[Half title page:]

A
DECLARATION
BY THE REPRESENTATIVES
Of the UNITED
COLONIES of NORTH-AMERICA, &c.

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A
DECLARATION
BY THE
REPRESENTATIVES
OF THE
UNITED COLONIES
OF
NORTH-AMERICA,
NOW MET IN
GENERAL CONGRESS
AT
PHILADELPHIA,
Seting forth the CAUSES and NECESSITY of their
taking up
ARMS.

PHILADELPHIA:
Printed by WILLIAM and THOMAS BRADFORD, 1775.

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A
DECLARATION, &c.

IF it was possible for men, who exercise their
reason to believe, that the Divine Author of
our existence intended a part of the human race to
hold an absolute property in, and an unbounded
power over others, marked out by his infinite
goodness and wisdom, as the objects of a legal do-
mination, never rightfully resistible, however se-
vere and oppressive, the Inhabitants of these Co-
lonies might at least require from the the Parliament
of Great-Britain, some evidence, that this dread-
ful authority over them has been granted to that
body. But a reverence for our great Creator,
principles of humanity, and the dictates of com-
mon sense, must convince all those who reflect up-
on the subject, that government has instituted
to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to
be administered for the attainment of that end,
The Legislature of Great-Britain, however stimulated
by an inordinate passion for a power not only unjus-

tifiable , but which they know to be peculiarly re-
probated by the very constitution of that kingdom,
and desperate of success in any mode of contest,
where regard should be had to truth, law, or
right, have at length, deserting those, attempted
to effect their cruel and impolitic purpose of en-
slaving these Colonies by violence, and have
thereby rendered it necessary for us to close with
their last appeal from Reason to Arms. -- Yet, how-
ever blinded that assembly may be, by their in-
temperate rage for unlimited domination, so to
slight justice and the opinion of mankind, we
esteem ourselves bound by obligations of respect
to the rest of the world, to make known the jus-
tice of our cause.

OUR forefathers, inhabitants of the island of
Great Britain, left their native land, to seek on
these shores a residence for civil and religious free-
dom. At the expence of their blood, at the hazard
of their fortunes, without the least charge to the
country from which they removed, by unceasing
labor and an unconquerable spirit, they effected
settlements in the distant and inhospitable wilds
of America, then filled with numerous and war-
like nations of barbarians.--Societies or govern-
ments, vested with perfect legislatures, were form-
ed under charters from the crown, and an harmo-
nious intercourse was established between the co-
lonies and the kingdom from which they derived
their origin. The mutual benefits of this union
became in a short time so extraordinary, as to ex-
cite astonishment. It is universally confessed, that
the amazing increase of the wealth, strength and

navigation of the realm, arose from this source;
and the minister who so wisely and successfully di-
rected the measures of Great-Britain in the late
war, publicly declared, that these colonies ena-
bled her to triumph over her enemies.--Towards
the conclusion of that war, it pleased our sovereign
to make a change in his counsel.--From that fa-
tal moment, the affairs of the British empire be-
gan to fall into confusion, and gradually sliding
from the summit of glorious prosperity to which
they had been advanced by the virtues and abili-
ties of the one man, are at length distracted by the
convulsions, that now shake it to its deepest foun-
dations--The new ministry finding the brave foes
of Britain, though frequently defeated, yet still
contending, took up the unfortunate idea of grant-
ing them a hasty peace, and of then subduing her
faithful friends.

These devoted colonies were judged to be in
such a state, as to present victories without blood-
shed, and all the easy emoluments of statuteable
plunder.--The uninterrupted tenor of their peace-
able and respectful behaviour from the beginning
of colonization, their dutiful, zealous and useful
services during the war, though so recently and
amply acknowledged in the most honorable man-
ner by his Majesty, by the late king, and by Par-
liament, could not save them from the meditat-
ed innovations.--Parliament was influenced to
adopt the pernicious project, and assuming a new
power over them, have in the course of eleven years
given such decisive specimens of the spirit and con-
sequences attending this power, as to leave no doubt

concerning the effects of acquiescence under it. They
have undertaken to give and grant our money
without out consent, though we have never exer-
cised an exclusive right to dispose of our own pro-
perty; statutes have been passed for extending the
jurisdiction of courts of Admirality and Vice-Ad-
mirality beyond their ancient limits: for depriving
us of the accustomed and inestimable privilege of
trial by jury in cases affecting both life and pro-
perty; for suspending the legislature of one of the
colonies; for interdicting all commerce of another;
and for altering fundamentally the form of govern-
ment established by charter, and secured by acts
of its own legislature solemnly confirmed by the
crown; for exempting the "murderers" of colonists
from legal trial, and in effect, from punishment; for
erecting in a neighboring province, acquired
by the joint arms of Great-Britain and America, a
despotism dangerous to our very existence; and
for quartering soldiers upon the colonists in time
of profound peace. It has also been resolved in
parliament, that colonists charged with committing
certain offences, shall be transported to England
to be tried.

