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[320] were those who still listened to the hope of relief
Chap. LX.} 1776. Mar.
through Rockingham, or of redress through the royal commissioners, though the act of parliament conferred on them no power but to pardon. On the other hand, Franklin wished that the measure should be preceded by a declaration of war, as of one independent nation against another. The question was resumed on the eighteenth; and after an able debate, privateers were authorized to cruise against ships and their cargoes belonging to any inhabitant, not of Ireland or the West Indies, but of Great Britain, by the vote of all New England, New York, Virginia, and North Carolina, against Pennsylvania and Maryland. The other colonies were not sufficiently represented to give their voices.

On the nineteenth, Wythe, with Jay and Wilson, was appointed to prepare a preamble to the resolutions. Wythe found himself in a minority in the committee; and when, on the twenty second, he presented their report, he moved an amendment, charging the king himself with their grievances, inasmuch as he had ‘rejected their petitions with scorn and contempt.’ This was new ground: hitherto congress had disclaimed the authority of parliament, not allegiance to the crown. Jay, Wilson, and Johnson opposed the amendment, as effectually severing the king from the thirteen colonies forever; it was supported by Richard Henry Lee, who seconded it, by Chase, Sergeant of New Jersey, and Harrison. At the end of four hours Maryland interposed its veto, and thus put off the decision for a day; but on the twenty third the language of Wythe was accepted.

The question of opening the ports, after having

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