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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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ly adopted?  They had no authority from their constituents to take part in an independent government, and yet the condition of things was so peculiar in New York, while threatened by an overwhelming military invasion, that their votes in the Congress might be of the utmost importance to the interests of the colony, which they represented.  Under these circumstances, what should they do?  Should they retire from the Congress, or remain there?  And when there, should they vote or not?  ‘Our situation,’ say they, ‘is singular and delicate, no other colony being similarly situated, with whom we can consult.  We wait then for your earliest advice and instructions, whether we are to consider our colony bound by the vote of the majority in favor of independency, and vote at large oil such questions as may arise in consequence thereof, or only concur in such measures, as may be absolutely necessary for the common safety and defence of America, exclusive of the idea of independency.  We fear it will be difficult to draw the line; but once possessed of your instructions, we will use our best endeavors to follow them.’*[27]

From these perplexities they were soon relieved.  Independence was declared on the fourth of July, and the intelligence was communicated to the New York Assembly, by the following letter from the President of Congress.

Philadelphia, July 6th, 1776.


‘Although it is not possible to foresee the consequences of human actions, yet it is nevertheless a duty we owe to ourselves and posterity, in all our public councils, to decide in

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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 110. 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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