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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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although it was well known that they acted in accordance with the popular voice.  In other colonies the delegates were chosen by a convention of committees, elected by the people for this specified purpose.  And again they were chosen by committees in' their individual capacities, as in New York, where the committee of the city and county of New York first chose a certain number of deputies, and the same appointments were afterwards approved by the other committees in the colony.

But in every method of election, whether to offices of a higher or lower rank, the principle, was the same.  The leaders were cautious, that the power should actually and visibly come from the people, and it is not likely, that in a single elective body on the continent there was an instance of a member's taking his seat, without exhibiting a well authenticated certificate that he was duly chosen.  To this careful attention to the rights of the people, this seeming endeavor to cause all the first springs of government to proceed from them, may be ascribed, more than to any other reason, their confidence in the rulers of their choice, and their invariable submission to their decrees.  In this respect the wisdom of the governors and the moderation of the governed are equally worthy of admiration, and whoever would search for the cause of the singular unanimity, which prevailed in the sentiments and acts of the nation, when all the world, influenced by the example of history, was looking for discord and dissolution, will find it in this judicious, uniform, and systematic management of the elections, from the first moment that all power was acknowledged to have reverted to its original possessors the people, till a solid form of government was established.  And we may probably go further and say, that it is to the security given by this form to the elective franchise, and the well ballanced principles by which it is regulated, that we owe its present stability and successful operation.  Put this in danger, or derange, or curtail it, and we should soon experience the fate of other republics, whether ancient or modern, and sink


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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 32. 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