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‘ [139] and recommend such measures as you shall judge to
Chap. XLIX.} 1775. Nov.
afford the best prospect of obtaining redress of American grievances, and restoring that union and harmony between Great Britain and the colonies, so essential to the welfare and happiness of both countries. Though the oppressive measures of the British parliament and administration have compelled us to resist their violence by force of arms, yet we strictly enjoin you, that you, in behalf of this colony, dissent from and utterly reject any propositions, should such be made, that may cause or lead to a separation from our mother country, or a change of the form of this government.’

The assembly which adopted these instructions sat always with closed doors, and did not even allow the names of the voters on the division to be recorded in their journal. Their act was in every way mischievous in its consequences: nothing could have been devised more completely in the interest of the British ministry, whose accusation that there existed in the continental congress a party for independence on insufficient grounds, appeared to be confirmed by high authority; it was also an intimation to the powers of the European continent, that the colonies were incurably divided. The influence of the measure was wide; Delaware was naturally swayed by the example of its more powerful neighbor; the party of the proprietary in Maryland took courage; in a few weeks the assembly of New Jersey, in like manner, held back the delegates of that province by an equally stringent declaration. Thus for five or six months the assembly of Pennsylvania blocked the way to effective measures, sowing broadcast the seeds

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