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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 parallelled 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 amongst 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.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts made by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connexions 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 war, 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 Endependent 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. totalit dissolved, and that, as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have fuii power to levy war, conclude peace, contracı alizaaces, estabiish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And, for the support of this deciaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of DETETE PBOVEDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
The foregoing declaration was, by order of Congress, engrossed, and signed by the following members:
• Benjamin Frankr.,
Thomas M Eras.
Charles Carros, o Cart
Thomas Heyward, jun.
Thomas Lynch, jun.
George Walton. Resolved, That copies of the Declaration be sent to the several assemblies, conventions, and committees, or councils of safety, and to the several commanding officers of the continental troops; that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the army
Appointment of George Washington to be command
er-in-chief of the army, by the Congress of the Confederation, on the 15th June, 1775.
THURSDAY, June 15, 1775. Agreeable to order, the Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, and, after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Ward reported that the committee had come to some farther resolutions, which he was ordered to report.
The report of the committee being read and considered,
Resolved, That a general be appointed to command all the Continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty. That five hundred dollars, per month, be allowed for the
and expenses of the general.
The Congress then proceeded to the choice of a general, by ballot, and George Washington, esq., was unanimously elected.
FRIDAY, June 16, 1775.
Met according to adjournment. [The Delegates from the Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware counties, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, being present.)
The President informed Colonel Washington that the Congress had yesterday unanimously made choice of him to be general and commander-in-chief of the American forces, and requested he would accept of that employment; to which Colonel Washington, standing in his place, answered: "MR. PRESIDENT :
“Though I am truly sensible of the high honor done me, in this appointment, yet I feel great distress, from consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust: However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation..
“But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.
“As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire."
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to draught a commission and instructions for the general.
The persons chosen to compose the committee, were Mr. Lee, Mr. E. Rutledge, and Mr. J. Adams.
SATURDAY, June 17, 1775.
Met according to adjournment.
The committee appointed to draught a commission to the general, reported the same, which, being read by paragraphs and debated, was agreed to as follows:
The delegates of the United Colonies of New Hampshire, Massa
chusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina:
To George WASHINGTON, Esq. We, reposing special trust and confidence in your patriotism, valor, conduct, and fidelity, do, by these presents, constitute and