wished first to secure a pro-
tective treaty with a foreign power.
said more explicitly: “We have hobbled on under a fatal attachment to Great Britain
; I felt that attachment as much as any man, but I feel a stronger one to my country.”
now took the lead.
In him a vigorous intellect was obedient to duty; a learned and able lawyer, he also cultivated poetry and letters; not rich, he was above want; in his habits he was as abincrease his store; in his habits of life he was as abstemious as an ascetic; his manners had the frolic mirthfulness of innocence.
Genial and loving, overflowing with charity and benevolence, he blended the gentleness of human kindness with sincerity in his conduct, and indomitable firmness in his convictions of right.
From 1774 his views coincided with those of Jefferson
, and his dovelike sweetness of temper, his transparent artlessness, his simplicity of character, his legal erudition and acuteness, added persuasion to his words, as he drew attention to the real point at issue: ‘It is too true our ships may be taken unless we provide a remedy; but we may authorize vessels to arm, and we may give letters of marque and reprisal.
We may also invite foreign powers to make treaties of commerce with us; but before this measure is adopted, it is to be considered in what character we shall treat?
As subjects of Great Britain
No: we must declare our selves a free people.’
With this explanation he moved a resolution, ‘That the colonies have a right to contract alliances with foreign powers.’
‘This is independence,’ said an objector.
The question whether the resolution should be considered, was decided in the affirmative by seven colonies