States of America." The Connecticut assembly approved of the Declaration, and resolved "that this Colony is and of right ought to be a free and independent State." The "walls" were evidently not down in the opinion of these contemporary state legislators and they thought it their sanction which gave validity to the resolution of independence. This preservation of state identity, and belief in the state's freedom to do its will politically, appears frequently during the debate on the Articles of Confederation.
While discussing the land question, Wilson of Pennsylvania said that his state had no right to interfere in those claims, "but she has a right to say, that she will not confederate unless those claims are cut off," and Huntington of Virginia denied Congress the right to limit the bounds of his state and asserted that the consequence of such an attempt would be that Virginia would not enter the Confederation. Witherspoon, August 1, 1776, conceived of the colonies as individuals come together to make a bargain with each other. That this bargain was thought of as a treaty between sovereign states, there is good contemporary evidence aside from the articles themselves. "I daily expect the Treaty of Confederation", wrote Governor Cooke of Rhode Island. Indeed the Confederation seemed to some merely a league which the states formed for the war.
- Force, American Archives, fifth series, II. 10. See also Journals of Congress, V. 690, where the "thirteen independent states of America" are to have initials on the seal.
- Records of the State of Connecticut, I. 3.
- Significant also is Madison's assertion in 1782, that the Crown rights had not devolved upon Congress, an idea "so extravagant that it could not enter into the thought of man." New York Historical Society Collections, 1878, p. 147.
- Journals of Congress, VI. 1081. These debates were after the Declaration of Independence, it must be remembered. Hopkins of Rhode Island asserts, "The safety of the whole depends upon the distinctions of Colonies."
- Ibid., 1077.
- Ibid., 1083. Franklin thought that if all the colonies would not enter, it had better be formed by those inclined to it. John Adams, Works, IX. 373.
- Journals, VI. 1103 (but see Adams's answer, 1104). Sherman thought as did Witherspoon. Ibid., 1081.
- Force, American Archives, fifth series, I. 377. See also Randolph's idea, Madison's Writings, ed. Hunt, III. 37.
- Journals of Congress, VI. 1079. Note the same idea in Jefferson to Marbois, American Historical Review, October, 1906, p. 77. The first draft of the Articles of Confederation contained a clause, "The said Colonies unite themselves so as never to be divided by any Act whatever," but this was early struck out of the draft and does not appear later. Evidently none wished to bind the league of friendship so firmly as this.
- August 25, 1777. Life of Sherman, 106.
- Force, American Archives, fifth series, I. 672.