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Instructions for the Deputies further Considered, and adopted


Thursday, January 11, 1776.

Convention met. All Members present, as on yesterday. The Proceedings of yesterday were read. Mr˙ Smith, Mr˙ Jordan, and Mr˙ Gilpin, have leave of absence.

The Convention resumed the consideration of the Instructions for the Deputies representing this Province in Congress, which were read, considered, and agreed to, and are as follow:

In Convention, January 12, 1776.

To the Honourable Matthew Tilghman, Esq˙, Thomas Johnson, Jun˙, Robert Goldsborough, William Paca, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, Robert Alexander, and John Rogers, Esquires.

The Convention, taking into their most serious consideration the present state of the unhappy dispute between Great Britain and the United Colonies, think it proper to deliver you their sentiments, and to instruct you in certain points, relative to your conduct in Congress, as Representatives of this Province.

The experience we and our ancestors have had, of the mildness and equity of the English Constitution, under which we have grown up to, and enjoyed a state of felicity, not exceeded among any people we know of, until the grounds of the present controversy were laid by the Ministry and Parliament of Great Britain, has most strongly endeared to us that form of Government from whence these blessings have been derived, and makes us ardently wish for a reconciliation with the mother country, upon


terms that may ensure to these Colonies an equal and permanent freedom.

To this Constitution we are attached, not merely by habit, but by principle, being in our judgments persuaded it is, of all known systems, best calculated to secure the liberty of the subject—to guard against despotism on the one hand, and licentiousness on the other.

Impressed with these sentiments, we warmly recommend to you, to keep constantly in your view the avowed end and purpose for which these Colonies originally associated—the redress of American grievances, and securing the rights of the Colonists.

As upon the attainment of these great objects, we shall think it our greatest happiness to be thus firmly united to Great Britain, we think proper to instruct you, that should any proposition be happily madu by the Crown or Parliament, that may lead to, or lay a rational and probable ground for reconciliation, you use your utmost endeavours to cultivate and improve it into a happy settlement and lasting amity, taking care to secure the Colonies against the exercise of the right assumed by Parliament, to tax them, and to alter and change their Charters, Constitutions, and internal polity, without their consent—powers incompatible with the essential securities of the lives, liberties, and properties of the Colonists.

We further instruct you, that you do not, without the previous knowledge and approbation of the Convention of this Province, assent to any proposition to declare these Colonies independent of the Crown of Great Britain, nor to any proposition for making or entering into alliance with any foreign Power, nor to any union or confederation of these Colonies, which may necessarily lead to a separation from the mother country, unless, in your judgments, or in the judgments of any four of you, or a majority of the whole of you, (if all shall be then attending in Congress,) it shall be thought absolutely necessary for the preservation of the liberties of the United Colonies; and should a majority of the Colonies in Congress, against such, your judgment, resolve to declare these Colonies independent of the Crown of Great Britain, or to make or enter into alliance with any foreign Power, or into any union or confederation of these Colonies, which may necessarily lead to a separation from the mother country, then we instruct you, immediately, to call the Convention of this Province, and repair thereto with such proposition and resolve, and lay the same before the said Convention, for their consideration; and this Convention will not hold this Province bound by such majority in Congress, until the Representative body of the Province, in Convention, assent thereto.

Desirous as we are of peace with Great Britain, upon safe and honourable terms, we wish you, nevertheless, and instruct you, to join with the other Colonies, in such military operations as may be judged proper and necessary for the common defence, until such a peace can be happily obtained.

At the same time that we assure you we have an entire confidence in your abilities and integrity, in the discharge of the great trust reposed in you, we must observe to you, as our opinion, that, in the relation of constituent and representative, one principal security of the former is the right he holds to be fully informed of the conduct of the latter. We can conceive no case to exist in which it would be of more importance to exercise this right than the present, nor any in which we can suppose the Representative would more willingly acquiesce in the exercise of it. We, therefore, instruct you, that you move for, and endeavour to obtain, a resolve of Congress, that the votes given by the Colonies on every question agitated in Congress, shall appear upon the journals thereof; and if such resolve be obtained, that you, at the expense of this Province, procure copies of the said journals, except such parts thereof as relate to military operations and measures taken to procure arms and ammunition, and, from time to time, lay the same before the Conventions of this Province, showing the part you, as Representatives of the Province, take in such questions.

And we further instruct you to move for, and endeavour to obtain, a resolve of Congress, that no person who holds any military command in the Continental, or any Provincial regular forces, or marine service, nor any person who


holds or enjoys any office of profit under the Continental Congress, or under any Government assumed since the present controversy with Great Britain began, or which shall hereafter be assumed, or who directly or indirectly receives the profits, or any part of the profits, of such command or office, shall, during the time of his holding or receiving the same, be eligible to sit in Congress.

Convention adjourns till to-morrow morning, half after nine o' clock.