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[313] which he sailed upon the sands of North Carolina,
Chap. LX.} 1776. Feb.
and continuing his journey through Georgetown to Charleston by land, encouraged all who came round him on the way to demand independence. To aid in forming a new government, the elder Rutledge had preceded him, leaving the delegation from their colony to suffer from the absence of its strongest will and its clearest mind. Chase of Maryland kept always in zeal and decision far ahead of the moderate among his friends; but that province had, for the time, like Pennsylvania, yielded to proprietary influences; and its convention looked with distrust upon John Adams as biassed in favor of revolution by the office of chief justice of Massachusetts, to which he had unexpectedly been chosen. Yet while the members of congress stammered in their utterance, they listened with disgust to Wilson, when, on the thirteenth of February, he presented a very long, ill written draught of an address to their constituents, in which they were made to disclaim the idea of renouncing their allegiance; and its author, perceiving that the majority relished neither its style nor its doctrine, thought fit to allow it to subside without a vote.

On the sixteenth the great measure of enfranchising American commerce was seriously considered. ‘Open your ports,’ said a member; ‘your trade will then become of so much consequence that foreigners will protect you.’ ‘In war,’ argued Wilson, ‘trade should be carried on with greater vigor than ever, after the manner of the United Provinces in their struggle against Spain. The merchants themselves must judge of the risks. Our vessels and our seamen are all abroad; and unless we open our ports, will ’

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