were marked by imperfection; yet they called into
CHAP. Lxviii} 1776.
being a republic, of which the ideal sovereignty, representing the unity of all public functions, resided in the collective people.
It rose above the horizon in a season of storm, but the surrounding clouds were edged with light.
The convention, having on the twenty ninth of June unanimously adopted the constitution, at once transformed itself into a temporary general assembly, and made choice by ballot of a governor and a privy council.
For governor the choice fell on Patrick Henry
; and on the first day of July, he, who had so lately been a subject of a king and had
been surrounded by fellow-subjects, became the chief magistrate
over his fellow-citizens of the commonwealth which, he said, had just formed ‘a system of government, wisely calculated to secure equal liberty,’ and which did not shrink from bearing a principal part in a war ‘involving the lasting happiness of a great proportion of the human species.’
On the fourteenth of June, the Connecticut
sembly, urged by the invitation and example of Virginia
, instructed its delegates in favor of independence, foreign alliances, and a permanent union of the colonies; but the plan of confederation was not to go into effect till it should receive the assent of the several legislatures.
At the same time, the puritan commonwealth, which had enjoyed a republican government more than a hundred years, cast the slough of royalty, and established administrative independence.
On the same day and the next the Delaware assembly, at the instance of Mackean, unanimously approved the resolution of congress of the fifteenth of May, overturned the proprietary government within