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fell to Jefferson to write it, both because he represented Virginia from which the proposition had gone forth, and because he had been elected by the largest number of votes. On the twelfth the office of digesting the form of a confederation to be entered into between the colonies, was referred to a committee of one member from each colony; and as if the subject had not been of transcendant importance, the appointment of the committee was left to the presiding officer. Among those whom Hancock selected are found the names of Samuel Adams, Dickinson, and Edward Rutledge: it could have been wished that the two Adamses had changed places, though probably the result would at that time have been the same; no one man had done Chap LXV.} 1776 June. so much to bring about independence as the elder Adams; but his skill in constructing governments, not his knowledge of the principles of freedom, was less remarkable than that of his younger kinsman. In the committee, Dickinson, who, as a
independence, were read in the house. No answer was returned; but a petition from Cumberland county, asking that the instructions to the delegates of Pennsylvania might be withdrawn, was read a second time, and a committee of seven was appointed to bring in new instructions. Of its members, among whom were Dickinson, Morris, Reed, Clymer, and one or two loyalists, all but Clymer were, for the present, opposed to independence. The instructions of Pennsylvania, which they reported on the sixth, conceded that the revolutionists were in the right; that all hopes of a reconciliation, on reasonable terms, were extinguished; and nevertheless, with a full knowledge that the king would Chap. LXV.} 1776. June. not yield, they expressed their ardent desire for an end of the civil war; while they expressly sanctioned a confederation, and treaties with foreign kingdoms and states, they neither advised nor forbade a declaration of independence, trusting to the ability, prudence, and integr
embers were men who held offices under the crown of Great Britain, and who had been dragged into compliance with most of the recommendations of congress only from the fear of being superseded by a convention; that measures had now been taken to assemble a convention of the people by men whose constituents were fighting men, and were determined to support the union of the province with the other colonies at every hazard. The members of the assembly became uneasy: in June. the first days of June no quorum appeared; on the fifth the proceedings of Virginia, directing her delegates to propose independence, were read in the house. No answer was returned; but a petition from Cumberland county, asking that the instructions to the delegates of Pennsylvania might be withdrawn, was read a second time, and a committee of seven was appointed to bring in new instructions. Of its members, among whom were Dickinson, Morris, Reed, Clymer, and one or two loyalists, all but Clymer were, for the pr
ia communicated to her sister col- Chap. LXV.} 1776. May. onies her instruction to her delegates ireceived as indisputably the voice Chap. LXV.} 1776. May. of her whole people. She had dispensed for its president Daniel Roberdau; Chap. LXV.} 1776. May. and it voted unanimously, that the instromestic political party, springing Chap. LXV.} 1776. May. spontaneously from the ranks of the peopinstructions against independence, Chap. LXV.} 1776. May. and to oppose altering the least part offull knowledge that the king would Chap. LXV.} 1776. June. not yield, they expressed their ardent morning of the eighth of June, the Chap. LXV.} 1776. June. assembly of Pennsylvania resumed the cothe restriction on his vote by the Chap. LXV.} 1776 June. Pennsylvania assembly on that morning, diress queen, in her turn, expressed Chap. LXV.} 1776. June. a very hearty desire to see obedience a been the same; no one man had done Chap LXV.} 1776 June. so much to bring about independence as th
h, was cited by the popular party as a dissolution of the proprietary government and a direction to institute a new one under the authority of the people. On the next day, which was kept as a national fast, George Duffield, the minister of the third Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, with John Adams for a listener, drew a parallel between George the Third and Pharaoh, and inferred that the same providence of God which had rescued the Israelites, intended to free the Americans. On the twenty fourth a town meeting of more than four thousand men was held in the state-house yard, to confront the instructions of the assembly against independence with the vote of the continental congress against oaths of allegiance and the exercise of any kind of authority under the crown. It was called to order by John Bayard, the chairman of the committee of inspection for the county of Philadelphia, a patriot of singular purity of character and disinterestedness, personally brave, pensive, earnest,
