in common with his fellow citizens. The battles of Lexington and Concord had been fought. The whole country was aflame. Even Philadelphia, the characteristic features of whose population then more than now, were a quietude and calmness inherited from a Quaker origin, was aroused to the manifestation of military ardor. Volunteer military associations were formed, which the peaceful principles of the Friends did not prevent the more ardent of their young men from joining and which the chivalrous spirit of those of other faiths and parentage gladly adopted. With one of these organizations Mr. Tilghman connected himself. The name which it assumed, as well as that by which it was derisively designated by those disaffected to the patriot cause, indicates the character of the materials of which this company was composed. It was called "The Ladies Light Infantry," by those who thought well of the company and its objects; but it was named "The Silk Stockings," by tories and those who placed a low estimate upon its military efficiency. It was commanded by a scion of one of the most respectable and prominent of Maryland families, Captain Sharpe Dulaney, and was composed of the jeunesse doré of the city of Philadelphia-- of young men of the best social position. In this company Tench Tilghman, another Marylander, and as well born as his superior officer, was lieutenant. As a part of the forces contributed by Pennsylvania, this body, or one into which it merged, with Tilghman, however, as captain, joined the army of Washington. This connection of Mr. Tilghman, with a volunteer company of Pennsylvania militia, was promised only danger and hardship, with little distinction or reward, opened the path by which he attained a position of honor and respect- ability in the army of the United States, and the friendship of the peerless man.
While thus surrendering himself to the impulses of patriotism, he was violating some of the tenderest sentiments of his nature. Trained up in a filial piety towards his parents, more common in the past than now; accustomed from his youth to respect the desires and opinions of one whose character as well as his relation entitled him to the reverence of a son; he found himself impelled by a sense of higher duty than that he owed to his father to disregard his wishes and to depart from his advice. Mr. James Tilghman, as has before been mentioned, adhered to the crown, conscientiously believing as did many of the most worthy citizens in all the colonies, that the maintenance of the royal authority and a continuance of the connection with the mother country, were the part of true patriotism and of a wise policy. When the crisis came, Mr. Tench Tilghman found himself at variance with his honored father; but it would appear from the correspondence which was maintained between them during the whole war, that differences of opinion upon political subjects never produced any alienation of feeling, and that a mutual affection and respect was cherished to the end. To be sure the persistence of the father in unfavorable and tantalizing comments upon the course of congress, and his depreciatory reflections upon the strength and the behavior of the patriot army, sometimes caused a momentary impatience in the son, who was serving under that congress and in that army, and caused him to ask with some warmth, not only on the ground of prudence but for the sake of good feeling, that there should be no farther political discussions in the letters that should pass between them,3 but even under this provocation there is no word that is not consistent with that honor and respect which it was his wish to render to him to whom they were -due. Col. Tilghman frequently in his letters to his father expressed a solicitude that he would consent to take the oath to the existing government of Pennsylvania which had been prescribed; using the argument that there would be no inconsistency between the position he had taken in the beginning of the troubles, and that which he would hold after submitting to the established order of things, which he not only had no part in forming, but had resisted while it was forming, and then was powerless to over- throw. He also mentioned, by way of inducing his father to take the step, a number of loyalists of social prominence who had already taken the oath, and others who were about to accept it. Another source of disquietude to Col. Tench Tilghman, as well as to his father, which may be mentioned in this connection, was the conduct of a young brother, Mr. Philemon Tilghman, who had left his home at the early age of fifteen years and connected himself with the British naval forces then operating against the United States. The father and brother were equally anxious to secure the return of this impulsive youth, both feeling that his prospects in life had been destroyed; the father seeing no hope of promotion and advancement in a service where he had no influential friends, the brother perceiving that he had completely shut himself off from a career in America. Mr. James Tilghman occasionally communicated with Mr. Philemon Tilghman, through Col. Tilghman, who sent his letters by a flag of truce, when there was communication between headquarters and the fleet. It would seem from a letter to another brother, Mr. William Tilghman, who had written to him asking that he would procure for him permission to go to England, for the purpose of prosecuting his law studies, that attempts had been made to arouse suspicion in Gen. Washington's mind against his secretary, founded upon his family connection with many persons who were disaffected to the patriot cause, to whom he had rendered service. In this letter he says:
It gives me pain to tell you that I cannot, without subjecting myself to censure, interfere in the least, in procuring you recommendations to go to England, by way of France and Holland. I am placed in as delicate a situation as it is possible for a man to be. I am, from my station, master of the most valuable secrets of the cabinet and the field, and it might give cause for umbrage and suspicion were 1, at this critical moment (June 12, 1781), to interest myself in procuring the passage of a brother to England. Tho' I know his intentions are perfectly innocent, others may not, or will not. You cannot conceive how many attempts have been made, some time ago, to alarm the general's Suspicions as to my being near his person. Thank God-he has been too generous to listen to them, and the many proofs I have given of my attachment have silenced every malignant whisper of the kind. As I have never given the least handle for censure, I am determined never to do it.
Before Mr. Tilghman was called upon for active service in the field, for which he had been so prompt to offer himself, with a disregard of his pecuniary interests, his personal comfort and his family ties which only a sense of patriotic duty could inspire, he had the privilege of serving his country in a civil capacity. Already, in 1775, the more perspicacious of the statesmen who composed the congresses, meeting at Philadelphia, foresaw, what the bolder of them had determined to compel, a separation of the colonies from Great Britain, and the establishment of a distinct government or governments. Measures looking to the assumption and maintenance of an advanced position, with regard to colonial independence, were promptly taken soon after the shedding of blood in New England. Troops were ordered to be raised, a commander-in-chief, with subordinate officers, was appointed, stores and munitions were collected, and all other preparations incident to war were made with the utmost promptness and energy. The British forces in America came to be regarded as enemies, and the British government as hostile and alien, although a formal declaration of independence had not yet been promulgated. Besides these preparative measures of a warlike character, others of a precautionary kind were taken to secure peaceful neutrality or active alliance. Among these measures may be mentioned those which respected the protection of the frontiers from the incursions of the neighboring Indians. It was apprehended that the savages, who were then at peace, taking advantage of the embarrassments incident to war, would renew their depredations and hostilities upon the settlements of the unprotected border. The most serious trouble was anticipated from these tribes of the Iroquois, which had early formed a league under the name of the Six Nations. These tribes, although greatly diminished in numbers since the first settlements of the Europeans, and although they had partially adopted the habits of civilization, were still formidable enough to a struggling confederation of colonies. The danger was the more threatening in that it was known at the prompting of the British agent to fall upon any whom he might designate as enemies of the royal government and of themselves.
