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1780, that is, about eighteen months ago, an order was issued by the Congress for printing correct copies of the above pieces. Why the Congress directed a small number to be-published, is not said; only two hundred copies are expressed in their order, which were distributed, some months ago, to the principal men in America, and a few were sent over to Europe. One of these copies having fallen into the Editor's hands, he thinks the reprinting of it will not prove'unacceptable to the public, as the Collection here mentioned may be considered as the Magna Charta of the United American States, as the code of their fundamental law.s, and in short, the book which the opposite parties among them will at all times claim in some shape or other, and the knowledge of which is therefore necessary to such persons as wish to understand the present or future internal American politics.
In framing their respective Constitutions, each Colony has followed its own particular views; from which it has resulted that their Governments are all different from one another. In the Colony of Pennsylvania, for instance, they have especially directed their endeavours, not only towards establishing public frugality, but also to* wards preventing too.much power of any kind falling into the hands of any individual; while the Colony of Massachusetts have shewn in that respect much greater confidence, and have allowed the Governor of their Commonwealth a degree of power at least equal to that possessed by the Stadtholder, in .the Dutch Government: only; he is to be chosen annually.. In regard to the
State State of Rhode-Island, as they already formed, before the American Revolution, a kind of independent Republic, through the cession that had been made by Charles the Second to their Governor and Company, of all powers legislative, executive, and judicial, they have continued to admit their original Charter as the rule of their Government; and it has accordingly been inserted among the Constitutions of . the other United States.
It may be remarked, in respect to the American Republican Governments; that they differ in two very essential points from the ancient Gre- . cian and Italian Commonwealths, as well as from the modern European ones, which were all framed, on the model of these: One, is the circumstance of the People being represented, in the new American Republics; and the other, is the division of the Legislature into two distinct separate bodies, that takes place in them, and which they have adopted, as well as many other essential regulations, from the British form of Government'.
The precedency among the different American States, like that which obtains among the Helvetian Cantons and the Dutch Provinces, has not been settled from "their respective degrees of power and importance, but from the time of their existence, and the dates of their charter. The Treaty of perpetual Confederation between them, which is inserted in this book, may be considered as the law, orcode, by which the United States are intended to be consolidated into one common Republic; and as the different particular
• ticular Constitutions are to govern the different respective States, so the Treaty is the Constitution, or mode of Government, for the collective North-American Commonwealth. The copy of this Treaty, which is the most interesting part of the Collection* has accordingly been placed at the beginning of this new edition, together with the Declaration of Independence, which may be considered as the ground-work of the whole present American political system. This disposition, which is that expressed in the order issued by the
, Congress, is also the most natural; and it has been rather improperly that the Committee appointed to form the Collection, have inserted these two pieces dt the end of the book.
June 15, 1782.
UNITED STATES Of AMERICA, In CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.
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 arnbng the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God encitle them, a decent .respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare th« causes which impel them to the separation.
AYe 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 lise, 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, raying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their sasety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind arc more disused 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 inva
8 , fsably riably the same object, evinces a design to reduce thefn under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off" such government, and to provide new guards for their suture security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the neceffity 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 sacts be submitted to a candid world.
He has resused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and preffing 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 resused 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 depofitory of their public records, for the sole purpose of satiguing them into compliance with his measures. N
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has resused, 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 danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners j resusing 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 resusing his assent to laws for establishingjudiciaTy powers.
He has made judges dependenton his will alone for the tenure of their offices and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of newoffices, and sent hither swarms of officers toharrafs 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 un-acknowledged by our laws j giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: