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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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Administration of Justice.--Delegates to the Continental Congress.--Pay of Members in that body.--Apprehensions of an attack on New York.-General Charles Lee takes command there.-Preparations for defence.--General Lee's correspondence with Washington.--Power of arresting Tories.--Lord Stirling takes command in New York.--Washington's arrival there.

Much inconvenience was felt in some parts of the colony, for the want of courts of justice, and the regular modes of process for the recovery of debts, and the punishment of civil misdemeanors.  The Colonial Congress did not meddle in these matters.  Disorders of course increased, as the authority of the old government declined, till a new system for the administration of justice was established, under the first constitution of the State.  In the mean time, the old forms were allowed to be practised, where the officers chose to exercise their authority, and the people to obey.  The laws in all civil concerns retrained in force as heretofore, but, as many of the judges and other civil officers were, royalists, and thereby odious to the inhabitants generally, they either forbore to execute the duties of their office, or, when they made the attempt, it was to little purpose.  Some of the counties endeavored to remedy the inconvenience by loeal and temporary regulations, but these were not approved by the Congress.  The only effectual remedy was the moderation of the people, and their acquiescence in a state of things, which time and events only could improve.

On the fourth of October the Congress met according to adjournment, but kept together only two days, when they

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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 69. 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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Last modified August 20, 2006