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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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power, and assumed to themselves the perilous task of self government, at the fearful hazard of distraction and anarchy among themselves, and of receiving on their heads the weight of vengeance prepared by their former masters, as a punishment of their disobedience and revolt.  No condition of human affairs could be more critical or alarming.  The social and political compact was absolutely resolved into its first elements, and it remained with each individual in these wide spread communities to determine in what manner, and on what terms; be would consent to renew this compact, and what sacrifices he would make of his private interests and personal independence for the general good.

The marvellous success, which attended the experiment of erecting a new fabric, and the union of feeling and effort, which contributed to its strength and durability, can only be accounted for by the fact, that the sense of wrong was universally felt, that the burden of oppression rested heavily upon all, and that common suffering and danger kindled a spirit of united resolution, which, from whatever motive it might first originate, rose speedily to the lofty tone of self denial and patriotism.  But however we may explain causes, the results will not be the less extraordinary, and the formation of the American Republics must ever be a theme of wonder to those, who judge of social organizations by the annals of past experience, and in all future time it must constitute a novel chapter in the history of mankind.

This is not the place to unfold the principles, or state the facts, by which events so remarkable were brought to pass.  As the subject of this memoir, however, was a prominent actor in the revolutionary movements, which gave rise to these events, I shall not be thought to wander from the province of biography, if I introduce such a view of particulars, and such a train of observations, as will conduct the reader to a just estimate of the part he sustained.  Mr. Morris was a member of the first Provincial Congress of New York, which was convened in the spring of 1775, and he continued a.  member of


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 29. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006