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appointed on a committee of such importance. There were more reasons than one. Mr. Jefferson had the reputation of a masterly pen; he had been chosen a delegate in Virginia, in consequence of a very handsome public paper which he had written for the House of Burgesses . . . Another reason was, that Mr. Richard Henry Lee was not beloved 49 by the most of his colleagues from Virginia, and Mr. Jefferson was set up to rival and supplant him. This could be done only by the pen, for Mr. Jefferson could stand no competition with him or anyone else in elocution and public debate.” “[Qy] Jefferson was chairman because he had most votes and he had most votes because We united in him, to the Exclusion of R. H. Lee in [or]der to keep out Harrison.”
In his letter of 1822 to Pickering, he says: "[Ms] You enquire 60 why so young a man as Jefferson was placed at the head of the Committee for preparing a declaration of Independence? I answer, it was the Frankfort advice 51, to place Virginia at the head of everything. M! Richard Henry Lee, might be gone to Virginia to his sick family, for ought I know, but that was not 62 the reason of M! Jefferson's appointment. There were three Committees appointed at the same time. One for the Declaration of Independence; another for preparing Articles of Confederation ; and another for preparing a Treaty to be proposed to France. M' Lee was chosen for the Committee of confederation, and it was not thought convenient that the same person should be upon both. M' Jefferson came into Congress in June 1775. and brought with him a reputation for literature, science, and a happy talent of composition. Writings of his were
Jersey recalled all their delegates who had vote independence, and sent new ones expressly to it. The last debate but one was the most co animated; but the question was now evaded by to postpone it to another day ; some members, declaring that, if the question should be now d they should vote for it, but they wished for a d more to consider it. When that day arrived, the new members desired to hear the argumen against the measure. When these were summari ulated, the question was put and carried. T' no yeas and nays in those times.
in those times. A Committe pointed to draw a declaration ; when reported, went abundance of criticism and alteration finally accepted, all those members who h against independence, now declared they woul
The Journal for June 11th 4 says:
Resolved That a committee to prepare the Declaratio five members The members chosen M' Jefferson, M' J Adams 46 lin M' Shearman & M' R. R. Livingston
John Adams, in his Autobiography 48, tells us : Jefferson had been now about a year a memb gress, but had attended his duty in the house a part
of the time, and, when there, had never public. During the whole time I sat with h gress,
I never heard him utter three sentence. It will naturally be inquired how it happened i
ITU ETSTORY tai comnicze of such importance, 1 1,618 Tote
Eur reasons aan one. Mr. Jefferys ou se stof a master's pen; he had been 4480* 1 m
gria, in consequence of a very duma OPEE Ex which he had written for the li
Another reason was, that Mr.Kim. on x beloved by the most of its mors in met 2 Mr. Jefferson was satura por
This could be done VI' 1* ' Tepes said stand so syang"
handed about remarkable for the peculiar felicity of expression. Though a silent member in Congress, he was so prompt, frank, explicit and decisive upon committees and in conversation, not even Sam' Adams was more so, that he soon seized upon my heart, and upon this occasion I
him my vote and did all in my power to procure the votes of others. I think he had one more vote than any other, and that placed him at the head of the Committee. I had the next highest number and that placed me the second.”
Samuel Adams was 53 years old ; Hancock, 39; R. H. Lee, 44; Harrison, about 36; John Adams, 40; Jefferson 53, 33 ; Franklin, 70; Sherman, 55; and R. R. Livingston, 29.
\HE consideration of the initial resolution of
June 7th was postponed, on the roth, as seen,
to July 1st. This postponement was made upon the motion of Edward Rutledge. Its purpose, Gerry writes', to James Warren, June 11th, was “to give the Assemblies of the Middle Colonies an opportunity to take off their restrictions and let their Delegates unite in the measure.” Jefferson, in his notes, as shown, is even more specific: It appearing in the course of these debates that the colonies of
& South Carolina 3
N. York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware & Maryland had
not yet advanced to were not yet matured for falling off from the parent stem, but that they were fast advancing to that state, it was thought most prudent to wait a while for them
Curiously enough, the Provincial Congress of New Jersey had already been called (at Burlington) for the very day of the postponement. An insufficient number of Deputies attending, however, it adjourned to the morning of the 11th, and thence to the afternoon.
On the 12th was read the resolution 4 of the Convention of Virginia of May 15th, forwarded by Pendleton. Sergeant and Cooper, two of the Delegates? to Con