Lowndes, William (d. 1822)

LOWNDES, William, L L.D., a statesman, was a native of South Carolina, and was a distinguished member of congress for a period of ten years from about 1812 to 1822, when from ill health he resigned. In 1818 he was the chairman of the committee of ways and means. While on a voyage from Philadelphia to London in the ship Moss he died at sea Oct. 27, 1822 aged 42. His family was with him. A writer in the National Register describes him as tall, slender, emaciated, of a rueful countenance ; a man of wealth and probity , modest, retiring and unambitious; with a mind of the first order, vigorous, comprehensive and logical, and a memory of uncommon power, and standing in the first ranks of American statesmen. There must have been some most extraordinary excellences in his character, for he was respected and beloved even by his political adversaries. He had a heart of kindness, purity of morals, frankness and candor, a sound judgment, wisdom pre-eminent, and patriotism most ardent. His feeble voice, and awkward gesticulation were of little advantage to his oratory. But his strong comprehensive mind, and his love of country, together with his virtues, gave him a persuasive power. On hearing of the victory of lake Erie, he rose and electrified the house with his eloquence. Had he lived he might have been the president of the United States. It, was said of him in congress by Mr. Taylor of N. York," the highest and best hopes of the country looked to Win. Lowndes for their fulfilment. The most honorable office in the civilized world, the chief magistracy of this free people, would have been illustrated by his virtues and talents." Concerning that office, of seeking which by any intrigue, or artifice, or effort of his own whatever, Mr. Lowndes was totally incapable, he remarked, " the office of president of the United States is one neither to be solicited nor declined." it were happy for our country, if the same modest spirit exerted a controlling influence over our great statesmen, and if the honors of high office were merited by public services, and private virtues, and not sought.
1. A General Biographical Dictionary, Comprising a Summary Account of the Most Distinguished Persons of All Ages, Nations and Professions, 1843, page 581.

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