Biography of William Hooper:
William Hooper was a native of Boston, province
of Massachusetts Bay, where he was born on the seventeenth of June, 1742.
His father's name was also William Hooper. He
was born in Scotland, in the year 1702, and soon after leaving the university of Edinburgh emigrated to America. He settled
in Boston, where he became connected in marriage with the daughter of Mr. John Dennie, a respectable merchant. Not long after
his emigration, he was elected pastor of Trinity Church, in Boston, in which office, such were his fidelity and affectionate
intercourse with the people of his charge, that long after his death he was remembered by them with peculiar veneration and
William Hooper, a biographical notice of whom
we are now to give, was the eldest of five children. At an early age he exhibited indications of considerable talent. Until
he was seven years old, he was instructed by his father; but at length, became a member of a free grammar school, in Boston,
which at that time was under the care of Mr. John Lovell a teacher of distinguished eminence. At the age of fifteen, he entered
Harvard University, where he acquired the reputation of a good classical scholar; and, at length, in 1760, commenced bachelor
of arts, with distinguished honor.
Mr. Hooper had destined his son for the ministerial
office. But his inclination turning towards the law, he obtained his father's consent to pursue the studies of that profession,
in the office of the celebrated James Otis. On being qualified for the bar, he left the province of Massachusetts, with the
design of pursuing the practice of his profession in North Carolina. After spending a year or two in that province, his father
became exceedingly desirous that he should return home. The health of his son had greatly suffered, in consequence of an excessive
application to the duties of his profession. In addition to this, the free manner of living, generally adopted by the wealthier
inhabitants of the south, and in which he had probably participated, had not a little contributed to the injury of his health.
Notwithstanding the wishes of his father, in
regard to his favorite son, the latter, at length, in tile fall of 1767, fixed his residence permanently in North Carolina,
and became connected by marriage with Miss Ann Clark, of Wilmington, in that province.
Mr. Hooper now devoted himself with great zeal
to his professional duties. He early enjoyed the confidence of his fellow citizens, and was highly respected by his brethren
at the bar, among whom he occupied an enviable rank.
In the year 1773, he was appointed to represent
the town of Wilmington, in which he resided, in the general assembly. In the following year he was elected to a seat in the
same body, soon after taking which, he was called upon to assist in opposing a most tyrannical act of the British government,
in respect to the laws regulating the courts of justice in the province.
The former laws in relation to these courts being
about to expire, others became necessary. Accordingly, a bill was brought forward, the provisions of which were designed to
regulate the courts as formerly. But the advocates of the British government took occasion to introduce a clause into the
bill, which was intended to exempt from attachment all species of property in North Carolina, which belonged to non-residents.
This bill having passed the senate, and been approved of by the governor, was sent to the house of representatives, where
it met with a most spirited opposition. In this opposition Mr. Hooper tools the lead. In strong and animated language, he
set forth the injustice of this part of the bill, and remonstrated against its passage by the house. In consequence of the
measures which were pursued by the respective houses composing the general assembly, the province was left for more than a
year without a single court of law. Personally to Mr. Hooper, the issue of this business was highly injurious, since he was
thus deprived of the practice of his profession, upon which he depended for his sup-port. Conscious, however, of having discharged
his duty, he bowed in submission to the pecuniary sacrifices to which he was thus called, preferring honorable poverty to
the greatest pecuniary acquisitions, if the latter must he made at the expense of principle.
On the twenty-fifth of August, 1774, Mr. Hooper
was elected a delegate to the general congress, to be held at Philadelphia. Soon after taking his seat in this body, he was
placed upon several important committees, and when occasion required, took a share in the animated discussions, which were
had on the various important subjects which came before them. On one occasion, and the first on which he addressed the house,
it is said, that he so entirely riveted the attention of the members by his bold and animated language, that many expressed
their wonder that such eloquence should flow forth from a member from North Carolina.
