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[142] there should be a better hope of unanimity. They
Chap. XLIX.} 1775. Nov.
became more resolute, more thorough, and more active; they recalled their absent members; they welcomed the trophies of victory sent by Montgomery from the Northern army. In September they had appointed a secret committee to import gunpowder, field pieces, and arms; now, without as yet opening the commerce of the continent by a general act, they empowered that committee to export provisions or produce to the foreign West Indies at the risk of the continent, in order to purchase the materials of war. They did not authorize letters of reprisal against British property on the high seas; but in November they adopted ‘rules for the government of the American navy;’ directed the enlistment of two battalions of marines; authorized the inhabitants of the colonies to seize all ships employed as carriers for the British fleet or army; and sanctioned tribunals instituted in the separate colonies to confiscate their cargoes. The captures already made under the authority of Washington they confirmed. To meet the further expenses of the war, they voted bills of credit to the amount of three millions more.

A motion by Chase of Maryland to send envoys to France with conditional instructions did not prevail; but on the twenty ninth of November Harrison, Franklin, Johnson, Dickinson, and Jay were appointed a secret ‘committee for the sole purpose of corresponding with friends in Great Britain, Ireland, and other parts of the world;’ and funds were set aside ‘for the payment of such agents as they might send on this service.’ ‘It is an immense misfortune ’

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