The memory of Sir William Johnson, the former superintendent of Indian affairs of the crown, who had died the year before, was still a potential influence among them. His cousin and son-in-law Guy John- son, who succeeded him in his influence and in his office, was known to be inimical to the patriot cause, and to be already actively employed in enlisting these tribes whose seat was New York, and others in the adjoining provinces of Canada, against the United Colonies, as they now wished to be called. For the purpose of securing the neutrality of the Indians along the whole frontier, Congress on the 13th July, 1775, appointed three commissions to form treaties: one for the Six Nations, and other tribes towards the north, a second for the Creeks or Cherokees towards the south; and a third for the intervening tribes towards the west. The gentlemen who were chosen commissioners for the northern department were Major General Philip Schuyler, Major Joseph Hawley, Mr. Turbutt Francis, Mr. Oliver Wolcott, and Mr. Volckert P. Douw. The commissioners were vested with "powers to treat with the Indians in their respective departments, to preserve peace and friendship, and to prevent their taking part in the present commotion.4 A speech to the six confederate nations, Mohawks, Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, from the twelve United Colonies, convened in council at Philadelphia, was framed to be read at the assembly of the tribes, and an appropriation of seven hundred and fifty dollars was made to entertain the sachems and warriors of the Six Nations, when they should come to Albany and Schenectady. With this commission Mr. Tilghman, doubtless through the influence of his maternal uncle, Mr. Turbutt Francis, one of the members chosen by Congress, was connected in the capacity of secretary and treasurer or paymaster. A report was made in due form to Congress, of the proceedings of the commission, the preparation of which, there is good ground to believe, was the work of Mr. Tilghman. This report is published in the American Archives, and elsewhere, and makes up a part of the general history of the nation. But besides this official account, which was made for the information of congress, Col. Tilghman has left behind him a private journal, in which, while referring to the public acts of the commissioners, he gives many details that were not admissible in a paper designed for the inspection, information and guidance of the highest legislative body of the United Colonies. The period embraced in this diary of events, and record of personal experience, is from Aug. 5th, 1775, the date when the commissioners left New York, to Sept. 4th, of the same year, when they returned to that point. It is written with minuteness of detail, but strange to say, fails to indicate the relation he held to the commission to which he was attached. It is the product evidently of a current pen, and prepared with no purpose that it should be published, though its correctness of expression, as well as nicety of mechanical execution, fits it for the press with small labor of revision or alteration. It was designed for the amusement of his brothers and sisters at home, and is addressed to his brother Richard. Of its literary execution it may be said that, written with haste, and under the disadvantages of the preoccupation incident to his position as secretary, and of the necessity of constant movement, it evinces that facility in the arts of expression which is acquired by most persons only after long and habitual use of the pen in composition, and that correctness of taste which no practice seems to confer, but which is the result of a natural sensibility to what is refined and pleasing. Apart from the value which the journal possesses, by reason of the relation it bears to an important event in the early revolutionary history, it is interesting as furnishing a very graphic account of the country and the towns through which he passed while in attendance on the commission, and a vivid and pleasing glimpse of social life at Albany and its vicinity. To the biographer, and those who wish to gain an insight into the character of the writer, this journal has this other value and interest that it reveals a trait as rare as it is admirable--purity of mind: for though it is filled with banter, badinage and other light or trivial matter which one young man might be expected to write to another in the freedom of correspondence, and much of this, too, with reference to the other sex, not one word has escaped his pen which may not be read by the chastest eyes without offence. Indeed one single expression, which prudishness might pervert into something indelicate, he has erased, but not so effectually that curious eyes may not decipher the really harmless words. The following extract, of a purely personal nature will serve at once to exhibit his familiar style of writing, and to present a curious incident which occurred during the treaty, but which is not recorded in the official report: "Thursday, Aug. 24. We dined this day with the General [Schuyler] who has a palace of a house, and lives like a prince. The ladies from Carolina [the Misses Lynch] the commissioners and several gentlemen from the neighboring provinces were there. Having occasion to meet some of the Indian chiefs in the evening, they asked if I had an Indian name. Being answered in the negative, Teahoga, the chief of the Onondagos, did me the honor to adopt me into the tribe, and to become my father. He christened me Teahokalonde, a name of very honorable signification among them, but much to the contrary among us. It signifies having large horns. A deer is the coat of arms, if I may call it, of the Onondago tribe, and they look upon horns as an emblem of strength, virtue and courage. * * * The christening cost a bowl of punch of two, which I believe was the chief motive of the institution. Friday, Aug. 26. The treaty was opened with great form. * * * When business was over, I was admitted to the Onondago tribe in presence of the Six Nations, and received by them as an adopted son. They told me that in order to settle myself among them they must choose me a wife, and promised she should be one of the handsomest they could find. I accepted the proposal with thanks. Miss Lynch and Miss Betsy Schuyler have promised to stand bridesmaids." Miss Schuyler to whom reference is made was the daughter of Gen. Philip Schuyler, and subsequently the wife of Gen. Alexander Hamilton, characters whom all the world knows. The commissioners were handsomely entertained at her father's house, while she seems to have interested herself to make the time of the secretary, whose years more nearly approached her own, pass pleasantly, which otherwise would have hung heavily on his hands while waiting the slow deliberations of the Indian council. Of this lady, who enjoyed in after years a brilliant social career, and late in life a nation's veneration, he speaks in his journal in such glowing terms that there is reason to suspect that a more tender sentiment than mere admiration was the origin of such ardor of praise.
It would thus appear that the first services which Mr. Tilghman was privileged to render to his country were in a civil capacity, humble, it is true, but honorable. He had already shown his readiness to serve as a soldier, by his uniting himself with the volunteer company of which Sharpe Dulaney was captain. Upon the requisition of congress upon the several colonies for troops, he was among the first to offer his service to the commonwealth of his adoption, and a company composed, doubtless, of many of the members of the Ladies Light Infantry, was accepted by Pennsylvania, with Tench Tilghman as captain. Of the precise date when this company was mustered in there has been discovered no record; but it is well known that in the early part of the year 1776, this company from Philadelphia joined the army of Washington, and made a part of what was called the Flying Camp. From some intimations contained in his letters it would seem that it was the purpose of Capt. Tilghman, originally, to serve one campaign, the most of the early troops having been mustered in for short terms; but his behavior in the service in which he was then engaged was such as to attract the attention of his superiors in rank. His own personal merits as shown in the field, his high social position, his liberal education supported it is true by the recommendations of partial friends in Philadelphia, caused him to be invited to take a place upon the staff of the commander- in-chief, and this resulted in his continuance in the "barren military line," as be himself calls his service in the army, by way of contrast with the more profitable positions in civil or private life. It is well known that General Washington, during the first year of his command had experienced much difficulty in securing the services of gentlemen of proper qualifications for filling the positions of aids and secretaries. His first appointments to these places were Cols. Mifflin and Trumbull as aids, and Col. Joseph Reed as secretary; but changes had been frequent at head quarters. In a letter addressed to Col. Robert H. Harrison -a Marylander- one of those secretaries, and the oldest, he said: "As for military knowledge, I do not find gentlemen much skilled in it. If they can write a good letter, write quick, are methodical and diligent, it is all I expect to find in my aids." But even of Col. Harrison, him- self, he said: "Though sensible, clever, and perfectly confidential, he has never yet moved on so large a scale as to comprehend at one view the diversity of matter which comes before me, so as to afford that ready assistance which every man in my situation must stand more or less in need of.5 These expressions indicate the qualifications of the person who should hold the responsible position and intimate relation of secretary to Washington; and they gave assurance that the man whom he should select to fill this place, after frequent trials and disappointments, and who should be able to retain the post during the continuance of the whole war was the one who satisfied all the requisites. Such a man was Tench Tilghman. In August of 1776, he became a member of the military family of Washington, the other members at that time being Col. Robert H. Harrison, Col. Mead, and Col. Webb- the last of whom, upon promotion gave place in 1777 to Col. Hamilton.6
Difficulties and disputes having arisen among the officers respecting the order of their promotion, congress having neglected to establish any principle of graduation of universal appreciation, Gen. Washington, on the 11th May, 1781, from head quarters at New Windsor, addressed a letter to the Hon. John Sullivan, a delegate of that body, urging, with great earnestness, the adoption of some rule which should reconcile the disagreements and quiet the discontents which were keeping the army in a state of distraction. The whole of this letter is most important to the historian of the war, but that portion of it which relates to the subject of this memoir, and is here copied, is especially interesting to the biographer of Col. Tilghman, inasmuch as it not only elucidates some obscurities in his military career, but also, in narrating his devotion to duty, his fidelity to the cause, the unselfishness of his service and his generosity to his fellow-officers, it presents phases of his character admirable, if they may not be called even wonderful.
I also wish, though it is more a matter of private than of public consideration, that the business could be taken up on account of Mr. Tilghman, whose appointment seems to depend on it; for if there are men in the army deserving of the commission proposed for him, he is one of them. This gentleman came out a captain of one of the light infantry companies of Philadelphia, and served in the Flying Camp in 1776. In August of the same year he joined my family, and has been in every action in which the main army was concerned. He has been a zealous ,servant and slave of the public, and a faithful assistant to me for nearly five years, a great part of which time he refused to receive pay. Honor and gratitude interest me in his favor, and made me solicitous to obtain his commission. His modesty and love of concord placed the date of his expected commission at the first of April, 1777, because he would not take the rank of Hamilton and Meade, who were declared aids in order (which he did not choose to be), before that period, although he had joined my family and done all the duties of one from the first of September preceding.7
This letter, considering the source from which it emanated, the sentiments which it expressed, and the character of the actions which it indicated and commended, is as high an encomium as was ever bestowed upon any man. It would appear from this and other evidence, that although he entered upon the duties of secretary to Gen. Washington in August, 1776, and was from the September following discharging the functions of an aid-de-camp, with the title, by courtesy, of colonel, his rank had not been definitively established or declared. With an abnegation which is almost incredible, and a magnanimity almost beyond praise, in applying for his commission, instead of demanding that it should date from the time when he took position upon the staff, he consented that it should date from the first of April, 1777, that he might not outrank Colonels Hamilton and Meade, who had been recognized as aids, anterior to that period. It is felt that any comment upon this action, would be derogatory. Let it stand, therefore, in all its simple majesty and beauty. His commission was issued in accordance with his own wishes, and dating from 1st April, 1777, but issued May 30th,1781. The rank thus formally and authoritatively bestowed, as well as his position of assistant secretary to the commander-in-chief, he continued to hold until the close of the war, and the disbanding of the army, without seeking or desiring promotion. His ambition seemed to have been fully gratified by the possession of the confidence and approbation of his chief. There is a tradition, however, in the family, which has probability in its favor, that promotion was offered, but uniformly declined. This refusal may have been founded upon a consciousness of his own greater aptitude for the quasi civil duties of secretary at head quarters, than for independent military command; or, as is more probable, upon a very natural unwillingness to be separated, which promotion involved, from his honorable commander, with whom his relations were of a more intimate kind than usually subsist between a superior and inferior officer, and for whom his attachment was stronger than such as could be severed by a simple dissolution of official connection.
