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" recommended to the provincial convention CHAP. HI. to write letters to the inhabitants of the several 1775. places, which are entitled to representation in assembly, requesting to choose such representatives, and that the assembly, when chosen, do elect counsellors; and that such assembly or council exercise the powers of government, until a governor of his majesty's appointment will consent to govern the colony according to its charter."
These resolutions, occasioned by the pecu. liar situation of the country, were quickly followed by others of greater vigour, and denoting more decidedly the determination to prepare for the last resort of nations.
It was most earnestly recommended to the conventions of all the colonies, to use their utmost endeavours to provide the means of ma. king gunpowder, and to obtain sufficient supplies of ammunition. Even the non-importation agreement was relaxed in favour of such vessels as should bring in cargoes of those precious materials. They were urged too, very seriously, to arm and discipline their militia, and so to class them that one fourth should be minute men. In addition to this military force, recommendations were made for the raising of several regular corps for the service of the continent; and a general resolution was entered into, de.
n Journals of Congress, p. 115.
CHAP. III. claring, that any province thinking itself in 1775. danger, might raise a body of regulars not ex.
ceeding one thousand men, which should be taken into the pay of the united colonies.
Congress also proceeded to organize the higher departments of the army.
Bills of credit to the amount of three million* of Spanish milled dollars were emitted for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the
war, and the twelve confederated colonies were June 30. pledged for their redemption. Articles of war
for the government of the continental army were formed, though as yet, the troops were raised under the authority of the states, without even
a requisition from congress, except in a few July 6. instances. A solemn dignified declaration in
form of a manifesto, was prepared to be pub.
* The ratio in which this sum was apportioned on the respective states was as follows:
New Hampshire........................$ 124,0697
lished to the army, in orders, and to the peo- CHAP. II. ple, from the pulpit. After detailing the causes 1775. of their opposition to the mother country, with all the energy of men feeling the injuries of which they complain, the manifesto exclaims, “but why should we enumerate our injuries in detail ? by one statute it is declared that par. liament 'can of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever.' What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power? not a single man of those who assume it is chosen by us, or is subject to our control or influence; but on the contrary, they are all of them exempt from the operation of such laws, and an American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensible purposes for which it is raised, would actually lighten their own burdens, in proportion as they increase ours. We saw the misery to which such despotism would reduce us. We for ten years incessantly and ineffect. ually besieged the throne as supplicants; we reasoned, we remonstrated with parliament in the most mild and decent language.”
The measures adopted by administration to enforce the claims of Great Britain are then enumerated; after which the manifesto proceeds. “We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force....the latter is our choice....we have counted the cost of this contest, and find no
CHAP. III. thing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. Honour, 1775. justice, and humanity forbid us tamely to sur
render that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.
“Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great; and, if ne. cessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable....we gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the divine favour towards us, that his providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike opera. tion, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, DECLARE, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed on us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.
“Lest this declaration should disquiet the CHAP. III. minds of our friends and fellow subjects in any 1775. part of the empire, we assure them that we mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely wish to see restored.... necessity has not yet driven us into that desperate measure, or induced us to excite any other nation to war against them..... We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain, and establishing independent states. We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.
“In our own native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birth right, and which we ever enjoyed until the late violation of it....for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our forefathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.”
During these transactions, generals Howe, May. Burgoyne, and Clinton, with a re-enforcement of troops from England arrived at Boston; soon VOL. II.