In the following year, Mr. Hooper was again appointed
a delegate to serve in the second general congress, during whose session he was selected as the chairman of a committee appointed
to report an address to the inhabitants of Jamaica. The draught was the production of his pen. It was characterized for great
boldness, and was eminently adapted to produce a strong impression upon the people for whom it was designed. In conclusion
of the address, Mr. Hooper used the following bold and animated language:
"That our petitions have been treated with disdain, is now become the smallest part of our
complaint: ministerial insolence is lost in ministerial barbarity. It has, by an exertion peculiarly ingenious, procured those
very measures, which it laid us under the hard necessity of pursuing, to be stigmatized in parliament as rebellious: it has
employed additional fleets and armies for the infamous purpose of compelling us to abandon them: it has plunged us in all
the horrors and calamities of a civil war: it has caused the treasure and blood of Britons (formerly shed and expended for
far other ends) to be spilt and wasted in the execrable design of spreading slavery over British America: it will not, however,
accomplish its aim; in the worst of contingencies, a choice will still be left, which it never can prevent us from making."
In January, 1776, Mr. Hooper was appointed, with
Dr. Franklin and Mr. Livingston, a committee to report to congress a proper method of honoring the memory of General Montgomery,
who had then recently fallen beneath the walls of Quebec. This committee, in their report, recommended the erection of a monument,
which, while it expressed the respect and affection of the colonies, might record, for the benefit of future ages, the patriotic
zeal and fidelity, enterprise and perseverance of the hero, whose memory the monument was designed to celebrate. In compliance
with the recommendation of this committee, a monument was afterwards erected by congress in the city of New York.
In the spring, 1776, the private business of
Mr. Hooper so greatly required his attention in North Carolina, that he did not attend upon the sitting of congress. He returned,
how-ever, in season to share in the honor of passing and publishing to the world the immortal Declaration Of Independence.
On the twentieth of December, 1776, he was elected
a delegate to congress for the third time. The embarrassed situation of his private affairs, however, rendered his longer
absence from Carolina inconsistent with his interests. Accordingly, in February, 1777, he relinquished, his seat in congress,
and not long after tendered to the general assembly his resignation of the important trust.
But, although he found it necessary to retire
from this particular sphere of action, he was nevertheless usefully employed in Carolina. He was an ardent friend to his country,
zealously attached to her rights, and ready to make every required personal sacrifice for her good. Nor like many other patriots
of the day, did he allow himself to indulge in despondency. While to others the prospect appeared dubious, he would always
point to some brighter spots on the canvass, and upon these he delighted to dwell.
In 1786, Mr. Hooper was appointed by congress
one of the judges of a federal court, which was formed for the purpose of settling a controversy which existed between the
states of New York and Massachusetts, in regard to certain lands, the jurisdiction of which each pretended to claim. The point
at issue was of great importance, not only as it related to a considerable extent of territory, but in respect of the people
of these two states, among whom great excitement prevailed on the subject. Fortunately, the respective parties themselves
appointed commissioners to settle the dispute, which was, at length, amicably done, and the above federal court were saved
a most difficult and delicate duty.
In the following year, the constitutional infirmities
of Mr. Hooper increasing, his health became considerably impaired. He now gradually relaxed from public and professional exertions,
and in a short time sought repose in retirement, which he greatly coveted. In the month of October, 1790, at the early age
of forty-eight years, he was called to exchange worlds. He left a widow, two sons, and a daughter, the last of whom only,
it is believed, still lives.
In his person, Mr. Hooper was of middle stature,
well formed, but of delicate and slender appearance. He carried a pleasing and intelligent countenance. In his manners he
was polite and engaging, although towards those with whom he was not particularly acquainted, he was somewhat reserved. He
was distinguished for his powers of conversation; in point of literary merit he had but few rivals in the neighborhood in
which he dwelt.
As a lawyer, he was distinguished for his professional
knowledge, and indefatigable zeal in respect to business with which he was entrusted. Towards his brethren he ever maintained
a high and honorable course of conduct and particularly towards the younger members of the bar. As a politician, he was characterized
for judgment, ardor, and constancy. In times of the greatest political difficulty and danger, he was calm, but resolute. He
never desponded; but trusting to the justice of his country's cause, he had an unshaken confidence that heaven would protect
and deliver her.
Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the
Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 422-427. (Some minor spelling changes may have
Recommended Viewing: John Adams (HBO
Miniseries) (2008) (501 minutes). Description: Based on David McCullough's bestselling
biography, the HBO miniseries John Adams is the furthest thing from a starry-eyed look at America's
founding fathers and the brutal path to independence. Adams (Paul Giamatti), second president of the United States, is portrayed as a skilled orator and principled attorney whose preference
for justice over anti-English passions earns enemies. But he also gains the esteem of the first national government of the
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peek into a less-romanticized version of the past, John Adams is also a story of the man himself. Adams' frustration at being
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to draft the U.S. Constitution--is detailed.
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been slowly forgotten and replaced by a rosier myth. But above all, John Adams is the story of two key ties: Adams'
54-year marriage to Abigail Adams (Laura Linney), every bit her husband's intellectual equal and anchor, and his difficult,
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of the drama, and if he doesn't always seem quite believable in the series' first half, he becomes increasingly excellent
at the point where an aging Adams becomes bitter over his place in history. Linney is marvelous,
as is Dillane, Sarah Polley as daughter Nabby, Danny Huston as cousin Samuel Adams, and above all Tom Wilkinson as a complex
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Recommended Viewing: The History Channel Presents The Revolution (A&E) (600 minutes). Review: They came of age in a new world amid intoxicating and innovative
ideas about human and civil rights diverse economic systems and self-government. In a few short years these men and women
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From the roots of the rebellion and the signing of the Declaration of Independence to victory on the battlefield
and the adoption of The United States Constitution, THE REVOLUTION tells the remarkable story of this pivotal era in history.
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recreations intimate biographical investigations and provocative political military and economic analysis the historic ideas
and themes that transformed treasonous acts against the British into noble acts of courage both on and off the battlefield
come to life in this dramatic and captivating program. This TEN HOUR DVD Features: History in the Making: The Revolution Behind-the-Scenes
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Recommended Reading: Encyclopedia
of North Carolina (Hardcover: 1328 pages) (The University of North Carolina Press). Description: The first single-volume reference to the events, institutions,
and cultural forces that have defined the state, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina is a landmark publication that will serve
those who love and live in North Carolina for generations to come. Editor William S. Powell, whom the Raleigh News & Observer
described as a "living repository of information on all things North Carolinian," spent fifteen years developing this volume.
With contributions by more than 550 volunteer writers—including scholars, librarians, journalists, and many others—it
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includes more than 2,000 entries, presented alphabetically, consisting of longer essays on major subjects, briefer entries,
and short summaries and definitions. Most entries include suggestions for further reading. Centered on history and the humanities,
topics covered include agriculture; arts and architecture; business and industry; the Civil War; culture and customs; education;
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history; natural environment; organizations, clubs, and foundations; people, languages, and immigration; places and historic
preservation; precolonial and colonial history; recreation and tourism; religion; and transportation. An informative and engaging
compendium, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina is abundantly illustrated with 400 photographs and maps. It is both a celebration
and a gift—from the citizens of North Carolina, to the citizens of North Carolina. "Truly an exhaustive and exciting view of every aspect
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Recommended Reading: The Tar Heel
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(Hardcover). Description: The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina constitutes the most comprehensive
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progressivism. In perhaps his most significant contribution to North Carolina’s
historical record, Ready continues his narrative past the benchmark of World War II and into the twenty-first century. From
the civil rights struggle to the building of research triangles, triads, and parks, Ready recounts the events that have fueled
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Reading: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. Review: In retrospect, it seems as if the American Revolution was inevitable. But was it?
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contested in the early days of the republic. Ellis focuses on six crucial moments in the life of the new nation, including
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In a fascinating
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Viewing: Founding Brothers (A&E)
(200 minutes). Description: The political wrangles
of a fledgling country may sound dull compared to the drama of a war, but the early history of the United States
only gets more fascinating as the Revolutionary War is left behind. Founding Brothers, a documentary from the History Channel,
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ever since. Continued below…
provides a wealth of portraits and illustrations from the time, as well as discreet dramatizations, that bring the rise of
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1776, by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster). Description:
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