To follow the career of Col. Tilghman during the war would be to write the whole history of the army under the immediate command of General Washington. In the letter already quoted, it is stated explicitly, "he has been in every action in which the main army was concerned." He was one of those who earliest embarked in the cause of independence, having been commissioned, probably in the year 1775, a captain of one of those independent companies which made up that body of troops called the Flying Camp. In that capacity he served until August, 1776, when he surrendered his captaincy for a place upon the personal staff of the commander-in-chief, as has been before stated. No record remains to indicate whether he participated in any of the operations of the army up to the latter date, though it is presumable that he did; but soon after this time, indeed immediately, he was called upon to take part in the disastrous battle of long Island, and to share with Washington the mortification of the defeat which was there encountered, and his indignation at the conduct of some of the troops in the subsequent precipitate retreat from New York to Harlem Heights.8 In the successful affair at Manhattanville, which did so much to encourage the disspirited army, history records his active participation. There, it is said, "he joined in the action to animate the troops, who charged with the greatest intrepidity."9 Some of these troops that behaved so handsomely on this occasion were of his native Maryland. From this time onward, until he stood beside Washington at Annapolis, when he surrendered his commission to congress, Col. Tilghman followed the fortunes of his commander and his army. He suffered in the disaster at White Plains; with pain he witnessed the fall of Forts lee and Washington; he followed in the sad retreat of the apparently dissolving army through the Jerseys into Pennsylvania; he made one of those who, amid storm, darkness and floating ice, embarked in frail boats to cross the Delaware on the famous Christmas night of 1776 with Washington-a deed that has furnished a theme to the poet and a subject to the painter; he claims a part of the glories of Trenton and Princeton; he equally claims a part in the humiliation, without shame, of the defeat at Brandywine, and of the repulse at Germantown; he shared with the army the terrible sufferings at Valley Forge, where indeed he contracted the disease which finally terminated his life; he also bore with that army what is less tolerable than cold and hunger, that long inactivity which resulted from its reduction in numbers that other armies might be filled; he was present aiding and directing that masterly movement by which the army was transferred to the south to form a junction with its lately arrived allies: and finally, he was at Yorktown, actively participating in all the operations of that ever memorable seige and surrender, which was the virtual end of the war.
A few incidents in his military career of a nature almost purely personal, or at least having only an indirect relation to the war, may be noticed. The disastrous battle of Long Island had resulted in the abandonment of New York City by the American forces, and its occupancy by the British. Washington with his army had moved up the Manhattan island and taken post at Haarlem Heights. The convention of the state of New York had become, as it were, a roving body, meeting at various places according to circumstances, and was compelled to adopt unusual means to keep itself informed of the movements of the enemy, domestic and foreign, for, as is known, the lower portion of the state was infested with tories of the most determined and violent character. The convention accordingly appointed a committee of correspondence constituted of these gentlemen: Messrs. William Allison, E. R. Livingston, Henry Wesner, and William Duer, for the purpose of obtaining intelligence, and communicating the same to that body. Overtures were made to Col. Tilghman, in a letter of Col. Duer, from Fishkills, of the date of 22nd Sept., 1776, for furnishing a daily letter from headquarters, giving all intelligence that might be received by the commander-in-chief, and all incidents which he thought might be interesting or serviceable to the convention. Col. Tilghman consented to furnish these letters, having the approval of Gen. Washington. An express was provided by the committee for the regular and prompt transmission of the communications. This correspondence continued from September 22nd, to October 21st, 1776. A very considerable number of the letters of the committee to Col. Tilghman and some of his relies are in the hands of his family, and they furnish a most interesting and minute history of the short period which they cover, as well as reveal the feelings of the patriots of the time, both in and out of the army. With reference to the subject of this memoir, they are valuable as indicating his readiness to perform extra official duty to the cause he had espoused, and his ability to perform that duty with credit to himself and acceptance to the committee of the convention. It was of these letters that Gen. Washington is thought to have referred in his letter of condolence to his father, when he said:
If they stand single, as they exhibit a trait of his public character, and like all the rest of his transactions will, I am persuaded, do honor to his understanding and probity, it may be desirable, in this point of view, to keep them alive by mixing them with mine, which, undoubtedly, will claim the attention of the historian.
The following taken from his letter of October 3rd, may serve to give an insight into the feelings at headquarters towards those who were serving secretly or openly the royal cause in that part of New York.
I am sorry your convention do not feet themselves legally authorized to make examples of the villains they have apprehended. If that is the case, the well-affected will hardly be able to keep a watch on the ill. The general is determined, if he can bring some of those in his hands under the denomination of spies, to execute them. General Howe hanged a captain of ours, belonging to Knowlton's Rangers, who went to New York to make discoveries.10 I do not see why we should not make retaliation.
To this Col. Duer replied with equal warmth: "In the name of justice hang two or three of the villains you have apprehended. They will certainly come under the denomination of spies." This correspondence in which Col. Harrison occasionally took part, in the absence, or preoccupation of Col. Tilghman, on the one hand, and in which Mr. Livingston participated when Mr. Duer was prevented from writing, on the other part, was interrupted by the important movements of the opposing forces, which took place in the autumn of the year, resulting in the transferring of the American army into New Jersey, and later into Pennsylvania. In all these movements, of course, Col. Tilghman was an active agent and participant '; but, as has been before stated, as these are matters of familiar history, they need not be noted in this memoir.
The letters of Col. Tilghman which remain rarely make any reference to himself-his wants, his services, his sacrifices or his sufferings. There is admirable reticence about all personal matters. But there is one exception in a letter addressed to the Hon. Robert Morris, and dated Dec. 22, 1780. It would seem that the state of Pennsylvania, from which state he had been appointed to the army, had been negligent in making proper provision for his support-that it had granted him nothing but rations which he did not need, as with these he was "supplied in the family of his excellency." It seems that his greatest want was personal clothing, for the supply of which his own private means had thus far been used. He says:
I feel a consciousness of speaking the truth when I say that no man has devoted more of his time, and sacrificed more in proportion to his abilities, than I have done in the contest. Whether that time has been well or ill employed I leave it to those who have been acquainted with my services, to determine.
His "abilities," that is to Bay his Private fortune, was never large, and the "proportion" of this which he "sacrificed" was very nearly the whole. It is a tradition of his family, but having a more substantial foundation than such orally transmitted accounts of ancestors usually possess, that Col. Tilghman's services for a large part of the time he was in the army were rendered without recompense from congress; for Washington in the letter to Mr. John Sullivan, already quoted, says: "He has been a zealous servant, and slave to the public, and a faithful assistant to me for nearly five years, a great part of which time he refused to receive pay." Admirable devotion! with which no meaner motive mingled, not even that of the applause of his countrymen, so freely bestowed upon his great exemplar. In this letter to Mr. Morris, Col. Tilghman, after dismissing his own private affairs, speaks of the embarrassments of the army, and the dangers which were threatening the country; and as this letter has never been published, the following extracts may be a small contribution to the historic literature of the times, which, if it do not reveal anything new, may confirm what is known. Commenting on the policy of enlisting men for short terms of service, which had proved so disastrous, he says:
Instead of securing an army when our money was good, and the people were willing, we have lavished immense sums upon men of an hour, whose terms of service have been spent in marching to and from the Army ,and in their way devouring like locusts all before them. * * * Two things will save us and that speedily; a sufficient permanent army, and a foreign loan in aid of our resources. We may amuse ourselves with plans of specific requisitions from the states, and a thousand idle projects; but until the army can be paid and fed by the means of a substantial medium, we are only lingering out the time of our dissolution. Can men be expected to serve without provision-without clothing-without pay. Of the last we have had none since March, and no prospect of any. * * * Perhaps there is no man less apt to despond, and I am sure there is none who will oppose longer than I will; but when I see the glorious prize, for which we have been contending, within our reach, if we would but embrace the means of acquiring it, I am sick to death of our folly.
