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[141] yet turned away from considering whether well or-
Chap. XLIX.} 1775. Nov.
ganized civil institutions could be framed for wide territories without a king; and in the very moment of resistance they longed to escape the necessity of a revolution. Zubly, a delegate from Georgia, a Swiss by birth, declared in his place ‘a republic to be little better than a government of devils,’ shuddered at the idea of a separation from Great Britain as fraught with greater evils than had yet been suffered, and fled from congress to seek shelter under the authority of the crown; but the courage of John Adams, whose sagacity had so soon been vindicated by events, rose with the approach of danger; he dared to present to himself the problem of the system, best suited to the colonies in the sudden emergency; and guided by nature and experience, looked for the essential elements of government behind its forms. He studied the principles of the British constitution not merely in the history of England, but as purified and reproduced in the governments of New England, and as analyzed and reflected in the writings of Montesquieu. ‘A legislative, an executive, and a judicial power comprehended the whole of what he meant and understood by government;’ and as the only secret to be discovered was how to derive these powers directly from the people, he persuaded himself and succeeded in persuading others, that, by the aid of a convention, ‘a single month was sufficient, without the least convulsion or even animosity, to accomplish a total revolution in the government of a colony.’

The continental congress perceived the wisdom of a declaration of independence; but they acquiesced in the necessity of postponing its consideration, till

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