March 23, 1776

In South Carolina, the Provincial Congress instructs its delegation in Philadelphia “to concert, agree to, and execute, every measure which it and the Continental Congress shall judge necessary for the defense, security, interest or welfare of the colony, in particular, and America in general.”


In Philadelphia, Congress authorizes privatizing and begins to issue letters of marque and reprisal.  During the Revolutionary War there were no less than 1,760 privateers.  The British had a like number of privateers.

John Adams writes to General Horatio Gates regarding the difficulty of bringing the southern colonies to the point of accepting republican government:  “I know not whether you have seen the Act of Parliament call’d the restraining Act, or prohibitory Act, or piratical Act, or plundering Act, or Act of Independency, for by all these Titles is it call’d. I think the most apposite is the Act of Independency, for King Lords and Commons have united in Sundering this Country and that I think forever. It is a compleat Dismemberment of the British Empire. It throws thirteen Colonies out of the Royal Protection, levels all Distinctions and makes us independent in Spight of all our supplications and Entreaties.  It may be fortunate that the Act of Independency should come from the British Parliament, rather than the American Congress: But it is very odd that Americans should hesitate at accepting Such a Gift from them.  However, my dear Friend Gates, all our Misfortunes arise from a Single Source, the Reluctance of the Southern Colonies to Republican Government. The success of this War depends upon a Skillfull Steerage of the political Vessell. The Difficulty lies in forming Constitutions for particular Colonies, and a Continental Constitution for the whole, each Colony should establish its own Government, and then a League should be formed, between them all.   This can be done only on popular Principles and Maxims which are so abhorrent to the Inclinations of the Barons of the south, and the Proprietary Interests in the Middle Colonies, as well as to that Avarice of Land, which has made upon this Continent so many Votaries to Mammon that I Sometimes dread the Consequences. However Patience, Fortitude and Perseverance, with the Help of Time will get us over these obstructions.  Thirteen Colonies under such a Form of Government as that of Connecticutt, or one, not quite so popular leagued together in a faithfull Confederacy might bid Defyance to all the Potentates of Europe if united against them.”

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