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[79] wishes, the retreat of the governor from Williamsburg
Chap. XLV.} 1775.
foreshadowed the end of the colonial system. The house endeavored not to take things out of their old channel. They revived the memory of Lord Botetourt, and asked only for an administration like his; they reposed full trust in the royal council, a thoroughly loyal body of the king's own selection; and asked only that the governor would conform to its advice. In vain; Dunmore, by a message, on Saturday the twenty fourth of July, summoned the house before him at what he called ‘his present residence;’ that is, on board of a British man-of-war; unless they would come, he would not give his assent even to such of their acts as he approved. Had they appeared, the whole legislature might have found themselves kept as hostages and prisoners. There were parties in Virginia as everywhere else, more or less disinclined to a final rupture. As yet the great majority earnestly desired a continuance of their ancient constitution; but this message could not but be voted unanimously a high breach of the rights and privileges of the house; and in this manner the colonial legislature ceased to exist. In concurrence with the council, the house appropriated money for the expense of ratifying the treaty with the Indians on the Ohio, and then adjourned till the twelfth of October; but no quorum ever again assembled. In the one hundred and fifty sixth year from the institution of legislative government in Virginia, in the person of his governor, the king abdicated his legislative power in the oldest and most loyal of his colonies; henceforward Virginia, reluctantly separating herself from the tried and cherished system of constitutional monarchy, must take care of herself.

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