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[449] stronger was his determination; for a free constitu-
Chap. LXIX.} 1776. July 1.
tion of civil government could not be purchased at too dear a rate. He called to mind the fixed rule of the Romans, never to send or receive ambassadors to treat of peace with their enemies while their affairs were in a disastrous situation; and he was cheered by the belief that his countrymen were of the same temper and principle.

At the appointed hour the members, probably on that day fifty one in number, appeared in their places; among them the delegates lately chosen in New Jersey. The great occasion had brought forth superior statesmen; none of them passionate revolutionists, but men who joined the power of moderation to energy. After they had all passed away, their longevity was remarked as a proof of their calm and temperate nature; full two thirds of the New England representatives lived beyond seventy years; some of them to be eighty or ninety. Every colony was found to be represented, and the delegates of all but one had received full power of action. Comprehensive instructions, reaching the question of independence without explicitly using the word, had been given by Massachusetts in January, by South Carolina in March, by Georgia on the fifth of April. North Carolina, in the words of Cornelius Harnett, on the fourteenth of April, was the first to direct expressly its representatives in congress to concur in a declaration of independence. On the first of May, Massachusetts expunged the regal style from all public proceedings, and substituted the name of her ‘government and people;’ on the fourth, Rhode Island more explicitly renounced allegiance, and made its delegates the representatives

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