Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/123

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deputies in Congress, and to allow them to unite with those of the other colonies in declaring independence and forming a confederation. "

The Maryland convention defended its previous action upon the ground of lack of authority, claiming that its powers were limited to carrying out the non-importation agreements; "that it had been empowered to exercise its functions with a view to reconciliation with Great Britain, and that it had no power to declare independence for that it must go to the people."

This view of passive obedience does not accord with the vigor and warmth of the instructions to her delegates, issued by the convention in the previous month, nor with the earnestness with which they implored the offices of Governor Eden with the British ministry. How far the convention was influenced by the proprietary in terests, as charged by Virginia, cannot be determined. One thing, however, is clear: The convention had been very slow "to go to the people." The blunt letter of Virginia, rebuking not the people of Maryland but its convention, was an important factor "to stir up the people" as well as the convention. As soon as the opportunity was afforded them, the people of Maryland responded nobly, and the convention caught their spirit. Action was prompt. There was no quibbling or shuffling to preserve consistency. The convention went to the people and obeyed their voice. The policy was instantly reversed, and Maryland s vote was made ready for independence. July 1st her delegates laid before Congress the resolutions of the Maryland convention, adopted June 28th.

By these resolutions the previous instructions were revoked, and the restrictions therein contained removed; and the deputies were "authorized and empowered to concur with the other United Colonies, or a majority of them, in declaring the United Colonies free and independent States, in forming such further compact and con-