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their destiny if they attempt to bring their notions into action, or even to promulgate them before the season is ripe unto the harvest. But no such precipitancy was found amongst the partisans of American liberty. Like Frank
after year, they limited their wishes to an exemption from parliamentary taxation, and to a preservation of their chartered rights and privileges. But the violent measures of the British ministers altered their sentiments, and the spectacle of their countrymen mustering in arms to resist ministerial oppression, prompted them to bolder daring. Finding that the British cabinet had hired foreign troops to assist in their subjugation, they foresaw that they might be reduced to apply to foreign aid to help them in their resistance against oppression. But what power would lend them aid whilst they retained the character of subjects of his Britannic majesty. Sentiments such as these, having been industriously and successfully disseminated throughout the union, the congress on the 4th of July, 1776, whilst the formidable array of the British fleet was hovering on their coasts, on the motion of Mr. Richard Henry Lee, representative of Virginia, passed their celebrated declaration of independence, by which act they forever withdrew their allegiance from the king of Great Britain. This important document is couched in the following terms:
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,
What were the wishes of Franklin and others limited to, year after year!
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 power 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 system of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation, 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.
What truths are self-evident? What will prudence dictate?
“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 attended 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, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of his people.
He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, 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 danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
“He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States, for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
What had the king refused his assent to? What had he forbidden?
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 harass our people, and eat out their substance.
*He has kept among us, in time 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 upon us without our consent;
'For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
'For transporting us beyond the seas to be tried for pretended offences;
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 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;
What had he made? What had he erected?
protecting what? For cutting off what? For imposing what? For depriving of what? For transporting what? For abolishing what?
'For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the form of our governments;
'For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with 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, desolation, 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 among us, and has endeavored 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.
For taking away what? For suspending what?