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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
him prisoner with all his army. That decisive victory practically ended the Revolution, and forced England to give up the contest.
191. George III's speech on the United States; England makes a Treaty of Peace with us, 1783; the King's Meeting with John Adams. At the opening of Parliament (1782), the King, in a voice choked with emotion, announced that he was ready to acknowledge the independence of the United States. He closed his speech by saying that it was his earnest prayer that "religion, language, interest, and affection might prove a bond of permanent union between the two countries."
A final treaty of peace between Great Britain and this country was signed at Paris in 1783. It secured to us the thirteen states, with Maine, and the territory west of them to the Mississippi. (Map, p. 170.) Our first minister to England was John Adams of Massachusetts. The King said to him: "Sir, I will be very free with you. I was the last to consent to the separation, but the separation having been made . . . I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power."
192. The American States Independent but not really United; Congress destitute of Power; the Articles of Confederation. But though America had won her independence, she had not secured harmony and union. While the war lasted the states fought like brothers, side by side; now that the danger was over they threatened to fall apart. We were like a barrel made of thirteen stout staves, but without a single strong hoop to hold us together. When Congress made the Declaration of Independence (§ 167), it also framed the first national constitution called the Articles of Confederation (§ 162). But the states did not adopt that constitution until five years later, 1781.
Under the Articles of Confederation the government accomplished two great pieces of work:
1. It made peace with Great Britain, 1783 (§ 191).
2. It adopted the famous Ordinance for the government of the Northwest Territory, 1787 (§ 195).