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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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of the differences between England and the colonies, the gradual encroachments of the former, and the injuries and oppressions to which the latter had submitted, till their patience was exhausted, and submission had become an outrage upon their dignity as a free people, a crime against justice, and a mockery of liberty.  In short, we hear no more of reconciliation.

It was Mr. Morris’s opinion, however, that the present Congress had not power to enter upon the plan of a new government, as such a thing was not contemplated by their constituents, when they were chosen.  At the close of his speech he made a motion, that a committee should be appointed to draw up a notice to the people, recommending a new election of persons, expressly authorized to assemble and form a new government.  This motion was opposed by Mr. Scott, on the ground that it was doubtful whether the Congress had not the power desired, and he thought it was enough to appoint a committee to report as to that point.  These preliminary difficulties were at length got over, by an amendment of Mr. Morris’s motion, proposed by Mr. Sands, that a committee should be appointed to take into consideration the resolutions of the Continental Congress, and to report thereon with all convenient speed.  Mr. Morris held to his original proposition, and opposed the amendment in a speech, but it was carried in the affirmative.

On the twenty-seventh of May the committee reported in substance as follows.  That the right of framing or new modelling civil government belongs to the people; that the present form of Congress and committees originated in the free choice of the inhabitants, and depends on them; that this form was instituted while the old government subsisted, and was necessarily defective; that, by the voluntary abdication of the late Governor Tryon, the dissolution of the old Assembly, and the unwarrantable hostilities committed by the British fleets and armies, the old form of government is ipso facto dissolved, whereby it is become necessary, that the people of this colony should institute a new and regular form of internal government, in ex-

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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 92. 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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