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[378] and on the fifteenth Archibald Cary reported resolu-
Chap. LXIV.} 1776. May.
tions which had been drafted by Pendleton, offered by Nelson, and enforced by Henry. They were then twice read at the clerk's table, and, one hundred and twelve members being present, were unanimously agreed to. The preamble enumerated their chief grievances, among others, that the king's representative in the colony was training and employing slaves against their masters; and they say: ‘We have no alternative left but an abject submission or a total separation;’ therefore they went on to decree, ‘that their delegates in congress be instructed to propose to that body to declare the United Colonies free and independent states, absolved from all allegiance or dependence upon the crown or parliament of Great Britain; and that they give the assent of this colony to such declaration, and to measures for forming foreign alliances, and a confederation of the colonies: provided that the power of forming government for, and the regulation of the internal concerns of, each colony be left to the respective colonial legislatures.’

This resolution was received out of doors with chimes of bells and the noise of artillery; and the British flag, which had thus far kept its place on the state-house, was struck, to be raised no more.

In the following days a committee of thirty two was appointed to prepare a declaration of rights and a plan of government. Among the members were Archibald Cary, Patrick Henry, the aged Richard Bland, Edmund Randolph, son of the attorney general, who was then a refugee in England, Nicholas, James Madison, the youthful delegate from Orange county; but the man of most influence at this great

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