of the great Cardinal of Henry VIII. he would have been a happier, if not a wiser and better man.
"--, I charge thee fling away ambition.
By that sin fell the angels; and how can man then--
The image of his maker--hope to win by it."
We would fain have made this sketch more favorable, but in pen pictures as in portrait painting the truth demands a faithful, not a flattering, likeness.
Robert Williams was a native of Caswell County, distinguished for his attainments. He was adjutant-general of North Carolina, and a representative in Congress, (Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Congress) 1797 to 1803, and was appointed commissioner of land titles in Mississippi Territory. He was also the governor of the Territory of Mississippi from 1805 to 1809. He died in Louisiana.
Marmaduke Williams who succeeded his brother in Congress, was a native of Caswell County, born in 1772; married Mrs. Agnes Harris, nee Payne. He was by profession a lawyer. He represented Caswell County in the state senate in 1802, and the district in (the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Congress) 1803-1809. In 1810 he removed with his family to Alabama. He was repeatedly elected to the legislature of that state, and was a delegate from Tuscaloosa County to the convention which formed the state constitution. He was a candidate for governor and defeated by William W. Bibb. In 1826 he was a commissioner to adjust the unsettled accounts between Alabama and Mississippi. In 1832 he was elected judge of the county court, which he resigned, having attained the age of seventy, which the constitution declared a disqualification in a judge. He died October 29, 1850.
Calvin Graves was born in Caswell County, in January, 1804. He was the son of Azariah Graves. His mother was the daughter of Colonel John Williams, who took a decided part in the revolution, and was Lieutenant-Colonel of a battalion raised in the Hillsboro district. He was educated at the Bingham academy in Orange, and spent one year at the university, when he commenced reading law with Judge Settle, his brother-in-law, and finished under Judge Henderson. He was admitted to the Bar in 1827. His success in the practice was flattering, but his fame rests more on his efforts in the legislature than his career as a jurist.
His first appearance as a statesman was as a member of the convention of 1835 to reform the constitution. This was an able body of practiced statesmen, and afforded an admirable school for the young politician. This opportunity was not neglected by Mr. Graves. In 1840 he was elected a member of the House, and in 1842 when he was made speaker. In 1844 he was again a member, but the whig party having a majority, elected Mr. Stanley speaker. In 1846 he was returned as a member of the senate.
During this session a party move of much significance was made to re-district the state, and opposed by Mr. Graves. In 1848 he was again elected to the senate, when the parties were evenly balanced, he was elected speaker notwithstanding.
This was an important session. The lunatic asylum was constructed, and the proposition to make internal improvements by a railroad connecting the mountains with the seaboard, involving an appropriation of $2,000,000. The latter bill passed the lower House by a close vote, and after a warm and able discussion, which was maintained by both sides with eloquence and ability, and listened to with breathless anxiety by a crowded gallery, the vote was taken, and stood yeas 24, nays 24. The vote was handed by the clerk to the speaker, upon whom all eyes were now turned; Mr. Graves arose from his chair, and in a clear and audible voice announced the vote: "The clerk reports twenty-four
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