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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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Sandy Hook on the 25th of June, and three days afterwards he was joined by the whole British fleet and forces from Halifax.  An immediate attack was expected.  The Congress at once invested General Washington with a kind of dictatorial power over the military strength of the colony, authorizing him to call out such portions of the militia, as he should think proper for defence, and march them at his discretion to any place within the limits of the colony, and also to apprehend disaffected persons, whom he thought dangerous to the security of the colony, and the liberties of America.  Having entrusted this power to the commander in chief, the Congress had little to do but to second his views, and aid in executing his orders.  Indeed, they retired from the city of New York on the 30th of June, and assembled at the White Plains three days afterwards.  A few members only met at that time, nor was there a full number for business, till the 8th of July, the day appointed for the opening of the new Congress, to whom the people by a recent election had granted the powers of forming a plan of government, and deciding on the subject of independence.

In the mean time, a letter was received from the New York delegates in the Continental Congress, enclosing a draft of the Declaration of Independence, which had been reported on the 28th of June.  This came to hand three days after its date, and, together with the draft, was Ieferred to a committee, of whom Mr. Jay was chairman.  Another letter was also received, bearing date the second of July, in which the delegates stated the great embarrassments under which they labored, for want of instructions.  The subject of independence had been agitated in Congress the day before, and was to be again brought forward on that day, and the proposition would certainly be adopted, as every other colony except New York had either sent their delegates positive instructions to that effect, or left them free to act according to their own judgment.  As for themselves, their hands were tied, and they could neither vote one way nor the other.

What then should be done, after the resolution was final­

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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 109. 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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