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ing to arouse the people to positive resistance, and as early as 1774, he was in favor of cutting the bond that held the colonies to the British throne.*
When Congress passed a resolution, recommending the several colonies to “ adopt such governments as in the opinion of the representatives of the people, might best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents,” the Pennsylvania Assembly was slow to act accordingly. In fact its instructions to its delegates in Congress were not favorable to independence, and it was not until the people of that state spoke out their sentiments in a general convention, that Pennsylvania was truly represented there. The seats of her delegates, who refused to vote for the Declaration of Independence, and withdrew from Congress, were filled with bold men, and one of these was James Smith, who, with George Clymer and Benjamin Rush, took his seat some days after that glorious instrument was adopted. there in time, however, to place his signature to the parchment on the second day of August ensuing.
Mr. Smith, was a member of the convention of Pennsylvania convened to form a constitution for the state, after the Declaration of Independence. There he was very active, and it was not until October, 1776, that he was a regular attendant in the General Congress. He was soon after appointed one of a most important committee, whose business was to aid Washington in opposing the
* He was convinced that reconciliation was out of the question, and that war was inevitable. He accordingly raised and drilled a volunteer corps at York, (the first ever raised in the State,) which was the commencement of a general organization of the militia in that Province. Other companies were formed, and when a sufficient number were organized to form a regiment, Mr. Smith was elected Colonel. His age, however, precluded his entering upon active service, and he held the office as an honorary boon. According to the testimony of Mr. Penn before Parliament, the body of military “ Associators" thus founded by Mr. Smith amounted in number, before the Declaration of Independence, to twenty thousand, whose services were pledged to the State.
progress of General Howe's army.* They were intrusted with almost unlimited discretionary powers, and the scope of their operations included the whole business of advising and superintending the military movements.
In the spring of 1777, Mr. Smith declined a re-election to Congress, and resumed his professional business at York; but the unfortunate defeats of the Americans at the Brandywine and at Germantown, and the capture of Philadelphia by the British, called for his valuable presence in the national council, and he obeyed the voice of duty. Congress adjourned to Lancaster when Howe's army took Philadelphia, and afterward it adjourned to York, the place of Mr. Smith's residence. When the battle of Monmouth, in 1778, made the hope of American triumph beam brightly, Mr. Smith retired again from Congress, and resumed his professional business. In 1779 he was called to a seat in the Legislature of Pennsylvania, where he served one term, and then withdrew. This closed his public career, and he lived in the enjoyment of domestic happiness until his death, which occurred on the eleventh day of July, 1806. He is supposed to have been nearly ninety years of age. . Mr. Smith was quite an eccentric
possessed a vein of humor, coupled with sharp wit, which made him a great favorite in the social circle in which he moved. He was always lively in his conversation and manners, except when religious subjects were the topics, when he was very grave and never suffered any in his presence to sneer at or speak with levity of Christianity. Although not a professor of religion, he was a possesBor of many of its sublimer virtues, and practised its holiest precepts.
* His associates were James Wilson, Samuel Chew, George Clymer, and Richard Stockton.
EORGE Taylor was born in Ireland, in the year 1716, and came to this country when he was about twenty years of age.
He was the son of a clergyman, but whether Roman Catholic or Protes
tant, is not known. He was well educated, but was poor on his arrival, and performed menial service for a livelihood. He afterward became a clerk in the iron establishment of Mr. Savage, at Durham, in Penn
sylvania ; and sometime after the death of his employer, he married that gentleman's widow, by which he came into possession of considerable property and a thriving business.
After pursuing the business for some time, at Durham, and acquiring a handsome fortune, Mr. Taylor purchased an estate on the Lehigh, in Northumberland county, and erected iron works there. His wealth, education, and business talents, and his urbanity of manner, soon gained for him the esteem and confidence of the people, and he was elected by them a member of the Colonial Assembly in 1764. In that body he soon became a distinguished actor, and was placed upon its most important committees.
It was during Mr. Taylor's membership in the Colonial Assembly of Pennsylvania, that that body received the circular letter from Massachusetts, proposing a General Colonial Congress at New York, in 1765.* The Assembly accepted the invitation, and Mr. Taylor was one of the committee to whom was assigned the duty of drawing
* The passage of the Stamp Act, in March, 1765, excited a spirit of resistance in the Colonies, that threatened open rebellion. The Massachusetts Assembly sent forth a circular letter to the other colonies, proposing a General Congress of delegates from them, to be held in the city of New York in October following, for the purpose of consulting upon the public good. At the opening of the Convention, the following delegates appeared and took their seats. From Massachusetts, James Otis, Oliver Partridge, Timothy Ruggles; Rhode Island, Metcalf Bowler, Henry Ward ; Connecticut, Eliphalet Dyer, David Rowland, William S. Johnson ; Nero York, Robert R. Livingston, John Cruger, Philip Livingston, William Bayard, Leonard Lispenard; Pennsylvania, John Dickenson, John Morton, George Bryan; Maryland, William Murdock, Edward Tilghman, Thomas Ringgold; New Jersey, Robert Ogden, Hendrick Fisher, Joseph Borden; Delaware, Thomas McKean, Cæsar Rodney; South Carolina, Thomas Lynch, Christopher Gadsden, John Rutledge. Timothy Ruggles, of Massachusetts, (who was a royalist during the Revolution), was, by ballot, elected President. They adopted a “Declaration of Rights,” a “Petition to the King," and a “Memorial to Parliament." The “Declaration of Rights” was penned by John Cruger, delegate from New York. He was at that time speaker of the Provincial Assembly, and Mayor of the city of New York. The “Petition to the King," was written by Robert R. Livingston, also a member from New York, who afterward had the high honor of administering the oath of office to Washington when he was inaugurated the first President of the United States.
up instructions for the delegates from that Province. Those instructions were supposed to be from his pen,
and evinced much wisdom and sound judgment.
Mr. Taylor was a member of the Provincial Assembly five consecutive years, when, finding his private interests suffering in consequence of his absence, he declined a reelection, and for sometime withdrew from public life. He was elected to the Provincial Congress in 1775, and was one of the committee appointed to draw up instructions for the delegates to the General Congress, which convened in May of that year. These instructions, which were not sanctioned by the Assembly until November, contained a clause strictly prohibiting the delegates from concurring in any proposition for political independence, a reconciliation being still hoped for. But public feeling very materially changed on this point during the spring of 1776, and in June that prohibition was removed, and the delegates were left to act according to their own discretion. Still, a portion of the delegates remained firm in their op. position to the measure, and Mr. Taylor was one of those appointed to fill their places. He was therefore not present in Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, but was there in time to sign it on the second day of August.
Mr. Taylor remained in Congress one year, and then withdrew from public life and settled in Easton. He died on the twenty-third day of February, 1781, aged sixty