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[438] her borders, substituted her own name on all occasions
CHAP. Lxviii} 1776. June.
for that of the king, and gave to her delegates new instructions which left them at liberty to vote respecting independence according to their judgment.

On the fifteenth, the council and assembly of New Hampshire, in reply to a letter from Bartlett and Whipple, their delegates in congress, unanimously voted in favor of ‘declaring the Thirteen United Colonies a free and independent state; and solemnly pledged their faith and honor to support the measure with their lives and fortunes.’

Massachusetts took the opinion of its people in their town meetings; and all that had been heard from declared for independence. The choice of New England was spontaneous and undoubted. Its extended line of seacoast, winding round deep inlets and projecting headlands, and rent with safe and convenient harbors, defied the menaces of a blockade; and except that the harbor of Newport was coveted by the British as a shelter for their fleet, the uninviting ruggedness of its soil and its comparatively compact population gave it a sense of security against the return of the enemy whom they had once effectually driven away.

Far different was the position of New York, which was the first of the large central colonies to mark out

irrevocably her system. Devoted to commerce, she yet possessed but one seaport on the main, and if that great mart should fall into the hands of the British, she must for the indefinite time of its occupation, resign all maritime intercourse with other colonies and with the world. The danger was not vague and distant; it was close at hand, distinctly known, and inevitable.

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