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recruits came but slowly. Then, too, the announcement came too late to be efficient in the impending campaign. Had Congress authorized long en'istment and an offer of bounty in March, or even April, the disasters which overtook the army at New York and on the Hudson might instead have been victories; the British troops might have been defeated and driven to their ships, or at least placed upon the defensive, and the whole complexion of the war changed.
The first legislative embodiment of the idea of independence was in the famous resolution offered in the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee. Its import did not materially differ from that of the final declaration, but it served to place the question in form for a debate. The people at large were ripe for it; its discussion had been constant for weeks, and the old-time obstinate loyalty to the crown was a thing of the past. During the Congress, provision had been made for the establishment of definite colonial government, with powers constitutionally stated and limited, in every colony save Connecticut and Rhode Island, which were deemed already sufficiently organized. Lee's resolution was offered on the 7th of June, and embodied the declaration that "these United States are, and of right ought to be free and independent States; that all political ties between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved." The resolu. tion was seconded by John Adams, and came up for discussion in the commit. tee of the whole, on the 8th and 10th of June. It was found during this discussion that the delegates for New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina, while many of them personally favored the resolution, lacked the instructions of their constituents on the subject, or were affirmatively directed to oppose such a measure, and the debate was held over until the first day of July. In the meantime a committee was appointed to prepare a draft of a declaration of independence. Upon this committee was the young statesman, Thomas Jefferson, and, Lee being called to Virginia, the preparing of the draft fell to his lot. It may be well to say, at this point, that, though there have been periodical discussions in which it has been urged that Jefferson was not the author of the declaration, there is no question that, though he made use of his historical knowledge, and of the advice of his friends, to him belongs the credit of the framing of that splendid document. The draft was submitted on the 28th of June, but was laid upon the table to await the re-opening of the debate. On the Ist day of July the discussion was re-opened, and the resolution came to a vote on the evening of the same day. It received the affirmative votes of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia, against l'ennsylvania and South Carolina. Delaware was divided, and the delegates of New York, though some expressed individual approval of the resolution, requested to be excused from voting, on the ground of lack of instruction. Mr. Rut.
ledge, of South Carolina, believed that the vote of his colleagues would be changed, and, at his request, the report was postponed until Saturday, the 2d, when South Carolina wheeled into the affirmative line, as did Delaware and Pennsylvania; and thus the resolution was carried unanimously by all voting delegations. On that Saturday evening John Adams wrote: “The 2d of July will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forth forevermore.” Adams well foresaw the regard in which the grand act of the Congress would ever be held; he was only wrong as to the day of celebration. On Monday, Congress discussed the proposed declaration with closed doors, throngs without anxiously awaiting the report of the result. Finally the bell in the tower of the hall rang out a glad peal, and all within sound of its tidings knew that America had at last declared her freedom from foreign rule. News traveled but slowly in those days, but, with all haste, the report of the action of Congress was circulated throughout the colonies. In New England it was generally approved. In New York, and to the southward, a majority hailed the news with gladness, while a considerable minority held such a declaration to be unwise, and many considered its adoption a moral wrong. The tories, everywhere, held up their hands in horror. The ruin of America they deemed irrevocably assured. Weak-kneed colonists. who had before professed devotion to the patriot cause, found in the declaration an excuse for cutting loose from their allegiance, and thus, while there was no loss of any valuable class or element, the patriots were the better for the drainage of impurities which would doubtless have tended to the injury of their cause.
The news of the declaration came to Washington on the 9th of July and, at 6 o'clock of the same evening, he caused it to be read at the head of every brigade of his army, accompanied by an expression from him, of which the following is a portion: “The General hopes that this important event will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer and soldier to act with fidelity and courage, as knowing that now the peace and safety of his country depend, under God, solely on the success of our arms, and that he is now in the service of a state possessed of sufficient power to reward his merit, and advance him to the highest honors of a free country." New York city, always subject to great excitement, went fairly wild over the news, and, in an excess of enthusiasm, which it is now easy to pardon, overturned a leaden statue of George III., which stood in the city, broke it into small fragments, and, with strict poetic justice, the remains of the royal effigy were melted into bullets.
THE OCCUPATION OF NEW YORK.
HE evacuation of Boston was a bitter lesson to the British. The
duke of Manchester, in the House of Lords, embodied in a few caustic words, his estimate of the achievement. He said: “The army of Britain, equipped with every possible essential of war; a chosen army with chosen officers, backed by the power of a mighty fleet, sent to correct revolted subjects ; sent to chastise a resisting city; sent to assert Britain's authority ;-has for many tedious months been imprisoned within that town by the provincial army, who, with their watchful guard, permitted them no inlet to the country; who braved all their efforts and defied all that skill and ability in war could ever attempt. One way, indeed, of escape was left; the fleet is still respected; to the fleet the army has recourse; and British generals, whose names never met with a blot of dishonor, are forced to quit that town, which was the first object of the war, the immediate cause of hostilities, the place of arms, which it has cost this nation more than a million to defend."
John Adams moved, and Congress adopted, a vote of thanks to Washington, and a commemorative gold medal was struck off, bearing upon its face the head and name of the commander, as the deliverer of Boston.
When General Howe sailed from Boston harbor he directed his course for Halifax, there to await the coming of his brother, Admiral Lord William Howe, who had been assigned to the naval command in America, and whose coming, with reinforcements for both fleet and army, was daily expected. He did not proclaim his intentions, and Washington was far from certain as to what the next manifestations of his military sagacity might be. One of two movements, however, seemed much more probable than any others; either he would direct his attention to the relief of Montreal, Quebec, and the St. Lawrence frontier, or he would move against New York city. The weight of probability seemed in favor of the latter plan, and