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In Congress, September 9, 1776, it was “Resolved, that in all Continental Commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’
have been used, the style be altered, for the future, to the
“United States.’”—Journals of Congress.
An article published in the Universal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania. Evening Post, of October 8, 1776, said: “Let us remember that America is free and independent; that she is, and will be, with the blessing of the Almighty, great among the Nations of the earth.”— Diary of Amer. Rev., Wol. I, p. 284.
An Address of Congress to the People, adopted at Philadelphia, December 10, 1776, says: “It is well known to you, that at the universal desire of the people, and with the hearty approbation of every province, the Congress declared the United States free and independent, —a measure not only just, but which had become absolutely necessary.”—Amer. Archives, fifth series, Wol. III, p. 1150.
C HAIPTE R VII.
I. Committee appointed to prepare Form o Confederation.
ON the 12th of June, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a Committee, consisting of one member from each Colony, to “prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between the Colonies.” The Committee agreed as to the terms of the Confederation, and made a report to Congress on the 12th of July, one month after their appointment. Their report was considered amended, and postponed from time to time, until Articles of Confederation were agreed to on the 15th of November, 1777; engrossed, and signed by delegates in Congress, from eight States, on the 9th of July, 1778; and went into effect on the 1st of March, 1781. The Constitution of the United States went into force on Wednesday, March 4, 1789.
Views of Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania, on Confederation, in 1776.
In Congress, in 1776, when the Articles of Confedera
tion were under consideration, Mr. Wilson, of Pennsyl
vania, who was one of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence, and, in 1787, a member of the Convention
that framed the Constitution of the United States, said: “It has been said that Congress is a representation of States, not of individuals. I say, that the objects of its care, are all the individuals of the States. It is strange that annexing the name of ‘State’ to ten thousand men, should give them an equal right with forty thousand. This must be the effect of magic, not of reason.” “ * * “It is asked, Shall nine colonies put it into the power of four to govern them as they please? I invert the question, and ask, Shall two millions of people put it into the power of one million to govern them as they please? It is pretended, too, that the smaller colonies will be in danger from the greater. Speak in honest language and say, the minority will be in danger from the majority. And is there an assembly on earth, where this danger may not be equally pretended.” “ * * “I defy the wit of man to invent a possible case, or to suggest any one thing on earth, which shall be for the interest of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, and which will not also be for the interest of the other States.”—Jefferson’s Complete Works, Vol. I, p. 35.
In a debate, in Congress, on the Articles of Confederation, in July, 1777, John Adams said: “We stand here as the representatives of the people; that in some States the people are many, in others they are few ; that, therefore, their vote here should be proportioned to the numbers from whom it comes.”—Elliot's Debates, Vol. I, p. 76.
In a circular letter, agreed to in Congress, November, 17, 1777, the Articles of Confederation are mentioned as “a plan of confederacy for securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States;” and, referring to the ratification of the Articles, the letter says, “it seems essential to our very existence as a free people.” —Journals of Congress.
An “Address of Congress to the inhabitants of the United States of America,” May 8, 1778, says: “Your interests will be fostered and nourished by governments that derive their power from your grant, and will therefore be obliged, by the influence of cogent necessity, to exert it in your favor.”—Journals of Congress.
The treaty of amity and commerce concluded between France and the United States, in 1778, mentions “the two parties,” “the two contracting parties,” “the two Nations,”—meaning, in each case, the United States and France.
The 2d Article of the “Treaty of alliance eventual and defensive,” negotiated at Paris on the 6th of February, 1778, is in the words following, viz.: “Art. 2.-The essential and direct end of the present defensive alliance, is, to maintain effectually, the liberty, sovereignty, absolute and unlimited, of the United States, as well in matters of government as commerce.”
“An Address to the Americans,” published in the Maryland Gazette, and reprinted in the Remembrancer for the year 1778, says: “Every circumstance favorable to mankind, concurs to facilitate the independence, the splendor, and the felicity of the American Nation.”—Re7memb. for 1778, p. 339. T
The Wew York Journal, of August 24, 1778, says: “It is the Almighty who raiseth up : He hath stationed America among the powers of the earth, and clothed her in robes of sovereignty.”
Toast, at Philadelphia, February 6, 1779, on the anniversary of forming the alliance between the United States and France: “The memory of the patriots who have nobly fallen in defense of the liberty and independence . of America.”—Wew Jersey Gazette, Feb. 17, 1779.
A “Declaration of the King” of France, in 1780, says: “His Majesty, in order to give the United States of America a new proof of his affection, as well as his desire to confirm the union and good correspondence established 'between the two States, has been pleased to pay a regard