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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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in the affair of independence.  Considering the obstacles, which had impeded the progress of liberal opinions and decided measures in that colony, the result was, on the whole, more prompt and fortunate, than could have been expected.  It came early enough to prevent the evil consequences of counteracting motives, distracted councils, or divided action, and to combine the several pares of the Union into one solid phalanx of opposition, to meet the shafts and repel the attacks of an invading foe.  It may be regarded as a lucky circumstance, that Mr. Jay returned when he did to the Provincial Congress.  His eminent talents, the perfect integrity of his character, his knowledge of business, and above all his patriotism and zeal, must have contributed at the same time to communicate a salutary impulse to the people, and inspire his associates with a confidence in the strength of their cause.

The scene of confusion, which now prevailed and continued through the season, from the invasion of the enemy, the battle of Long Island, the surrender of New York, the capture of Fort Washington, the rencounters between the armies at White Plains, and other military disasters, deranged the proceedings of the Convention, and prevented any deliberations, except upon subjects of the most pressing necessity.  That body was obliged to assume a migratory character, sitting first at the White Plains, afterwards successively at Haerlem, Kingsbridge, Odell's house in Phillips's Manor, Croton River, and lastly at Fishkill, a position in the interior beyond the incursions of the enemy.  Here, by a vote of the Convention, the members supplied themselves with arms and ammunition, to prevent a surprise, in case any hostile bands should 'intrude upon their retirement, thus prepared to reverse the first part of Pliny's maxim, cedant arma togĉ, whatever might be the fate of the other part, concedat laurea linguĉ.  They were often reduced to a very small number, organizing themselves one day in a Committee of Safety, and the next in Convention, as the case might be.  The further consideration of a new form of government was suspended, but on the first of August a com-


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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 114. 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 jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006