But why should we enumerate our injuries in
detail? By one statute it is declared, that parlia-
ment can "of right make laws to bind us IN ALL
CASES WHATSOEVER." What is to defend us
against so enormous , so unlimited a power? Not
a single man of those who assume it, is chosen by
us; or is subject to our controul or influence: but
on the contrary, they are all of them exempt from
the operation of such laws, and an American re-

venue, if not diverted from the ostensible pur-
poses for which is is raised, would actually lighten
their own burdens in proportion, as they increase
ours. We saw the misery to which such despotism
would reduce us. We for ten years incessantly and
ineffectually besieged the Throne as supplicants; we
reasoned, we remonstrated with parliament in the
most mild and decent language. But Administration
sensible that we should regard these oppressive mea-
sures as freemen ought to do, sent over fleets and
armies to enforce them. The indignation of the
Americans was roused it is true; but it was the in-
dignation of a virtuous, loyal, and affectionate peo-
ple. A Congress of Delegates from the united colo-
nies was assembled at Philadelphia, on the fith day
of last September. We resolved again to offer an
humble and dutiful petition to the King, and also
addressed our fellow subjects of Great-Britain.We
have pursued every temperate, every respectful
measure, we have even proceeded to break off our
commercial intercourse with our fellow subjects,
as the last peaceable admonition, that out attach-
ment to no nation upon earth should supplant our
attachment to liberty.---This, we flattered our-
selves, was the ultimate step of the controversy:
But subsequent events have shewn, how vain was
this hope of finding moderation in our enemies.

SEVERAL threatening espressions against the co-
lonies were inserted in his Majesty's speech; our
petition, though we were told it was a decent one,
that his Majesty had been pleased to receive it gra-
ciously, and to promise laying it before his Parlia-

ment, was huddled into both houses amongst a
bundle of American papers, and there neglected.
The Lords and Commons in their address, in the
month of February, said, that "a rebellion at
that time actually existed within the province of
Massachusetts bay, and that those concerned in it,
had been countenanced and encouraged by unlaw-
ful combinations and engagements, entered into
by his Majesty's subjects in several of the other co-
lonies; and therefore they besought his Majesty,
that he would take the most effectual measures to
inforce due obedience to the laws and authority of
the supreme legislature"--Soon after the com-
mercial intercourse of whole colonies, with foreign
countries and with each other, was cut off by an
act of Parliament; by another, several of them
were intirely prohibited from the fisheries in the
seas near their coasts, on which they always de-
pended for their sustenance; and large re-inforce-
ments of ships and troops were immediately sent
over to General Gage.

FRUITLESS were all the entreaties, arguments
and eloquence of an illustrious band of the most dis-
tinguished Peers and Commoners, who nobly and
strenuously asserted the justice of our cause, to stay
or even to mitigate the heedless fury with which
these accumulated and unexampled outrages were
hurried on.--Equally fruitless was the interferrence
of the city of London, of Bristol, and many other
respectable towns in our favour. Parliament a-
dopted an insidious manoeuvre calculated to di-
vide us, to establish a perpetual auction of taxa-
tions where colony should bid against colony, all

of them uninformed what ransom would redeem
their lives, and thus to extort from us at the point
of the bayonet, the unknown sums that should be
sufficient to gratify, if possible to gratify, mi-
nisterial rapacity, with the miserable indulgence
left to us of raising in our own mode the prescrib-
ed tribute. What terms more rigid and humiliat-
ing could have been dictated by remoreseless victors
to conquered enemies? In our circumstances to
accept them would be to deserve them.

SOON after the intelligence of these proceedings
arrived on this continent, General Gage, who, in
the course of the last year, had taken possession of
the town of Boston, in the province of Massachu-
sett's-Bay, and still occupied it as a garrison, on
the 19th day of April, sent out from that place a
large detachment of his army, who made an un-
provoked assault on the inhabitants of of the said pro-
vince, at the town of Lexington, as appears by
the affadavits of a great number of persons, some
of whom were officers and soldiers of that detach-
ment, murdered eight of the inhabitants, and
wounded many others. From thence the troops
proceeded in warlike array to the town of Concord,
where they set upon another party of the inhabi-
tants of the same province, killing several and
wounding more, until compelled to retreat by the
country people suddenly assembled to repel this
cruel aggression. Hostilities thus commenced by
the British troops, have been since prosecuted by
them without regard to faith or reputation.--The
inhabitants of Boston being confined within that
town by the General their Governor, and having

