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Another Account of the Proceedings and of the Meeting on Monday


New-York, March 8, 1775.

The notification of the Committee, dated March 1, induced several worthy citizens, friends of Liberty and the Constitution, to assemble at the widow De La Montagnie' s, on Friday evening, the 3d instant. The measure suggested by the Committee appeared to them to be liable to exception, as the probable tendency of it seemed to be the introduction of a Provincial Congress. They thought, too, that in a measure of so much importance to the community, no precipitate, steps should be taken; that our fellow-citizens had a right to a little longer time than the Committee had thought proper to allow them; and they objected to the mode of taking the sense of the City by collecting the people together. They were apprized of the confusion, the heats and animosity, of which such a proceeding is generally productive; that on such occasions those citizens, who alone ought to be consulted, and who alone have a right to give their voices, namely, the Freeholders and Freemen, were liable to insults and indignities; and that, as it was impossible to discriminate between them and such as were collected on purpose to make a show of numbers, they foresaw that the mode proposed, was entirely inadequate to the purpose of taking the sense of the City, in which they were confirmed by the experience of last year; when, after the Town had been kept in confusion, tumult, and disorder, for a long time, about the election of Delegates, the passing Resolves, meeting in the Fields, &c˙, the late reputable Committee of Correspondence had recourse to a poll, which was found the only essential measure of ascertaining what the sense of their fellow-citizens was. With the benefit of this experience, and under the influence of sentiments founded in prudence and moderation, as well as deference and respect for their fellow-citizens, the friends of Constitutional Liberty could not but disapprove of the measure adopted by the Committee. They proposed that the election of Delegates should be postponed for a time, when they intended, if, from the determinations of our Assembly now sitting, and the advices which might arrive by the expected Packet, some measure could not be adopted with the consent of all parties, and without division, that in such case the sense of the free-spirited and independent Electors of this City should be taken by a poll, by which those who had a right to give their voices might be distinguished from such as had not, and when the respectable citizens, in the exercise of Constitutional rights and franchises, lie blended with the rabble, which may always be collected by the pageantry of a flag, and the sound of a drum and fife. Unfortunately, however, the hopes which might be entertained from a calm, deliberate consideration of this measure, and thereby of healing our divisions, and of deriving weight to our determinations from the unanimity with which they might be carried, were defeated; for the day was fixed, and at hand. Accordingly on Monday, at the Exchange, a vast concourse of people were assembled; the Chairman of the


Committee put two questions, upon each of which there was a very great division. Those who were opposed to the question, demanded a poll, for these reasons: that the business of the day was to take the sense of the Freeholders and Freemen; that none but such had a right to give their voices, and that it was impossible to discriminate them from those who had not such right. It is said that the Committee, in the evening, took up the consideration of the proceedings of the day; that many of them reported, that the majority of the people were in favour of the question; that they were, therefore, authorized to proceed to the election of Deputies to meet Deputies from the Counties in Provincial Convention. On the contrary, it is the opinion of a very great majority of our fellow-citizens, that no new powers would have been vested in the Committee by the transactions of that day; that they were appointed in matters relative to the Association only; that they had themselves disclaimed all other powers: that they had called the Freeholders and Freemen together in order to take their sentiments; that it was impossible, from the nature of the thing, to determine on which side the majority was.

The weight of the objections, therefore, to the measure of collecting the people together, appears from the event; and after the most disagreeable consequences which have followed, it will still be necessary to take that, as the last resource, which in prudence should have been the first measure, namely, taking every Elector' s vote by a regular poll.