Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

January, 1775, he was a delegate to the Convention for the Province of Pennsylvania, and concurred in the spirited declarations of that Assembly.

In the month of July, a Convention was held in Phil. adelphia, for the purpose of forming a new Constitution for Pennsylvania. Of this body, Mr. Smith was a member, and by it he was chosen a delegate to Congress. He continued to represent his constituents for several years in the great national assembly, and was always active and efficient in the discharge of his duties. On withdrawing from Congress, in November, 1789, he resumed his professional pursuits, which he continued to exercise until the year 1800, when he withdrew from the bar, having practised the law for about sixty years. He died in the year 1806.

RICHARD STOCKTON. RICHARD STOCKTON was born near Princeton, New Jersey, on the first day of October, 1730, and received his education at the college in his native State, where he graduated at the age of eighteen.

On leaving college, Mr. Stockton commenced the study of the law, and on his admission to the bar, rose quickly to an enviable distinction. About the year 1767, he relinquished his professional business for the purpose of visiting Great Britain. During his tour through the united countries, he was received with great attention On visiting Edinburgh, he was complimented with a public dinner, by the authorities of that city, the freedom of which was unanimously conferred upon him. During his stay in Scotland, he was so fortunate as to induce the Reverend Dr. Witherspoon, of Paisley, to remove to Ameri :a, and accept the presidency of New Jersey College.

On his return to this country, Mr. Stockton stood high in the royal favor, and was appointed one of the Royal Judges of the Province, and a member of the Executive Council. But on the commencement of the aggravating system of oppression by which the mother country hoped to humiliate the colonists, he separated himself from the Royal Council, and joyfully concurred in all the liberal measures of the day. On the 21st of June, 1776, he was elected a delegate to the General Congress, then sitting in Philadelphia. Here he discharged, with fidelity and energy, ah the duties assigned him; and on the agitation of the great question of independence, he addressed the house in its behalf.

On the 30th of November, Mr. Stockton was unfortunately taken prisoner by a party of refugee royalists. He was dragged from his bed at night, and carried to New York. Here he was treated with the utmost rigor and indignity. Congress remonstrated with General Howe in his behalf, and he was finally released from his captivity; but the iron had entered his soul. His constitution had experienced an irreparable shock, and his ample fortune was completely reduced. He continued to languish for several years, and at length died, at his residence in Princeton, on the 28th of February, 1781, in the fiftythird year of his age. His character was in every respect estimable. He possessed a cultivated taste for literature, and was a polished and eloquent speaker.

THOMAS STONE. THOMAS STONE was born in Charles county, Maryland, in 1743. He was a descendant of William Stone, who was Governor of Maryland during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell:

After acquiring a tolerable acquaintance with the learned languages, he entered upon the study of the law. Having obtained a competent knowledge of the profession, he commenced practice in Fredericktown, Mary land. After residing at this place two years, he removed to Charles county, in the same State. At the age of twenty-eight, he received, by marriage, the sum of one thousand pounds sterling; and with it purchased a farm near the village of Port Tobacco, upon which he continued to reside during the revolutionary struggle. A though his business was by no means lucrative, nor his fortune considerable, his well known honesty and ability caused him to be sent a delegate to the Congress of 1776, to

which body he was re-elected for several subsequent years. After the Maryland legislature had relieved him and his colleagues of the restrictions which bound them, he joyfully affixed his name to the Declaration of Independence.

Mr. Stone was a member of the committee appointed by Congress to prepare Articles of Confederation ; and the manner in which he discharged the duties devolving upon him in tha. station, was highly satisfactory. After seeing the Confederation finally agreed upon in Congress, he declined a re-appointment to that body, but became a member of the Legislature of his native Štate. In 1783, he was again chosen to Congress; and in the session of 1784, acted for some time as president pro tempore. On the adjournment of Congress this year, he retired from that body, and engaged actively in the duties of his profession. His practice now became lucrative in Annapolis, whither he had removed; and he soon rose to distinction at the bar. As an advocate, he excelled in strength of argument, and was often employed in cases of great difficulty.

