Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 22, 1778: Illegal Combatants

Appointed to a committee of the Continental Congress, Gouverneur Morris wrote a report critical of a reconciliation plan circulated by British Prime Minister Frederick Lord North. 
Among other criticisms, the committee observed, “That said bill, by holding forth a tender of pardon, implies a criminality in our justifiable resistance….”  Therefore, the committee concluded, if the United States negotiated under such terms would constitute “an implied acknowledgment that the inhabitants of these states were what Britain hath declared them to be, rebels.”  
Worthing Chauncey Ford, editor, Journalsof the Continental Congress, 1774-1789: Volume 10: January 1-May 1, 1778 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1908), page 377; Paul H. Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates toCongress: Volume 10: June 1, 1778-September 30, 1778 (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983), page 162, note 3.

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