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magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in GENERAL CONGRESS assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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 connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to 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 honor. The signers to this Declaration were
JOHN HANCOCK, PRESIDENT. NEW HAMPSHIRE. SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, JOSIAH BARTLETT,
WILLIAM WILLIAMS, WILLIAM WHIPPLE,
PHILIP LIVINGSTON, JOHN ADAMS,
FRANCIS LEWIS, ROBERT TREAT PAINE,
LEWIS MORRIS. "ELBRIDGE GERRY. RHODE ISLAND.
NEW JERSEY. STEPHEN HOPKINS,
RICHARD STOCKTON, WILLIAM ELLERY.
We bave already spoken of the adoption of the Articles of Confederation. They are, at length, as follows:
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION AND PERPETUAL UNION
BETWEEN THE STATES.
To all to whom these presents shall come, we, the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our names, send greeting : Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, did, on the fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord 1777, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America, agree to certain Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, in the words following, viz. :
Union, at a time and place to be agreed on, to take into consideration the trade of the United States ;
To examine the relative situations and trade of said States; “ To consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interests and their
“ And to report to the several States such act relative to this great object, as, when unanimously ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually to provide for the same."
§ 3. Just previous to this, in 1785, Commissioners had been appointed by Virginia and Maryland for the accomplishment of a more limited object, and which more exclusively concerned those two States.
§ 4. Maryland deemed the concurrence of her neighbors, Delaware and Pennsylvania, indispensable in the matter ; although it related only to settling the jurisdiction on waters dividing the two States of Virginia and Maryland. The same reasons that rendered it necessary that Maryland should consult her neighbors seemed to render it equally necessary that those neighbors should consult their neighbors.
§ 5. It was thus demonstrated, that, whatever action might be taken on any subject of general concern, it would extend itself or its influences all over the Union. This illustration of the necessity of uniformity in matters of public interest had its influence in impressing all minds with a sense of the importance of such a general Convention as was now recommended in the resolution of the Virginia Legislature.
$ 6. The time and place of the proposed Convention being left to the Virginia Commissioners, they named for the time the first Monday in September, 1786; and the place, Annapolis, Md. The Commissioners who attended from Virginia were Messrs. Randolph, Madison, and Tucker.
§ 7. Although there was a strong popular feeling in favor of the proposed Convention, when the time came for its meeting, only five States were represented. Several States had not even appointed Commissioners, and some Commissioners who were appointed
failed to attend. But it had become evident, that although this Convention, as such, was a failure, public opinion was advancing in the right direction.
$ 8. The New-Jersey deputation had a commission extending its object to a general provision for the “exigencies of the Union.” Acting on this suggestion, a recommendation for this enlarged purpose was reported by a committee to whom the subject had been referred.
$ 9. That report was written by Alexander Hamilton of New York, and addressed to the legislatures of the States represented in the Convention ; viz., New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Commissioners appointed from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina, failed to report themselves to the Convention.
The States of Maryland, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Georgia, did not appoint Commissioners.
§ 10. This report was an able, lucid, and elaborate document, recommending another convention of deputies from all the States, to meet on the second Monday of May following, 1787, in the city of Philadelphia. A copy of the report was also sent to Congress.
§ 11. Virginia again took the lead, and was the first to act favorably on the recommendation to appoint deputies to the proposed Philadelphia Convention. The legislature of that State were unanimous, or very nearly so, in their response to the call of the report. “ As a proof of the magnitude and solemnity attached to it, they placed Gen. Washington at the head of the deputation from that State ; and, as a proof of the deep interest he felt in the case, he overstepped the obstacles to his acceptance of the appointment.”
§ 12. Congress took no action on the recommendation of the report, until the legislature of New York instructed its delegation in that body “to move a resolution, recommending to the several States to appoint deputies to meet in Convention for the purpose of revising and proposing amendments to the Federal Constitution."
§ 13. Feb. 21, 1787, a resolution was moved and carried in Congress, recommending a Convention to meet in Philadelphia at
$ 8. Lord Baltimore held Maryland, and William Penn held Pennsylvania and Delaware, under this form of government, and as proprietaries.
3. Charter Governments.
§ 9. These were, in many respects, not unlike our State Governments. They were created by letters patent, or grants of the Crown, which conferred the soil within the limits defined, and all the powers
of government, on the grantees and their associates and suc
These charters were similar to some of our State Constitutions, distributing the powers of government into three departments,
legislative, executive, and judicial.
§ 10. They defined the powers of the different branches of the government, and secured to the inhabitants certain political privileges and rights. “The appointment and authority of the governor, the formation and structure of the legislature, and the establishment of courts of justice, were specially provided for; and generally the powers appropriate to each were defined."
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut had charter governments.
CAUSES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
$ 1. The Colonies were not sovereignties in any political sense, not being endowed with power to enter into alliances or treaties with each other or with foreign nations. They were merely dependencies on the British Crown ; but the citizens of each Colony enjoyed the full rights of British subjects in all the Colonies, and were at liberty to move from one Colony to another, and to become inbabitants and citizens thereof.
§ 2. The growth of the Colonies was slow and gradual, running along through a period of from one hundred to one hundred and fifty years. The prerogatives of the Crown and the rights of the people had not been clearly defined on the one side, nor accepted on