Saturday, March 13, 2010

William Hooper - Signer from North Carolina

With hard work, Hooper's business brought success.
After signing for freedom, his life was duress.

Episcopalian Ian Dorion, "Table of the Religious Affiliations of American Founders," 1997.

He was the oldest of five children born in Boston to Reverend William Hooper, a Scotch immigrant and Congregationalist clergyman who later transferred to the Anglican Church, and to Mary Dennie, daughter of a Boston merchant.
After seven years of education at Boston Latin School, he entered Harvard College where he graduated to continue his studies in law under James Otis.

In 1767, he settled in Wilmington, North Carolina, and married Anne Clarke, the daughter of an early settler to the area.

In 1773 he represented Wilmington in the General Assembly and attended the Continental Congress in 1774.
He proved himself a man of high honor when he spoke out against an unfair bill that, if passed, would have elevated his law profession, but he chose against it because it would be unfair. He showed that as a philotomist he preferred honorable poverty to wealth if the acquisition of wealth were to be made at the expense of principle.

Hooper became the "Prophet of Independence" because in 1774 he wrote,
"The Colonies are striding fast to independence, and ere long will build an empire upon the ruins of Great Britain; will adopt its Constitution, purged of its impurities, and from an experience of its defects, will guard against those evils which have wasted its vigor."

He chaired a committee which prepared a resolution for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer to be observed throughout the colonies on July 20, 1775. (See below)
With Thomas Jefferson, Hooper served on a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Even though it saddened him to see that members of his family remained loyalists, he nevertheless donated his fortune and future professional income as a lawyer toward the cause.
In 1777, he contracted yellow fever and was obliged to leave Congress.

As a result of his siding with the patriots against his own family, the lobster-coats destroyed his plantation. Mrs. Hooper and two of her children were forced to flee by wagon to Hillsborough where her brother General Clark sheltered them.
Suffering from his illness and a badly injured arm, and fleeing from home to home, Hooper also found refuge in Hillsborough, where he was able to serve as a state legislator.

He attended the General Assembly of 1777-81 as member for the borough of Wilmington, serving on numerous committees. Per the treaty ending the war, he forgave loyalists and protected their rights even when a majority in his jurisdiction wanted revenge.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. Luke 17:31

William Hooper, 1742-1790, Misunderstood Patriot (Ph.D. diss., Tulane University, 1980); William Powell, North Carolina: A History (Chapel Hill, 1988); Edward C. Quinn, Signer Of The Constitution Of The United States (New York, 1988); Phillip Roth, Masonry In The Formation Of Our Government, 1761-1799 (New York, December, 2005) Pyne, Frederick Wallace, Descendants of the Signers of The Declaration of Independence, Volume 7 http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/hooper.htm
Baker, Thomas E., The Monuments St Guilford Courthouse National Military Park Pyne, Frederick Wallace, Rev., Descendants of the Signers of The Declaration of Independence, Volume 7

General George Washington observes Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer
July 16, 1775

The Continental Congress having earnestly recommended, that "Thursday next the 20th. Instant, be observed by the Inhabitants of all the English Colonies upon this Continent, as a Day of public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer; that they may with united Hearts and Voice unfeignedly confess their Sins before God, and supplicate the all wise and merciful disposer of events, to avert the Desolation and Calamities of an unnatural war." The General orders, that Day to be religiously observed by the Forces under his Command, exactly in manner directed by the proclamation of the Continental Congress: It is therefore strictly enjoin'd on all Officers and Soldiers, (not upon duty) to attend Divine Service, at the accustomed places of worship, as well in the Lines, as the Encampments and Quarters; and it is expected, that all those who go to worship, do take their Arms, Ammunitions and Accoutrements and are prepared for immediate Action if called upon. If in the judgment of the Officers, the Works should appear to be in such forwardness as the utmost security of the Camp requires, they will command their men to abstain from all Labour upon that solemn day.

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