Ralph Wormely, Jan., having asked pardon and shown great contrition for his unworthy conduct, is released from prison, and permitted to reside in Berkeley County, The Delegates in Congress. Instructed to propose a Declaration of Independence, Committee to prepare a Declaration of Rights, and such a plan of Government as will secure substantial and equal liberty to the People

v6:1523

Wednesday, May 15, 1776.

Mr˙ Cary, from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, reported that the Committee had, according to order, had under their consideration the Petition of Ralph Wormeley, Jun˙, and had come to the following Resolution thereupon; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same was again twice read, and agreed to:

Resolved, That the said Ralph Wormeley having discovered, in his letter to John Grymes, a disposition unfriendly and dangerous to the rights of this country, ought to be confined to the County of Berkeley, and that part of his father' s estate which lies in the County of Frederick; that he be allowed twenty days from this time to remove himself to the said place, and that he give bond and security, in the sum of ten thousand Pounds, not to depart without those limits until he shall be permitted so to do, on his sincere contrition and future good behaviour, by the Convention, or others having the Executive powers of Government during their recess, nor give intelligence to, or in any manner aid or assist the enemy, and in all things conduct himself conformably to the measures and ordinances of the Convention; and that Brigadier-General Lewis be requested to send a subaltern officer with the said Wormeley to the County of Berkeley, at his expense. And the Committee are induced to agree to this

v6:1524

Resolution, because the said Wormeley hath asked pardon, and shown great contrition for his unworthy conduct.

Ordered, That the said Ralph Wormeley be discharged from his confinement, on entering into bond as aforesaid.

Ordered, That all publick claims be delivered of course to the Clerk of the Committee of Claims, and that they report the same, together with their opinion thereupon, to the Convention.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the Commanding Officer of the Troops to seize and secure any Slaves which may be sent by Lord Dunmore, or any of the Navy, with flags of truce, and that he make them acquainted with his determination on this subject.

The Convention then, according to the Order of the Day, resolved itself into a Committee on the state of the Colony, and after some time spent therein, Mr˙ President resumed the chair, and Mr˙ Cary reported, that the Committee had, according to order, had under their consideration the state of the Colony, and had come to the following Resolutions thereupon; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same were again twice read, and unanimously agreed to, one hundred and twelve Members being present:

Forasmuch as all the endeavours of the United Colonies, by the most decent representations and petitions to the King and Parliament of Great Britain, to restore peace and security to America under the British Government, and a reunion with that people upon just and liberal terms, instead of a redress of grievances, have produced, from an imperious and vindictive Administration, increased insult, oppression, and a vigorous attempt to effect our total destruction: — By a late act all these Colonies are declared to be in rebellion, and out of the protection of the British Crown, our properties subjected to confiscation, our people, when captivated, compelled to join in the murder and plunder of their relations and countrymen, and all former rapine and oppression of Americans declared legal and just; fleets and armies are raised, and the aid of foreign troops engaged to assist these destructive purposes; the King' s representative in this Colony hath not only withheld all the powers of Government from operating for our safety, but, having retired on board an armed ship, is carrying on a piratical and savage war against us, tempting our slaves by every artifice to resort to him, and training and employing them against their masters. In this state of extreme danger, we have no alternative left but an abject submission to the will of those overbearing tyrants, or a total separation from the Crown and Government of Great Britain, uniting and exerting the strength of all America for defence, and forming alliances with foreign Powers for commerce and aid in war: — Wherefore, appealing to the Searcher of hearts for the sincerity of former declarations expressing our desire to preserve the connection with that nation, and that we are driven from that inclination by their wicked councils, and the eternal law of self-preservation:

Resolved, unanimously, That the Delegates appointed to represent this Colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependance upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain; and that they give the assent of this Colony to such declaration, and to whatever measures may be thought proper and necessary by the Congress for forming foreign alliances, and a Confederation of the Colonies, at such time and in the manner as to them shall seem best: Provided, That the power of forming Government for, and the regulations of the internal concerns of each Colony, be left to the respective Colonial Legislatures.

Resolved, unanimously, That a Committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration of Rights, and such a plan of Government as will be most likely to maintain peace and order in this Colony, and secure substantial and equal liberty to the people.

And a Committee was appointed of the following gentlemen: Mr˙ Archibald Cary, Mr˙ Meriwether Smith, Mr˙ Mercer, Mr˙ Henry Lee, Mr˙ Treasurer, Mr˙ Henry, Mr˙ Dandridge, Mr˙ Edmund Randolph, Mr˙ Gilmer, Mr˙ Bland, Mr˙ Digges, Mr˙ Carrington, Mr˙ Thomas Ludwell Lee, Mr˙ Cabell, Mr˙ Jones, Mr˙ Blair, Mr˙ Fleming, Mr˙ Tazewell, Mr˙ Richard Cary, Mr˙ Bullitt, Mr˙ Watts, Mr˙ Banister, Mr˙ Page, Mr˙ Starke, Mr˙ David Mason, Mr˙ Adams, Mr˙ Read, and Mr˙ Thomas Lewis.

v6:1525

Resolved, That this Convention will to-morrow again resolve itself into a Committee to take into their further consideration the state of the Colony.

Ordered, That Mr˙ Williams and Mr˙ Goode have leave to be absent from the service of this Convention for the remainder of the session.

Adjourned till to-morrow, ten o' clock.