was born, the principle of entailed property and that of church establishment.
Such was the youth of twenty-two who was thrilled in 1765 by the Stamp Act.
In the ten years of passionate discussion which followed, two things became clear: first, that there had long existed among the colonists very radical theoretical notions of political freedom; and second, that there was everywhere a spirit of practical conservatism.
illustrates the union of these two tendencies.
He took his seat in the Continental Congress in June, 1775.
He was only thirty-two, but he had already written, in the summer of 1774, A summary view of the Rights of British America
which had been published in England
, himself a judge of good writing and sound politics.
had also prepared in 1775 the Address of the Virginia House of Burgesses
For these reasons he was placed at the head of the Committee
for drafting the Declaration of Independence
We need not linger over the familiar circumstances of its composition.
Everybody knows how Franklin
made a few verbal alterations in the first draft, how the committee of five then reported it to the Congress
, which proceeded to cut out