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pendency they gave the reasons of their proceedings, and fet forth to the world the grievances they had long complained of without being heard, Their own words will belt thew their reasons and sentimenrs upon the subje&.
Reasons assigned by the Continental Congress, for the
North American Colonies and Provinces withdraw. ing their allegiance to the King of Great Britain,
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
A DECLARATION by the REPBESENTATIVES
of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes neceffary for one people to diffolve the political bands which have connected then with another, and to affume among the powers of the earth the feparate and equal station to which the la vs of nature and of Na. iure's God intiilé them, a decent respect to the opi. nions of mankind requires that they should declare the caules which iinpel them to the separation.
We hold those truths to be self-evident ; that all men are created equal; that they were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable frighţs; that among tạielę are life, liberty, and the pursuit of háp, piness. That to fecure these rights, governments are justituted ainong men, dériving their juit powers from the confent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destrutive of those ends, it is the right of the people to alter and abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on fych 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 tranfient caufes ; and accordingly all expe: rience hath shewn, that mankind are moșe disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right them. felves by abolishing the forms to which they are accufe tomed; but, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces ą design to reduce them under absolute despoțiím, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such govern. ment, and to provide new guards for their future secu. rity. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies, and such is now the necessity which con. strains them to alier their former systems of govern: ment. The history of the present of
is a history of repeated injuries and ufurpations; all having 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 affent to laws, the most wholesome and neceffary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of im. mediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly negle&ted to attend them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accom. modation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the rights of represežtation n the legislature ; a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.
He lias called together legislative bodies at places umplual, uncomfortable, and distant from the deposię
tory of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measure.
He has dissolved Representatives Houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused, for a long time after such diffolu: tion, to cause others to be erected; 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 froin 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 refusing his affent to laws for establithing judiciary powers.
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 a'multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harrafs our people, and eat out their subfiftence.
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 ju risdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknow. ledged by our laws, giving his affent to their pretend. ed acts of legilation :
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 content:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefit 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 arbi: trary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit inftrument for introducing the same abfolute rule into these colonies
For taking away our charters, aboliting our molt taluable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments :
For fufpending our own legislatures, and deciaring themselves invested with power to legifiate for us in all cates whatsoever.
He bas 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, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely parallelled in the mot barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized pation..
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 favages, whose known rule of warfart is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitie oned for redress in the mot humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. --A prince, whose character is thus marked Ly 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 Bri: tifli brethren. We have warned them frecu-ntly of attempts, by their legislature, to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us, we have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and lite tlement here ; we have appealed to their native juftice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would ineveitably interrupt our conne&tions and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and confang winity. We must therefore acquiefce in the necellry which denounces our separation, and hold themi, as ře hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress assembled, an. pealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, for the re&titude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by