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[247] with restraints on trade in the minds of European
Chap. LVI.} 1776. Jan.
statesmen, who would have regarded an invitation from the colonies to the world to share their commerce as an act of independence; the continental congress had interfered with the old restraints on foreign trade as little as the necessity for purchasing military stores would permit; they had moreover, with few exceptions, suspended alike importations and exportations, so that New England, for example, could not export fish to Spain, even to exchange it for powder; the impulse for a world-wide commerce came from Virginia. On Saturday, the twentieth of January, on motion of Archibald Cary, her convention gave its opinion in favor of opening the ports of the colonies to all persons willing to trade with them, Great Britain, Ireland, and the British West Indies excepted, and instructed her delegates in the general congress to use their endeavors to have such a measure adopted, so soon as exportation from North America should be permitted. That this recommendation should have been left after ten months of war to be proposed by a provincial convention, is another evidence of the all but invincible attachment of the colonies to England.

Thus the progress of the war necessarily brought to America independence in all but the name; she had her treasury, her army, the rudiments of a navy, incipient foreign relations, and a striving after free commerce with the world. She was self-existent, whether she would be so or no; through no other way would the king allow her to hope for rest.

The declaration of independence was silently but steadily prepared in the convictions of all the people;

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