King George III and Parliament sent the Carlisle Commission to the rebellious colonies less than two years after July 4, 1776, proposing
- to agree to nearly all rebel demands and complaints,
- to recognize their Continental Congress as a legal and permanent body of the [Protestant] “British states throughout North America” (no longer colonies or provinces, but “states,” suggesting each one’s “British” sovereignty!… in retrospect, a ‘Dominion’ more like early Australia with its States, than earlier Canada with its Provinces),
- representation of the “states” by “agents” in Parliament, and of “Great Britain” in State “assemblies,” for their mutual interests,
- “a perfect freedom of legislation and internal government” for each State,
- and military alliance,
“so that the British states throughout North America, acting with us in peace and war, under our common sovereign, may have the irrevocable enjoyment of every privilege that is short of a total separation of interest, or consistent with that union of force, on which the safety of our common religion and liberty depends.”
But since the rebels had just concluded an alliance with France – “absolutist,” monarchist, Catholic France, the Ancien Regime – with whom they had been talking since before July 4, 1776, and for whose benefit they had even passed their joint Unilateral Declaration of Independence, their Congress insisted on nothing short of complete independence… and five more years of bloody, destructive war, political and ideological ‘cleansing’ – civil war, really – etc etc.
Interesting reading. Tragic.
(Glad to note that WordPress has found a way to include bullets in bullet lists now! 🙂 )