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[214] provinces, Dickinson, Jay, and Wythe were sent by
Chap. LV.} 1775. Dec.
the general congress to Burlington, to dissuade from the measure. Admitted to the assembly, Dickinson, who still refused to believe that no heed would be taken of the petition delivered by Richard Penn, excused the silence of the king, and bade them wait to find an answer in the conduct of parliament and the administration. ‘After Americans were put to death without cause at Lexington,’ said he, ‘had the new continental congress drawn the sword and thrown away the scabbard, all lovers of liberty would have applauded. To convince Britain that we will fight, an army has been formed, and Canada invaded. Success attends us everywhere; the savages who were to have been let loose to murder our wives and children are our friends; the Canadians fight in our cause; and Canada, from whence armies were to overrun us, is conquered in as few months as it took Britain years; so that we have nothing to fear but from Europe, which is three thousand miles distant. Until this controversy, the strength and importance of our country was not known; united it cannot be conquered. The nations of Europe look with jealous eyes on the struggle; should Britain be unsuccessful in the next campaign, France will not sit still. Nothing but unity and bravery will bring Britain to terms: she wants to procure separate petitions, which we should avoid, for they would break our union, and we should become a rope of sand: rest, then, on your former noble petition, and on that of United America.’ ‘We have nothing to expect from the mercy or justice of Britain,’ argued Jay; ‘vigor and unanimity, not petitions, are our only means of safety.’

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