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weighty concerns that ever employed our attention, to be careful what sort of men we intrust with the conduct of our affairs during the ensuing five months; in which time we shall probably be able to judge whether reconciliation be yet possible. If violent men, who have predetermined this great question, should be our choice, the guilt of every rash measure, into which we may be hurried, will lie at our own door. But if the majority of voices shall be given to those who are known to be firm in the defence of American rights, friends to the Constitution of this Province, visibly interested in its prosperity, and, at the same time, desirous of peace upon honourable termseverything will be safe in their hands. If the fatal necessity should evidently arise which will justify new declarations and a change of measures, such men will never dissent from the general voice of their constituents.*
Upon this single consideration, the matter now rests. All other distinctions are vain and trifling. Let unnecessary heats be avoided, and every man give his voice, according to his conscience, with that freedom which ought to distinguish a people in the exercise of one of their most sacred rights, under the sanction of the best laws. This is not a time either for timidity or rashness; and threats or abuse will only disgrace those that make use of them. In this light, a most daring publication is to be considered, which has just appeared over the signature of An Elector. At a time when all America is contending, among other things, for the Charter rights of one of the Provinces, he calls upon the people of this city to trample the Charter of this Colony under their feet; to act upon a novel system; to pay no regard to the legal qualification of voters; not to those sacred laws by which every man, who becomes a citizen of Philadelphia, has agreed to be bound. This would be giving a fatal stab to our liberties, and may teach us what we are to expect should we suffer men professing such principles to get the direction of our affairs.
Philadelphia, April 30, 1776.
DANIEL, OF ST. THOMAS JENIFER TO CHARLES CARROLL.
Philadelphia, April 30, 1776.
DEAR SIR: To-morrow will determine the question of Dependance and Independence, in this city, by the election of four additional members of Assembly. It will, from what I can learn, be carried in favour of the former, if there is not a division in the party about their men. It is expected that the contest will not end without blows.
I have been present at two meetings of our Delegates, (the last I am but this moment returned from,) to consult upon the principal points to be discussed in Convention, and the Delegates to attend. There will be another meeting this evening or to-morrow, when they will be finished and agreed upon. I believe Mr. Goldsborough and Mr. Johnson will be the Delegates. The points as to the Governours staying, and representation, will be determined, I think, as you and my brethren would wish, with the latitude of being varied by the Convention, as circumstances may cast up.
I shall be happy if my poor endeavours here have or shall be instrumental towards the reconciliation of the two Shores, and settling those two material points, as it will be the means of obtaining forgiveness from my brethren for my abrupt departure from Annapolis. You must be my advocate. It was a maddened fit that came upon me; and it appeared to me, from a previous question or two, that, if I had asked leave
April 1st, 1776.About three oclock, went to James Cannons; spent good part of this afternoon and evening, till eight oclock, there, in conversation with Thomas Paine, Dr. Young, James Wigdon, and Timothy Matlack; came away about eight oclock, by the cry of fire; went home; thence up town, where the whole malt-house and new front-house of Robert Hare was in flames; went with Colonel Roberdeau to the Powder-Magazine, where a number of us attended with an engine, which played upon the Magazine, and other buildings adjacent, for fear of sparks.
5th.Dined at home with James Cannon; we then went to Paines; stayed some time; thence, Cannon and I went to Dr. Youngs; not at home; we went up to Kensington; found him and several friends there, at work on board the frigate building by Messrs. Eyre; we joined them in assisting what we could, till night; then came home.
6th.Near two oclock, set off for Kensington, in order to assist, with a number of fellow-citizens, in getting the lower-deck beams on board the frigate building by Messrs. Eyre. I presume there came not short of one hundred, who stayed till they were all put on boardin which were included three parts of the Light-Infantry, of First Battalion, who came in warlike array; came away just at dark.
9th.Near seven oclock, went to Committee-room, at Philosophical Hall; came away before ten; at which meeting, Townsend Spikeman attending, owned he refused and could not take the Continental money; he refusing to appeal, his case was ordered to be published.
11th.After dinner, went to Kensington, where a number of inhabitants met, in order to assist in getting the lower-deck beams in the ship that was building for man-of-war, by Bruce & Co.
16th.News confirmed of our fleets arrival at New-London, and of the arrival of General Washington at New-York; some particulars, see in Evening Post, No. 193. Near seven oclock, went to Committee-room, at Philosophical Hall; came home past ten; great debate about rescinding the prices some time past affixed to sundry articles by the Committee. This debate arose from a Remonstrance now presented by sundry citizens.
