Browsing named entities in Rebellion Record: a Diary of American Events: Documents and Narratives, Volume 2. (ed. Frank Moore). You can also browse the collection for 1777 AD or search for 1777 AD in all documents.

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with the other, declaring the pre-existence of the Union. It is, then, not only historically true, but explicitly recorded in the Constitution, that, so far from the Union springing from the Constitution, the Constitution was the offspring of the Union. Searching backward for the beginning of the Union, we find that on the first day of March, 1781, nearly five years after the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, which had been formed by the Continental Congress, in 1777, were finally adopted by the Delegates of the thirteen States, and became, during the few years of their existence, the bond, but not the origin, of Union; for we know from history that the Union existed before. Again proceeding backward, we see that the Declaration of Independence began with this remarkable expression--When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and closed with the announc
med and adopted an independent government, and put it into action before the 4th of July, 1776. The preamble recited that, by reason of the oppression of the King of Great Britain, all civil authority under him is necessarily at an end, and a dissolution of government in each colony has consequently taken place. The Constitution of July 2, 1776, with this preamble, remained the Constitution of New Jersey for more than sixty years, with only the alteration of a single word, which was made in 1777. Virginia and New Jersey were, therefore, separately independent, in fact, and by declaration, before the general declaration was made by the assembled delegates on.the 4th of July. That declaration was consistent in comprising by a unanimous vote the concurrence of all in the proclamation of the same fact, and the joint resolve for maintaining it by the arms of all. In accordance with the same principles, Congress expressly and by resolution delegated to the colonial Legislatures, and su
tress on the point, and speaks of it in very emphatic language, that General Washington carried the country through the seven years of the Revolution without resorting to martial law during all that period of time. Now, how does the matter stand? When we come to examine the history of the country, it would seem that the Senator had not hunted up all the cases. We can find some, and one in particular, not very different from the case which has recently occurred, and to which he alluded. In 1777, the second year of the war of the Revolution, members of the society of Friends in Philadelphia were arrested on suspicion of being disaffected to the cause of American freedom. A publication now before me says: The persons arrested, to the number of twenty, * * * * * were taken into custody by military force, at their homes or usual places of business; many of them could not obtain any knowledge of the cause of their arrest, or of any one to whom they were amenable, and they could on
with the inflexible purpose to treat it as an outrage, and to inflict, in some way which will make itself felt, ample, and, if need be, vindictive retaliation. Very early in the Revolutionary War, this same question was raised by the British commanders, in the case of Gen. Charles Lee. He was British-born, and had been an officer in the regular British army. He resigned, and took up arms for the colonists. He was taken prisoner in the first year of the war, and carried to New York. In 1777 a convention was held for the exchange of prisoners, when Gen. Howe reserved Gen. Lee--out of the list of prisoners to be exchanged — on the ground that his case was different from that of the Americans, he having been an officer in the King's army. Congress responded by ordering Lieut.-Col. Campbell, a British prisoner taken in Massachusetts, and five Hessian officers, into close custody, with notice that they should all be dealt by as the British authorities should deal with Gen. Lee. G