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‘ [83] any question at all on this matter; and the others, perceiving the determined resolution of the delegate of North Carolina to withdraw from Congress if any such question should be put, they waived their opposition,’ and he won his point.

The possibility of States combining in Congress in order to carry out repressive legislation against others, occasioned Burke much worry. He thought the most formidable combination would be that of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. ‘The first,’ wrote he, ‘has power sufficient to overawe and consequently to direct the three New England States. The second could equally influence Jersey and Delaware. Virginia would be formidable to her Southern neighbors and Maryland. New York could not resist a combination of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and Maryland must fall a sacrifice to Pennsylvania and Virginia.’ To prevent the possibility of any such events he advocated the sending by the States to the National Congress of the ablest men that could be found within them, thus making election to Congress an incentive to patriotic endeavor. They were to go to the Congress, not for the purpose of looking out for and guarding national interests, but to see that no harm came to the States.

Dr. Friedenwald went on to show what an insight into the inner history of the transactions of the Continental Congress these letters and debates gave, elucidating many points that have hitherto been extremely obscure. Many sidelights were also thrown upon life in Philadelphia and New York during this time, the people of Pennsylvania having often been spoken of in disparaging terms, owing to the high prices that were demanded for all necessaries. Living was extremely expensive, owing to the depreciation of the currency, and when a member of Congress proposed bringing his wife with him to York, he was warned not to do so, as there was not a respectable place in which to lay her head to be found in the town. Food was scarce, excepting beef, and as one of the North Carolina members had a delicate palate, he wrote home asking that he be sent some pickled oysters and dried fish.

In conclusion, the speaker referred in a general way to the value of this new material, emphasizing the fact that there are so few records of the debates of the Continental Congress extant. This made the accounts of the transactions of that body similar to the reports of the proceedings of Congress to-day, where no record is taken of the debates and conferences, but only the completed acts placed before the public.

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Herbert Friedenwald (1)
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