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dreadful sentence, "delenda est Carthago;" that this was done in presence of a British senate, and being unreproved by them, must be taken to be their own sentiment, (especially as the purpose has already in part been carried into execution, by their treatment of Boston and burning of Charlestown;) when it considers the great armaments with which they have invaded us, and the circumstances of cruelty with which these have commenced and prosecuted hostilities; when these things, we say, are laid together and attentively considered, can the world be deceived into an opinion that we are unreasonable, or can it hesitate to believe with us, that nothing but our own exertions may defeat the ministerial sentence of death or abject submission.

No. 49. Proclamation of Rebellion

August 23, 1775

THE party in Congress which still hoped for reconciliation succeeded, June 3, 1775, in passing a resolution for the appointment of a committee to prepare a petition to the King; and Dickinson, Johnson, John Rutledge, Jay, and Franklin were chosen by ballot as the members of the committee. The petition, drafted by Dickinson, was reported June 19, taken up for consideration July 4, and the following day agreed to. On the 8th the engrossed copy was signed by the members present. The petition, together with other addresses adopted by the Congress, was entrusted to Richard Penn, to be carried to England and laid before the King. The petition was the last offer of reconciliation made by Congress; and the decision of the question of independence was thought by many to depend upon its reception. Already, in January, before the first petition had been laid before Parliament, the Privy Council had decided that force should be used to suppress the rebellion, and that all persons resisting the King should be proclaimed traitors. The attention of Parliament, however, was immediately taken up with the conciliatory proposals of Chatham, Burke, and Lord North, and the acts restraining the trade of the northern and southern colonies; and the proclamation was not then issued. In the mean time, the British and American forces came into collision at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, and Congress chose Washington as commander-in-chief of the American army. The news of these proceedings fixed the determination of the King, and he ordered the proclamation to be drawn up. On the 23d of August, the day on which Richard Penn and Arthur Lee were to have presented the "olive branch" petition to Lord Dartmouth, the proclamation was issued. The petition was handed to Lord Dartmouth September 1, but the colonial representa

tives were refused an audience with the King, and were finally informed that no answer would be given. The news of the rejection of the petition reached America October 31. November 3, Congress recommended the people of New Hampshire to establish a form of government. December 6, a formal report on the proclamation was agreed to, in which, after repudiating the charge of treason, Congress declared that "whatever punishment shall be inflicted upon any persons in the power of our enemies, for favouring, aiding, or abetting the cause of American liberty, shall be retaliated in the same kind, and the same degree, upon those in our power, who have favoured, aided, or abetted, or shall favour, aid, or abet the system of ministerial oppression." REFERENCES. Text in Force's American Archives, Fourth Series, III., 240, 241. The report of December 6 is in the Journals of Congress (ed. 1800, I., 263-265; Ford's ed., III., 409-412). The best account of events is in Frothingham's Rise of the Republic, chap. 10. The petition of July 8 is in MacDonald's Select Charters, No. 77.


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Whereas many of our subjects in divers parts of our Colonies. and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and ill designing men, and forgetting the allegiance which they owe to the power that has protected and supported them; after various disorderly acts committed in disturbance of the publick peace, to the obstruction of lawful commerce, and to the oppression of our loyal subjects carrying on the same; have at length proceeded to open and avowed rebellion, by arraying themselves in a hostile manner, to withstand the execution of the law, and traitorously preparing, ordering and levying war against us: And whereas, there is reason to apprehend that such rebellion hath been much promoted and encouraged by the traitorous correspondence, counsels and comfort of divers wicked and desperate persons within this realm: To the end therefore, that none of our subjects may neglect or violate their duty through ignorance thereof, or through any doubt of the protection which the law will afford to their loyalty and zeal, we have thought fit, by and with the advice of our Privy Council, to issue our Royal Proclamation, hereby declaring, that not only all our Officers, civil and military, are obliged to exert their utmost endeavours to suppress such rebellion, and to bring the traitors to justice, but that all our subjects of this Realm, and the dominions thereunto belonging, are bound by law to be aiding and assisting in the suppression of such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all traitorous conspiracies and attempts against us, our crown and dignity; and

we do accordingly strictly charge and command all our Officers, as well civil as military, and all others our obedient and loyal subjects, to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which they shall know to be against us, our crown and dignity; and for that purpose, that they transmit to one of our principal Secretaries of State, or other proper officer, due and full information of all persons who shall be found carrying on correspondence with, or in any manner or degree aiding or abetting the persons now in open arms and rebellion against our Government, within any of our Colonies and Plantations in North America, in order to bring to condign punishment the authors, prepetrators, and abetters of such traitorous designs. Given at our Court at St. James's the twenty-third day of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, in the fifteenth year of our reign.

GOD save the KING.

No. 50. Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776

JUNE 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia submitted to the Continental Congress three' resolutions, the first of which declared "That these United Colonies 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 connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." The resolutions were seconded by John Adams, and on the 10th a committee, consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingstone, was appointed "to prepare a declaration to the effect of the said first resolution." On the 28th the committee brought in a draft of a declaration of independence. The resolution previously submitted was adopted July 2; on the 4th the Declaration of Independence was agreed to, and signed by John Hancock as president of the Congress. Congress directed that copies be sent "to the several Assemblies, Conventions, and Committees or Councils of Safety, and to the several commanding officers of the continental troops; that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the army." The members of Congress signed the Declaration August 2.

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REFERENCES. Text in Revised Statutes (ed. 1878). There are many reprints. A facsimile of the engrossed copy is in Force's American Archives,

series V., vol. I., at p. 1597; a printed copy showing Jefferson's original draft and the changes made by Congress is in the Madison Papers, I., 19–27. The Journal of Congress (ed. 1800, II.; Ford's ed., V.) gives the proceedings; Jefferson's notes of the debates are in the Madison Papers, I. Bancroft's United States (ed. 1860), VIII., chaps. 69, 70, gives abstracts of speeches in Congress, and a discussion of the Declaration itself.

In Congress, July 4, 1776,


WHEN in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem 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 is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former

Systems 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 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.

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 mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration 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 legislature.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

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