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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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A few days subsequently, a letter was received by the Convention from John Alsop, one of the New York delegates in Congress.

Philadelphia, July 16th, 1776.


‘Yesterday our President read in Congress a resolve of your honorable body, dated the ninth instant, in which you declare New York a free and independent state.  I cannot help saying, that I was much surprised to find it come through that channel.  The usual method hitherto practised has been, for the Convention of each colony to give their delegates instructions to act and vote upon all and any important questions.  And in the last letter we were favored with from your body, you told us that you were not competent, or authorized, to give us instructions on that grand question; nor have you been pleased to answer our letter of the second instant, any otherwise than by your said resolve, transmitted to the President.  I think we were entitled to an answer.

‘I am compelled therefore to declare, that it is against my judgment and inclination.  As long as a door was left open for a reconciliation with Great Britain, upon honorable and just terms, I was willing and ready to render my country all the service in my power, and for which purpose I was appointed and sent to this Congress; but as you have, I presume, by that Declaration, closed the door of reconciliation, I must beg leave to resign my seat as a delegate from New York, and that I may be favored with an answer and my dismission.  I have the honor to be, &c.


Upon reading this letter, it was ‘resolved unanimously, that this Convention do cheerfully accept Mr. Alsop's resignation,’ and a committee was appointed to draft a letter to the delegates in Congress, enclosing a copy of this resolve.  The draft was made by Gouverneur Morris, and signed by the President of the Convention.

This was the last proceeding of the New York Convention

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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 113. 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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