him, never could equal.
His deep blue eyes are now
dimmed; his step has lost its certainty; he rises to decline the appointment; all eyes rest on him, and the convention hangs on his words: ‘I am an old man, almost deprived of sight; the honorable testimony of my country's approbation shall ever animate me, as far as I am able, to support the glorious cause in which America
is now engaged; but advanced age renders me incapable of an active part in the weighty concerns which must be agitated in the great council of the united colonies, and I desire that some abler person may supply my place.’
The convention having unanimously thanked him for his fidelity, released him from further service only on account of his years.
A strong party, at the head of which were Henry, Jefferson
, and Carrington
, turned for his successor to George Mason
, a man of yet rarer virtues, now for the first time a member of a political body.
He was a patriot, who renounced ambition, making no quest of fame, never appearing in public life but from a sense of duty and for a great end. ‘He will not refuse,’ said Jefferson
and Henry, ‘if ordered by his country.’
But he was still suffering from an overwhelming domestic grief; as he gave his reasons for his refusal, tears ran down the presiding officer's cheeks; and the convention listened to him with the sympathy of a family circle.
At the same time that Mason
declined, he recommended Francis Lee
, who was accordingly chosen in the room of Bland
, yet only by one vote over a candidate who was noted for loyalty and dread of a democratic republic.
A spirit of moderation prevailed in the election of the committee of safety for the province; Edmund