With the year 1781 the war was evidently approaching its conclusion. Washington suddenly withdrawing the army from before New York, which he was threatening, and forcing a junction with the French forces under Lafayette on the south, laid siege to Yorktown, Virginia, where Cornwallis was entrenched. Beside his commander was his faithful secretary and aid, Col. Tilghman, who, having gone through the whole contest, was now present at its conclusion. As if prescient that this was to be the decisive and final conflict, immediately upon the American army's taking position, he commenced a daily journal of the siege, which has been preserved to the present, a most interesting memorial of this ever memorable battle, and perhaps, the only one of the kind extant. Time was wanting to him, during the days so filled with stirring events, and active duty, to do more than jot down in fewest words each transaction as it occurred. Elaboration was impossible. Comment out of place. An event, which measured by its results, was one of the most notable in the annals of time, was recorded in this journal with a brevity which is almost sublime. On the 17th October, the British army under Cornwallis virtually, and on the 19th actually and formally, capitulated. Immediately upon the signing of the articles of surrender the commander-in-chief selected one of his staff to be bearer of dispatches to congress, then in session in Philadelphia, that that body might be placed in possession of the joyous intelligence at the earliest moment. Col. Tench Tilghman was selected for this pleasing duty, and he was charged with a letter to the president of congress, Thomas Me Kean, which, while it announced the great result of the operations before Yorktown, contained these highly complimentary words relating to the bearer:
Sir, * * * Col. Tilghman, one of my aids-de-camp, will have the honor to deliver these dispatches to your excellency. He will be able to inform you of every minute circumstance which is not particularly mentioned in my letter. His merits, which are too well known to need my observations at this time, have gained my particular attention, and I could wish that they may be honored by the notice of your excellency and congress.
This intimation of the commander-in-chief that the services of his aid should have some recognition by the supreme powers, was neither forgotten nor neglected, as will be seen in the sequel. The bearer of such intelligence as that with which Col. Tilghman was charged, was not likely to prove a laggard upon his journey. He arrived in Philadelphia on the 23rd of the month, having traversed the distance from Yorktown, in about four days.11 As this courier sped along, he spread the happy tidings among an anxious people, who had been long eagerly awaiting intelligence from the scene of operations. He reached his destination in the middle of the night, when the whole city was wrapped in slumber. Impatient to communicate the news, he lost no time in finding the house of the president of congress, whom he aroused, and with him the whole neighborhood, by his vigorous knock at his door, The watchmen of the city taking him to be some roistering young fellow who had bided too long at his cups, were about to arrest him as a disturber of the peace, and confine him in the watch-house till morning. He, however, quickly made known his character and his business, and soon Mr. McKean was in communication with the welcome intruder upon his rest. The news spread with the greatest rapidity through the city, for the watchmen who were ready to arrest him now made the purport of his message the burden of their cry, and as they announced the hour of the night, as was the custom of the day, instead of adhering to the customary formularies respecting the weather, they proclaimed, "Cornwallis is taken." The whole population was soon astir, every one being anxious to have a confirmation of the news by hearing a recital of all the details. Lights appeared at the windows of the houses, so there was a kind of impromptu illumination. The state house bell tolled a joyous peal, like that it sent forth when it proclaimed "liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," in July, '76: and at the dawn of day, which came as the dawn of peace, cannon were fired in honor of the victory, and in exultation over the prospect of independence achieved. Congress met at an earlier hour than usual. The dispatches from Washington were read by the secretary, congratulatory speeches were delivered, and every other expression, comporting with the dignity of such a stately body, was given to the joy which filled every breast. Of these expressions not the least significant was the going in procession to church, in order to return thanks for the "crowning the allied armies of the United States and France with success." It is not difficult to imagine Col. Tilghman as at once wearied and flattered by the assiduities of the people of Philadelphia-wearied by the frequent repetition of the pleasing story of the surrender, with all the details which the official dispatches omitted and flattered by the attention and courtesies to which the bearer of such agreeable intelligence was thought to be entitled, and which were so readily and lavishly bestowed. Nor were the compliments and favors confined to the citizens of Philadelphia. A committee of congress, appointed on the 24th of October, and consisting of Messrs. Randolph, Boudinot, Varnum and Carroll, reported on the 29th of that month, a series of resolutions expressive of the thanks of congress to Washington and Lafayette, and to the officers and soldiers under their command; but, in addition, it was ordered that a horse with his caparisons, and a sword, be presented by the board of war to Lieut. Col. Tilghman.
Colonel Tilghman was made so ill by the exposure and fatigue incident to his exciting and hazardous voyage in an open boat from Yorktown to Rock Hall, Kent County, Md., (via Annapolis), and by his hundred mile ride on horseback post-haste from Rock Hall to Philadelphia that he was unable to write to General Washington for several days after his arrival, and to report to his Commander-in-Chief the delivery by him to the Secretary of Congress of the important despatches of which he had been the honored bearer. The prosaic account of his journey as contained in the following letter to General Washington, will suffice to show that he must have been a very sick man.
Philadelphia, 27th Oct., 1781.
I arrived at this place early Wednesday morning. Although I lost one whole night's run by the stupidity of the skipper, who got over on Tangier Shoals, and was a whole day crossing, in a calm, from Annapolis to Rock Hall. The wind left us entirely on Sunday evening, thirty miles below Annapolis. I found that a letter from Count De Grasse to Governor Lee, dated the 18th, had gone forward to Congress, in which the Count informed the Governor that Cornwallis had surrendered. This made me the more anxious to reach Philadelphia, as I knew both Congress and the public would be uneasy at not receiving dispatches from you; I was not wrong in my conjecture, for some really began to doubt the matter.
The fatigue of the journey brought back my intermittent fever, with which I have been confined almost ever since I came to town. I shall set out, as soon as I am well enough for Chestertown. I beg you to be assured that I am with the utmost sincerity your excellency's
The above letter may be found in Spark's correspondence of the Revolution.
After the battle of Yorktown there were faint gleams which gave promise of the dawn of peace. These continued to increase in brightness until the long wished for orb arose. The army was placed in quarters on the Hudson, and melted gradually away. Respite from labor was given to the officers, many of whom returned to their homes. How Col. Tilghman employed his furloughs, will immediately appear. He still held his connection with the military family, and during his absence from his home in the camp he wrote, not so frequently as was desired, to his friend and commander, receiving in return most kind and affectionate replies. In one of these letters of Gen. Washington to Col. Tilghman, written January 7th, 1783, he uses these words:
I receive with great sensibility your assurances of affection and regard. It would be but a renewal of what I have often repeated to you, that there are few men in the world to whom I am more attached by inclination than I am to you. With the cause, I hope-most devoutly hope-- there will soon be an end to my military services-when, as our places of residence will not be far apart, I shall never be more happy than in your company at Mt. Vernon. I shall always be glad to hear from, and keep up a correspondence with you.
A man who could win such words from such a man must have had qualities of mind and heart principles of thought and action, singularly in harmony with those possessed by him who wrote them. If this be a legitimate deduction, can praise go farther than to say, Tilghman was like Washington? But to return. When peace came at last, and the bonds that united the army were to be dissolved, Col. Tilghman participated in that most touching scene, the parting of Washington with his officers, but not with that poignancy of grief that was felt by others, for he was still to accompany him, and stand by his side when, at Annapolis on the 23rd of December, 1783, was enacted that scene, which for moral sublimity is not surpassed in the whole drama of human history, the surrender of his commission as commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States by Gen. Washington. Governed by the same impulses as his great exemplar, Col. Tilghman, from his lower height, stepped down, and he too soon gave up his position and rank, returned with like gladness to the congenial pursuits of peace, and not long after to the wished for joys of wedded life.
