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[319] solicited and received from the committee of
Chap. LX.} 1776. Mar.
secret correspondence an appointment as commercial commissioner and agent to France. That country, the committee instructed him to say, ‘is pitched upon for the first application, from an opinion that if we should, as there is appearance we shall, come to a total separation with Great Britain, France would be the power whose friendship it would be fittest for us to obtain and cultivate.’ The announcement was coupled with a request for clothing and arms for twenty five thousand men, a hundred fieldpieces, and a suitable quantity of ammunition.

This was the act of a committee; congress was itself about to send commissioners to Canada, and their instructions, reported by John Adams, Wythe, and Sherman, contained this clause: ‘You are to declare, that it is our inclination that the people of Canada may set up such a form of government as will be most likely in their judgment to produce their happiness.’ This invitation to the Canadians to form a government without any limitation of time, was, for three or four hours, resisted by Jay and others, on the ground that it ‘was an independency;’ but the words were adopted, and they foreshadowed a similar decision for each one of the United Colonies.

Congress had received the act of parliament prohibiting all trade with the thirteen colonies, and confiscating their ships and effects as if they were the ships and effects of open enemies. The first instinct was to retaliate; and on the sixteenth of March a committee of the whole considered the propriety of authorizing the inhabitants of the colonies to fit out privateers. Again it appeared that there

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