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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 supe rior 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 armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment, for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States :
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
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 enlarg. ing 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 powers 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 mer. cenaries 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 executioners 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 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 attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts made 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 native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and 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
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 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 connexion between them and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full power to levy war, corclude peace,
contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. 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.
The foregoing declaration was, by order of Congress, engrossed, and signed by the following members :
ROBERT Treat PAINE,
CHARLES CARROLL, of Carrollton
RICHARD HENRY LEE,
Thomas Nelson, jun.
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE,
THOMAS HEYWARD, jun.
THOMAS LYNCH, jun.
, Lyman Hall,
Resolved, That copies of the Declaration 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
COMMITTEE ON CONFEDERATION APPOINTED BEFORE THE DECLARATION WAS ADOPTED
-ITS REPORT-DEBATE ON THE PLAN OF CONFEDERATION-PROPORTION OF TAX-
DR. WITHERSPOON-DEBATE ON STATE VOTES IN CONGRESS-REMARKS OF YR.
WHILE the Declaration of Independence was still under the consideration of Congress, certain necessary measures were taken towards the forming of a plan of confederation among the colonies. On the 11th of June 1776, it was resolved that a committee should be appointed to propose and digest a form of confederation. On the following day, it was resolved that the committee should consist of a member from each colony, and it was appointed accordingly.
On the 12th of July, eight days after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the committee appointed to draw Articles of Confederation made their report, and the subject was from time to time debated in a committee of the whole, until the 15th of November 1777, when a copy of the original draft, with a few verbal amendments only, was by Congress ordered to be sent to the legislatures of all the United States to be by them considered, in order that if it should meet their approbation they might authorize their delegates to ratify the same in Congress. On the 17th of November a circular letter was approved and ordered to be sent to the several States, with copies of the Confederation, and on the 29th a committee was appointed to procure a translation of it into French, and to report an address to the inhabitants of Canada &c. Thus the plan of Confederation passed for the present from the hands of Congress