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[387] established by a domestic political party, springing
Chap. LXV.} 1776. May.
spontaneously from the ranks of the people, and struggling against an active social influence, a numerous religious organization, and the traditional governing classes.

The assembly stood adjourned to the twentieth; on the morning of the twenty second a quorum appeared, and as a first concession to the continental congress, the newly elected members were not required to swear allegiance to the king. The protest of the inhabitants of the city and liberties against their powers to carry the resolve of congress into execution, was presented, read, and laid on the table; but no other notice was taken of it. The resolve itself was got out of the way by the appointment of a committee to ask of the continental congress an explanation of its purpose. The proposal to sanction the naturalization of foreigners without requiring oaths of allegiance to the king, was, in like manner, put to sleep by a reference to a committee, composed of those who had most earnestly contested the wishes of the Germans. The assembly seemed to have no purpose, unless to gain time and wait. The constitution was the watchword of the conservative members; union that of the revolutionists; one party represented old established interests, another saw no hope but from independence and a firm confederation; between these two stood Dickinson, whose central position was the hiding place of the irresolute.

On the twenty third an address, claiming to proceed from the committee of inspection for the county of Philadelphia, and bearing the name of William Hamilton as chairman, asked the assembly to ‘adhere ’

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