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[447]

If the Congresses referred to were the representatives of one great sovereign people occupying, as such, the territory of the thirteen colonies, we never would have heard of their passing resolutions merely recommending the colonies to do this thing or that thing, but we would have found the record of their Laws enacted after the usual forms of single sovereign or confederated governments, and ordering such and such things to be done by its individual subjects, or making by law, authorized requisitions on the States in the Confederacy.

To show what views Congress itself, at the times referred to, entertained of this alleged one sovereign people of the entire country, we have only to turn to their resolution of September 6th, 1774. [They first convened on 5th September of that year.]

Here is the resolution referred to:

Thursday, September 6th. The Congress, resuming the consideration of Rules of Conduct to be observed in debating and determining the questions that may come under consideration,

Resolved, That, in determining questions in this Congress, each colony or province shall have one vote.

What kind of a Republican one people, pray, was that which permitted the less than seventy thousand people of that tom-tit Rhode Island to have a voice equal in weight and influence with the voice of the several hundreds of thousands of the people of New York, or of Pennsylvania, or of Virginia? Is it presumable that the delegates from either of the three large States last mentioned, if they supposed the people of the Colonies, represented in that Congress, were the people of one sovereign political community, would have been or were such idiotic simpletons as to have agreed to such an utter absurdity (on the theory that the people of all the Colonies were one sovereign people) as the resolution last quoted? But they did agree to it; and why? because they knew that each Colony appearing in that Congress appeared as an Independent Sovereign, and they knew that a sovereign community of seventy thousand people is as much a sovereign as one of twenty millions, or a hundred millions of people.

Even after a written form of general government (i. e., the Articles of Confederation) was agreed on, and adopted several years afterwards, Rhode Island had, under it, an equal voice with any one of the larger States in conducting the affairs of the Confederacy. Article V. of that Government says, among other things, “in determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.”


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