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the Committee of Privates.” The resolution of Congress of May 15th and the proceedings of the public meeting on the 20th were then read and unanimously approved. Following this, the question was put, “Whether they wish the Province of Pennsylvania to be a free and independent State, and united with the other twelve Colonies represented in Congress ?”; and this also was carried unanimously in the affirmative. Similar evidence of loyalty to the cause was given by the Fifth Battalion, of which Timothy Matlack was Colonel, by the First Battalion of Chester County, of which Moore was Colonel, and by Colonel James Crawford's Battalion, which met at its place of parade in Leacock Township, Lancaster County.
This meeting (of the military) had a great effect upon the Assembly. Neither in the morning nor in the afternoon had they a quorum; and, on the 11th — the day to which the “further instruction to the Delegates” had been postponed and the day on which Congress selected a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence and on the 12th also — both in the morning and in the afternoon, they met, and still without a quorum. On the morning of the 13th, again nothing was done ; and, in the afternoon, there was again no quorum. The next day (Friday, the 14th), they paid the Delegates to Congress; and, at 3 o'clock, “The Instructions ...
being transcribed according to order, were signed by the Speaker [John Morton] .. ” These read as follows: “When, by our instructions of last November, we strictly enjoined you,
in behalf of this Colony, to dissent from, and utterly reject any proposition, should such be made, that might
cause or lead to a separation from Great Britain .. our restrictions [arose) ... from an earnest desire to serve the good people of Pennsylvania with fidelity . The situation of publick affairs is since so greatly altered, that we now think ourselves justifiable in removing the restrictions laid upon you by those instructions.” They then adjourned 30 to August 26th at 4 o'clock.
The Provincial Conference of the committees of Pennsylvania met in Carpenters' Hall four days later (June 18th), “ in consequence of a Circular Letter from the Committee of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, enclosing a Resolution of the Continental Congress of the 15th May last.” M:Kean, Matlack, Rush, John Bull and James Smith were among those present. M:Kean, as chairman of the "City Committee, declared the motives which had induced that Committee to propose the hearing ” and was then chosen President.
On the 19th, 97 members being present, the resolution of Congress of May 15th was approved ; and it was resolved “That the present Government of this Province is not competent to the exegencies of our affairs ... That it is necessary that a Provincial Convention be called by this Conference for the express purpose of forming a new Government in this Province, on the authority of the People only.”
On the 23d (“P. M.”), “On motion, [it was unanimously 31 Ordered, That the Chairman, Dr. Rush, and Colonel Smith, be a Committee to draft a Resolution declaring the sense of the Conference with respect to the Independence of this Province on the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain, and report to-morrow morning."
The proceedings of the Conference for June 24th (“P. M.") show that the committee “brought in a draft of a Declaration on the subject of ... Independ
.. which was ordered to be read, by special order. The same was read a second time, and, being fully considered, it was, with the greatest unanimity of all the Members, agreed to ...” This draft declared
our willingness to concur in a vote of the Congress declaring the United Colonies free and independent States”; and it was “ Ordered, that this Declaration be signed at the table and that the President deliver it in Congress.” It was read in Congress on the evening of the 25th.32
Nothing further occurred in Pennsylvania until Monday, July 8th 33 — four days after the adoption of the Declaration by Congress. On that day, the elections were held for Delegates to the Convention. John Adams, writing, July 10th, to his wife, says: “The new Members of this city [Philadelphia] are all . chosen because of their inflexible zeal for Independence. All the old Members left out because they opposed Independence, or at least were lukewarm about it. Dickinson, Morris, Allen, all fallen, like
before the scythe notwithstanding all their vast advantages in point of fortune, family, and abilities . . I am inclined to think, however, and to wish that these gentlemen may be restored at a fresh election, because, although mistaken in some points, they are good characters, and their great wealth and numerous connexions will contribute to strengthen America, and cement her Union. I wish I were at perfect liberty to portray before you all these
characters in their genuine lights, and to explain to you the course of political changes in this Province. It would give you a great idea of the spirit and resolution of the people, and show you, in a striking point of view, the deep roots of American Independence in all the Colonies.”
The Convention, which took its power direct from the people, met in the State House on Monday, July 15th — the day when the new instructions to the New York Delegates were read by Hancock to Congress. Franklin, James Smith, Clymer and Ross were among those present. Franklin 34 was chosen President. On the 20th, it elected 35 Franklin, Ross 36, Clymer 8, Robert Morris 7, Wilson, Morton, Rush 36 38, James Smith 36 39 and George Taylor as Delegates to Congress. According to the Journal, they produced their credentials in Congress on the same day.40
A committee composed of Matlack, Thomas Smith, James Cannon, David Rittenhouse and Bull was appointed also on the 20th to draft instructions. These instructions, adopted on the 26th, strictly charged the Delegates “not to agree to, or enter into any treaty of commerce or alliance with Great Britain, or any other foreign Power, but (on the part of America) as free and independent States.”
On the 25th, the Convention approved of the “Declaration of Congress of the 4th” and declared “that we will support and maintain the freedom and independence of this and the other United States of America at the utmost risk of our lives and fortunes.”
:KEAN maintains that «
no person signed the Declaration on July 4th; and his views,
as set forth in 1 letter 2 to Messrs. Wm. M'Corkle & Son and in a letter 2 to John Adams, were published in Niles' Weekly Register (N) of June 28 and July 12*, respectively, 1817. The latter letter, written in January, 1814, when, as he himself declares, his sight was fading fast, though his writing might not discover
[Qy] I will give you an historical fact respecting the declaration of Independence, which may amuse, if not surprize.
On the 1" of July 1776 the question was taken by a committee of the whole of Congress, when Pennsylvania, represented by seven members then present, voted against it; 4 to 3; among the majority were Robert Morris & John Dickinson. Delaware having only two present, namely myself & M' Read, was divided : all the other States voted in favor of it. The report was delayed until the 4th 6 and in the mean time I sent an express ? for Cæsar Rodney 8 to Dover in the county of Kent in Delaware, at my private expence, whom I met at the State-house door on the 4th of July in his boots o; he resided eighty miles from the city, and just arrived as Congress met. The question was taken, Delaware voted in favor of Independence 10, Pennsylvania there being only five members present, Mess! Dickinson 11 & Morrison 12