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[12] two months later, made his great speech for conciliation with America. “I do not know,” he exclaimed, “the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole People.” In a letter written two years after the commencement of the war, he traces the growth of the colonies from their feeble beginnings to the magnitude which they had attained when the revolution broke out, and in which his glowing imagination saw future grandeur and power beyond the reality. “At the first designation of these colonial assemblies,” says he, “they were probably not intended for any thing more (nor perhaps did they think themselves much higher) than the municipal corporations within this island, to which some at present love to compare them. But nothing in progression can rest on its original plan; we may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. Therefore, as the Colonies prospered and increased to A numerous and mighty People, spreading over a very great tract of the globe, it was natural that they should attribute to assemblies so respectable in the formed Constitution, some part of the dignity of the great nations which they represented.”

The meeting of the first Continental Congress of 1774 was the spontaneous impulse of the People. All their resolves and addresses proceed on the assumption that they represented a People. Their first appeal to the Royal authority was their letter to General Gage, remonstrating against the fortifications of Boston. “We entreat your Excellency to consider,” they say, “what a tendency this conduct must have to irritate and force a free People, hitherto well disposed to peaceable measures, into hostilities.” Their final act, at the close of the Session, their address to the King, one of the most eloquent and pathetic of State papers, appeals to him “in the name of all your Majesty's faithful People in America.”

The Declaration of Independence Recognizes a People.

But this all-important principle in our political system is placed beyond doubt, by an authority which makes all further argument or illustration superfluous. That the citizens of the British Colonies, however divided for local purposes into different governments, when they ceased to be subject to the English crown, became ipso facto one People for all the high concerns of national existence, is a fact embodied in the Declaration of Independence itself. That august Manifesto, the Magna Charta, which introduced us into the family of nations, was issued to the world, so its first sentence sets forth-because “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires” such solemn announcement of motives and causes to be made, “when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another.” Mr. Jefferson Davis, in his message of the 29th of April, deems it important to remark, that, by the treaty of peace with Great Britain, “the several States were each by name recognized to be independent.” It would be more accurate to say that the United States each by name were so recognized. Such enumeration was necessary, in order to fix beyond doubt, which of the Anglo-American colonies, twenty-five or six in number, were included in the recognition.1 But it is surely a far more significant circumstance, that the separate States are not named in the Declaration

1 Burke's account of “the English settlements in America,” begins with Jamaica, and proceeds through the West India Islands. There were also English settlements on the Continent, Canada — and Nova Scotia,--which it was necessary to exclude from the Treaty, by an enumeration of the included Colonies.

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