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there submit to the payment of such unconstitutional taxes; and which act most violently and arbitrarily deprives them of their property, in wharves erected by private persons, at their own great and proper expense; which act is, in our opinion, a most dangerous attempt to destroy the constitutional liberty and rights of all North America. It is further our opinion, that as tea, on its importation into America, is charged with a duty imposed by Parliament, for the purpose of raising a revenue without the consent of the people, it ought not to be used by any person who wishes well to the constitutional rights and liberties of British America. And whereas the India Company have ungenerously attempted the ruin of America, by sending many ships loaded with tea into the colonies, thereby intending to fix a precedent in favor of arbitrary taxation, we deem it highly proper, and do accordingly recommend it strongly to our countrymen, not to purchase or use any kind of East India commodity whatsoever, except saltpetre and spices, until the grievances of America are redressed. We are further clearly of opinion, that an attack made on one of our sister colonies, to compel submission to arbitrary taxes, is an attack made on all British America, and threatens ruin to the rights of all, unless the united wisdom of the whole be applied. And for this purpose it is recommended to the Committee of Correspondence, that they communicate with their several corresponding committees, on the expediency of appointing deputies from the several colonies of British America, to meet in general congress, at such place, annually, as shall be thought most convenient; there to deliberate on those general measures which the united interests of America may from time to time require. A tender regard for the interest of our fellowsubjects, the merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain, prevents us from going further at this time; most earnestly hoping, that the unconstitutional principle of taxing the colonies without their consent will not be persisted in, thereby to compel us, against our will, to avoid all commercial intercourse with Britain. Wishing them and our people free and happy, we are their affectionate friends, the late Representatives of Virginia.

The 27th day of May, 1774.

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WHEN a nation, led to greatness by the hand of liberty, and possessed of all the glory that heroism, munificence, and humanity can bestow, descends to the ungrateful task of forging chains for her friends and children, and instead of giving support to freedom, turns advocate for slavery and oppression, there is reason to suspect she has ceased to be virtuous, or been extremely negligent in the appointment of her rulers.

In almost every age, in repeated conflicts, in long and bloody wars, as well civil as foreign, against many and powerful nations, against the open assaults of enemies, and the more dangerous treachery of friends, have the inhabitants of your island, your great and glorious ancestors, maintained their independence, and transmitted the rights of men, and the blessings of liberty, to you, their posterity.


Be not surprised, therefore, that we, who are descended from the same common ancestors; that we, whose forefathers participated in all the rights, the liberties, and the constitutions you so justly boast of, and who have carefully conveyed the same fair inheritance to us, guaranteed by the plighted faith of government and the most solemn compacts with British sovereigns, should refuse to surrender them to men, who found their claims on no principles of reason, and who prosecute them with a design, that by having our lives and property in their power, they may, with the greatest facility, enslave you. The cause of America is now the object of universal attention it has at length become very serious. This unhappy country has not only been oppressed, but abused and misrepresented; and the duty we owe ourselves and posterity, to your interest, and the general welfare of the British empire, leads us to address you on this very important subject. Know then, That we consider ourselves, and do insist, that we are and ought to be, as free as our fellow subjects in Britain, and that no power on earth has a right to take our property from us, without our consent. That we claim all the benefits secured to its subjects by the English constitution, and particularly that inestimable one of trial by jury. That we hold it essential to English liberty, that

* Adopted October 21, 1774.

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no man be condemned unheard, or punished for supposed offences, without having an opportunity of making his defence. That we think the Legislature of Great Britain is not authorized, by the constitution, to establish a religion, fraught with sanguinary and impious tenets, or to erect an arbitrary form of government, in any quarter of the globe. These rights we, as well as you, deem sacred; and yet, sacred as they are, they have, with many others, been repeatedly and flagrantly violated.

Are not the proprietors of the soil of Great Britain lords of their own property? Can it be taken from them without their consent? Will they yield it to the arbitrary disposal of any man, or number of men whatever? You know they will not. Why then are the proprietors of the soil in America less lords of their property than you are of yours? Or why should they submit it to the disposal of your Parliament, or of any other parliament or council in the world, not of their election? Can the intervention of the sea that divides us, cause disparity in rights, or can any reason be given why English subjects who live three thousand miles from the royal palace, should enjoy less liberty than those who are three hundred miles distant from it?

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lish politics; and which can no more operate to deprive us of our property, than the interdicts of the pope can divest kings of sceptres, which the laws of the land and the voice of the people have placed in their hands.

At the conclusion of the late war-a war rendered glorious by the abilities and integrity of a minister, to whose efforts the British empire owes its safety and its fame; at the conclusion of this war, which was succeeded by an inglorious peace, formed under the auspices of a minister of principles and of a family unfriendly to the Protestant cause, and inimical to liberty: we say, at

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Reason looks with indignation on such distinctions, and freemen can never perceive their propriety. And yet, however chimerical and unjust such discriminations are, the Parliament assert they have a right to bind us, in all cases, without exception, whether we consent or not; that they may take and use our property when and in what manner they please; that we are pensioners on their bounty, for all that we possess, and can hold it no longer than they vouchsafe to permit. Such declarations we consider as heresies in Eng-ities, which you would not permit us to purchase

To what causes, then, are we to attribute the sudden change of treatment, and that system of slavery which was prepared for us at the restoration of peace?

Before we had recovered from the distresses which ever attend war, an attempt was made to drain this country of all its money, by the oppressive Stamp Act. Paint, glass, and other commod

of other nations, were taxed; nay, although no wine is made in any country subject to the British state, you prohibited our procuring it of foreigners without paying a tax, imposed by your Parliament, on all we imported. These and many other impositions were laid upon us most unjustly and unconstitutionally for the express purpose of raising a revenue. In order to silence complaint it was, indeed, provided, that this revenue should be expended in America, for its protection and defence. These exactions, however, can receive no justification from a pretended necessity of protecting and defending us; they are lavishly


this period, and under the influence of that man, a plan for enslaving your fellow subjects in Amer ica was concerted, and has ever since been pertinaciously carrying into execution.

Prior to this era you were content with drawing from us the wealth produced by our commerce. You constrained our trade in every way that would conduce to your emoluments. You exercised unbounded sovereignty over the sea. You named the ports and nations to which alone our merchandise should be carried, and with whom alone we should trade and though some of these restrictions were grievous, we nevertheless did not complain; we looked up to you as to our parent state, to which we were bound by the strongest ties, and were happy in being instru mental to your prosperity and your grandeur.

We call upon you yourselves, to witness our loyalty and attachment to the common interests. of the whole empire: did we not, in the last war, add all the strength of this vast continent to the force which repelled our common enemy? Did we not leave our native shores, and meet disease and death, to promote the success of British arms in foreign climates? Did you not thank us for our zeal, and even reimburse us large sums of money, which you confessed we had advanced beyond our proportion and far beyond our abilities? You did.

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squandered on court favorites and ministerial dependents, generally avowed enemies to America, and employing themselves by partial represent-ica, had in a great measure been rendered abor

When the design of raising a revenue, from the duties imposed on the importation of tea in Amer

ations to traduce and embroil the colonies. For the necessary support of government here we ever were and ever shall be ready to provide. And whenever the exigencies of the state may require it, we shall, as we have heretofore done, cheerfully contribute our full proportion of men and money. To enforce this unconstitutional and unjust scheme of taxation, every fence that the wisdom of our British ancestors had carefully erected against arbitrary power, has been violently thrown down in America, and the inestimable right of trial by jury taken away in cases that touch both life and property. It was ordained, that whenever offences should be committed in the colonies against particular acts, imposing various duties and restrictions upon trade, the prosecutor might bring his action for penalties in the courts of admiralty; by which means the subject lost the advantage of being tried by an honest uninfluenced jury of the vicinage, and was subjected to the sad necessity of being judged by a single man, a creature of the crown, and according to the course of a law, which exempted the prosecutor of the trouble of proving his accusation, and obliges the defender either to evince his innocence, or suffer. To give this new judiciary the greater importance, and as if with design to protect false accusers, it is further provided, that the judge's certificate of there having been probable causes of seizure and prosecution, shall protect the prosecutors from actions at common law for recovery of damages.

