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crown, and that all political connexion between them and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full power to levy war,
conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of DEVENE PBOVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
The foregoing declaration was, by order of Congress, engrossed, and signed by the following members :
Charles Carroll, of Carroll-
ton. John Witherspoon,
Thomas Heyward, jun.
Thomas Lynch, jun.
George Walton. Resolved, That copies of the Declaration be sent to the several assemblies, conventions, and committees, or councils of safety, and to the several commanding officers of the continental troops; that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the army.
CHAPTER VI. Appointment of George Washington to be command
er-in-chief of the army, by the Congress of the Confederation, on the 15th June, 1775.
THURSDAY, June 15, 1775. Agreeable to order, the Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, and, after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Ward reported that the committee had come to some farther resolutions, which he was ordered to report.
The report of the committee being read and considered,
Resolved, That a general be appointed to command all the Continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty.
That five hundred dollars, per month, be allowed for the pay and expenses of the general.
The Congress then proceeded to the choice of a general, by ballot, and George Washington, esq., was unanimously elected.
FRIDAY, June 16, 1775. Met according to adjournment. [The Delegates from the Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware counties, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, being present.]
The President informed Colonel Washington that the Congress had yesterday unanimously made choice of him to be general and commander-in-chief of the American forces, and requested he would accept of that employment; to which Colonel Washington, standing in his place, answered: “MR. PRESIDENT:
“Though I am truly sensible of the high honor done me, in this appointment, yet I feel great distress, from consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust: However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation..
“But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.
“As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire."
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to draught a commission and instructions for the general.
The persons chosen to compose the committee, were Mr. Lee, Mr. E. Rutledge, and Mr. J. Adams.
SATURDAY, June 17, 1775. Met according to adjournment.
The committee appointed to draught a commission to the general, reported the same, which, being read by paragraphs and debated, was agreed to as follows:
The delegates of the United Colonies of New Hampshire, Massa
chusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina:
To GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq. We, reposing special trust and confidence in your patriotism, valor, conduct, and fidelity, do, by these presents, constitute and appoint you to be general and commander-in-chief, of the army of the United Colonies, and of all the forces now raised, or to be raised, by them, and of all others who shall voluntarily offer their service, and join the said army for the defence of American liberty, and for repelling every hostile invasion thereof: And you are hereby vested with full power and authority to act as you shall think for the good and welfare of the service.
And we do hereby strictly charge and require all officers and soldiers, under your command, to be obedient to your orders, and diligent in the exercise of their several duties.
And we do also enjoin and require you, to be careful in executing the great trust reposed in you, by causing strict discipline and order to be observed in the army, and that the soldiers be duly exercised, and provided with all convenient necessaries.
And you are to regulate your conduct in every respect by the rules and discipline of war, (as herewith given you,) and punctually to observe and follow such orders and directions, from time to time, as you shall receive from this, or a future Congress of these United Colonies, or committee of Congress.
This commission to continue in force until revoked by this, or a future Congress.
By order of the Congress, Ordered, That the same be fairly transcribed, signed by the President, attested by the secretary, and delivered to the general.
Resolved, unanimously, Whereas, the delegates of all the Colonies, from Nova Scotia to Georgia, in Congress assembled, have unanimously chosen George Washington, esq., to be general and commander-in-chief, of such forces as are, or shall be, raised for the maintenance and preservation of American liberty; this Congress doth now declare, that they will maintain and assist him, and adhere to him, the said George Washington, with their lives and fortunes in the same cause.