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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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that body under its various names, of Congress, Convention, and Committee of Safety, with the exception of a short period, for nearly three years, till he went to the Continental Congress.  Some preliminary remarks are requisite to explain the basis, on which this new representative government of New York was founded.

And here it must be kept in mind, that wherever the power of Great Britain was thrown off or disavowed, all political control passed by its natural course into the hands of the people.  No man, or body of men, had authority to command any other body of men or individual; equality of rights produced an equality of condition; and the structure of government could only be raised on the strength of powers delegated anew to certain persons, for this special purpose, by the willing voice of the people, whom circumstances had made the sole arbiters of their own political destiny.  Hence the primary movement was to bring the people to understand their interests and act in concert, and the first means used to attain this end was the establishment of Committees of Correspondence in different parts of the country.  These committees were chosen by the people in towns, counties, parishes, districts, or smaller neighborhoods.  They were entrusted with certain powers, which enabled them to correspond with each other, and to represent in some sort the political views and objects of their constituents.  So necessary was this system in itself, and so well adapted to promote the general welfare, that it was acceded to everywhere, and in a short time committees were so universally appointed throughout the colonies, that the friends of liberty had speedy and direct channels open with each other in every part of the continent.  This increased their mutual intelligence, gave them confidence and encouragement, harmonized their sentiments, and sowed the seeds of union.

But these committees in many instances had a more important, trust and that was the power of electing deputies to meet the deputies of other committees for the purpose 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 30. 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