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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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separated, or dissolved, with the design of completing the elections for a new Congress.  The Committee of Safety continued its sittings as usual, and on the fourteenth of November, the day appointed for a reunion of the Congress, several members appeared, but not enough to form a quorum for business.  In some counties there had been no elections, and in others there was a delay, which betrayed an indifference, that threatened to be fatal in its results.  In this dilemma, the members of the Congress, then assembled, wrote a circular to the committees of the counties, where no elections had yet been held, requesting them to elect their delegates as speedily as possible, and send them forward.  ‘The evil consequences,’ say they, ‘that will attend the not having a Provincial Congress to determine on the measures, necessary to be adopted and carried into execution at this .  unhappy crisis, are more easily conceived than expressed; and, rest assured, gentlemen, that the neighboring colonies will not remain inactive spectators, if you show a disposition to depart from the continental union.  You must suppose confusion and disorder, with numberless other evils, will attend the want of a Congress for the government of a colony, until a reconciliation with the mother country can be obtained.  We beg you will consider this matter with that seriousness, which the peace, good order, and liberties of your country require.’  This appeal was listened to, and, on the sixth of December the Congress commenced its proceedings, being the second Provincial Congress of New York.

This Congress was constructed on principles in some respects different from the former.  Each county sent as many delegates as it pleased, and prescribed the number, that should make a quorum to vote.  For instance, New York sent twenty-one delegates, and decided that seven should make a quorum, and when less than seven were present, no vote could be given for that county.  The Congress settled their own rule of voting as heretofore, determining the number and ratio of votes for each county.  No county had more than four votes, nor less than two.  Tryon county chose two members, but

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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 70. 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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