During one of the few short furloughs which were accepted by Col. Tilghman whose attention to duty has been likened by Washington to the unceasing toil of the slave, he took occasion to renew his acquaintance with his relatives in the county of his birth, from whom he had so long been separated that they had become as strangers. The soldier who had staked life and fortune upon the result of the struggle for independence would be very naturally attracted to the statesman who had shown equal devotion to the same cause, even if the ties of kinship had not drawn them together. In the year 1770, after visiting his father in Chestertown, whither he had removed from Philadelphia after the commencement of hostilities, Col. Tilghman extended his journey to Talbot, and was welcomed by his uncle, the venerable Matthew Tilghman, at his home upon the Bay-Side. Here he was presented to his cousin, Miss Anna Maria Tilghman, of whose amiable traits, both of person and character, he had already been apprised by his own sisters, who had given him accounts of their agreeable visits to Bay-Side. Naturally susceptible to the influence of female charms, his military service, by withdrawing him in great measure from the society of women, had rendered him more impressible than ever when brought into their presence. It is therefore not wonderful that the soldier, who might be Considered yet young in years, and was certainly possessed of the feelings of youth, during this period of respite from duty, of disengagement and almost vacancy of mind, when a kind of dreamy languor had succeeded to the excitement. and activity of the camp and field, should have been captivated by the intelligence, amiability and beauty of his cousin. Then, on the other hand, the soft blandishments which the young lady may have really thought were bestowed on the soldier for the sake of the cause which he was championing and defending, or on a relative and guest entitled to them by right of kinship or the laws of hospitality. without any covert design, on her part, completed his capture. The uncertainty of the result of the contest, in which he was then engaged as active participant, prevented him from a formal declaration of his feelings at this time. Three years later, the aspect of public affairs encouraging a hope that the war was not far from an end, and a more intimate acquaintance having confirmed his regard for his cousin, he determined to explain the motives of his conduct and behavior towards the young lady, who, he thought, was entitled to such explanation. But he still was unable to offer her marriage, inasmuch as his fortune was not such as would permit him to maintain her in the style to which she had been accustomed. He, therefore, plainly stated his position, and while expressing his warm affection for her,. he said he was unwilling to embarrass her with a formal engagement, but left her free to accept any offers which might be made to her, if the sentiments she felt towards him would permit her so to do. But as common report connected his name with hers, he felt it his duty to apprise her father of what had transpired between them. The letter to the Ron. Matthew Tilghman from Col. Tilghman in reference to this matter, dated June loth, 1782, is still in existence, in which he asks the privilege of prosecuting his suit, and states that should the father's consent be obtained, he would, ere long, set about the removal of that obstacle to a union with his daughter which was founded in the inadequacy of his income. This letter is admirable for its manliness, its frankness, its delicacy, and its excellent taste. It is most characteristic of the man. In it we see united a simple dignity which results from conscious worth, an unaffected modesty which shrinks from asserting any special merits, and a self-renunciation which cannot sacrifice the interests of others to its own gratification. We see too, traces of those chivalric qualities which had not yet become a mere survival of a past age, honor towards man and homage towards woman. To this letter, Mr. Tilghman gave a favorable reply. Now it was that Col. Tilghman found the prudence of which he thought himself possessed was not proof against the impatience which prompted him to have the marriage concluded. He who was so cautious that he was unwilling to enter into any formal engagement until the war was over, and he had secured such an income as would support his wife in a manner becoming her station, was now ready and anxious, though peace had not been declared, and though he had embarked in no business, that an early day should be appointed for the fruition of his hopes and desires. It was determined that the marriage should be solemnized in the winter of 1782, but the illness of Mr. Charles Carroll, the barrister, who had married an elder sister, which illness indeed finally terminated his life, caused the postponement of the nuptials until June 9, 1783, when they were duly celebrated, with much quietness and privacy, on account of the recent family affliction just mentioned. He received, among those of other friends, the congratulations of General and Mrs. Washington, in a letter couched in the following kind and affectionate language:
Why have you been so niggardly in communicating your change of condition to us, or to the world? By dint of enquiries we have heard of your marriage; but have scarcely got a confirmation of it yet. On the presumption however that it is so, I offer you my warmest congratulations and best wishes for the enjoyment of many happy years; in both of which Mrs. Washington joins me very cordially.
The lady with whom Col. Tilghman was thus happily united was possessed of many of those graces which win and those qualities which retain the admiration and respect of men. Her manners were most gracious, condescending to those below her in the social scale and engaging to her equals. Without pretensions to high culture, either in the lighter accomplishments, or the more solid acquirements, for which her residence in the country afforded small opportunity, she was nevertheless intelligent, as well as naturally endowed with a most excellent judgment. The habit of her father of conversing with her freely and constantly upon public business, and his custom of having her with him at Annapolis when attending to colonial or state affairs, and at Philadelphia when serving in congress, made her familiar with the political movements and stirring events of the time. When thrown upon her own resources after his and her husband's death, she manifested a most excellent capacity for the conduct of her private affairs. Nor was she devoid of literary skill, as is shown by an inedited memoir of her father, which she left behind her, and her numerous letters. In religion she was of the church of England, and its successor in America; and while holding to its doctrines with the tenacity of conviction, she was most liberal and tolerant of the opinions of those who differed from her in belief. Living at the time when the conflict for supremacy in her county was raging between the old church and Methodism, its child, she was able to retain the love and respect of those whom she opposed. Without affecting the spirituality, which to her seemed so like sanctimoniousness, and which was the religious fashion of the day, she was in sentiment and conduct deeply pious. To her servants or slaves she was mild and indulgent; to her neighbors kind and obliging; to her friends and relatives most affectionate. Her house was the very home of hospitality. Her wealth was the store from which charity drew her most bountiful supplies for the surrounding poor. She lived to a great age, retaining her faculties to the end unimpaired, honored and revered by all, beloved by her children and her children's children to the third generation. She cherished to the last memories of her early lost husband, whom she survived by fifty-seven years. It was a duty, held as almost sacred, annually, upon the recurrence of the anniversary of her marriage, to retire to a private room, and taking from their repository all the relies of her deceased husband, which she preserved with the most scrupulous care, for a while to indulge herself in the tender and mournful reminiscences suggested by these mementos, and then to lay them away again in their proper receptacle, made sweet and safe with fragrant herbs and aromatic gums. Of this lady Gen. Lafayette retained kindly memories, and when he was in this country in 1824, in a letter written in reply to one of a committee of the citizens of Queen Anne's, congratulating him upon his arrival in America, presenting their homage for his services and merit, and inviting him to their county, he said:
It is my eager and affectionate wish to visit the Eastern Shore of this state. I anticipate the pleasure there to recognize several of my companions in arms, and among the relations of my departed friends, to find the honored widow of a dear brother in General Washington's family, Col. Tilghman, as well as a daughter of my friend Carmichael,12 who first received the secret vows of my engagement in the American cause, the least suspicion of which by the French or British government it was at that time momentous for me to prevent.
For many years preceding her death, she had been the recipient from the government of a pension, in consideration of the meritorious services of Col. Tilghman; but no discharge was ever made to the claims which, he justly had against that government for arrearages of pay, but which it is due to his memory to say, were never demanded.
As soon as a prospect of peace was disclosed, and before the war was actually ended, Col. Tilghman began his preparations for a return to his original occupation of merchant, when the army should be disbanded, and he relieved from his military duties.
The city of Baltimore was just entering upon that career of prosperity, which at that day was unprecedented in this country, and which has hardly been surpassed by any more recent examples of progress. The spreading of the settlements towards the west, to which she was in nearer proximity than any of the other seaboard towns, gave promise that Baltimore was to become a great emporium, a promise which is yet in process of realization. Col. Tilghman resolved to settle at this favorable point, hoping to share in the prosperity which was so evidently waiting to reward the commercial enterprise of her citizens. At first he engaged in trade upon his own account, but soon finding the field so favorable as well as so wide, inviting and demanding larger capital, more extended connections and greater credit than he could command, he was glad to accept overtures to a partnership with a gentleman well known in commercial circles both in Europe and America, of large experience in business, of ample means and of abilities of the first order, as had been shown by his management of the finances of the country during the war of the revolution. These overtures were made by Mr. Robert Morris, who, at that time, occupied the most conspicuous position in commerce of any man of his day in America. He had known Col. Tilghman from his youth, and had learned, before the war, to appreciate his capacity and integrity. His merits were further discovered during the contest, when Mr. Morris was thrown into frequent intercourse with him. Among the interesting documents still preserved by descendants of Col. Tilghman is that containing the articles of copartnership between him and Mr. Morris. These articles bear the date of January 1st, 1784, and were to be in force for the term of seven years. By them, the parties agreed to enter into a mercantile business, of the precise nature of which it is not easy to determine, but apparently, it was a shipping and commission business, in which, while the produce and merchandise of others were sold for a percentage, the partners made foreign adventures upon their own account. Mr. Morris continued to reside in Philadelphia, while Mr. Tilghman conducted the business in Baltimore. It does not appear that Col. Tilghman had any interest in the Philadelphia house of his partner. The style of the firm in Baltimore was, Tench Tilghman and Company. The amounts invested by the partners were, "£5000 current money of Maryland, in specie, at the rate of seven shillings to the Mexican dollar" and £2500 of the same kind of money, for Mr. Morris and Col. Tilghman respectively; but they were to divide the profits equally, but Col. Tilghman was entitled to £400 annually, over and above his proportionable part " in consideration of his residence in Baltimore." The signature of Mr. Morris was witnessed by his Philadelphia partner Mr. Swanwick and Governeur Morris. That of Col. Tilghman by John Richardson and Jacob Sampson. The copartnership thus begun continued to the early death of the junior of the firm in 1786, an event the sadness of which had this late alleviation, that he was spared the humiliation and loss which would have come through the subsequent bankruptcy of Mr. Morris, and was saved from the patriots' mortification of seeing the man, whose financial wisdom and self-sacrificing devotion had sustained his country's armies in the darkest hours, occupy a debtor's prison.
