Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

a

most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such now is the necessity which constrains them to alter their former system of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this let facts be submitted to a candid world.

“ He has refused his assent to laws the most Grievances. wholesome and necessary for the public good.

“ He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation, till his assent should be obtained ; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

“ He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

“ He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his

measures.

Grievances.

“ He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

“He has refused for a long time after such dissolutions to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large, for their exercise ; the state remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convul. sions within.

“ He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others, to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

“ He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

“ He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

“He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. “ He has kept among us, in times of peace,

standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

“ He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to the civil power.

“ He has combined with others, to subject us to a jurisdiction, foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws: giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.

For quartering large bodies of troops among us: “For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders they should commit on the inhabitants of these states :

65

Grievances.

“ For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world :

“ For imposing taxes on us, without our consent:

“For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury :

“For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offences :

“For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies :

“For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

“For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

“He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.

“ He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

“ He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries, to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

“ He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the cecutioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

“ He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose

Grievances.

known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

“In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

“ Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their

ative justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connexion and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind-enemies in war: in peace, friends.

“We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colo. nies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them and the te of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved ; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.

Declaration of
Independence.

Convention.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

AND WHEREAS this convention, having taken this Approved. declaration into their most serious consideration, did, on the ninth day of July last past, unanimously resolve that the reasons assigned by the continental congress, for declaring the united colonies free and independent states, are cogent, and conclusive ; and that, while we lament the cruel necessity which has rendered that measure unavoidable, we approve the same, and will, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, join with the other colonies in support of it.

By virtue of which several acts, declarations, and Powers of the proceedings, mentioned and contained in the afore. recited resolves or resolutions of the general congress of the United American States, and of the congress or conventions of this state, all power whatever therein hath reverted to the people thereof, and this convention hath, by their suffrages and free choice, been appointed, and, among other things, authorized to institute and establish such a government as they shall deem best calculated to secure the rights and liberties of the good people of this state, most conducive to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general.

1. This convention, therefore, in the name and All authority deby the authority of the good people of this state, people. DOTH ORDAIN, DETERMINE, AND DECLARE, That no authority shall, on any pretence whatever, be exercised over the people or members of this state, but such as shall be derived from and granted by them.

II.. This convention doth further, in the name Legislative powand by the authority of the good people of this state, ORDAIN, DETERMINE, AND DECLARE, That the supreme

rived from the

er.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »