At nine in the morning of the eighth of June, the
assembly of Pennsylvania resumed the consideration of its new instructions, and adopted them by a vote of thirty one against twelve.
The disingenuous measure proved the end of that body; once only did it again bring together a quorum of its members.
The moderate and the timid, lending their aid to the proprietary party, had put themselves in the wrong both theoretically and practically; at once conceding the impossibility of reconciliation, and, by their indecision, entailing on Pennsylvania
years of distraction and bitter strife.
At ten on the same day congress entered into the consideration of Richard Henry Lee
's resolve, and the long debate which ensued was the most copious and the most animated ever held on the subject.
The argument on the part of its opponents was sustained by Robert Livingston
of New York, by Wilson
, and Edward Rutledge
They made no objection to a confederacy, and to sending a project of a treaty by proper persons to France
; but they contended that a declaration of independence
would place America
in the power of the British
, with whom she was to negotiate; give her enemy notice to counteract her intentions before she had taken steps to carry them into execution; and expose her to ridicule in the eyes of foreign powers by prematurely attempting to bring them into an alliance.
said privately, ‘that it required the impudence of a New Englander, for them in their disjointed state to propose a treaty to a nation now at peace; that no reason could be assigned for pressing into this measure but the reason of every madman, a show of spirit.’