Delegate Discussions: Answering the Great Question

Delegate DiscussionsThe Journals of the Continental Congress provide very few details about the events in late June and early July 1776. Thomas Jefferson kept notes on the proceedings, but for the rest of their lives he and other delegates tried (often in vain) to remember exactly what happened in those days. Our best glimpse into Independence Hall, and especially into the minds and emotions of the delegates to Continental Congress, is through the letters they sent to family, friends, and colleagues. Here is a glimpse, spanning from June 28th through July 9th, of what the delegates were writing while in Philadelphia, and what they were feeling as they answered the "Great Question" of American independence. For the full-length letters, see the Library of Congress' digital transcriptions of Letters of Delegates to Congress.

Friday, June 28

Joseph Hewes (North Carolina) to James Iredell
On Monday the great question of Independancy and Total Seperation from all political intercourse with Great Britain will come on, it will be carried I expect by a great Majority and then I suppose we shall take upon us a New Name.

John Penn (North Carolina) to Samuel Johnston
The first day of July will be made remarkable; then the question relative to Independance will be ajitated1 and there is no doubt but a total seperation from Britain will take place. This Province is for it; indeed so are all except Maryland & her people are coming over fast…

1. Several letters discuss the question of independence being "agitated" in Congress. Here, to agitate (or, in Penn's case, to ajitate) is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as "to arouse public concern about an issue in the hope of prompting action".

John Penn (North Carolina) to Unknown Recipient
The first day of July will be an era of great importance as that is the day for debating the great and important question of Independance and from what I have seen there is no doubt but a total seperation between Britain & her Colonies, that were, will take place as all the Provinces but Maryland2 are for it, and the Inhabitants there are coming over fast. I wish things may answer our expectation after we are Independant. I fear most people are too sanguine relative to commerce, however it is a measure our enemies have forced upon us. I dont doubt but we shall have spirit enough to act like men; indeed it could no longer be delayed.

2. The Congress believed that Maryland, a traditionally moderate colony, would be against independence. In actuality, on June 28th, Maryland resolved for its delegates to fully support independence. Their resolution was received by Congress just in time (see below).

Saturday, June 29

Edward Rutledge (South Carolina) to John Jay
I write this for the express Purpose of requesting that if possible you will give your Attendance in Congress on Monday next3. I know full well that your Presence must be useful at New York, but I am sincerely convinced that it will be absolutely necessary in this City during the whole of the ensuing Week. A Declaration of Independence, the Form of a Confederation of these Colonies, and a Scheme for a Treaty with foreign Powers will be laid before the House on Monday. Whether we shall be able effectually to oppose the first, and infuse Wisdom into the others will depend in a great Measure upon the Exertions of the Honest and sensible part of the Members. I trust you will contribute in a considerable degree to effect the Business and therefore I wish you to be with us. Recollect the manner in which your Colony is at this Time represented.

3. Jay had been recalled by his home state of New York in May in order to serve in the state assembly. Though initially moderate and supportive of reconciliation rather than independence, Jay became more progressive over the course of the Revolution. Rutledge was looking for another ally against independence, but unfortunately for him, Jay stayed in New York.

Monday, July 1

Francis Lightfoot Lee (Virginia) to Richard Henry Lee4 (Virginia)
This day the resolve for independency was considered & agreed to in Comtee of the whole, two dissentients S. Carolina & Pensylvania. N. York did not vote, not being empower’d. Tomorrow it will pass the house with the concurrence of S. Carolina. The Pensylvania delegates indulge their own wishes, tho they acknowledge, what indeed everybody knows, that they vote contrary to the earnest desires of the people. This morning a unanimous vote of the Maryland Convention was brot to Congress, empowering their delegates to concur in all points with Congress. All the Colonies have declared their sense except N. York, whose new Convention, now choosing, is to do the business. … 3 or 4 months will in a great measure decide the fate of America. Tho I think, if our people keep up their spirits, & are determined to be free; whatever advantages the Enemy may gain over us This summer & fall; we shall be able to deprive them of in the winter, & put it out of their power ever to injure us again. Yet I confess I am uneasy, least any considerable losses on our side shou’d occasion such a panick in the Country, to induce a submission. The evil is coming, which I always dreaded, at the time when all our attention, every effort shou’d be to oppose the Enemy, we are disputing about Government & independence.

