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Hands We have counted the Cost of this Contest, and being perfeetly convineed, that it is infinitely find nothing so dreadful and resolved Hearts we will in our Computation, as Infamy and voluntary Slavery united, Honor, Justice and Humanity forbid us tamely to surrender that Freedom which we receiv'd from our gallant Ancestors, and which our innocent Posterity have a Right to receive from us.
We cannot endure the Infamy and Guilt of resigning succeeding Generations to that Wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary Bondage upon them.
Our Cause is just. Our Union Our cause is just. Our union is is perfect. Our hearts are pe perfect. Our internal resources solved. Our Hands are prepared. are great, and, if necessary, forOur preparations are nearly com- eign assistance is undoubtedly atpleted. Our internal Resources tainable.—Wegratefully acknowlwithin our own Country are many edge, as signal instances of the great; and our Assurance of for- Divine favour towards us, that his eign Assistance is certain. We Providence would not permit us gratefully acknowledge as a singu- to be called into this severe conlar Instance of the Divine Good troversy, until we were grown up ness Favor and consider it AS a to our present strength, had been singular markof his Favortowards previously exercised in warlike us, in not permitting us to be that operation, and possessed of the his Providence would not permit means of defending ourselves. us to be called into the severe Con- With hearts fortified with these troversy, untill our we were grown animating reflections, we most up to our present Strength, was solemnly, before God and the had been previously exercised in world, declare, that, exerting the warlike Operations, to which some utmost energy of those powers, ¥ears ago wo wore almost entire which our beneficent Creator bath Strangers, and that we were pos- graciously bestowed upon us, the sest of the Means for defending arms we have been compelled by ourselves, of which till lately we our enemies to assume, we will, in were in Want. With Hearts for- defiance of every hazard, with untified by these animating Reflec- abating firmness and perseverance, tions, We do most solemnly before employ for the presevation of our God and the World declare, that, liberties; being with our (one) exerting the utmost Energies of mind resolved to dye Free-men those Powers, which our benefi- rather than live Slaves. cent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the Arms we have been thus compell’d by our Enemies to assume for our just Defence, we will in Defiance of every Hazard with unabating Firmness and perseverance, in De fiance of every Hazard, now we will employ for the preservation of our Liberties, deeming it inft nitely preferable being with one Mind resolved to dye free men rather than to live Slaves.
Least this Declaration should Lest this declaration should disdisquiet the Minds of our Friends quiet the minds of our friends and and fellow subjects in any part of fellow-subjects in any part of the the World Empire, we assure empire, we assure them that we them, that we mean not in any mean not to dissolve that Union Manner to dissolve that Union which has so long and so happily with them in which we have has subsisted between us, and which we so long and so happily lived sub- sincerely wish to see restored.sisted between us, and which we Necessity has not yet driven us into se ordently-mueh sincerely wish to that desperate measure, or induced see restored. The Necessity must us to excite any other nation to be hard indeed has not yet driven war against them.-We have not us into that desperate Measure, or raised armies with ambitious deto excite their other Nations to war signs of separating from Great against them. We have not rais'd
We have not rais'd Britain, and establishing independarmies from with ambitious De- ent states. We fight not for glory signs of separating from Great or for conquest. We exhibit to Britain and establishing independ- mankind the remarkable spectacle ent States. We have fight not in of a people attacked by unprovaded that Island proffering to its voked enemies, without any impuInhabitants Death or Slavery for tation or even suspicion of offence. Glory or for Conquest. Weexhibit They boast of their privileges and to Mankind the remarkable Specta- civilization, and yet proffer no cle of a People eharged till attack'd milder conditions than servitude without any Imputation or even
or death. Suspicion of Offence by unprovoked Enemies, who proffer to them the not milder Forms Condi tions than Death or Slavery boast of their Freedom Priviledges and Civilization, and yet proffer no milder Conditions than Death or Slar Servitude or Death. In our Native Land, in Defence
In our own native land, in deof Liberties the Liberty Freedom fence of the freedom that is our that is our Birthright, and which birth-right, and which we ever we ever enjoyed till the late Vio- enjoyed till the late violation of lations of it,-for the Protection it-for the protection of our propof our Property acquired, solely erty, acquired solely by the honest by the honest Industry of our industry of our fore-fathers and Forefathers and ourselves, against ourselves, against violence actually we have taken up arms, solely to offered, we have taken up arms. oppose and repell the violence We shall lay them down when hosgetually offered to us Violence ac- tilities shall cease on the part of tually offered, we have taken up the aggressors, and all danger of Arms. We shall We shall lay their being renewed shall be rethem down when Hostilities shall moved, and not before. cease on the Part of the Aggressors, and all Danger of their being renewed, shall be removed, and not before.
With an humble Confidence in With an humble confidence in the divine Mercies of the su- the mercies of the supreme and preme and impartial Judge and impartial Judge and Ruler of the Ruler of the Universe, we most universe, we most devoutly imdevoutly implore Almighty God plore his divine goodness to prohis divine Goodness to conduct us tect us happily through this great happily thro’ this great Conflict, conflict, to dispose our adversaries
to dispose our Adversaries to Rec- to reconciliation on reasonable
By order of Congress,
Philadelphia, July 6th, 1775. On motion, Resolved, That a letter be prepared to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Livery of the city of London, expressing the thanks of this Congress, for their virtuous and spirited opposition to the oppressive and ruinous system of colony administration adopted by the British ministry.
The committee appointed to dra' a Letter to the people of G-B, to prepare this.
The order of the day was postponed, and the Congress adjourned till to Morrow at 9 o'clock.
FRIDAY, JULY 7, 1775
The Committee to whom the address to the people of G-B, was recommitted, brought in the same, which was again read and after some debate, the farther consideration of it was referred till to Morrow.
Order of the day put off and the Congress adjourned till to Morrow.?
1 This address was printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, 10 July, 1775. A contemporary translation of this paper into the Italian is in the Jefferson Papers: “Dichiarazione dei Rappresentanti delle Colonie unite dell'America settentrionale adunati in Congresso Generale in Filadelfia, che espone le ragioni della loro necessità di prender l' armi.” It bears annotations by the translator, but I have not identified the writer.
? A letter from Schuyler, dated July 3, was read on this day, and is in Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 153, vol. I, folio 14.
SATURDAY JULY 8, 1775
The Congress met according to adjournment.
The Petition to the King being engrossed, was compared, and signed by the several members." To the king's most excellent Majesty:
MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,
We, your Majesty's faithful subjects of the colonies of new Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, in behalf of ourselves, and the inhabitants of these colonies, who have deputed us to represent them in general Congress, entreat your Majesty's gracious attention to this our humble petition.
The union between our Mother country and these colonies, and the energy of mild and just government, produced benefits so remarkably important, and afforded such an assurance of their permanency and increase, that the wonder and envy of other Nations were excited, while they beheld Great Britain riseing to a power the most extraordinary the world had ever known.
Her rivals, observing that there was no probability of this happy connexion being broken by civil dissensions, and apprehending its future effects, if left any longer undisturbed, resolved to prevent her receiving such continual and formidable accessions of wealth and strength, by checking the growth of these settlements from which they were to be derived.
In the prosecution of this attempt, events so unfavourable to the design took place, that every friend to the interests of Great Britain and these colonies, entertained pleasing and reasonable expectations of seeing an additional force and extention immediately given to the operations of the union hitherto experienced, by an enlargement of the dominions of the Crown, and the removal of ancient and warlike enemies to a greater distance.
At the conclusion, therefore, of the late war, the most glorious and 1“Congress gave a signal proof of their indulgence to Mr. Dickinson, and of their great desire not to go too fast for any respectable part of our body, in permitting him to draw their second petition to the King according to his own ideas, and passing it with scarcely any amendment.” Jefferson, Autobiography, in his Writings (Ford), I, 17.
2 In the printed version this word is exertion.