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Thanks Presented by the President


In Congress, Thursday, February 8, 1776.

The Congress met.
And the Journal of yesterday was read.

Resolved, That Mr˙ President do signify the approbation of this Congress, and present their thanks to the Honourable Henry Middleton and John Rutledge, Esquires, now present in Congress, and to the other Delegates of this Colony at Philadelphia, for their important services in the American Congress.

Mr˙ President accordingly addressed himself to the Honourable Mr˙ Middleton and Mr˙ Rutledge, in nearly the words following:


"GENTLEMEN: When the hand of tyranny, armed in hostile manner, was extended from Great Britain to spoil America of whatever she held most valuable, it was, for the most important purposes, that the good people of this Colony delegated you to represent them in the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. It became your business to ascertain the rights of America — to point out her violated franchises, to make humble representation to the King for redress; and, he being deaf to the cries of his American subjects — to appeal to the King of Kings, for the recovery of the rights of an infant people, by the majesty of Heaven formed for future empire.

"In this most important business, you engaged, as became good citizens; and, step by step, you deliberately advanced through it, with a regret and sorrow, and with a resolution and conduct, that bear all the characters of ancient magnanimity. Your constituents, with a steady eye, beheld your progress. They saw the American claim of rights, the Association for the recovery of American franchises, and the humble Petition to the King for redress of grievances. They saw the American appeal to the King of Kings, and a second humble Petition to the British Monarch — alas! as unavailing as the first. They have also seen the establishment of an American naval force — a Treasury — a General Post-Office — and the laying on a Continental embargo. In short, they have seen permission granted to Colonies to erect forms of Government, independent of, and in opposition to, the regal authority.

"Your country saw all these proceedings, the work of a body of which you were, and are members; proceedings arising from dire necessity, and not from choice; proceedings that are the natural consequences of the present inauspicious reign; proceedings just in themselves: and which, notwithstanding the late declarations of the corrupt Houses of Parliament, the Proclamation at the Court of St˙ James' s, on the 23d of August, and the subsequent Royal Speech in Parliament, are exactly as far distant from treason and rebellion as stands the glorious Revolution which deprived a tyrant of his Kingdoms, and elevated the House of Brunswick to royalty.

"Worthy Delegates! It is the judgment of your country that your conduct, of which I have just marked the grand lines, in the American Congress, is justifiable before God and man; and that, whatever may be the issue of this unlooked-for defensive civil war, in which, unfortunately, though gloriously, we are engaged — whether independence or slavery — all the blood, and all the guilt, must be imputed to British, not to American counsels. Hence your constituents, sensible of the propriety of your conduct, and of the benefits which, with the blessing of the Almighty, it is calculated to shed upon America, have constituted me their Instrument, as well to signify to you their approbation, as to present to you their thanks; and it is in the discharge of these duties that I now have the honour to address you.

"In an important crisis like the present, to receive the publick thanks of a free People, is to receive the most honourable recompense for past services; and to deserve such thanks, is to be truly great. I know that it is with pain such men hear their commendations. Gentlemen, with the publick recompense, I mean to pay in to you my mite also; and lest I wound your delicacy, when I mean only to do justice to your merit, I forbear to particularize what is already well known. I therefore confine myself; and I do most respectfully, in the name of the Congress, present to you, and to each of you, the thanks of your country, for your important services in the American Congress, at Philadelphia."