assembly to witness the integrity, if not the policy
of my conduct. The first campaign will be decisive of the controversy. The declaration will not strengthen us by one man, or by the least supply, while it may expose our soldiers to additional cruelties and outrages. Without some prelusory trials of our strength we ought not to commit our country upon an alternative, where to recede would be infamy, and to persist might be destruction. No instance is recollected of a people without a battle fought, or an ally gained, abrogating forever their connection with a warlike commercial empire. It might unite the different parties in Great Britain against us, and it might create disunion among ourselves. With other powers it would rather injure than avail us. Foreign aid will not be obtained but by our actions in the field, which are the only evidences of our union and vigor that will be respected. In the war between the United Provinces and Spain, France and England assisted the provinces before they declared themselves independent; if it is the interest of any European kingdom to aid us, we shall be aided without such a declaration; if it is not, we shall not be aided with it. Before such an irrevocable step shall be taken, we ought to know the disposition of the great powers; and how far they will permit any one or more of them to interfere. The erection of an independent empire on this continent is a phenomenon in the world; its effects will be immense, and may vibrate round the globe. How they may affect, or be supposed to affect old establishments, is not ascertained. It is singularly disrespectful to France,
Chap. LXIX.} 1776. July 1.
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