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the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed, or deprived of their property for public uses, without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not in like manner assented, for the public good.
VII. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.
VIII. That in all capital or criminal prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of twelve men of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty, except by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.
IX. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
X. That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.
XI. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury of twelve men is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.
XII. That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.
XIII. That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies
in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
XIV. That the people have a right to uniform government; and therefore, that no government separate from or independent of the government of Virginia, ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.
XV. That no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
XVI. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other.
DECLARATION OF INDEPEND
The preamble of the famous resolution of May 15,1776, of the Continental Congress, declared that the exercise of every kind of authority under the crown of Great Britain should be totally suppressed.
On June 7th Richard Henry Lee, for Virginia, submitted the following resolutions which were seconded by John Adams.
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.
“ That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign alliances.
“ That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective colonies for their consideration and approbation.”
These resolutions were discussed June 8th and ioth, when a committee was appointed to draft a declaration in conformity with the first resolution, and further discussion was postponed to July 1. The resolution was adopted July 2d, and two days later (July 4th) the declaration reported by the
committee was agreed upon. It was engrossed and signed by the members August 2, 1776.
Consult Bancroft's U. S. ist ed., VIII., chaps. 59 and 60; cen. ed., V., chaps. 69 and 70 ; last ed., IV., chap. 28; Hildreth's U. S., III., 137; Frothingham's Rise, 539; Story's Constitution, I., 191; Bryant and Gay's U. S., III., 470; Greene's Historical View, 100; Judge Chamberlin's Authentification of the Declaration; Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., 2d Series, Vol. I., 272–298; Harper's Magazine, III., 145.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE-1776.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States
of America. 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 hav. ing 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,