between the States in the shape of any form of government or constitution whatever, nor did they pretend that there was then any such form of Federal or general government in existence. The Congress of 1774, as well as that of 1775, was a mere consulting and advisory body so far as its relations towards the several colonies were concerned, and it pretended to no govermental authority over them. Mr. Rutledge, a delegate from South Carolina to the Congress of 1774, said, in a speech in that body in September of that year, and without contradiction from any one, “We have no legal authority, * * *. We have no coercive authority. Our constituents are bound only in honor to observe our determinations.” [Bancroft, p. 129, vol. VII, edition of 1858]. Those Congresses enacted no laws bearing on the several colonies or the individual people thereof. They merely passed resolutions requesting or recommending the colonies (sometimes only the people of a town or county), to do this or that thing or to refrain from doing something. For instance, on 10th June, 1775, even after the war with Great Britain had begun, Congress,
On motion, Resolved, That it be, and it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several colonies of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the interior towns of Massachusetts Bay, that they immediately furnish the American army before Boston with as much powder, out of the towns and the publick stocks as they can possibly spare, &c. [ “American Archives,” edition of 1843.]Again, on 1st January, 1776, Congress, by resolution, declared “that it be recommended” to the “Conventions or Committees of safety” of South Carolina, Virginia, and the Provisional Council of North Carolina, “to make a vigorous opposition” to apprehended attacks by British forces on “Charlestown in South Carolina, and several places in Virginia, and probably in North Carolina.” [ “American Archives.” ] The city and county of New York having, in May, 1775, through their delegates to Congress, asked Congress for its advice (not its orders), “how to conduct themselves with regard to the [British] troops” shortly expected to arrive there, Congress, on 15th May, 1775, “ Resolved, That it be recommended to the inhabitants of New York that if the troops which are expected should arrive, the said colony act on the defensive so long as may be consistent with their safety and security,” &c. [American Archives.] If necessary, I could fill pages with these mere recommendations of Congress in 1774, ‘75 and ‘76.