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1781.]

TREATY OF PEACE.

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soners, will sink into insignificance when compared with the moral effect produced by the surrender of Cornwallis. The news spread through America as though carried by electric sympathy; every heart bounded with joy; the desponding hoped, and the hopeful triumphed. It became evident to all, that Great Britain could not conquer, and that her efforts would only weaken herself, without reducing America. It will not be necessary further to trace the events of a war which might now be considered as virtually decided. On the 20th January, 1783, the preliminaries of peace between England and France were signed at Versailles, and on the 3d of September following, a definitive treaty, in which America was formally included, was entered into between the belligerents. The independence of the United States was acknowledged. Their boundaries, though not perfectly defined, were not narrowed, and clauses were introduced favourable to trade between two countries, who were now to deal with each other as free and sovereign nations.*

■ Gordon, iii. 382, 383; Otis's ly enriched his volume. Yet the Botta, ii. 451. With the siege of work is prolix and uninviting: it York closes the History of Louis has been read by few, and will be Hue Girardin. He was a French- sought by none who look merely for man by birth, but taught school a entertainment. He has fallen into long time in Virginia. His dispo- the error of introducing a complete sition was amiable, and his habits history of the Revolutionary War, were studious. He undertook to into a work intended to be confined continue Burk, and having taken up to Virginia. His admiration for Mr. his abode near Monticello, Mr. Jef. Jefferson sometimes approaches the ferson supplied him with a large ludicrous. See Jefferson's Works, i. amount of MS. matter, which great- 41; Henry Lee, 146.

Thus ended the War of the Revolution. No state of the Union had more cherished its principles and improved its advantages than Virginia. If she had not witnessed so many of its battles as had others, she had at least not shrunk from the contest. Her sons had ever been active in the council chamber and the field. Patrick Henry had "set the ball in 'motion," and afterwards had driven it forward by the breath of his eloquence. Thomas Jefferson had written the Charter around which every state was to rally in the hour of danger: Richard Henry Lee had supported Independence at the critical moment. Randolph, Pendleton, Mason, Wythe, Carr, Harrison, all had borne their part in encouraging the soul of freedom. And in arms, Virginia had not been less distinguished: George Washington had gone from her bosom to lead the armies of America to triumph; Morgan had left his home in the Valley, to penetrate the forests of Maine, to head the forlorn hope at Quebec, to drive the enemy before him at Saratoga, and to overwhelm Tarleton at the Cowpens; Mercer had fought and bled at Princeton; Stevens had battled even in defeat at Camden, and gathered fresh laurels at Guilford; George Rogers Clarke had entered the wilderness, and conquered a new empire for his country. The first voice of warning had been raised in Virginia, and the last great scene of battle had been viewed on her soil. Her sister states have not denied her claims; when peace returned, she was still looked to as the leader in the unknown course that opened before America.

CHAPTER V.

Peace has its dangers-Virginia's generosity-Charters of King James I. -Domain of Virginia narrowed by charters to other states, and by Treaty of Paris in 1763-Validity of her claim-Land CompaniesVirginia's claim disputed in Congress-Objections to it consideredMaryland and the Confederation-Virginia's dignified protest-She finally cedes her lands northwest of the Ohio-Extent of this gift-Patrick Henry-British Refugees-Proposed law to encourage intermarriage between Whites and Indians-Resolution to incorporate all religious societies who should apply-Act to incorporate the Protestant Episcopal Church-General assessment to support Religion proposedMr. Madison's memorial against it-It is rejected-Bill of Religious Liberty—Mr. Jefferson-Memorials of Hanover Presbytery-Bill adopted by the Legislature—Act incorporating the Episcopal Church repealed -Capitol-Statue of Washington-Houdon the statuary-Edmund Randolph Governor-Vices of the Confederacy-Necessity for a new government-Forms of Civil Government considered-Ancient debate on the subject-Mixed character of British Constitution-The conduct of America in 1787-'88 peculiar-Incipient measures to secure a change in plan of Confederation-Federal Convention in 1787-Constitution proposed-Debate in Virginia Convention-Edmund Pendleton-Governor Randolph-George Nicholas-Henry Lee-Francis CorbinJohn Marshall-James Innes-James Madison-Opposition to proposed Government-Patrick Henry-George Mason-James Monroe-Wil. ham Grayson-Constitution adopted by Virginia—Amendments finally secured.

IT has been said, that the history of Virginia after the opening of the Revolution, will be found to turn principally upon two points-civil and religious freedom; and we have seen the skilful measures adopted to secure them. It might be supposed, that now when the struggle of war was over,

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and the mother country no longer pretended to claim jurisdiction, these great blessings were safe, and that the people of the Commonwealth would enjoy them in full. But peace had its dangers as well as war. The pressure of peril had kept together a system which had little innate tendency to cohesion. At no time during the actual struggle for Independence, was America in so much danger of anarchy, as she was after its close. And as true liberty is as far removed from licentiousness as from despotism, so the nation without government is as miserable as that governed by a tyrant. We shall see that the patriots of Virginia had yet much to accomplish, before she could consider her freedom as secure.

Her people may be pardoned for indulging in feelings of pride, in reviewing the liberal spirit which impelled her to sacrifice self to the common good. From the time when she first became a member of the American league, it is evident that she considered her own interests as bound up in those of the Union. Her conduct was directed not merely by fraternal love to the other states, but by a calm exercise of judgment, which taught her that a wound in the hand affects the nerves of the whole body, and that the comfort of each member depends on the general health. The action of Congress made the cession of her public lands the first subject for her thoughts after the Revolution.

The charters of King James the First had granted to Virginia a vast territory on the American continent. The Charter of 1609, in particular, had

1783.] VIRGINIA'S DOMAIN NARROWED.

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conveyed a huge belt of country, running from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It had long been conceded, that the dissolution of the London Company in 1624, had not deprived the Colony of a right to her lands. These were still retained under her control, subject to the final decision of the King; and the regular mode of obtaining title to them was by a grant under the seal of the Provincial authorities. By successive charters to the states of Carolina. Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the domain of Virginia had been much reduced, and by operation of the Treaty of Paris, in 1763, between Great Britain, France and Spain, the territory west of the Mississippi was taken from the British Colonies. Yet after these reductions, Virginia retained title to the country on her west and northwest, running from latitude thirty-six and a half to a line touching the southern margins of the Lakes Erie and Michigan. To this she had solemnly asserted her right in the Constitution adopted in 1776, and to prevent all improper interference, she had declared void every purchase made from the Indians, unless by authority of her General Assembly."

Had any thing been necessary to complete the equity of her claim, it might have been found in the conquest achieved by Colonel Clarke, in '78 and '79. A native born Virginian commanding volunteer troops from the soil of the State, raised by authority of her Assembly, paid by her grants,

⚫ Hening, i. 80-98; 1 R. C. 37. b See vol. i. 270.

Grahame, iv. 91.

d Constitution, cl. 21 ; R. C. i. 37.

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