The Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North America, Now met in General Congress at Philadelphia, Setting forth the Causes and Necessity of taking up Arms. The Letter of the Twelve United Colonies by their Delegates in Congress to the Inhabitants of Great Britain, Their Humble Petition to his Majesty, and their Address to the People of Ireland. Collected together for the Use of Serious Thinking Men, By Lovers of Peace. [John Dickinson]. Read with Candour: Judge with Impartiality. London: Printed in the Year, MDCCLXXV.
The following is a Declaration [...] taking up Arms.
If it was possible for Men, who exercise their Reason, to believe that the Divine Author of our Existence intended a part of the human Race to hold an absolute Property in, and an unbounded Power over others, marked out by his infinite Goodness and Wisdom, as the Objects of legal Domination, never rightfully resistible, however severe and oppressive, the Inhabitants of these Colonies might at least require from the Parliament of Great Britain some Evidence that this dreadful Authority over them has been granted to that Body. But a Reverence for our Great Creator, Principles of Humanity, and the Dictates of Common Sense, must convince those who reflect upon the Subject, that Government was instituted to promote the Welfare of Mankind, and ought to be administered for the Attainment of that End. The Legislature of Great Britain, however stimulated by an inordinate Passion for a Power not only unjustifiable, but which they know to be peculiarly reprobated by the very Constitution of that Kingdom, and desperate of success in any Mode of Contest, where Regard should be had to Truth, Law, or Right, have at length, deserting those, attempted to effect their cruel and impolitic Purpose of enslaving these Colonies by Violence, and have thereby rendered it necessary for us to close with their last Appeal, from Reason to Arms.–Yet, however blinded that Assembly may be, by their intemperate Rage for unlimited Domination, so to slight Justice and the Opinion of Mankind, we esteem ourselves bound by the Obligations of Respect to the rest of the World, to make known the Justice of our Cause.
Our Forefathers, Inhabitants of the Island of Great Britain, left their Native Land, to seek on these Shores a Residence for Civil and Religious Freedom. At the Expence of their Blood, at the Hazard of their Fortunes, without the least Charge to the Country from which they removed, by unceasing Labour, and an unconquerable Spirit, they effected Settlements in the distant and inhospitable Wilds of America, then filled with numerous and warlike Nations of Barbarians. Societies or Governments, vested with perfect Legislatures, were formed under Charters from the Crown, and an harmonious Intercourse was established between the Colonies and the Kingdom from which they derived their Origin. The mutual Benefits of this Union became in a short Time so extraordinary, as to excite Astonishment. It is universally confessed, that the amazing Increase of Wealth, Strength, and Navigation of the Realm, arose from this Source; and the Minister who so wisely and successful directed the Measures of Great Britain in the late War, publickly declared, that these Colonies enabled her to triumph over her enemies.–Towards the Conclusion of that War it pleased our Sovereign to make a Change in his Counsels.–From that fatal Moment the Affairs of the British Empire began to fall into Confusion, and gradually sliding from the Summit of glorious Prosperity, to which they had been advanced by the Virtues and Abilities of on Man, are at length distracted by the Convulsions that now Shake it to its deepest Foundations. The new Ministry finding the brave Foes of Britain, tho’ frequently defeated, yet still contending, took up the unfortunate Idea of granting them a hasty Peace, and of then subduing her faithful Friends.