4. Richard Henry Lee had proposed the resolution that was being debated on July 1st. The Congress needed to agree on Lee's Resolution before moving on to approval of the Declaration of Independence. But Lee himself had left Philadelphia on June 13th, and relied on his friend Thomas Jefferson and his brother Francis for news of the proceedings.

John Adams (Massachusetts) to Archibald Bulloch5
There seems to have been a great Change in the sentiments of the Colonies, since you left us, and I hope that a few Months will bring us all to the same Way of thinking. This morning is assigned for the greatest Debate of all. A Declaration that these Colonies are free and independent states, has been reported by a Committee appointed some weeks ago for that Purpose, and this day or Tomorrow is to determine its Fate. May Heaven prosper the new born Republic-and make it more glorious than any former Republics have been.

5. Bulloch was a delegate to Continental Congress in 1775. By the summer of 1776, he was Governor of his home state of Georgia. Bulloch is also notable as the great-great grandfather of President Theodore Roosevelt.

John Adams (Massachusetts) to Samuel Chase (Maryland)
Your Favour by the Post this Morning gave me much pleasure but the generous and unanimous Vote of your Convention, gave me much more. It was brought into Congress this Morning, just as We were entering on the great Debate. That debate took up the most of the day, but it was an idle Mispence of Time for nothing was Said, but what had been repeated and hackneyed in that Room before an hundred Times, for Six Months past. In the Committee of the whole the Question was carried in the affirmative and reported to the House. A Colony6 desired it to be postponed untill tomorrow. Then it will pass by a great Majority, perhaps with almost Unanimity: yet I cannot promise this. Because one or two Gentlemen may possibly be found, who will vote point blank against the known and declared sense of their Constituents. Maryland, however, I have the Pleasure to inform you, behaved well: Paca, generously and nobly. … If you imagine that I expect this Declaration will ward off Calamities from this Country, you are much mistaken.7 A bloody Conflict We are destined to endure. This has been my opinion, from the Beginning. You will certainly remember my declared opinion was, at the first Congress, when we found that we could not agree upon an immediate Non Exportation, that this Contest would not be Settled without Bloodshed, and that if Hostilities Should once commence, they would terminate in an incurable Animosity, between the two Countries. Every political Event Since the 19th of April 1775 has confirmed me in this opinion. If you imagine that I flatter myself, with Happiness and Halcyon days, after a Separation from Great Britain, you are mistaken again. I don’t expect that our new Government will be so quiet, as I could wish, nor that happy Harmony, Confidence and affection between the Colonies, that every good American ought to study, labour, and pray for, a long time. But Freedom is a Counterballance for Poverty, Discord, and War, and more. It is your hard Lott and mine to be called into Life, at such a Time. Yet even these Times have their Pleasures.

6. According to Thomas Jefferson, Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was the delegate who requested that the vote be postponed to the next day.
7. John Adams and his cousin Samuel had been pushing for a "Declaration of Independency" for a long time, so they must have been thrilled when the document came to fruition, right? Not quite. Most of the Adams' letters from this momentous week focus on their concerns about the war and their frustrations over the delay in getting to a Declaration of Independence rather than on the document itself. John Adams even complained about the celebrations of the Declaration in Philadelphia (see below).

Josiah Bartlett (New Hampshire) to Nathaniel Folsom
I am glad to hear that Harmony Subsists in our colony in the Grand American Cause; we are now Come to the time, that requires harmony, together with all the wisdom, prudence, Course, & resolution we are masters of, to ward off the Evils intended by our implacable Enemies. … The Resolve of our Colony with regard to our Conduct in the affair of Independency Came to hand on Saturday, very Seasonably, as that Question was agreable to order this day taken up in a Committee of the whole House & every Colony fully represented; Thus much I can inform you that it was agreed to in Committe & I make no Doubt but that by next post I shall be able to send you a formal Declaration of Independency Setting forth the reasons &c.