The business career of Col. Tilghman illustrated those two qualities of heart and mind which characterize as well as dignify the true merchant of perfect integrity in all that relates to others, and soundness of judgment in all that relates to himself - qualities; that permit the doing no wrong and the suffering none - the very qualities that marked the true knight in a chivalrous age. That he possessed these qualities is attested by the words and acts of two most eminent men, who were not only themselves endowed with them, but who had had every opportunity of discovering their existence in him - Mr. Robt. Morris and Gen. Washington. Mr. Morris had known him in business before the war; he had known him as the trusted secretary of the commander-in-chief during that whole contest; and this long acquaintance had inspired him with such confidence in his good-sense and honesty as to prompt him to the most intimate connection in trade. But after the copartnership had been formed, Mr. Morris, as his letters, still extant, show, took pains to give repeated assurance to his partner of his implicit reliance upon his honor and his abilities as a merchant. These assurances are couched in the most delicate and flattering terms, and lay in a touch of color amidst the neutral tints of a business correspondence. Gen. Washington, by his long association with Col. Tilghman had acquired a similar confidence in his entire probity and good sense; for upon his retirement to Mount Vernon, his old secretary and aid became his factor or agent in Baltimore for the transaction of almost every kind of business. Col. Tilghman sold the products of his estates, as far as they were disposed of in that city: he was the purchaser of all articles for domestic and plantation use, even to the china that adorned Mrs. Washington's tea-table, or to her own and the general's personal clothing. He made contracts with workmen for building; he hired servants from the emigrant ships; he selected and stipulated with the gentleman who was to act as private tutor to Mrs. Washington's children and as secretary to the general; in short, there was nothing which the general required should be done, important or trifling, that was not performed by his old confidential secretary but now equally trusted friend and commercial agent. The most unreserved confidence seems to have been reposed in him; and what be did was always approved. If better and additional evidence were wanting of Gen. Washington's confidence in Col. Tilghman as the capable and upright merchant, it would be afforded by a letter still extant, in which a request by the former is made of the latter, that he would receive into his counting room a young person, a relative, to acquire a knowledge of business. From what is known of Gen. Washington's prudence and discretion, this act of his, though in the form of a favor asked, must be regarded as a compliment bestowed; for it is not probable that he would have sought to place a youth, with whom he was personally connected, under the care and training of a man who had not shown himself possessed of those qualities which he would wish to be cultivated in one in whose welfare he felt an interest.
Although Col. Tilghman was immersed in business he found time to think and write of politics, municipal, state and national. His writing, at a time when newspapers were not so common as now, was confined to private correspondence. He maintained, to within a few weeks of his death, frequent intercourse by letters, with his father-in-law Mr. Matthew Tilghman, who had long taken an active part in politics, as has been before mentioned. This correspondence, of which there are some remains, was an interesting melange of family, business and public affairs. It would seem that he, like most thoughtful men of the time, entertained grave apprehensions of the success of the new government under the articles of confederation. The weaknesses of this government betrayed themselves during the progress of the war; but the enthusiasm of patriotism compensated in large measure for its lack of inherent vigor, and carried on the contest, in some halting and hesitating, but, in the end, successful way to a fortunate conclusion. After the war was over, and the power of a government had to take the place of zeal for a cause, its feebleness became more and more apparent, and disorganization or subjection to some strong hand seemed inevitable. The following extract from a letter of Col. Tilghman to the Hon. Matthew Tilghman, bearing the date of February 5th, 1786, expresses the apprehensions that were entertained of the stability of the government of the United States, for some years after the acknowledgment of their independence:
It is a melancholy truth, but so it is, that we are at this time the most contemptible and abject nation on the face of the earth. We have neither reputation abroad nor union at home. We hang together merely because it is not the interest of any other power to shake us to pieces, and not from any well cemented bond of our own. How should it be otherwise? The best men we have are all basking at home in lucrative posts, and we send the scum to represent us in the grand national council. France has met us there on equal terms. Instead of keeping a man of rank as minister at our court, she sends a person in quality of charge des affaires, who was but a degree above a domestic in the family of the late minister. All joking apart, I view our federal affairs as in the most desperate state. I have long been convinced that we cannot exist as republics. We have too great a contrariety of interests ever to draw together. It will be a long time before any one man will be hardy enough to undertake the task of uniting us under one head. I do not wish to see the time. One revolution has been sufficient for me, but sure I am another of some kind will take place much earlier than those who do not think deeply on the subject suppose.
From this letter it is very evident that Col. Tilghman had clearly recognized the failure of the confederation of states, and that he had no hope that any modification of the articles of this league of separate republics, by which the independence of each was to be maintained, would perpetuate a government so loosely hung together, and with so little autonomic power to secure obedience to its requirements. It is also clear that he had not relieved his mind of the illusion fostered and perpetuated by monarchy, that by the mind and hand of a single person only could union and harmony be secured. He had not yet learned to trust to the wisdom of the people, so like a political instinct, to effect what he thought was beyond the power of such statesmanship as was embodied in our legislatures. It is evident he was anticipating another revolution, in which some strong hand should harness the recalcitrant states, and seizing the reins of power, direct the car of the united nation upon the road of progress. The revolution, which with an admirable prescience he had anticipated, came soon after the words above quoted were written, but it came in a manner which his political astrology had not enabled him to foresee. The formation of the constitution of 1787 was the work of the people, who had discovered the necessity of a "more perfect union." The evils which were expected, by Col. Tilghman and those who thought like him, to flow from any attempt at the unification of the heterogeneous elements of the confederacy, were happily not realized; at least not realized until many years later, when the sentiment of nationality, once a germ immature and weak, had so rooted itself to the soil, and so spread itself in the air of the popular mind, that it was able to withstand the storm of civil war. One other reflection, suggested by this letter may be pardoned. The complaint that he utters of the insufficiency of those who were sent to the "national council " is one, as appears, that has been made at every period in our history. We are therefore encouraged to believe that the public men of the present day, however much they may fall below our ideals of true statesmen, are not worse than those who preceded them, whose actions, we think, were prompted by an unselfish sentiment, and regulated by a far-reaching wisdom, and whose memories we now revere as those of the very fathers of the republic. In view of the great prosperity we have enjoyed, under legislation conducted by men whom Col. Tilghman has designated as "the scum," we may indulge the hope that those who we think are to be characterized as both ignorant and dishonest, may not bring utter ruin upon the country? Some how, and yet we know not why, from the conflicts of ignorance, wherever thought is free, the light of truth is elicited, and from the decomposition of corruption, wherever political action is unrestrained by arbitrary power, the germ of right is developed.
Belonging to a family of the Maryland gentry of the highest respectability and social prominence; connected by kinship or friendship with the very best people of the province or state; endowed with those fine sensibilities which would have made him the gentleman, had he not been such by birth; possessed of a vigorous mind trained in the best schools of the country, and in those better schools, an intercourse with great men, and a participation in great affairs; adorned with manners which were at once the expression of an inherited courtesy, and the reflection of the polite circles in which he had moved; it would have been strange if the house of Col. Tilghman had not become the resort of all the cultivated, refined and distinguished of the commonwealth.13 There could be seen occasionally many who had national repute and whose names have now a historic importance. There he dispensed a generous, but not ostentatious, hospitality to all whom he enrolled among his friends, and particularly to his old companions in arms. There he entertained Lafayette during his first visit to America, after the revolution, in 1784. There too he had the satisfaction, according to traditions in the family, of occasionally welcoming his old commander, Gen. Washington, when he visited Baltimore-joyful days, to be marked by a whiter stone.
While thus treading the difficult path of a busy career, yet always
He died lamented by all good men. At his funeral his fellow citizens and brethren in arms gave every suitable token of their appreciation of
After the death of the widow of Col. Tilghman, their daughter, Mrs. Nicholas Goldsborough, and grandson, General Tench Tilghman, erected a handsome monument to her, which became also a cenotaph to him, at Plimhimmon near Oxford, Talbot county, Maryland. This monument, consisting of a pedestal and obelisk, has inscribed upon it the following epitaphs:
The affection and veneration of a daughter and grandson have caused them to erect this monument to Anna Maria Tilghman, daughter of the Hon. Matthew Tilghman and widow of Lt. Col. Tilghman. Her pure character, combining every Christian grace and virtue, attracted the devoted love of her family connections, and the admiration and esteem of all who knew her.
