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We shall decline the ungrateful task of describing the irksome variety of artifices, practised by many of your majesty's ministers, the delusive pretences, fruitless terrors, and unavailing severities that have from time to time been dealt out by them, in their attempts to execute this impolitic plan, or of tracing through a series of years past, the progress of the unhappy differences between Great Britain and these Colonies, that have flowed from this fatal source.
Your majesty's ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.
Knowing to what violent resentments, and incurable animosities, civil discords are apt to exasperate and inflame the contending parties, we think ourselves required, by indispensible obligations to Almighty God, to your majesty, to our fellow-subjects, and to ourselves, immediately to use all the means in our power, not incompatible with our safety, for stopping the further effusion of blood, and for averting the impending calamities that threaten the British empire.
Thus called upon to address your majesty on affairs of such moment to America, and probably to all your dominions, we are earnestly desirous of performing this office, with the utmost deference for your majesty; and we therefore pray, that your majesty's royal magnanimity and benevolence may make the most favourable constructions of our expressions on so uncommon an occasion. Could we represent in their full force, the sentiments that
agitate the minds of us, your dutiful subjects, we are persuaded your majesty would ascribe any seeming deviation from reverence in our language, and even in our conduct, not to any reprehensible intention, but to the impossibility of reconciling the usual appearances of respect, with a just attention to our own preservation against those artful and cruel enemies, who abuse your royal confidence and authority, for the purpose of effecting our destruction.
Attached to your majesty's person, family, and government, with all devotion that principle and affection can inspire, connected with Great Britain by the strongest ties that can unite societies, and deploring every event that tends in any degree to weaken them, we solemnly assure your majesty, that we not only most ardently desire the former harmony between her and these Colonies may be restored, but that a concord may be established between them upon so firm a basis as to perpetuate its blessings, uninterrupted by any future dissentions, to succeeding generations in both countries, and to transmit your majesty's name to posterity, adorned with that signal and lasting glory, that has attended the memory of those illustrious personages, whose virtues and abilities have extricated states from dangerous convulsions, and, by securing happiness to others, have erected the most noble and durable monuments to their own fame.
We beg leave farther to assure your majesty, that, notwithstanding the sufferings of your loyal Colonists, during the course of this present controversy, our breasts retain too tender a regard for the kingdom from which we derive our origin, to request such a reconciliation as might, in any manner, be inconsistent with her dignity or her welfare. These, related as we are to her, honor and duty, as well as inclination, induce us to support and advance; and the apprehensions that now
oppress our hearts with unspeakable grief, being once removed, your majesty will find your faithful subjects, on this continent, ready and willing at all times, as they have ever been, with their lives and fortunes, to assert and maintain the rights and interests of your majesty and of our mother country.
We therefore beseech your majesty, that your royal authority and influence may be graciously interposed to procure us relief from our afflicting fears and jealousies, occasioned by the system before mentioned, and to settle peace through every part of your dominions, with all humility submitting to your majesty's wise consideration, whether it may not be expedient for facilitating those important purposes, that your majesty be pleased to direct some mode, by which the united applications of your faithful colonists to the throne, in pursuance of their common councils, may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation; and that, in the mean time, measures may be taken for preventing the further destruction of the lives of your majesty's subjects; and that such statutes as more immediately distress any of your majesty's colonies, may be repealed.
For, by such arrangements as your majesty's wisdom can form for collecting the united sense of your American people, we are convinced your majesty would receive such satisfactory proofs of the disposition of the colonists towards their sovereign and parent state, that the wished for opportunity would soon be restored to them, of evincing the sincerity of their professions, by every testimony of devotion becoming the most dutiful subjects and the most affectionate colonists.
That your majesty may enjoy a long and prosperous reign, and that your descendants may govern your dominions with honour to themselves, and happiness to their subjects, is our sincere prayer.
IN CONGRESS, MARCH 16, 1776.
THE Congress, considering the warlike prepa rations of the British ministry, to subvert our invaluable rights and privileges, and to reduce us, by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage; desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God's superintending Providence, and of their duty devoutly to rely in all their lawful enterprises on his aid and direction, do earnestly recommend that Friday, the 17th day of May next, be observed by the said colonies, as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness, humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood. But, if continuing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent on desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by open resistance, that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success. Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people in their several assemblies and conventions, to preserve and strengthen their union; to inspire
them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their councils, and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honorable and permanent basis; that he would be graciously pleased to bless all the people in these colonies with health and plenty; and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail: and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
DECLARATION OF THE THIR
TEEN 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, govern