Mr. Stone died on the 5th of October, 1787, in the forty-fifth year of his age, and while on the point of embarking for Europe, for the benefit of his health.

GEORGE TAYLOR. GEORGE Taylor was born in Ireland, in the year 1718. At a suitable age he commenced the study of medicine but his genius not being adapted to his profession, he relinquished his medical studies, and soon after set sai] for America. On his arrival he was entirely destitute of money, and was obliged to resort to manual labor to pay the expenses of his voyage. He was first engaged in the iron works of Mr. Savage, at Durham, on the Delaware, and was afterwards taken into his counting-room as a clerk. In this situation he rendered himself

very useful, and, at length, upon the death of Mr. Savage,' he became connected in marriage with his widow, and consequently the proprietor of the whole establishment. In a few years the fortune of Mr. Taylor was considerably augmented. He now purchased a handsome estate, near the river Lehigh, in the county of Northampton, where he erected a spacious mansion, and took up his permanent abode. In 1764, he was chosen a member of the Provincial Assembly, where he soon became conspicuous. In this body he continued to represent the county of Northampton until 1770; but he afterwards returned to Durham, to repair the losses of fortune, to which the change of his place of business had led.

In October, 1776, he was again chosen to the Provincial Assembly; and the following month was appointed, in connexion with others, to report a set of instructions to the delegates which the Assembly had just appointed to the Continental Congress. Pennsylvania was for some time opposed to an immediate rupture with the mother country; and it was only by the casting vote of Mr. Morton, that her consent to the measure of independence was secured. On the 20th of July, 1776, the Pennsylvania Convention proceeded to a new choice of representatives. Mr. Morton, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Wilson, who had voted in favor of the Declaration of Independence, were re-elected. Those who had opposed it were at this time dropped, and the following gentlemen were appointed in their place, viz., Mr. Taylor, Mr. Ross, Mr. Clymer, Dr. Rush, and Mr. Smith.

Mr. Taylor retired from Congress in 1777; and died on the 23d of February, 1781, in the sixty-sixth year of

his age.

MATTHEW THORNTON. Matthew THORNTON was born in Ireland, about the year 1714.

When he was two or three years old, his father emigrated 10 America, and, after a residence of a few years at Wiscasset, in Maine, he removed to Wor. cester, in Massachusetts. Here young Thornton received a respectable education, and subsequently commenced the sludy of medicine. Soon after completing his preparatory course, he removed to Londonderry, in New Hampshire, where he entered upon the practice of his profession, and soon became distinguished, both as a physician and a surgeon.

In 1745, Dr. Thornton was appointed to accompany the New Hampshire troops, as a surgeon, in the well known expedition, planned by Governor Shirley, against Cape Breton. His professional abilities were here creditably tested; for of the corps of five hundred men, of whom he had charge as a physician, only six died of sickness, previous to the surrender of Louisburg, notwithstanding the hardships to which they were exposed.

Under the royal government, Dr. Thornton was invested with the office of Justice of the Peace, and commissioned as Colonel of the militia. But when that government was dissolved, Colonel Thornton abjured the British interest, and adhered to the patriotic cause. He was president of a Provincial Convention, assembled at Exeter, in 1775.

The next year he was chosen a delegate to the Continental Congress, and signed his name to the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence. During the same year, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas; and, shortly after, was raised to the office of Judge of the Superior Court of New Hampshire, in which office he continued until 1782. Two years previous to this latter date, he had purchased a farm, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Merrimack, near Exeter, where he principally devoted himself to agriculture. He was a member of the General Court for one or two years, and a senator in the State Legislature, as also a member of the Council, in 1785, under President Langdon. Dr. Thornton died while on a visit at Newburyport, on the 24th of June, 1803, in the eighty-ninth year of his age.

He was a man of strong powers of mind, and was remarkably entertaining and instructive in conversation.

GEORGE WALTON. GEORGE Walton was born in the county of Frederick, Virginia, about the year 1740. He was early apprenticed to a carpenter, who, being a man of contracted views, not only kert him hard at work during the day, but relised

« AnteriorContinuar »