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In the selection for Virginia there was difficulty: Patrick Henry had been the first colonel in her army; but the committee of safety did not favor his military ambition, and the prevailing opinion recalled him to civil life; in the judgment of Washington, Mercer would have supplied the place well; but he was a native of Scotland; so the choice fell upon Andrew Lewis, whose courage Washington did not question, but who still suffered from the odium thrown upon his conduct at Kanawha, where he hadearance; but if the liberties of America could not otherwise be secured, he was ready to renounce the connection with Great Britain and fight his way through. Reed, whose influence was enhanced by his possession of the intimate confidence of Washington, had neither the timidity of Dickinson nor the positiveness of Morris, and he carried into public affairs less passion than either. His heart sent out no tendrils to bind him closely to a party; he willingly left the outline of his opinions in
state, or potentate for the security of the colonies. It also directed them to favor the most proper measures for confirming the strictest union; yet at the same time they were charged to secure to the colony, in the strongest and most perfect manner, its present established form and all powers of government, so far as they relate to its internal police and the conduct of its own affairs, civil and religious. The interest of the approaching campaign centred in New York, to which place Washington had repaired with all his forces that were not ordered to Canada. At New York the British government designed to concentrate its strength, in the hopes of overwhelming all resistance in one campaign. Meantime the British general, who had fled from Boston so precipitately that he had been obliged to remain several days in Nantasket Road, to adjust his ships for the voyage, was awaiting reinforcements at Halifax; and during the interval he was willing that the attempt on the Southern colon
es. Since congress for eight months had not been able to furnish Washington, who was encamped in the most thickly peopled part of the countryove, there was little aptness for military subordination; and if Washington Chap. LXVII.} 1776. Jan. to Mar. found it difficult to reduce thable reports, congress, on the twentieth, by its president, urged Washington to hasten the departure of four battalions destined for Quebec, aeaujeu, to raise the blockade of Quebec, became known; and though Washington at that moment was in want of men, arms, and money, congress, givut one shirt to a man. It was a most touching spectacle to see Washington resign himself to the ill considered votes of congress, and, parsing been transferred to the South, Putnam stood next in rank; but Washington, who judged him leniently as an executive officer, saw his utter Fort George. But the continental congress, which had summoned Washington to Philadelphia for consultation on the defence of the middle col
ily composed of men who had hitherto not been concerned in the government; the old members of the assembly were most of them bound by their opinions and all of them by their oaths to keep aloof; Franklin, who, by never taking his place in that body, had preserved his freedom, would not place himself glaringly in contrast with his colleagues, and stayed away; while Reed, observing that the province would be in the summer a great scene of party and contention, withdrew to the army, in which Washington had procured him CHAP. Lxviii} 1776. June. the high office of adjutant-general. On the eighteenth Thomas Mackean was chosen president of the conference. On the nineteenth, one hundred and four members being present, the resolution of congress of the fifteenth of May was read twice, and after mature consideration was unanimously approved; the present government of the colony was condemned as incompetent; and a new one was ordered to be formed on the authority of the people only. Ever
nnsylvania, by the vote of Dickinson, Morris, Humphreys, and Willing, against Franklin, Morton, and Wilson; owing to the absence of Rodney, Delaware was divided, each member voting under the new instruction according to his former known opinion, Mackean for independence and Read against it. The committee rose, and Harrison reported the resolution; but at the request of Edward Rutledge, on behalf of South Carolina, the determination upon it was put off till the next day. A letter from Washington of the twenty ninth of June, was then read, from which it appeared that Chap. LXIX.} 1776. July 1. Howe and forty five ships or more, laden with troops, had arrived at Sandy Hook, and that the whole fleet was expected in a day or two. I am hopeful, wrote the general, that I shall get some reenforcements before they are prepared to attack; be that as it may, I shall make the best disposition I can of our troops. Not all who were round him had firmness like his own; Reed, the new adjutant
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