Richard Stockton was an American lawyer, jurist, legislator, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1776, Stockton was elected to the Second Continental Congress, where he took a very active role. That August, when elections were held for the state governments of the new nation, Stockton and William Livingston each received the same number of votes to be the Governor of New Jersey on the first ballot. Although Livingston later won the election by one vote, Stockton was unanimously elected to serve as the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, but he turned down that position to remain in the Congress. Stockton was the first person from New Jersey to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Stockton was sent by Congress, along with fellow signer George Clymer, on an exhausting two-month journey to Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga and Albany, New York to assist the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. On his return to Princeton, he traveled 30 miles east to the home of a friend, John Covenhoven, to evacuate his family to safety, and away from the path of the British army. While there, on November 30, 1776, he and Covenhoven were captured in the middle of the night, dragged from their beds by loyalists, stripped of their property and marched to Perth Amboy and turned over to the British. The day Stockton was captured, General William Howe had written a Proclamation offering protection papers and a full and free pardon to those willing to remain in peaceable obedience to the King. Although many took the pardon, Stockton never did, and was marched to Perth Amboy where he was put in irons, and brutally treated as a common criminal.
He was then moved to Provost Prison in New York, where he was intentionally starved and subjected to freezing cold weather. After nearly five weeks of brutal treatment, Stockton was released on parole, his health ruined. Over 12,000 prisoners died in the prison ships and prisons in New York compared to 4,435 soldiers that died in combat over the six years of war. His estate, Morven, in Princeton was occupied by General Cornwallis during Stockton's imprisonment; his furniture, all household belongings, crops and livestock were taken or destroyed by the British. His library, one of the finest in the colonies, was burned. One historian wrote, "Morven the home of the Hon. Richard Stockton, was denuded of its library and furniture."
Stockton's treatment in the New York prison prompted the Continental Congress to pass a resolution directing Gen. Washington to inquire into the circumstances and not long afterward, Stockton was paroled on January 13, 1777. The U.S. National Archives contains other messages showing that Washington duly contacted General Howe in New York regarding the exchange or release of Stockton and others. Because of the parole document Stockton signed with General Howe to gain his freedom, and giving his word of honor not to meddle in the war (required to be given a parole), Stockton resigned from Congress. When his health permitted, Stockton attempted to earn a living by reopening his law practice and teaching new students. Two years after his parole from prison, he developed cancer of the lip that spread to his throat. He was never free of pain until he died on February 28, 1781.
It's hard to say when people making figures using the shadows with their hands started, but it probably originated on the walls of caves lit by the dancing flames of an ancient fire. Through the ages, the art shadow puppetry progressed to include animals, people, and characters of all sorts, culminating in the late 19th century when French entertainer Félicien Trewey popularized the technique by making the silhouettes of famous figures. Officially called Shadowgraphy, the fun skill is as simple as having one light source, like a candle or single bulb, and a wall to cast shadows upon. The vintage illustrations we bring you here include such easy examples as a bird in flight, all the way to the challenging silhouettes of a camel and even a young boy..
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