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[386] devout; it selected for its president Daniel Roberdau;
Chap. LXV.} 1776. May.
and it voted unanimously, that the instructions withdrew the province from the happy union with the other colonies; that the present assembly was not elected for the purpose of forming a new government; and, with but one dissentient voice, it further voted that the house of assembly, not having the authority of the people for that purpose, could not proceed to form a new government without usurpation. As a consequence, the committee of the city and liberties of Philadelphia was directed to summon a conference of the committees of every county in the province, to make arrangements for a constituent convention, which should be chosen by the people.

Thus was prepared the fall of the proprietary charter of Pennsylvania. Any agreement which the governor would accept could be no better than a collusion, for by the very nature of his office and his interests, he could not stand out against the British ministry, however much they might be in the wrong. The members of the assembly, by taking the oath or affirmation of allegiance, had plainly incapacitated themselves for reforming the government. Besides: the resolve in congress, which dispensed in all cases with that oath, was interpreted as conferring the rights of electors on the Germans, who had not yet been naturalized; so that the assembly appeared now to represent not the people, but a wrongfully limited constituency.

It was unhappy for the colony that Dickinson and his friends refused to place themselves at the head of the popular movement for a convention; for it left the principle of independence in Pennsylvania to be

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