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[454] to make the declaration before her sense is known; as
Chap. LXIX.} 1776. July 1.
we have sent an agent expressly to inquire whether such a declaration would be acceptable to her, and we have reason to believe he is now arrived at the court of Versailles. The measure ought to be delayed, till the common interests shall in the best manner be consulted by common consent. Besides, the door to accommodation with Great Britain ought not to be shut, until we know what terms can be obtained from some competent power. Thus to break with her before we have compacted with another, is to make experiments on the lives and liberties of my countrymen, which I would sooner die than agree to make; at best it is to throw us into the hands of some other power and to lie at mercy, for we shall have passed the river that is never to be repassed. We ought to retain the declaration and remain masters of our own fame and fate. We ought to inform that power, that we are filled with a just detestation of our oppressors; that we are determined to cast off forever all subjection to them, to declare ourselves independent, and to support that declaration with our lives and fortunes, provided that power will approve the proceeding, acknowledge our independence, and enter into a treaty with us upon equitable and advantageous conditions.

Other objections to the declaration at this time are suggested by our internal circumstances. The formation of our governments, and an agreement upon the terms of our confederation, ought to precede the assumption of our station among sovereigns. A sovereignty composed of several distinct bodies of men, not subject to established constitutions, and not combined together by confirmed articles of union, is such

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