in order to procure their dismission, entered into a
treaty with him, it was stipulated that the said in-
habitants having deposited their arms with their
own magistrates, should have liberty to depart,
taking with them their other effects. They ac-
cordingly delivered up their arms, but in open
violation of honor, in defiance of the obligation of
treaties, which even savage nations esteem sacred,
the Governor ordered the arms deposited as afore-
said, that they might be preserved for their own-
ers, to be seized by a body of soldiers; detained
the greatest part of the inhabitants in the town,
and compelled the few who were permitted to re-
tire, to leave their most valuable effects behind.

BY this persidy, wives are seperated from their
husbands, children from their parents, the aged
and the sick from their relations and friends, who
wish to attend and comfort them; and those who
have been used to live in plenty, and even ele-
gance, are reduced to deplorable distress.

THE General further emulating his ministerial
masters, by a proclamation bearing date on the
12th day of June, after venting the grossest false-
hoods and calumnies against the good people of
these colonies, proceeds to "declare them all ei-
"ther by name or description to be rebels and
"traitors, to supersede the course of the common
"law, and instead thereof to publish and order
"the use and the exercise of the law martial."--His
troops have butchered our countrymen; have
wantonly burnt Charles-Town, besides a consi-
derable number of houses in other places; our

ships and vessels are seized; the necessary supplies
of provisions are intercepted, and he is exerting
his utmost power to spread destruction and devasta-
tion around him.

WE have received certain intelligence, that Ge-
neral Carleton, the Governor of Canada, is insti-
gating the people of that province and the Indi-
ans to fall upon us; and we have but too much
reason to apprehend, that schemes have been form-
ed to excite domestic enemies against us. In brief
a part of these colonies now feels, and all of them
are sure of feeling, as far as the vengeance of ad-
ministration can inflict them, the complicated ca-
lamities of fire, sword and famine.--We are re-
duced to the alternative of chusing an unconditi-
onal submission to the tyranny of irritated minis-
ters, or resistance by force--The latter is our
choice.--We have counted the cost of this con-
test, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary
slavery.--Honor, justice, and humanity forbid us
tamely to surrender that freedom which we recei-
ved from our gallant ancestors, and which our in-
nocent posterity have a right to receive from us.
We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resign-
ing succeeding generations to that wretchedness
which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail
hereditary bondage upon them.

OUR cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our
internal resources are great, and if necessary,
foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable.--We
gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the
Divine favour towards us, that his Providence

would not permit us to be called into this severe
controversy, until we were grown up to our pre-
sent strength, had been previously exercised in war-
like operations, and possessed of the means of
defending ourselves.--With hearts fortified with
these animating reflections, we most solemnly,
before GOD and the world declare, that, exerting
the utmost energy of those powers, which our
beneficient Creator hath graciously bestowed upon
us, the arms we have been compelled by our ene-
mies to assume, we will, in defiance of every
hazard, with unabating firmness and preserverance,
employ for the preservation of our liberties, be-
ing with one mind resolved, to dye Free-men ra-
ther than to live Slaves.

LEST this declaration should disquiet the minds
of our friends and fellow subjects in any part of
the empire, we assure them, that we mean not to
dissolve that Union which has so long and so hap-
pily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely
wish to see restored.--Necessity has not yet driven
us into that desperate measure, or induced us to
excite any other nation to war against them.--We
have not raised armies with ambitious designs of
separating from Great-Britain, and establishing
independent states.--We fight not for glory or for
conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarka-
ble spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked
enemies, without any imputation, or even suspi-
cion, of offence. They boast of their privileges
and civilization, and yet proffer no milder condi-
tions than servitude or death.---

IN our own native land, in defence of the free-
dom that is our birthright, and which we ever
enjoyed till the late violation of it---for the pro-
tection of our property, acquired soley by the
honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves,
against violence actually offered, we have taken up
arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall
cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger
of their being renewed shall be removed, and not
before.

WITH an humble confidence in the mercies of
the supreme and impartial Judge and Ruler of the
universe, we most devoutly implore his divine
goodness to conduct us happily through this great
conflict, to dispose our adversaries to reconciliation
on reasonable terms, and thereby to relieve the
empire from the calamities of civil war.

By Order of CONGRESS,

JOHN HANCOCK, PRESIDENT.

Attested,

CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY.

Philadelphia,

July 6th, 1775.

United States. Continental Congress

21.2 cm x 13.6 cm

Philadelphia: printed by William and Thomas Bradford, 1775