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Thomas Lynch

LYNCH, Thomas, patriot, born in South Carolina about 1720; died there in 1776. His father, Thomas, was the first to cultivate rice on the alluvial lands that are periodically overflowed by the tides. The son inherited a large estate on North and South Santee rivers, became a man of great influence, who took a prominent part in the proceedings of the provincial assembly, and was an early and zealous advocate of colonial resistance to the encroachments of the crown and parliament. He was a delegate to the Colonial congress of 1765, and, with his colleagues, Christopher Gadsden and John Rutledge, arrived first at the place of meeting. In the debates he denied the power of parliament over the colonies, and opposed sending a petition. With the same colleagues he was sent to the 1st Continental congress, and continued a member of that body until he was compelled by failing health to resign, and was succeeded by his son.--His son, Thomas, signer of the Declaration of Independence, born in Prince George parish, South Carolina, 5 August, 1749: died at sea in 1779, was sent at the age of twelve to England, where he was educated at Eton college and Cambridge university, and studied law in the Temple, London, but returned home in 1772 before completing his course, having a distaste for the legal profession. He devoted himself to cultivating a plantation on North Santee river, which his father conveyed to him, and took part in the public discussions of colonial grievances. On the organization of the first regiment of South Carolina provincials in 1775 he was commissioned as captain, and while raising his company in North Carolina contracted swamp fever. When his father was stricken with paralysis he was unable to obtain from Colonel Christopher Gadsden leave of absence, but his connection with the regiment was severed soon afterward by his unanimous election by the provincial assembly to be his father's successor in the Continental congress. On his arrival in Philadelphia he took his seat in the congress of 1776, and, notwithstanding the weak state of his own health, impressed that body with his earnestness and eloquence. One of his last public acts was to affix his signature to the Declaration of Independence. In the autumn of 1776 the ailments that he had incurred during his military service compelled him to return to South Carolina. His health continued to decline, and, as a last hope, he embarked about the close of 1779 for St. Eustatius, where he expected to take passage in some neutral ship for the south of France. The vessel in which lie sailed was seen for the last time when a few days out at sea, and was probably lost in a tempest.

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