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[80]

On the seventeenth of July, 1775, her people as-

Chap. XLV.} 1775.
sembled at Richmond in a convention, which was now, without a rival, the supreme government on her soil. Every procedure was marked by that mixture of courage and moderation which in times of revolution is the omen of success. The military preparations had nothing in view beyond defence; a proposal of volunteer companies in Williamsburg to secure the public money was discountenanced and rejected. Two regiments of regular troops in fifteen companies were called into being; sixteen regiments of minutemen were to keep themselves in readiness for actual service; for the command of the first regiment of regulars, the convention, passing over Hugh Mercer, now a resident of Virginia, elected Patrick Henry, who thus became, for a few months, in rank at least, the provincial commander-in-chief. For the relief of scrupulous consciences in the army, it was made an instruction, that dissenting clergymen might pray with the soldiers and preach to them. Delegates to serve in general congress for a year were elected; and among them once more Richard Bland. Of the same lineage with Giles Bland, who, ninety nine years before had perished as a martyr to liberty, having in his veins the blood of Powhatan and Pocahontas, trained in the college of William and Mary, and afterwards in the university of Edinburgh, he was venerable with age, public service, and a long career of vigilant, unswerving fidelity to civil liberty. Profoundly versed in the history and charters and laws of Virginia, in 1766 he had displayed the rights of the colonies with an uncompromising vigor and prophetic insight, such as Dickinson, who wrote after

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