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[72] to relieve distress; and by providing for the
Chap. XLV.} 1775.
yearly election of its successors, severed from the colonial legislature the appointment of future delegates to the general congress. The new provincial congress, chosen with all the forms of law by the qualified voters of each county, came together in October, and while they anxiously prayed for the re-establishment of harmony with Britain, they so far looked to the contingency of war as to offer to raise four thousand minute men, and actually to enrol two regiments for the continental service. It was on this occasion that William Alexander, commonly called the Earl of Stirling, a man of courage, intelligence, and promptitude, though a member of the royal council, entered the army as colonel of the battalion of East New Jersey. The attempt to raise money by taxation having failed, the expenses were met by a reluctant issue of thirty thousand pounds in bills of credit.

The disposition of New Jersey to languor was confirmed by Pennsylvania, where, from the first, Dickinson acted in concert with the proprietary government; and the ardent patriots, who had less command of public confidence, less influence with the religious parties, less tried ability in statesmanship, less social consideration in the city which was then the most populous and most wealthy in British America, yielded to his guidance. The first Pennsylvania convention in June, 1774, electing as its president the opulent merchant Thomas Willing, long an opponent of independence, aimed at no continuing political organization, and even referred the choice of the Pennsylvania delegates to congress to the house of representatives, in which loyalists held the majority, and

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