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1789, and was attended to the gallery in front of the Senate Chamber by the Vice President and Senators, the Speaker and Representatives and other public characters present. The oath required by the Constitution was then administered to him by the Chancellor of the State of New York, who proclaimed, "Long live George Washington, President of the United States," after which the President returned to the Senate Chamber and delivered his inaugural address to the Senate and House of Representatives.
Thus commenced the proceedings of the Constitutional Government of the United States of America. The Executive and Legislative branches so installed, possessed from that time, under the Constitution, the power to make laws and appoint all the officers necessary to constitute the Judiciary Branch, as well as all the Executive Departments and subordinate offices, both civil and military; all of which was effected in a convenient and proper time, and the whole system, then for the first time put in motion, has continued to operate, improve, and mature, until it has acquired a capacity, stability, and power adequate to its own security and preservation, and to the protection of the rights, the honor, and interest of its citizens over the entire surface of the globe, as well as to the preservation of the lives, the liberty, and happiness of its people at home; illustrating all the attributes of a good government, and proving incontestably the value and excellence of our own Constitution.
PROCEEDINGS IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED COLONIES RE-
IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED COLONIES.
Resolved, That the resolutions respecting independency be referred to a committee of the whole Congress.
The Congress then resolved itself into a committee of the whole; and, after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the committee have taken into consideration the matter to them referred, but not having come to any resolution thereon, directed him to move for leave to sit again on Monday.
Resolved, That this Congress will, on Monday next, at 10 o'clock, resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their farther consideration the resolutions referred to them.
Monday, June 10, 1776. Agreeable to order, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the resolutions to them referred; and, after some time spent thereon, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the committee have had under consideration the matters referred to them, and have come to a resolution thereon, which they directed him to report. The resolution agreed to in committee of the whole being read, Resolved, That the consideration of the first resolution be postponed to Monday, the first day of July next; and in the meanwhile, that no time be lost, in case the Congress agree thereto, that a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration to the effect of the said first resolution, which is in these words: "That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown: and that all political connexion between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
Tuesday, June 11, 1776. Resolved, That the committee, for preparing the Declaration, consist of five:—The members chosen, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. John Adams, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Sherman, and Mr. R. R. Livingston.
Tuesday, June 25, 1776. A declaration of the deputies of Pennsylvania, met in Provincial Conference, was laid before Congress, and read, expressing their willingness to concur in a vote of Congress, declaring the United Colonies free and independent States.
Friday, June 28, 1776. "Francis Hopkinson, one of the delegates from New Jersey, attended, and produced the credentials of their appointment," containing the following instructions:—"If you shall judge it necessary or expedient for this purpose, we empower you to join in declaring the United Colonies independent of Great Britain, entering into a confederation for union and common defence," &c.
Monday, July 1, 1776. 'A resolution of the convention of Maryland, passed the 28th of June, was laid before Congress and read," containing the following instructions to their deputies in Congress:—" That the deputies of said colony, or any three or more of them, be authorized and empowered to concur with the other United Colonies, or a majority of them, in declaring the United Colonies free and independent States; in forming such further compact and confederation between them," &C. The order of the day being read,
Resolved, That this Congress will resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the resolution respecting independency.
That the declaration be referred to said committee.
The Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole. After some time the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the committee had come to a resolution, which they desired him to report, and to move for leave to sit again.
The resolution agreed to by the committee of the whole being read, the determination thereof was, at the request of a colony, postponed until to-morrow.
Resolved, That this Congress will, to-morrow, resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the declaration respecting independence.
Tuesday, Jolt 2, 1776. The Congress resumed the consideration of the resolution reported from the committee of the whole; which was agreed to as follows:
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Agreeable to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole; and, after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the committee have had under consideration the declaration to them referred ; but, not having had time to go through the same, desired him to move for leave to sit again.
Resolved, That this Congress will, to-morrow, again resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the declaration respecting independence.
Wednesday, July 3, 1776.
Agreeable to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their farther consideration the declaration; and, after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the committee, not having yet gone through it, desired leave to sit again.
Resolved, That this Congress will, to-morrow, again resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their farther consideration the Declaration of Independence.
Thursday, July 4, 1776.
Agreeably to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their farther consideration the Declaration; and after some time the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported that the committee had agreed to a declaration, which they desired him to report.
The Declaration being read, was agreed to as follows:
A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. 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, 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 a new government, laying its foundation on such 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 transient causes; and, accord ingly, 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 systems of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, 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 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 attend to them.