Thomas Jefferson (Virginia) to William Fleming
If any doubt has arisen as to me, my country8 will have my political creed in the form of a ‘Declaration &c.’ which I was lately directed to draw. This will give decisive proof that my own sentiment concurred with the vote they instructed us to give. Had the post been to go a day later we might have been at liberty to communicate this whole matter.

8. By "country", Jefferson means Virginia. He had just received news that he had been selected for another year as a delegate to Congress, but his name was listed second to last among his fellow delegates (meaning he received the second fewest number of votes). He was anxious that his homeland had lost faith in him while he was 300 miles away. Jefferson later declined to continue serving as a delegate, citing his wife's poor health; Martha Jefferson had a miscarriage in the summer of 1776.

Tuesday, July 2

Elbridge Gerry (Massachusetts) to James Warren
I have only Time to inform You that Yesterday was agitated in Congress the great Question of Independancy, & as the Facts are as well known at the Coffee House9 of the City as in Congress I may go on to inform You that in a Committee of the Whole House It was carryed by nine Colonies.

9. The London Coffee House, in Philadelphia. Early American gossip spread (relatively) quickly! And news of the vote for independence on July 2nd was published in Benjamin Towne's Pennsylvania Evening Post that same day.

The New York Delegates (Clinton, Alsop, Wisner, Floyd, Lewis) to the New York Provincial Congress
The important Question of Indepency was agitated yesterday in a Committee of the whole Congress, and this Day will be finally determined in the House. We know the Line of our Conduct on this Occasion10; we have your Instructions, and will faithfully pursue them. New Doubts and Difficulties however will arise should Independency be declared; and that it will not, we have not the least Reason to expect nor do we believe that (if any) more than one Colony (and the Delegates of that divided) will vote against the Question; every Colony (ours only excepted) having withdrawn their former Instructions, and either positively instructed their Delegates to vote for Independency; or concur in such Vote if they shall judge it expedient. What Part are we to act after this Event takes Place; every Act we join in may then be considered as in some Measure acceding to the Vote of Independency, and binding our Colony on that Score. … We wish therefore for your earliest Advice and Instructions whether we are to consider our Colony bound by the Vote of the Majority in Favour of Indepency and vote at large on 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 Indepency. We fear it will be difficult to draw the Line; but once possessd of your Instructions we will use our best Endeavours to follow them.

[P.S. from Henry Wisner] Since Writeing the enclosed, the question of independence has Been put in Congress, and carried in the affirmative without one dissenting vote. I therefore beg your answer as quick as possible, to the enclosed.

10. New York had a new state assembly due to start meeting this same week, and they were desperate for instructions on how to vote regarding independence, especially when it became clear that the vote would, apart from them, be unanimous. Rather than follow their outdated instructions to vote against independence, the New York delegates abstained. The New York assembly resolved in favor of independence on July 9th, and the Declaration of Independence officially became "Unanimous".

Wednesday, July 3

John Adams to Abigail Adams (Letter #1)11
Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which was ever debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony “that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do.” You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell’d Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man. … Britain and America, and run through the whole Period from that Time to this, and recollect the series of political Events, the Chain of Causes and Effects, I am surprised at the Suddenness, as well as Greatness of this Revolution. Britain has been fill'd with Folly, and America with Wisdom, at least this is my Judgment. Time must determine. It is the Will of Heaven, that the two Countries should be sundered forever. It may be the Will of Heaven that America shall suffer Calamities still more wasting and Distresses yet more dreadful If this is to be the Case, it will have this good Effect, at least: it will inspire Us with many Virtues, which We have not, and correct many Errors, Follies, and Vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonour, and destroy Us.

11. Adams wrote two letters to his wife on this day, and did the same on July 7th. Abigail didn't answer any of his correspondence until a letter she wrote on July 13th and 14th, worth reading because it indicates that she had seen a draft of the Declaration of Independence before it was edited by Congress.

