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Instructions of the Assembly of Rhode-Island to their Delegates in Congress


The Assembly of Rhode Island, having appointed two Delegates to represent that Colony in Congress, the Credentials of their appointment were laid before Congress, and read, as follows:

[L˙ S˙] "The Governour and Company of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in General Assembly convened, to Stephen Hopkins and William Ellery, Esqs˙, greeting: Whereas this Assembly, reposing special trust and confidence in your abilities and integrity, have appointed you, the said Stephen Hopkins and William Ellery, Delegates to represent this Colony in General Congress; you are, therefore, hereby empowered to join with the Delegates of the other United Colonies, in Congress, at Philadelphia, as soon as conveniently may be, or at such time and place as shall be agreed upon by the major part of the Delegates from the said Colonies. You are also authorized and empowered to consult and advise with the Delegates of the said Colonies in Congress upon the most proper measures for promoting and confirming the strictest union and confederation between the said United Colonies, for exerting their whole strength and force to annoy the common enemy, and to secure the said Colonies their rights and liberties, both civil and religious, whether by entering into treaties with any Prince, State, or Potentate, or by such other prudent and effectual ways and means as shall be devised and agreed on; and, in conjunction with the Delegates from the said United Colonies, or the major part of them, to enter into and adopt all such measures, taking the greatest care to secure to this Colony, in the strongest and most perfect manner, its present established form, and all the powers of Government, so far as relates to its internal police and conduct of our own affairs, civil and religious. You are also instructed and directed to exert your utmost abilities in carrying on this just and necessary war, in which we are engaged against cruel and unnatural enemies, in the most vigorous manner, until peace shall be restored to the said Colonies, and their rights and liberties secured upon a solid and permanent basis. You are also empowered to join with the major part of the Delegates of the said United Colonies in adjourning from time to time, and to such place or places as shall be thought proper, for and during one year. And as it may happen that, from sickness or other necessary causes, one of you may be absent from Congress, in all such cases the other is hereby as fully empowered to represent the Colony as though both were present and agreed in sentiment. May 4, 1776.

"In behalf of the General Assembly, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the Colony to be affixed, the 6th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six.


"By his Honour' s command:

"HENRY WARD, Secretary."