History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 4

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX.
ADVANCING TOWARD INDEPENDENCE.
LAST MONTHS OF 1775–MAKCII 1776.

A STEADY current drifted the country toward a closer union and independence. The British government refused to treat with the general congress. The American colonies, if they mean to make their resistance effectual, must confine their intercourse with the British government exclusively to the representatives of the colonies in union. In New Jersey the assembly granted the usual annual support of the royal government, and then considered the draft of a separate address to the king; but, as that mode of action tended to insulate the provinces, Dickinson, Jay, and Wythe were sent by the general congress to Burlington, to dissuade from the measure. Admitted to the assembly on the fifth of December, Dickinson invited them to wait and find an answer in the conduct of the parliament and the administration. “After Americans were put to death without cause at Lexington,” said he, “had the new continental congress drawn the sword and thrown away the scabbard, all lovers of liberty would have applauded. To convince Britain that we will fight, an army has been formed and Canada invaded. Success attends us everywhere; the Canadians fight in our cause; so that we have nothing to fear but from Europe, which is three thousand miles distant. Until this controversy, the strength and importance of our country were not known; united it cannot be conquered. Should Britain be unsuccessful in the next campaign, France will not sit still. Nothing but unity and bravery will bring Britain to terms; separate petitions we should avoid, for they would break our

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