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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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there was a wavering spirit if not a decided tory interest in the Assembly.

At this stage of affairs very few persons anywhere, and perhaps none in New York, contemplated a separation from the mother country.  A redress of grievances, on such terms as should restore and secure the rights and liberties of America, was all that was looked for, even by the most zealous of those engaged in converting measures of resistance against the oppressive acts of the British Parliament.  A few keen sighted men, who had watched the course of events more critically, it may be, had other views, and were prepared from the beginning to go all lengths, believing the hazard to be warranted by the chance of success.  If there were any such, their number was small, and they deemed it prudent not to make a public display of the tokens of their presentiments and hopes.

At the beginning of the revolution, and perhaps throughout the contest, the British had more friends in the colony of New York, than in any other part of the continent.  This may be ascribed to several causes.  In the first place, there was a large number of landed proprietors and wealthy families, who naturally felt a greater security for their property under an established order of things, than could he expected in the commotions and risks of a change.  Again, the Johnsons, father and sons, who had dwelt for many years as Indian agents on the fontiers, and were noted for their loyalty, possessed a strong influence over the inhabitants of those regions, and for some time after the troubles commenced, the people west of Albany were much infected with tory principles and tendencies.  Long Island, Staten island, and even the city of New York and the banks of the Hudson below the Highlands, were so much exposed to hostile attacks in case of war, and so little capable of defence, that the common dictates of nature would incline the people to the safer side, and make them tardy in throwing off allegiance to a power, whose effects they could neither resist nor escape.

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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 37. 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


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