John Adams to Abigail Adams (Letter #2)
Had a Declaration of Independency been made seven Months ago, it would have been attended with many great and glorious Effects. … But on the other Hand, the Delay of this Declaration to this Time, has many great Advantages attending it. The Hopes of Reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by Multitudes of honest and well meaning tho weak and mistaken People, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished. Time has been given for the whole People, maturely to consider the great Question of Independence and to ripen their Judgments, dissipate their Fears, and allure their Hopes, by discussing it in News Papers and Pamphletts, by debating it, in Assemblies, Conventions, Committees of Safety and Inspection, in Town and County Meetings, as well as in private Conversations, so that the whole People in every Colony of the 13, have now adopted it, as their own Act. This will cement the Union, and avoid those Heats and perhaps Convulsions which might have been occasioned, by such a Declaration Six Months ago. But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America12. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

12. Obviously Adams was incorrect about which day in July would be the "most memorable Epocha". But even though Americans celebrate the 4th of July rather than the 2nd, Adams' ideas of celebrating with parades, games, bells, and bonfires have survived. And if we're being honest, maybe the 2nd is the more important day to celebrate. It took a month long recess, days of debate, and several dissenters not showing up on the day of the vote for independence to become a reality. Regardless of what day we consider a holiday, we, posterity, do triumph in the transaction that occurred on July 2nd.

Thursday, July 4

Abraham Clark (New Jersey) to Elias Dayton
At the Time our Forces in Canada were retreating before a Victorious Army, while Genl. Howe with a Large Armament is Advancing towards N. York, Our Congress Resolved to Declare the United Colonies Free and independent States. A Declaration for this Purpose, I expect, will this day pass Congress, it is nearly gone through, after which it will be Proclaimed with all the State & Solemnity Circumstances will admit. It is gone so far that we must now be a free independent State, or a Conquered Country. … I assure you Sir, Our Congress is An August Assembly-and can they Support the Declaration now on the Anvil, they will be the greatest Assembly on Earth.

Caesar Rodney (Delaware) to Thomas Rodney
I arrived in Congress (tho detained by thunder and Rain) time Enough to give my Voice in the matter of Independence13. It is determined by the Thirteen United Colonies with out even one disenting Colony. We have now Got through the Whole of the declaration and Ordered it to be printed, so that You will soon have the pleasure of seeing it. Hand bills of it will be printed and Sent to the Armies, Cities, Countys, Towns &c-to be published or rather proclaimed in form.

13. Caesar Rodney had a midnight ride to rival Paul Revere's. Before the vote, the two delegates from Delaware were split: Thomas McKean in favor of independence, and George Read against. McKean recounted what happened next in a letter to Rodney's nephew in 1813: "... without delay I sent an Express (at my private expense) for your honored Uncle Caesar Rodney Esquire, the remaining member for Delaware, whom I met at the State-house door, in his boots and spurs, as the members were assembling..." A soaking wet Rodney literally arrived just in time for the vote.

Friday, July 5

John Adams (Massachusetts) to Mary (Polly) Palmer
I will enclose14 to you a Declaration, in which all America is remarkably united…. It compleats a Revolution, which will make as good a Figure in the History of Mankind, as any that has preceded it-provided always, that the Ladies take Care to record the Circumstances of it, for by the Experience I have had of the other Sex, they are either too lazy, or too active, to commemorate them.

14. The enclosure delegates were sending on July 5th must have been John Dunlap's broadside. The following evening, Benjamin Towne's Pennsylvania Evening Post had been printed, and was sent by delegates to other individuals.

John Adams (Massachusetts) to Joseph Ward
You are Still impatient for a Declaration of Independency. I hope your Appetite will now be Satisfyed. Such a Declaration passed Congress Yesterday, and this Morning will be printed.

Abraham Clark (New Jersey) to William Livingston
I enclose a Declaration of Congress, which is directed to be Published in all the Colonies, And Armies, and which I make no doubt you will Publish in your Brigade.