18th.Near seven oclock, went to Committee-room, at Philosophical Hall, (called by summons,) where the rights and powers of the Committee were discussed, and proved to be invested in them by the votes of Congress, and the call and nomination of the people at large; and that the regulations they had entered into were well founded; yet, in order to promote peace and harmony at this time, a vote was passed, (contrary to my approbation and that of many others present,) that a remonstrance be sent to Congress, requesting them to explain some former resolves. A Committee was appointed for that purpose, to draft it, and bring it to the next meeting for approbation. At this meeting, after Committee was over, many stayed, and appointed sixteen members present to confer with the Committee of Privates, and the Patriotick Society, respecting the candidates for Burgesses, on the 1st of May next. Agreed to meet to-morrow evening.
19th.Near seven oclock, went to William Thorns School-room, Vidells Alley. Met a number of persons appointed to consult upon persons proper to be returned as four Burgesses from this city, on the 1st of May. Came away past nine oclock, having adjourned to seven oclock to-morrow evening, at same place. I was chosen Chairman; James Cannon, Secretary.
20th.Went thence to James Cannons. Past seven oclock, went with him to William Thorns School-room, as by appointment last night. Came away about ten oclock.
21st.Many, I understand, were the private meetings of those called Moderate-men, (or those who are for reconciliation with Great Britain upon the best terms she will give us, hut by all means to be reconciled to or with her,) in order to consult and have such men carried for Burgesses at the election, (1st of May,) as will be sure to promote, to accept, and adopt all such measures. These are the schemes that are now ardently pursued by those men.
23d.Near eight oclock, I went, with J. B. Smith, to Colonel Hancocks, to deliver a Remonstrance from the Committee to Congress, we being appointed for that service; the which he received very politely, and promised to perform and favour us with the result of Congress thereon.
25th.Went to Jacob Schriners; met sundry persons there; went thence to the sign of Rotterdam, in Third-street; stayed till the ticket was settled for Inspectors, and three persons to put into practice the resolve of Assembly for disarming Non-Associators; thence to meet the Committee at William Thorns School-room, where we concluded and fixed the ticket for four Burgesses viz: George Clymer, Colonel Roberdean, Owen Biddle, and Frederick Kuhl; but to be kept a secret from the publick till after our next meeting, on Second Day night, at that place, at seven oclock.
27th.Past two oclock, went to Kensington, where a number of persons (not much short of one hundred and fifty) were collected, in order to get the upper-deck beams into both the frigates building there. The same was completed, without any accident happening, by six oclock in the evening. I then came away with Frederick Kuhl, James Davidson, and James Cannon, to whose house I went, and drank coffee.
28th.After supper, Joseph Lecond and myself took a walk down to Plumsteads wharf, in order to see what readiness the two ships-of-war were in, as they were under sailing orders, occasioned by an express that arrived about three oclock this afternoon, who left Lewistown about six oclock last night, sent by land from Henry Fisher, giving an account that the man-of-war the Roebuck, pursuing a vessel, had, that afternoon, run ashore on the Brandywine [Shoals, ] and was then, to appearance, fast. The vessels were nigh ready, as we learned, and would sail in the morning.
May 1st. At nine oclock, A. M., went to William Thorns Schoolroom, by appointment; from thence to my sons; thence to Coffee-House, and so home; from there down to Draw-bridge; thence to the State- House; stayed till one oclock; went in company with Thomas Paine, and dined at son Christophers; went back to the State-House; engaged till past five oclock; then went with James Cannon to his house; drank coffee there; then we returned to the State-House; stayed till eight oclock; then I came home, ate supper, and went back; stayed till past ten oclock, the Sheriff having proclaimed to close the poll in half an hour. This has been one of the sharpest contests, yet peaceable, that has been for a number of years, except some small disturbance among the Butch, occasioned by some unwarrantable expressions of Joseph Swift, viz: That except they were naturalized, they had no more right to a vote than a Negro or an Indian. And, also, past six oclock, the Sheriff, without any notice to the publick, closed the poll, and adjourned till nine oclock to-morrow, and shut the doors. This alarmed the people, who immediately resented itflew to the Sheriff and to the doors, and obliged him again to open the doors, and continue the poll till the time above prefixed. I think it may be said with propriety, that the Quakers, Papists, Church, Allen family, with all the Proprietary party, were never, seemingly, so happily united as at this election, notwithstanding Friends former protestation and declaration, of never joining with that party, since the club or knock-down election. Oh! tell it not in Gath, nor publish it in the streets of Askalon, how the Testimony is trampled upon.
About midnight, casting up the poll, it turned out thus, viz: Samuel Howell, 941; Andrew Allen, 923; George Clymer, 923; Alexander Wilcox, 921; Thomas Willing, 911; Frederick Kuhl, 904; Owen Biddie, 903; and Daniel Roberdeau, 890. Marshall.