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The Biographer of the late Dr. E. L. M'Call is doubtless in possession of many interesting facts and anecdotes, respecting other members of the medical choir. To these materials, whether massy, or the mere scantlings of information he can give a pleasing and durable shape, and we hope that he will become a willing workman.
We very cordially applaud both the plan and the execution of the MONITOR. The design is obviously useful, and we sincerely hope that many of the valuable hints and judicious observations of a man of business and experience will be attentively regarded by that public for whose benefit they are patriotically intended. Even to men much older and more prudent than Telemachus, a Mentor and a Monitor are admirable guides.
The INQUIRER, No. I, which was published in our Miscellany for June, we hope will be resumed and regularly continued. On a thousand questions, pertinent to literature and life, clouds and darkness often dwell, and whatever contributes to disperse them is entitled to the attention of the scholar, and the man of the world. We hope that our author's doubts, candidly stated, and queries, distinctly proposed, will always obtain a satisfactory solution and a direct answer.
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AMONG the brave men, who perished in the glorious struggle for the independence of America, captain Nicholas Biddle holds a distinguished rank. His services, and the high expectations raised by his military genius and gallantry have left a strong impression of his merit, and a profound regret that his early fate should have disappointed so soon the hopes of his country.
Nicholas Biddle was born in the city of Philadelphia on the 10th day of September, 1750. His father, Mr. William Biddle, was a native of New Jersey, son of William Biddle one of the first settlers and proprietors of that state, from whom he inherited a very large fortune, which his losses in trade, and the engagements of suretyship for a friend had greatly reduced. His mother was the daughter of Nicholas Scull, Esquire, who was, for many years, surveyor general of Pennsylvania, and of these worthy and respectable parents he was the sixth
The subject of this memoir very early in life manifested his partiality for the sea, and before the age of fourteen he had made a voyage to Quebec. In the following year, 1765, he sailed from Philadelphia to Jamaica, and the Bay of Honduras. The vessel left the Bay in the latter end of December, 1765, bound to Antigua, and on the second day of January, in a heavy gale of wind, she was cast away on a shoal, called the Northern Triangles. After remaining two nights and a day upon the wreck, the crew took to their yawl, the long-boat having been lost,
and with great difficulty and hazard landed on one of the small uninhabited islands, about three leagues distant from the reef, upon which they struck. Here they staid a few days. Some provisions were procured from the wreck, and their boat was refitted. As it was too small to carry them all off, they drew lots to determine who should remain, and young Biddle was among the number. He, and his three companions, suffered extreme hardships, for want of provisions and good water, and although various efforts were made for their relief, it was nearly two months before they succeeded.
Such a scene of dangers and sufferings, in the commencement of his career, would have discouraged a youth of ordinary enterprise and perseverance. On him it produced no such effect. The coolness and promptitude with which he acted, in the midst of perils that alarmed the oldest seamen, gave a sure presage of the force of his character, and after he had returned home, he made several European voyages, in which he acquired a thorough knowledge of seamanship.
In the year 1770, when a war between Great Britain and Spain was expected, in consequence of the dispute relative to Falkland's Island, he went to London, in order to enter into the British navy. He took with him letters of recommendation from Thomas Willing, Esquire, to his brother-in-law captain Sterling, on board of whose ship he served for some time as a midshipman. The dispute with Spain being accommodated, he intended to leave the navy, but was persuaded by captain Sterling to remain in the service, promising that he would use all his interest to get him promoted. His ardent mind, however, could not rest satisfied with the inactivity of his situation, which he was impatient to change for one more suited to his disposition.
In the year 1773 a voyage of discovery was undertaken, at the request of the Royal Society, in order to ascertain how far navigation was practicable towards the North Pole, to advance the discovery of a north west passage into the south seas, and to make such astronomical observations as might prove serviceable to navigation.
Two vessels, the Race Horse and Carcase, were fitted out for the expedition, the command of which was given to the honourable captain Phipps, afterwards lord Mulgrave. The peculiar dangers to which such an undertaking was exposed, induced the government to take extraordinary precautions in fitting out, and preparing the vessels, and selecting the crews, and a positive order was issued that no boys
should be received on board.
To the bold and enterprising spirit of young Biddle such an expedition had great attractions. Extremely anxious to join it, he endeavoured to procure captain Sterling's permission for that purpose, but he was unwilling to part with him, and would not consent to let him go. The temptation was, however, irresistible. He resolved to go, and lay