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claim by, through, through, or under declare, that these or under them ; We them ; we utterly United Colonies utterly dissolve and dissolve all political are, and of Right break off, all politi- connection which ought to be Free cal Connection may'heretofore have and Independent which may have subsisted between States; that they heretofore subsisted us and the people are Absolved from between us and the parliament of all allegiance to the People or Parlia- Great Britain, and British Crown, and ment of Great Brit- finally we do assert that all political conain, and finally we and declare these nection between do assert and de- colonies to be free them and the State clare these Colonies and independant, of Great Britain, is to be free and inde- and that as free and and ought to be topendent States, and independant states, tally dissolved ; and that as free and inde- they have full power that as Free and Inpendent States they to levy war, conclude dependent states, shall hereafter have peace, contract alli
they have full Power Power to levy War, ances, establish com- to levy War, conconclude Peace, merce, and to do all clude Peace, concontract Alliances, other acts and things tract Alliances, esestablish Commerce, which independent
which independent tablish Commerce, and to do all other states may of right and to do all Acts and Things do. And for the other Acts and which independent support of this dec- Things which IndeStates may of Right laration we mutually pendent States may do. And for the pledge to each other of right do. Support of this Dec- our lives, our for
And for the suplaration, we mutu- tunes, and our sa- port of this Decla. ally pledge to each cred honour.
ration, with a firm other our Lives, our
reliance on the Fortunes, and our
protection of diSacred Honour.
vine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
PHILADELPHIA, July 8th, 1776. DEAR SIR,-For news, I refer you to your brother, who writes on that head. I enclose a copy of the Declaration of Independence, as agreed to by the House, and also as originally framed: you will judge whether it is the better or worse for the critics. I shall return to Virginia after the 11th of August. I wish my successor may be certain to come before that time : in that case, I shall hope to see you, and not Wythe, in convention, that the business of government, which is of everlasting concern, may receive your aid. Adieu, and believe me to be your friend and servant.
TO GEORGE WYTHE.?
[July ? 1776.] The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society, depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislature and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that. The judges, therefore, should always be men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness and attention; their minds should not be distracted with
1 From Lee's Life of R. H. Lee, I, 275. : A fragment from The Balance, 11, 146.
jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man or body of men. To these ends they should hold estates for life in their offices, or, in other words, their commissions should be during good behavior, and their salaries ascertained and established by law.
For misbehavior, the grand inquest of the colony, the house of representatives, should impeach them before the governor and council, when they should have time and opportunity to make their defence ; but if convicted, should be removed from their offices, and subjected to such other punishment as shall be thought proper.
NOTES OF RULES FOR CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.' J.mss.
Call of the house every morn. absentees to be noted & ret'd to
No members to be absent without leave of house or written ord. of Conventn on pain of being ret'd to Conventn.
On June roth, Rutledge, Jefferson, and Paine were appointed a committee to draw up rules and regulations for the conduct of the house, during debate," and they reported a plan on July roth, which after consideration and amendment was adopted July 17th. These rough notes though undated, are clearly, from their similarity to the rules so adopted, those used by the committee.
TO EDMUND PENDLETON."
[July, 1776] I am sorry the situation of my domestic affairs, renders it indispensably necessary that I should solicit the substitution of some other person here in my room The delicacy of the House will not require me to enter minutely into the private causes which render this necessary.
I trust they will be satisfied. I would not urge it again, were it not unavoidable. I shall with cheerfulness continue my duty here till the expiration of our year by which time I hope it will be convenient for my successor to attend.
RESOLUTION FOR ROTATION OF MEMBERS OF CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.?
[July, 1776?] To prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office the members of the ContiDental Congress, to preserve to that body the confidence of their friends, and to disarm the malignant imputation of their enemies : It is earnestly recommended to the several Provinces, Assemblies or Conventions of the United colonies that in their future elections of delegates to the Continental Congress one half at least of the persons chosen be such as were not of the delegation next preceeding, and the residue be of such as shall not have served in that office longer than two years. And that their deputies be chosen for one year, with power to adjourn themselves from time to time & from place to place as occasions may require, and also to fix the time & place at which their successors shall meet.
"A fragment from Girardin's History of Virginia, iv.
* This resolution is not dated, and is apparently not entered in the Journal of the Continental Congress. It was probably offered in July, 1776, when Congress was establishing rules for its own guidance, and rejected.
TO FRANCIS EPPES.'
PHILADELPHIA, July 15th, 1776. Dear Sir,-Yours of the 3rd inst. came to day. I wish I could be better satisfied on the point of Patty's recovery.
I had not heard from her at all for two posts before, and no letter from herself now. I wish it were in my power to return by way of the Forest, as you think it will be impracticable for Mrs. Eppes to travel to the mountains. However, it will be late in August before I can get home, and our Convention will call me down early in October. Till that time, therefore, I must defer the hope of seeing Mrs. Eppes and yourself. Admiral Howe is himself arrived at New York, and two or three vessels, supposed to be of his fleet, were coming in. The whole is expected daily.
Washington's numbers are greatly increased, but we do not know them exactly. I imagine he must have from 30 to 35,000 by this time. The
enemy the other day ordered two of their men-of-war to hoist anchor and push by our batteries up the Hudson River. Both wind and tide were very fair. They passed all the batteries with ease, and, as far as is known, without receiving material damage ; though there was an incessant fire kept up on them. This experiment of theirs, I suppose, is a prelude to the passage of their whole fleet, and seems to indicate an intention of landing above New York. I imagine General Washington, finding he cannot prevent their going up the river, will prepare to amuse them wherever they shall
1 From Randall's Life of Jefferson, III, 582.