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people best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular and America in general.”

John Adams, Edward Rutledge and R. H. Lee were chosen 118 a committee to prepare a preamble. Their report was agreed to on the 15th, and it was then ordered that both the resolution and the preamble be published. The preamble, as shown by the Journal, declared : “Whereas his Britannic Majesty in conjunction with the lords and commons of great Britain has by a late act of Parliament excluded the inhabitants of these united colonies from the protection of his crown And whereas no answer whatever to the humble petitions of the colonies for redress of grievances & reconciliation with great Britain has been or is likly to be given . . . And whereas ... it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed ...

Two days later, John Adams writes to his wife: “When I consider the great events which are passed, and those greater which are rapidly advancing, and that

may have been instrumental in touching some springs and turning some small wheels, which have had and will have such effects, I feel an awe upon my mind which is not easily described. Great Britain has at last driven America to the last step: a complete separation from her; a total, absolute independence, not only of her Parliament, but of her Crown, for such is the amount of the resolve of the 15th.” 120 In his Autobiography, he says: “[J] Mr. Duane 121 called it to me, a machine for the fabrication of independence. I said, smiling, I thought it was independence itself 122, but we must have

") 119


it with more formality yet.” “[J] It was indeed, on all hands, considered by men of understanding as equivalent to a declaration of independence, though a formal declaration of it was still opposed by Mr. Dickinson and his



Gerry, on the 20th, says, to Warren: "It appears to me that the eyes of every unbeliever are now open; that all are sensible of the perfidy of Great Britain, and are convinced there is no medium between unqualified submission and actual Independency. The Colonies are determined on the latter. A final declaration is approaching with great rapidity. Amidst all our difficulties, you would be highly diverted to see the situation of our 'moderate gentlemen.' . They are coming over to us

Indeed, while these letters were travelling northward, Nelson, as we have seen, was on his way to Philadelphia with the resolution of the Convention of Virginia instructing her Delegates to propose to Congress to declare independence. These instructions, as well as those of North Carolina, as we have seen, were laid before Congress on the 27th.

On the 31st, Gerry writes to Joseph Palmer : “[NE] The Conviction which yo late Measures of Administration have brot to ye Minds of doubting Persons has such an Effect, that I think ye Colonies cannot long remain an independent depending People, but that they will declare themselves as their Interest & Safety have long required, entirely separated from yo prostituted Government of G Britain. Upon this Subject I have wrote to our Friend Col: Orne & beg leave to refer you thereto

The principal object of our attention at this importan Time I think should be ye Manufacturing Arms, Lead & Cloathing, & obtaining Flints, for I suppose since yo Measures adopted by North Carolina and Virginia that there cannot remain a Doubt with our Assembly of ye propriety of declaring for Independency and therefore that our Tho'ts will be mostly directed to ye Means for supporting it.”

John Adams also 124 felt at once that the goal was near.123 “[J] It has ever appeared to me”, he writes 126 to Henry, June 3d,“ that the natural course and order of things was this; for every colony to institute a government; for all the colonies to confederate, and define the limits of the continental Constitution; then to declare the colonies a sovereign state, or a number of confederated states; and last of all, to form treaties with foreign powers. But I fear we cannot proceed systematically, and that we shall be obliged to declare ourselves independent States, before we confederate, and indeed before all the colonies have established their governments. It is now pretty clear that all these measures will follow one another in a rapid succession, and it may not perhaps be of much importance which is done first."

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Resolutions of June 7th, in the handwriting of Richard Henry Lee, now in the Library of Congress, in Washington. They were offered by him and seconded by John Adams.

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