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[447] Chase, now the foremost civilian in Maryland, the
CHAP. Lxviii} 1776. June.
ablest of their delegates in the continental congress, a friend to law not less than to liberty, ever attracted towards the lovers of established government, had always, on the question of independence, kept ahead of men who otherwise agreed with him. Guided by his clear understanding and vehement will, the patriots of all classes, the most eager and the laggards, joined hands. In May and the early part of June, the people, in county meetings, renounced the hope of reconciliation; listening to their voices, the committee of safety called a convention; and that body, assembling on the twenty first of June, placed itself in the closest relations with its constituents. On the request of any one delegate, the yeas and nays might be taken and entered in its journal; its debates and proceedings were public. Its measures for calling its militia into active service were prompt and efficient. On the afternoon of the day on which Moultrie repelled the British squadron from Charleston, it concurred with Virginia on the subject of independence, a confederation, treaties with foreign powers, and the reservation of the internal government of each colony to its own people; and five days later, while the continental congress was still considering the form of its
declaration of independence, it directed the election of a new convention to create a government by the authority of the people only.

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