Tench Tilghman, Lt. Col. in the Continental army and Aid-de-camp of Washington, who spoke of him thus: He was in every action in which the main army was concerned. A great part of the time he refused to receive his pay. While living no man could be more esteemed, and since dead none more lamented. No one bad imbibed sentiments of greater friendship for him than I had done. He left as fair a reputation as ever belonged to a human character.
his worth, and of their affectionate regard. The public journals, both of the city of Baltimore and of Philadelphia, at a time when it was not so common as now to praise the dead almost without discrimination, published obituary notices, which were expressive of the general sorrow for his early demise, and of the high esteem in which he was held wherever his character was known. Nor were these public testimonials the only tributes to his worth. Private letters from persons of the first distinction, attest his merit, and furnish his best eulogium. Mr. Sparks in his Life and Writings of Washington says: " Gen. Washington's correspondents spoke of his death with much warmth of feeling." Robert Morris said:
You have lost in him a most faithful And valuable friend. He was to me the same. I esteemed him very much and I lament his loss exceedingly. Gen. Knob in a letter to his widow, hereafter quoted in full, says:
Death has deprived you of a most tender and virtuous companion, and the United States of an able and upright patriot. When time shall have smoothed the severities of your grief, you will derive consolation from the reflection that Colonel Tilghman acted well his part in the theatre of human life, and that the supreme authority of the United States have expressly given their sanction to his merit.
But, considering their source, as well as their character, the highest testimonials were those which proceeded from Gen. Washington himself. To be praised by this great man is fame. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated August lst, 1786, he says:
You will probably have heard of the death of Gen. Greene before this reaches you; in which case you will in common with your countrymen have regretted the loss of so great, and so honest a man. Gen. McDougall, who was a brave soldier and a disinterested patriot, is also dead. He belonged to the legislature of his state. The last act of his life was (after being carried on purpose to the senate), to give his voice against the emission of a paper currency. Col. Tilghman, who was formerly of my family, died lately, and left as fair a reputation as ever belonged to a human character. Thus some of the pillars of the revolution fall. May our country never want props to support the glorious fabric.
Again in a letter of condolence addressed to Mr. James Tilghman, the father of Col. Tilghman, dated June 5th, 1786, at Mount Vernon, a letter the original of which is sacredly preserved by his family, and from which this extract is made, Gen. Washington uses these words:
Of all the numerous acquaintances of your lately deceased son, and amidst all the sorrowings that are mingled on that melancholy occasion, I may venture to assert (that excepting those of his nearest relatives) none could have felt his death with more regret than I did, because no one entertained a higher opinion of his worth or had imbibed sentiments of greater friendship for him than I had done. That you, Sir, should have felt the keenest anguish for this loss, I can readily conceive-- the ties of parental affection, united with those of friendship could not fail to have produced this effect. It is however a dispensation, the wisdom of which is inscrutable; and amidst all your grief, there is this consolation to be drawn; that while living no man could be more esteemed, and since dead, none more lamented than Col. Tilghman.
One so praised, and by such a man, is surer of an immortality of fame, than those for whom a Roman senate once decreed a triumph.
The order of congress, to which reference has already been made, passed upon the occasion of the surrender at Yorktown, of which happy event Col. Tilghman was deputed the messenger to bear the intelligence to that body, that there should be presented to this officer a horse and a sword, as a token of the gratification experienced upon the reception of the news and also as a recognition of the merit and services of the herald himself, to which the letter of the commander-in-chief to the president had so pointedly called attention, and so explicitly asked some public testimonial, was not carried fully into effect until after the death of him whom it meant to honor. He had the gratification, however, before his demise, to receive from Gen. Knox, secretary of war, a letter dated Dec. 7th, 1785, in which was inclosed an order on the treasury for four hundred dollars, to purchase the horse and accoutrements. This letter concluded thus: "I expect in a month or two to receive all the swords which were voted by congress as testimonials of their special approbation. Upon receiving them I shall have the pleasure of transmitting yours." Unfortunately the declining health of Col. Tilghman deprived him of the gratification of mounting the horse, and his death soon after, of the pleasure of wearing or even receiving the sword, voted by his country. Soon after his decease, however, Mrs. Tilghman was the recipient of a letter from Gen. Knox as flattering to the memory of her late husband as it was gratifying to herself, of which the following is a copy:
War Office of the United States,
New York, May 30,1786.
I have the honor to be, Madam,
with perfect respect,
your most obedient and very humble servant,
The sword thus gracefully presented to the widow of Col. Tilghman, and so sadly received by her, was piously preserved with many other relies associated with his military career; and now, having passed through the hands of two generations of his descendants, it remains in the possession of his great grandson Oswald Tilghman, Esq., of Easton, Maryland.15
Upon the institution of the society of the Cincinnati in 1783, for the purpose of perpetuating "as well the remembrance of the late bloody conflict of eight years, as the mutual friendships which were formed under the pressure of common danger," Col. Tilghman became a member, and received as a present from the president general, his excellency, George Washington, the order of decoration of this society, which yet remains in the hands of his descendant, Mr. Oswald Tilghman, in the same condition as it was presented. A grandson, Gen. Tench Tilghman, was president of the society for Maryland, at the time of his death in 1874, and had been appointed its historiographer.
Col. Tilghman left two children, daughters, one of whom was a posthumous child. The eldest of these married Mr. Tench Tilghman, son of Colonel Peregrine Tilghman, of Hope, from whom has sprung a numerous family. The youngest married Col. Nicholas Goldsborough. of Ottwell, from whom also has come many descendants. All of these have a just pride in an ancestor whose life illustrated some of the best virtues of human character, and many have exhibited traits not unworthy of their distinguished lineage. After the death of her husband Mrs. Tilghman returned to her father's house on Bay-side, of Talbot county, but subsequently removed to her beautiful estate of Plimhimmon, near Oxford, in the same county, which Mr. Matthew Tilghman had purchased for his daughter. Here she lived in great comfort and simple elegance to the advanced age of eighty-eight years, surrounded by her children and her children's children, and loved and venerated by all who were privileged to come within the circle of her acquaintance or scope of her charities. Pious affection has dedicated a handsome monument to her memory and that of her husband, as has before been mentioned.
Of Col. Tilghman there are several portraits, one, a miniature, by Charles Willson Peale, taken from life, and represented to be a very exact likeness, is in the hands of a granddaughter, Mrs. Margaretta (Goldsborough) Hollyday. From this has been taken, by heliotype process, the portrait that accompanies this memoir. In the painting, more meritorious than well known, of the capitulation at Yorktown, by Charles Willson Peale, now in the house of delegates of the state of Maryland at Annapolis, Col. Tilghman is represented in a life-size figure standing beside Gen. Washington, holding in his hands a scroll, inscribed "Articles of Capitulation, York, Gloster, and dependencies, April 19, 1781." As this picture was executed soon after the event it commemorates, it is believed the portraits were taken from life, or from studies from life. That of Washington is regarded as especially accurate, both as to features and bearing. As Mr. Peale was an acquaintance and friend of Col. Tilghman, it is thought the portrait of him, one of the principal figures in the painting, is equally accurate. Lafayette stands beside him. In the Athenaeum at Hartford, Connecticut, there is a painting by Col. John Trumbull, representing a scene in the battle of Trenton. It is thought by some critics to be the most impressive of the works of this artist in that celebrated collection. The central group is composed of Gen. Washington, Col. Tilghman, Col. Harrison, Col. Smith, and the wounded Hessian officer Col. Rahl. The three first mentioned are mounted. The representation of Col. Tilghman in this painting also, is thought to be a true portrait. There is a fourth portrait in the city of Trenton, in a painting, a particular description of which has not been obtained.
The personal appearance of Col. Tilghman was that of a gentleman of medium height and slender form. His complexion was fresh and florid, his eyes gray, and his hair a rich auburn, worn in queue, according to the fashion of the day. He was not insensible to the advantages of dress, in which he was scrupulously neat and regardful of the mode. His modesty gave to his bearing the reserve of hauteur, and though repelling familiarity, he was never wanting in courtesy, while to friends his manners were most cordial.
