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[323] violence which overwhelmed their internal divisions,
Chap. LX.} 1776. Apr.
and made them well nigh unanimous for independence, it did not turn against the blacks, of whom even the insurgents, when taken captive, were treated with forbearance.

The slave trade having been denied to be a legitimate traffic, and branded as a crime against humanity, at last, on the sixth day of April, the thirteen colonies threw open their commerce to all the world, ‘not subject to the king of Great Britain.’ In this manner the colonial system was swept away forever from the continent, and the flag of every nation invited to its harbors. The vote abolished the British customhouses, and instituted none in their stead. Absolute free trade took the place of hoary restrictions; the products of the world could be imported from any place in any friendly bottom, and the products of American industry in like manner exported, without a tax.

This virtual declaration of independence, made with no limitation of time, brought the conflict between the congress and the proprietary government of Pennsylvania to a crisis, which presaged internal strife and a war of party against party. On the twenty eighth of February, the committee of correspondence of Philadelphia, against the wish of Joseph Reed, their chairman, resolved to call a convention of the people. This was the wisest measure that could have been proposed; and had Dickinson, Morris, and Reed, like Franklin, Clymer, and Mackean, joined heartily in its support, no conflict could have ensued, except between determined royalists and the friends of American liberty. The proprietary interest,

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