Page images

the authority of the good people of these colonies, folemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, Free and Indepen. dent States, and that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection betwixt them and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally diffolved ; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and 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. Signed by order, and in behalf of Congress,

JOHN HANCOCK, President. Attest. Charles Thompson, Secretary. Articles of confederation and perpetual union be

tween the States of New Hampshire, Massachu.. sett's Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware river, Maryland, Virginia,

North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. N. B. These articles of confederation, after having

been long weighed, and discussed, line by line, in the congress, were at length resolved upon, and figned by all the delegates, the 4th of October, 1776, at Philadelphia, such as they are here ser forth; and in consequence were immediately sent to the other states, to be confirmed by them.

Article I. THE Thirteen States a? ove-mentioned, confede. derate themselves under the title of The United States of America.


[ocr errors]

II. They contract, each in their own name, by the present constitution, a reciprocal treaty of alliance and friendship, for their common defence, for the maintenance of their liberties, and for their general and mutual advantage ; obliging themselves to assist each other against all violence that may threaten all or any one of them, and to repel in com:non all the attacks that may be levelled against all or any one of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, commerce, or under any other pretext whatsoever,

III. Each state reserves to themselves alone the exclu. five right of regulating their internal government, and of framing laws in all matters that are not includ. ed in the articles of the present confederation, and which cannot any way prejudice the same.

IV. No state in particular, shall either send or receive embassies, begin any negociation, contract any engagements, form any alliances, conclude any treaties with any king, prince, or power whatsoever, withouç the consent of the United States, assembled in general congress.

No person, invested with any post whatever, under the authority of the United States, or any of them, whether he has appointments belonging to his em. ployment, or whether it be a cour mission purely con, fidential, shall be allowed to occept any presents, gra. tuities, emoluments, nor any offices or titles of any kind whatever, from any kings, princes, or foreign powers,

And the General Assembly of the United States, nor any State in particular, hall not confer any title


of nobility

[ocr errors]

V. Two, nars veral of the faid States shall not havę power o forma aliances or conf deratio: clude any private treaty among themselves, without the confent of the United States, asítmbled in Ge. neral Congress, and without the aim and duration of that private conventiv. be exactly specified in the consent.

VI. No State ft.all lay on any imposts, nor establish any duties whailvever, the effect of which might alter directly or indirectly, the clauses of the treaties to be concludo bere.if or by th A lembly of the United States with any kings, princes, o power whai soever.

Vil. There sh ll not be kr pr by any of the fail States in particular, ar.y veicis or ships o war a ove the number jnu jed nec ultry by the Afli mtly of the U. nited States, for the defence of that State and its coomerce; and there shall not be kept on foot in time of peace, by any of the said States, any troops bac the number determined by the Afsembly of th: Uni. ted States, to guard the strong places, or forts ne. ceflary to the defence of chat State ; but each State Thall always keep up a well disciplined militia, suffici. ently armed and equipped, and shall be careful to procure, and keep in constant readiness, in the public magazines, a fufficient number of field pieces and tents, with a proper quantity of ammunition and im. plements of war.

VIII. When any of the faid States shall raise troops for the common defence, all the officers of the rank of colonel, and under, shall be appointed by the legilla,

tive body of the State that shall have raised the

troops, or in such manner as thật Stare shall have judged pro, per to regulate the nominations; and when any vaa' cancy happens in these polts, they fhall be filled up by the faid Stare.

IX. All the expence of war, and all other disburse. ments, that shall be made for the common defence or the general weal, and that shall be ordered by the Afsembly of the United States, fall be paid out of the funds of a common treafury.

That common treasury shall be formed by the cong tributions of each of the aforesaid States, in propor. tion to the number of inhabitants of every age, sex, or quality, except the Indians exempt from taxes in each State; and in order to fix the quota of the contribution, every three years the inhabitants shall be white people shall be destinguished, and that enumeration thall be sent to the assembly of the United States.

The taxes appropriated to pay this quota shall be laid and levied in the extent of each ftate by the authority and orders of its legislative body, within the time fixed by the affembly of the United States.

Each of the faid States shall fubmit to the decisions of the Assembly of the United States, in all matters or questions reserved to that Assembly by the present act of confederation.

XI. No State shall engage in war without the consent of the United States affembled in Congress, except in case of actual invasion of some enemy, or from a cer

tain knowledge of a resolution taken by fome Indian nation to attack them, and in that case only, in which the danger is too urgent to allow them time to consult the other Srates.

No particular State shall give any commission to vessels, or other ships of war, nor any letters of marque or reprisals, till after a declaration of war made by the Assembly of the United States ; and even in that case they shall be granted only against the kingdom, or of the power again!t which war shall have been so declared ; and shall conform, respeeting those obje&ts, to the regulations made by the Assembly of the United States.

XII. In order to watch over the general interest of the United States, and direct the general affairs, there Thall be nominated every year according to the form settled by the legislative body of each State, a certain number of delegates, who shall fit at Philadel. phia until the General Assembly of the United States shall have ordered otherwise; and the first Monday in November of each year, shall be the æra fixed for their meeting.

Each of the above-mentioned States Mhall preserve the right and power to recall, at any time whatever of the year, their delegates or any one of them, and to fend others in the roon of them for the remainder of the year; and each of the said States shall maintain their delegates during the time of the general Assembly, and also during the ti'ne they shall be members of the Council of State, of which mention fhall be made hereafter.

« PreviousContinue »