In this memoir the extravagance of praise, to which the biographer is prone, has been shunned as not befitting the ingenuous character of him whose memory it is designed to refresh and perpetuate. If the merits of Col. Tilghman had been fewer in number and lower in order than they really were, there still would be no need to exaggerate them in order to commend him to the esteem and admiration of good men. Even the eulogist seeking how best to praise him, finds "the simple truth his highest skill" - finds that he cannot better speak of him than by a frank relation of his life; and that any words spoken of him, not marked by the same fairness and candor that belonged to him of whom they should be uttered, would be rebuked by recollections of his pure and upright character. It is not pretended that he belonged to that small class of men, the very great
Matthew Tilghman, the patriarch of the infant commonwealth, with rare wisdom, fortitude and courage, guided the counsel of the State, while Colonel Tench Tilghman illustrated the chivalry which had defied the King's taxgatherers in the person of George Talbot and. on every battlefield, from Long Island to Yorktown, proved his devotion to the liberties inherited from a long line of illustrious ancestors. He was military secretary and aid to Washington, and on the surrender of Cornwallis, October 19, 1781, was selected by Washington to carry his official dispatch to the Congress at Philadelphia, announcing that glorious and all-important event.
Taking boat at York river, he lost one night aground on Tangier shoals. On reaching Annapolis he found that a dispatch from the Count de Grasse, dated on the eighteenth, to Governor Thomas Sim Lee, had reached there a day ahead of him and been forwarded to Philadelphia. Without stopping he pushed on across the bay to Kent, having lost a whole day in a calm between Annapolis and Rock Hall. From there to Philadelphia is about eighty miles as the crow flies. De Grasse's courier had passed through the country a day ahead. The people were on tiptoe to hear the news from York. Their hearts stopped as they imagined they heard the great guns of the English and the French booming over the waters in the still night. All looked with wistful eyes to the South for some sign of the issue of the weary struggle.
It was the supreme effort of American liberty. It was the very crisis of freedom. But the flower of Maryland was in that fight, and the lower counties on the Delaware had sent their bravest and best to back their brethren of the Eastern Shore. One of the miracles of history, attested time and again by indisputable evidence, is that when the minds of a whole people are at white heat of excitement and expectation, knowledge comes to them independent of the senses. The Greeks believed that the great god, Pan, spread the knowledge of victory or defeat in Athens at the time of their occurrence, hundreds of miles away. The result of the battle of Platea was known the day it was fought, and the news of Thermopylae spread over Greece through the silent chambers of the air carried by arrows of light. The victory of Pharsalia was known in Rome at the time it occurred, and the events of Waterloo were discussed on the London Stock Exchange before it adjourned on the eighteenth of June; and 1, myself, in June, 1863, heard the attack of Ewell on Milroy and the result detailed in Richmond, one hundred and fifty miles away from Winchester, where the battle took place, on the Sunday afternoon on which it occurred. There were no telegrams or possible means of communication.
So when Tench Tilghman landed at Rock Hall, for his hundred miles ride through the country, he found the hearts and minds of men and women aglow with a divine frenzy. They felt what had occurred without knowing it, and were wild for confirmation of knowledge. Up through Kent, without drawing rein, this solitary horseman sped his way. When his horse began to fail he turned to his nearest kinsman - for they were mostly of the same blood-and riding up to the lonely farmhouse would shout: "Cornwallis is taken; a fresh horse for the Congress!" and in a minute he would be remounted and pushing on in a free gallop. All the night of the 22nd he rode up the peninsula, not a sound disturbing the silence of the darkness except the beat of his horse's hoofs. Every three or four hours he would ride up to a lonely homestead, still and quiet and dark in the first slumbers of the night, and thunder on the door with his sword: " Cornwallis is taken; a fresh horse for the Congress! " Like an electric shock the house would flash with an instant light and echo with the pattering feet of women, and before a dozen greetings could be exchanged, and but a word given of the fate of the loved ones at York, Tilghman would vanish in the gloom, leaving a trail of glory and of joy behind him. So he sped through Kent, across the head of Sassafras, through Christiana, by Wilmington, straight on to Philadelphia. The tocsin and the slogan of his news spread like fire in dry grass, and left behind him a broad blaze of delirium and joy.
"Cornwallis is taken!" passed from mouth to mouth, flew through
the air, was wafted on the autumn breeze, shone with the sunlight.
"Cornwallis is taken! Liberty is won! Peace is Come! Once more husbands, fathers, sons, lovers shall return to the hearts that gave them to the cause! Once more shall joy set on every hearth and happiness shine over every rooftree! " When or where in all the tide of time has such a message been carried to such a people?
Liberty with justice!
Peace with honor!
Victory with glory! Liberty, peace, victory, honor and glory now and forever, one and inseparable!
These were the tidings that Tench Tilghman bore when he rode into Philadelphia at midnight of the 23rd, four days from the army of York. The despatch from De Grasse had been received, but the Congress and the people waited for Washington. Nothing was true but tidings from him. Rousing the President of Congress-McKean-Tilghman delivered his dispatch to him, and the news was instantly made public. The watchmen as they went their rounds cried: "Twelve o'clock, all is well, and Cornwallis is taken!" In a minute the whole city was wild; lights flashed in every window, men, women and children poured into the streets. The State House bell rang out its peel of " Liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof!" And Thirteen sovereign and independent States were proclaimed to the world.
A beautiful and lasting memorial of Colonel Tench Tilghman's famous ride from Yorktown to Philadelphia, in the shape of a handsome mural tablet, the gift of the Baltimore Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, was, on June 6th, 1906, unveiled in the room of the ancient State House in Annapolis, adjoining the historic old Senate Chamber where Washington, on December 23rd, 1783, resigned his commission as Commander-in-chief of the American armies, to the Continental Congress, then in session there.
Thus has been immortalized in enduring bronze, that gallant and historic ride, " which meteor-like through the darkened night of suspense and anxiety, left a trail of glory behind it as it proclaimed victory, peace and liberty to a nation."
1Eulogium upon the Hon. Will. Tilghman, by Horace Binney, Esq.
2A pair of silver spurs, presented by Warren Hastings in India to Richard Tilghman, are in the possession of Col. Oswald Tilghman.
3In a letter dated Feb.22, 1777, to his father he says: "I know we do not agree in political sentiments, quite, but that, I am convinced, does not abate, in the least, that ardent affection which I have for you, and which makes me happy, far happier than any other title when I call myself, your most dutiful son." In a letter dated April 21, 1777, he says: "I late last night reed. yours of 21st. The contents really make me exceedingly unhappy, as I find myself unable to agree with you in sentiment upon the present measures. * * * I will say nothing upon the score of politics, because it is a subject that ought not at this time to be discussed upon paper. I wish it might be dropped in all future letters between us."
4 New York Historical Society Collections, vol. viii, p. 605.
5 Hamilton's History of the Republic of the United States, vol I p 173
6 In speaking of this military family, of which he at one time formed a part, General Layfayette says: "During a familiar association of five years, that no instance of disagreement occurred, is evidence of the tone of the feeling which prevailed." -Hamilton's History of the Republic of the United States, vol I, p 172 Such a control could have been maintained only where there was mutual respect between members, and where each was dominated by the same feeling of devotion to a common cause.
7 Spark's Writings of Washington, vol. viii, p. 37.
8 In a letter to his father dated Aug. 13, 1776, he thus speaks of the Maryland troops in this action: "No regular troops ever made a more gallant resistance than Smallwood's regiment. If the others had behaved as well, if Gen. Howe had obtained a victory at all, it would have been dearly bought."
9 Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. ix, p. 127.
10 This was Captain Nathan Hale, who uttered these heroic words just before his execution: "My only regret is, I have but one life to lay down for my country."
11 From a letter of Col. T. to Gen. W. dated Phila., Oct. 29,1781, it is learned that Col. T. embarked on board a vessel of some kind, passed up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, crossed the bay to Rock Hall, and thence passed on by land to Phila. The news of the surrender had preceded him, by a letter of Count de Grasse, to Governor Lee, but Congress receiving no despatches were in doubt as to the correctness of the information conveyed in this letter, which doubt the arrival of Col. Tilghman dispelled. Col. Tilghman represents himself as suffering from ague and fever, brought back by the fatigue of the journey. The letter is published in Spark's Correspondence of the Revolution-Letters to Washington.
12 Mr. Carmichael was secretary to the American commissioners, at Paris, and a resident of Queen Anne's county, Maryland.
13 The house of Col. Tilghman was situated upon Lombard street, near Howard, opposite the meeting house of the Friends.
14 The following inscription may be found upon a plain slab over his grave in the burial ground, no longer used for the interment of the dead, situated on Lombard street between Green and Paca streets, in the city of Baltimore:
15This sword was made in Paris. It is the usual officers' dress sword with rapier blade and gold and silver mountings. Upon the handle is engraved the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati, and these words: "Presented to Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman by Congress, Oct. 19, 1781."