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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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crowded prisons, and the chance of the prisoners being rescued by their friends, several of the most conspicuous were consigned to the jails in Connecticut, where they were received and secured by the approbation of that government.  Thirteen were at one time sent to Litchfield, among whom was the Mayor of New York, ‘accused of treasonable practices,’ although ‘not of so black a die as those of the other conspirators.’  The President of the Convention solicited in his favor, from the committee of Litchfield, ‘every indulgence consistent with safe confinement.’  He was charged with being concerned in the ways and doings of Governor Tryon.

A partial system of confiscations was put in practice, before the new form of government was completed.  The personal property of all such inhabitants of the State, as had joined the enemy, or were then with the enemy, was ordered to be sold at public vendue, and the proceeds deposited in the treasury of the state, to be afterwards disposed of at the discretion of the legislature.

On the records of the Convention there is a resolve, which declares, that every person living in the State of New York, and deriving protection from the laws, owes allegiance to the State, that whoever among these gives aid or comfort to its enemies is ‘guilty of treason against the State, and, being thereof convicted, shall suffer the pains and penalties of death.’  I know not whether any one was ever condemned under this resolve.  It was meant rather as a declaration, than a law.  In fact, neither the Provincial Congress, nor the Convention, assumed the power of making laws, nor of meddling with courts of justice.  Their resolutions and recommendations were considered as temporary, urged by the necessity of the case, designed to preserve as much order and security as possible, during the suspension of civil government, and to cease when that should again be raised on a regular and durable basis.

There is a curious clause in a letter from the Convention to President Hancock, which was drafted by Gouverneur Morris, and dated the eleventh of July, two days after the recognition


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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 117. 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