Elbridge Gerry (Massachusetts) to James Warren
I have the pleasure to inform you that a determined resolution of the delegates from some of the colonies to push the question of independency has had a most happy effect, and after a day’s debate all the colonies excepting New-York, whose delegates are not empowered to give either an affirmative or negative voice, united in a declaration long sought for, solicited and necessary, the declaration of independency. New-York will most probably on Monday next, when its convention meets for forming a constitution, join in the measure, and then it will be entitled the unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America. I enclose you a copy of the declaration for yourself, and another for major Hawley…

Saturday, July 6

John Hancock (President) to William Cooper
Could you exactly know my particular Scituation, and how much of the Day and Night I devote to the Execution of publick Business, I am Confident you and my Friends would readily excuse my not writing. I am really so greatly Engag'd, and Business fast increasing in my Department that I have not a moment to myself. My Friendship, however, is as strong, my Zeal as great, and my Reliance, under God, that my Country will be Sav'd as firm as ever. I hope we shall be a free and happy people, totally unfetter'd, and Releas'd from the Bonds of Slavery, That we may be thus free, Congress have done, and will still do, more, to promote it. Inclos'd you have the Declaration of Independence, to which Refer you. I write the Assembly, and it is the wish of Congress the Declaration may be proclaim'd in the State of Massachusetts Bay.

John Hancock (President) to the State Assemblies and Governors
Altho it is not possible to foresee the Consequences of Human Actions, yet it is nevertheless a Duty we owe ourselves and Posterity in all our public Counsels, to decide in the best Manner we are able, and to trust the Event to that Being who controuls both Causes and Events so as to bring about his own Determinations. Impressed with this Sentiment, and at the same Time fully convinced that our Affairs may take a more favourable Turn, the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all Connection between Great Britain & the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States, as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed by Congress to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed in your Colony in the Way you shall think most proper. The important Consequences to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the Ground & Foundation of a future Government, will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a Manner, that the People may be universally informed of it.

John Hancock (President) to George Washington15
The Congress, for some Time past, have had their Attention occupied by one of the most interesting and important Subjects, that could possibly come before them, or any other Assembly of Men. Altho it is not possible to foresee the Consequences of Human Actions, yet it is nevertheless a Duty we owe ourselves and Posterity, in all our public Counsels, to decide in the best Manner we are able, and to leave the Event to that Being who controuls both Causes and Events to bring about his own Determination. Impressed with this Sentiment, and at the same Time fully convinced, that our Affairs may take a more favourable Turn, the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the Connection between Great Britain and the American Colonies, and to declare them free & independent States; as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed at the Head of the Army in the Way you shall think most proper.

15. Hancock's letter to Washington resembles the ones he sent to each of the states, except that Hancock requests for Washington to have the Declaration of Independence proclaimed at the head of the Army. The Library of Congress has a fragment of the Dunlap broadside which accompanied this letter.

Robert Treat Paine (Massachusetts) to Joseph Palmer
The day before yesterday the declaration of American independency was voted by twelve colonies, agreeable to the sense of the constituents, and New-York was silent, till their new convention (which sits next week) express their assent, of which we have some doubt. Thus the issue is joined; and it is our comfortable reflection, that if by struggling we can avoid that servile subjection which Britain demanded, we remain a free and happy people; but if, through the frowns of Providence, we sink in the struggle, we do but remain the wretched people we should have been without this declaration. Our hearts are full, our hands are full; may God, in whom we trust, support us.

Sunday, July 7

John Adams (Massachusetts) to Abigail Adams
I have this moment folded up a Magazine and an Evening Post16 and sent it off, by an Express, who could not wait for me to write a single line.

16. Here, Adams sends Abigail Towne's Pennsylvania Evening Post from July 6th.

Elbridge Gerry (Massachusetts) to Joseph Trumbull
I recd your Letters of the 3d & 5th Instant & suppose e’er this reaches You, that the General at the Head of his Army will cause the Declaration of Independence to be published & read. May Providence succeed our Endeavours to maintain & support it, & We keep up to the Character of Men. Inclosed is the Saturday Evening’s Post by Which You will see the Measures pursuing to defend the Jersies & Pennsylvania.

