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who had specially convened for the purpose. On the 21st, new delegates were chosen from New Jersey, and instructed if they should deem it expedient, "to join in declaring the United Colonies independent."
In the same month the assembly of Pennsylvania withdrew their former instructions against independence, but did not expressly authorize concurrence. They took measures for obtaining an expression of the opinion of the people of the province; and a convention composed of committees from the counties, met at Philadelphia, on the 24th of June. This convention, without binding the delegates to a vote in favour of independence, voted to allow them a discretion, and expressed their own willingness to concur with the other colonies.
The delegates from Maryland had voted against Mr. Lee's motion, on instructions, and against their own personal wishes. They made strenuous efforts to procure a reversal of their instructions, and chiefly through the perseverance of Samuel Chase, a new convention was held on the 28th of June, and resolutions adopted empowering their representatives to concur with the other colonies, in the proposed declaration. These were sent express to Philadelphia, and reached there on the day appointed for the final determination of the question.
On the 1st of July, the debate was resumed, and continued for three days, and after deliberate discussion, was assented to by all the colonies, except Delaware and Pennsylvania. Thomas M'Kean and George Read were the delegates from Delaware present, and they were divided, M Kean in favour of the declaration, and Read against it. The third delegate, Mr. Rodney, was absent during the discussion, but was sent for express, by his colleague M'Kean, a distance of eighty miles. He obeyed the call with such alacrity as to reach Philadelphia in time to determine the vote of Delaware on the side of independence. His haste, and the disordered condition in which he appeared in congress to give his vote, gave rise to the revolutionary toast of "Rodney in Boots;" which became popular among the whigs of the day.
Several delegates were present from Pennsylvania, four of whom voted against the resolution, and three in its favour. On the final vote, however, two of the opponents, Morris and Dickinson, withdrew, and the three affirmative votes,
July 4, 1776.
Franklin, Wilson, and Morton, formed a majority against the remaining negatives, Willing and Humphrey, and turned the vote of the province. These happy changes having been effected, the declara- 1
tion prepared by the special committee, came!
up for final disposition, and on the 4th of July, received the assent of every colony. The committee appointed on the 11th to prepare a declaration, had agreed to make separate drafts, in order that all might be compared together, and a final declaration drawn up from them by the whole committee. That prepared by Mr. Jefferson, the chairman, was first read, and received with such admiration, that the other members declined producing their own, and unanimously adopted it, with but trifling verbal alterations. On the FOURTH, it received the assent of the thirteen colonies, in congress assembled after a few amendments :-in the following words:
“A Declaration by the Representatives of the 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 among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires, that they should declare the cause which compel 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 a new government, laying its foundation on such prina ciples, 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 exhibited to a candid world.
“He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
“He has farbidden his governors to pass laws of immedi. ate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operations 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 depositories 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 right of the people.
“He has refused, for a long time after such dissolution, 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 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 rem fusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. uo' 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 à 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 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 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 neighbouring 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 in 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, desolution 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 endeavoured 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 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 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 connexions and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must therefore acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our seperation, 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 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, conclude 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 honour.!!!