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[p. 28]

Benjamin Rich.

In the discourse occasioned by the death of Benjamin Rich, Esq., delivered in the church on Church Green, June 8, 1851, by Alexander Young, D. D., he refers to him as an example of the good parishioner:—
The late Benjamin Rich was born on the 12th of December, 1775, in the town of Truro, near the extremity of Cape Cod. From his earliest years, as is the case with most of the youths who are born on the Cape, he took to the sea, going cabin boy at the age of thirteen; and at the age of nineteen, on his fourth voyage, he had the command of a vessel. His voyages were chiefly to the West Indies, the Mediterranean, and the north of Europe. For twelve long years he pursued this hard and perilous vocation. On one of his voyages, he was attacked, off Algiers, by two French privateers, both of which with his characteristic intrepidity he fought a whole summer's day; and at last when his shot was all expended, and he had charged his cannon fire with whatever he could find on board, he succeeded in beating them off. He thus prepared himself to engage understandingly in navigation and trade.

On retiring from the sea in 1801, at the age of twenty-six, he settled in this city and embarked in commerce, which he pursued until six years ago when he retired.

For nearly fifty years he was one of our most active and enterprising merchants. In 1800 he married.

He took a lively interest in the prosperity of the parish. He hears one of his old companions in business has been reduced to penury; Mr. Rich went round among his friends and raised an annuity of $600.

A young lieutenant in the navy dies on the slope of Mt. Lebanon; his young wife soon follows him, leaving two orphan boys. Mr. Rich collected a fund to provide for their education and fit them for useful stations in life.

The word fear, too, was not to be found in his dictionary. When, in the month of May, 1818, the Canton packet blew up in our harbor, Mr. Rich was the first to leap upon her blazing deck to rescue the crew, utterly heedless of the possibility of another explosion.

For thirty-three years he was a trustee of the Humane Society and for fifteen years its president. He superintended the building and location of eighteen life-boats provided by the Legislature of 1840 and 1841.

The few last weeks that he spent upon earth were among the happiest of his life. It was a privilege to visit him in his sick


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