ence to a committee, composed of those who had most earnestly contested the wishes of the Germans. The assembly seemed to have no purpose, unless to gain time and wait. The constitution was the watchword of the conservative members; union that of the revolutionists; one party represented old established interests, another saw no hope but from independence and a firm confederation; between these two stood Dickinson, whose central position was the hiding place of the irresolute. On the twenty third an address, claiming to proceed from the committee of inspection for the county of Philadelphia, and bearing the name of William Hamilton as chairman, asked the assembly to adhere religiously to its instructions against independence, Chap. LXV.} 1776. May. and to oppose altering the least part of their invaluable constitution. The next day the committee of inspection of the city of Philadelphia came together with Mackean as chairman, and addressed a memorial directly to the continenta
June, 1776 AD (search for this): chapter 25
Chapter 65: The Virginia proposition of independence. May—June, 1776. while Virginia communicated to her sister col- Chap. LXV.} 1776. May. onies her instruction to her delegates in congress to propose independence, Washington at New York freely and repeatedly delivered his opinion: A reconciliation with Great Britain is impracticable and would be in the highest degree detrimental to the true interest of America; when I first took the command of the army, I abhorred the idea of independence; but I am now fully convinced that nothing else will save us. The preamble and the resolves of congress, adopted at Philadelphia on the same day with the Virginia instructions at Williamsburg, were in themselves the act of a self-determining political body. The blow which proceeded from John Adams, felled the proprietary authority in Pennsylvania and Maryland to the ground. Maryland, more happy than her neighbor, kept her ranks unbroken, for she had intrusted the direction of the r
o suppress totally the exercise of every kind of office derived from the king; and in her new instructions to her delegates in congress she mixed with her pledges of support to the common cause the lingering wish for a reunion with Great Britain. Meanwhile the governor was required to leave the province; and the only powers actually in being were the deputies in congress, the council of safety, and the convention. In Pennsylvania, the preamble, which was published on the morning of the sixteenth, was cited by the popular party as a dissolution of the proprietary government and a direction to institute a new one under the authority of the people. On the next day, which was kept as a national fast, George Duffield, the minister of the third Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, with John Adams for a listener, drew a parallel between George the Third and Pharaoh, and inferred that the same providence of God which had rescued the Israelites, intended to free the Americans. On the twe
y, but with the further condition, that, to prevent any loss of time, a committee should in the meanwhile prepare a declaration in harmony with the proposed resolution. On the next day, Jefferson, John Adams, Franklin, Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were chosen by ballot to prepare the declaration; and it fell to Jefferson to write it, both because he represented Virginia from which the proposition had gone forth, and because he had been elected by the largest number of votes. On the twelfth the office of digesting the form of a confederation to be entered into between the colonies, was referred to a committee of one member from each colony; and as if the subject had not been of transcendant importance, the appointment of the committee was left to the presiding officer. Among those whom Hancock selected are found the names of Samuel Adams, Dickinson, and Edward Rutledge: it could have been wished that the two Adamses had changed places, though probably the result would at tha
h a full knowledge that the king would Chap. LXV.} 1776. June. not yield, they expressed their ardent desire for an end of the civil war; while they expressly sanctioned a confederation, and treaties with foreign kingdoms and states, they neither advised nor forbade a declaration of independence, trusting to the ability, prudence, and integrity of their delegates. Now the opinion of the majority of those delegates was notorious; but to remove even a possibility of uncertainty, on the seventh of June, before the question on the new instructions was taken, Dickinson, in the assembly, made a speech, in which he pledged his word to Allen, who was the proprietary chief-justice of the province, and to the whole house, that he and the majority of the delegates would continue to vote against independence. On that same day, and perhaps while Dickinson was speaking in the Pennsylvania assembly, Richard Henry Lee, in the name and with the special authority of Virginia, proposed: That these
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