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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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the re-establishment and preservation of American rights and privileges,’ and the ‘restoration of harmony’ between Great Britain and the colonies.  With such powers, it was clear they could take no efficient part in the deliberations for independence.  Hence their letter demanding further advice.

The subject was now brought fairly before the House, and in a manner that made it necessary for them to act.  At this juncture, Mr. Jay presented a resolution, which was unanimously agreed to, and which paved the way to the happy results that followed.  The purport of it was, that, as the people of the colony had not authorized their representatives to declare the colony independent of Great Britain, and yet, as recent events required some determination on this, as well as many other important points, it was necessary for the powers of the representatives to be enlarged, and it was therefore resolved, that it should be earnestly recommended to the freeholders and other electors, not only to invest the deputies with the authority heretofore required, for instituting a new form of government, but also ‘with full power to deliberate and determine on every question whatever, that may concern or effect the interest of this colony, and to conclude upon, ordain, and execute every act and measure, which to them shall appear conducive to the happiness, security, and welfare of this colony, and that they hold and exercise the said powers, until the second Tuesday in May next, or until a regular form of government shall be established,'--and, moreover, to instruct or otherwise to inform the said deputies of their sentiments, relative to the great question of independency, and such other points as they may think proper.’  The latitude and comprehensiveness of this resolve were calculated, as soon as it should come in a proper manner before the people, to put an end to all further doubts, as to the objects and extent of powers in the Congress.

There are still existing the fragments of a speech, made by Mr. Morris, in the course of the debates on the proposition for adopting a new plan of government, which he wrote out after

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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 94. 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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