He was born in 1743, and called his residence near Port Tobacco, Maryland, "Habre-de-Venture." Stone was one of the most successful lawyers in Maryland. He was also one colonist who did not support the cause for independence as enthusiastically as his fellow delegates, William Paca and Samuel Chase. He once said, "I wish to conduct affairs so that a just and honorable reconciliation should take place."
Married at the age of twenty-five, he built his bride one of the finest homes in Maryland as a display of his love and affection for her. Additionally, at his young age, he had built a profitable law practice in Frederick, Maryland. Stone was a man who always thought for himself, and was not easily swayed by popular opinions or recommendations from others. In 1774, he defended a poll tax to support the clergy, much to the disappointment of his good friend and mentor, Thomas Johnson, as well as Samuel Chase and William Paca.
During the Second Continental Congress, Stone continued to oppose Samuel Chase. He was also very much against slavery. He once said, " I have never known a single instance of a Negro being contented in slavery." In reply a fellow congressional member said, " Stone was sometimes mistaken upon plain subjects." In the cause for independence, Stone was patient in presenting his ideas. He is on record as announcing that, "We should pretty unanimous in a resolution to fight it out for independence. The proper way to effect this is not to move too quick. But then we must take care to do everything which is necessary for our security and defense, not suffer ourselves to be lulled or wheedled by any deceptions, declarations, or givings out. You know my heart wishes for peace upon terms of security and justice to America. But war, anything, is preferable to surrender of our rights."
By July 2, 1776, no word had arrived from England concerning peaceful negotiations. This was the final prompting Stone needed to cast his vote for complete independence. Thomas Stone died in 1787, at the age of forty-four.
Copyright© John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. From Maryland The Seventh State A History, by John T. Marck. Copyright © John T. Marck, All Rights Reserved.