Monday, July 8

Joseph Hewes (North Carolina) to Samuel Johnston
My friend Penn came time enough to give his vote for independance. I send you the declaration inclosed. All the Colonies voted for it except New York, that Colony was prevented from Joining in it by an old Instruction, their Convention meets this day and it is expected they will follow the example of the other Colonies.

Thomas Jefferson (Virginia) to Richard Henry Lee (Virginia)
I enclose you a copy of the declaration of independence as agreed to by the House, and also, as originally framed. You will judge whether it is the better or worse for the Critics.17

17. Jefferson is said to have squirmed in his seat as Congress made changes to his draft of the Declaration. He sent one of his "clean copies" to Lee, who responded on July 21st, "the Thing is in its nature so good, that no Cookery can spoil the Dish for the palates of Freemen."

William Whipple (New Hampshire) to Joshua Brackett
Notwithstanding I was disappointed by not receiving a line from you last post I cannot forbare communicating the Pleasure I know you will enjoy on Receipt of the enclos’d Declaration. It was this day publishd in form at the State House in this City, & is to be publish’d at the Head of the Army at New-York on Thursday next. We are now free from those Cursed Shackles that has embaresed all our affairs ever since the Commensement of the war. I already feel myself Lighter & I am in no doubt this step will give vigor to every measure which shall be here after persu’d.

William Whipple (New Hampshire) to John Langdon
I must refer you to the papers for news as time just now is very precious. The Declaration will no doubt give you pleasure. It will be published next Thursday at the head of the Army at New York. I am told it is to be published this day, in form in this city.

John Adams (Massachusetts) to Samuel Chase (Maryland)
The Declaration was yesterday published and proclaimed from that awfull Stage in the State house yard, by whom do you think? By the Committee of Safety,! the Committee of Inspection, and a great Crowd of people. Three cheers rended the Welkin. The Battalions paraded on the common, and gave Us the Feu de Joy, notwithstanding the Scarcity of Powder. The Bells rung all Day, and almost all night. Even the Chimers Chimed away. … As soon as an American Seal is prepared, I conjecture the Declaration will be Subscribed by all the Members, which will give you the opportunity you wish for, of transmitting your Name, among the Votaries of Independence.18 I agree with you, that We never can again be happy, under a single Particle of British Power, indeed this sentiment is very universal.

18. On July 5th, Chase had written to Adams in response to his last letter, "I hope eer this Time the decisive blow is struck. Opposition, Inhumanity and Perfidy have compelled Us to it. Blessed be Men who effect the Work, I envy You! How shall I transmit to posterity that I gave my assent?” Chase would sign the Declaration of Independence upon his return to Congress.

Samuel Adams (Massachusetts) to Joseph Hawley
The Congress has at length declared the Colonies free and independent States. Upon this I congratulate you, for I know your heart has long been set upon it. Much I am affraid has been lost by delaying to take this decisive Step. … If we had done it then, in my opinion Canada woud this time have been one of the united Colonies; but "Much is to be endurd for the hardness of Mens hearts." We shall now see the Way clear to form a Confederation, contract Alliances & send Embassadors to foreign Powers & do other Acts becoming the Character we have assumd.

Samuel Adams (Massachusetts) to John Pitts
You was informed by the last Post that Congress had declared the thirteen united Colonies free & independent States. It must be allowd by the impartial World that this Declaration has not been made rashly. The inclosed Catalogue of Crimes of the deepest Dye, which have been repeatedly perpetrated by the King will justify us in the Eyes of honest & good Men. By multiplied Acts of Oppression & Tyranny he has long since forfeited his Right to govern The Patience of the Colonies in enduring the most provoking Injuries so often repeated will be a Matter of Astonishmt. Too Much I fear has been lost by Delay, but an accession of several Colonies has been gaind by it. The Delegates of every Colony were present & concurrd in this important Act; except those of NY who were not authorizd to give their Voice on the Question, but they have since publickly said that a new Convention was soon to meet in that Colony & they had not the least Doubt of their acceeding to it. Our Path is now open to form a plan of Confederation & propose Alliances with foreign States. I hope our Affairs will now wear a more agreable Aspect than they have of late.

By Emily Sneff

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