Page:American Historical Review, Volume 12.djvu/543

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Sovereignty in the American Revolution

powers which Story enumerates, but the striking thing is that it did all these things at a time when[1] the majority of Congress would vote repeatedly for addresses, to the king, the inhabitants of Great Britain, the people of Ireland and of Jamaica, which asserted, "We have not raised Armies with ambitious Designs of separating from Great Britain, and establishing independent States,"[2] and assured the king that they most ardently wished the former harmony with Great Britain, vowing their allegiance to him[3] and that they would cheerfully bleed in defense of him in a righteous cause. As late as October in 1775, reconciliation is a common sentiment[4] and the royal post-routes were still in operation.[5] Even late as January 15, 1776, Samuel Adams could not head off a motion to explain to the people that reconciliation was the desire of Congress.[6] In the middle of February, 1776, James Wilson argued with great sincerity that many of the steps thus far taken by Congress could be accounted for rationally only upon the supposition that their object was the defense and re-establishment of their rights, and could not be so accounted for if their aim was an independent empire.[7] I do not believe the majority of Congress to have been hypocrites drawing long faces and pretending a loyalty they did not feel. As James Wilson said, "Those Protestations of Loyalty and Expressions of Attachment ought, by every Rule of Candour, to be presumed to be sincere, unless Proofs evincing their Insincerity

  1. Navy.—Congress recommends (July 18, 1775) the states to establish. Journals, II. 189. First Continental vessel. October 13, 1775. Fleet provided October 30, 1775. Zubly seconds motion for fleet October 7, 1775, but the previous day asserts that the man who would suggest independence would be torn to pieces like De Witt. Journals, III. 483.

    Indian Commissioners appointed July 12, 1775.

    Post-Office.—A committee to establish post-routes appointed May 20, 1775, and Postmaster-General decided upon July 26; but side by side with the Continental routes, the British postal system existed undisturbed as late as October 7, 1775; see Journals of Congress on those dates.

    Treasury.—Congress borrows for Continental uses June 3, 1775, uses money first on June 10, and pledges the twelve colonies for redemption of bills of credit June 22, 1775.

    Army.—First provision was June 14, 1775. General decided upon, June 15. Organization planned June 16, 1775. Suggestion comes from Massachusetts. Journals, II. 78.

  2. Ibid., 155. July 6, 1775, ibid., IV. 143. See also Writings of Jefferson, ed. Ford. I. 482; Force, American Archives, fourth series, III., 794, 795.
  3. July 8, 1775, Journals, II. 160; July 28, 1775, ibid., 139, 155, 198, 217; IV. 137, 142.
  4. See ibid., III. 481, 482, 489. Life of Belknap. 96–97.
  5. Journals, III. 488.
  6. Ibid., IV. 57.; also February 13, 1776, ibid., 137.
  7. See his convincing argument on this subject, ibid., 142–143.