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[215] Wythe of Virginia spoke for a few minutes to the
Chap. LV.} 1775. Dec.
same purpose, and the well-disposed assembly of New Jersey conformed to their joint advice.

Simultaneously with the intrigues to allure New Jersey into a separate system, Tryon, who, since the thirtieth of October had had his quarters on board the armed ship Dutchess of Gordon, in New York harbor, recommended a similar policy to the inhabitants of New York; but William Smith, the historian, who busied himself with opening the plan privately to members of the provincial congress, met with the most signal rebuke. Roused by the insidious proposal, the New York convention, while it disclaimed the desire to become independent, attributed the existing discontent to the hostile attempts of the ministry to execute oppressive acts of the British parliament, designed for enslaving the American colonies; on the motion of John Morin Scott, they rejected the thought of ‘a separate declaration as inconsistent with the glorious plan of American union;’ on motion of Macdougall, they confirmed the deliberative powers of the continental congress; and they perfected their organization by establishing a committee of safety with full executive powers within the colony. The king would receive no communications from the general congress, and all separate overtures were at an end.

Meantime France and the thirteen colonies were mutually attracted towards each other; and it is not easy to decide which of them made the first movement towards an intercourse. The continental congress in December voted to build thirteen ships of war, thus founding a navy, which was to be governed by a marine

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