tive, by our ceasing to import that commodity, a scheme was concerted by the ministry with the East India company, and an act passed, enabling and encouraging them to transport and vend it in the colonies. Aware of the danger of giving success to this insidious manoeuvre, and of permitting a precedent of taxation thus to be established among us, various methods were adopted to elude the stroke. The people of Boston, then ruled by a governor whom, as well as his predecessor, Sir Francis Bernard, all America considers as her enemy, were exceedingly embarrassed. The ships which had arrived with the tea were, by his management, prevented from returning. The duties would have been paid, the cargoes landed and exposed to sale; a governor's influence would have procured and protected many purchases. While the town was suspended by deliberations. on this important subject, the tea was destroyed. Even supposing a trespass was thereby committed, and the proprietors of the tea entitled to damages, the courts of law were open, and judges, appointed by the crown, presided in them. The East India company, however, did not think proper to commence any suits, nor did they even demand satisfaction, either from individuals or from the community in general. The ministry, it seems, officially made the case their own, and the great council of the nation descended to intermeddle with a dispute about private property. Divers papers, letters, and other unauthenticated ex parte evidence were laid before them; neither the persons who destroyed the tea nor the people of Boston, were called upon to answer the complaint. The ministry, incensed by being disappointed in a favorite scheme, were determined to recur from the little arts of finesse, to open force and unmanly violence. The port of Boston was blocked up by a fleet, and an army placed in the town. Their trade was to be suspended, and thousands reduced to the necessity of gaining subsistence from charity, till they should submit to pass under the yoke, and consent to become slaves, by confessing the omnipotence of Parliament, and acquiescing in whatever disposition they might think proper to make of their lives and property.

By the course of our laws, offences committed in such of the British dominions, in which courts are established and justice duly and regularly administered, shall be there tried by a jury of the vicinage. There the offenders and the witnesses are known, and the degree of credibility to be given to their testimony can be ascertained.

In all these colonies, justice is regularly and impartially administered, and yet, by the construction of some, and the direction of other acts of Parliament, offenders are to be taken by force, together with all such persons as may be pointed out as witnesses, and carried to England, there to be tried in a distant land, by a jury of strangers, and subject to all the disadvantages that result from want of friends, want of witnesses, and want of money.

Let justice and humanity cease to be the boast

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of your nation! Consult your history, examine
your records of former transactions; nay, turn
to the annals of the many arbitrary states and
kingdoms that surround you, and show us a single
instance of men being condemned to suffer for im-
puted crimes, unheard, unquestioned, and without
even the specious formality of a trial; and that,
too, by laws made expressly for the purpose, and
which had no existence at the time of the fact
committed! If it be difficult to reconcile these
proceedings to the genius and temper of your
laws and constitution, the task will become more
arduous when we call upon our ministerial enemies
to justify, not only condemning men untried and
by hearsay, but involving the innocent in one
common punishment with the guilty, and for the
acts of thirty or forty, to bring poverty, distress,
and calamity, on thirty thousand souls, and these
not your enemies, but your friends, brethren, and
fellow subjects.

It would be some consolation to us, if the catalogue of American oppressions ended here. It gives us pain to be reduced to the necessity of reminding you, that under the confidence reposed in the faith of government, pledged in a royal charter from the British sovereign, the forefathers of the present inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, left their former habitations, and established that great, flourishing, and loyal colony. Without incurring or being charged with a forfeiture of their right, without being heard, without being tried, and without justice, by an act of Parliament this charter is destroyed, their liberties violated, their constitution and form of government changed; and all this upon no better pretence than because in one of their towns a trespass was committed upon some merchandise, said to belong to one of the companies, and because the ministry were of opinion, that such high political regulations were necessary to due subordination and obedience to their mandates.


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of greater and more poignant calamities. Now
mark the progression of the ministerial plan for
enslaving us.

Well aware that such hardy attempts to take
our property from us, to deprive us of that valu-
able right of trial by jury, to seize our persons
and carry us for trial to Great Britain, to blockade
our ports, to destroy our charters, and change our
form of government, would occasion, and had
already occasioned, great discontent in the colo-
nies, which would produce opposition to these
measures, an act was passed to protect, indemnify
and screen from punishment, such as might be
guilty even of murder, in endeavoring to carry
their oppressive edicts into execution; and by
another act the dominion of Canada is to be so
extended, modelled, and governed, as that by
being disunited from us, detached from our inter-
ests, by civil as well as religious prejudices, that
by their numbers daily swelling with Catholic
emigrants from Europe, and by their devotion to
administration so friendly to their religion, they
might become formidable to us, and on occasion,
be fit instruments in the hands of power to reduce
the ancient, free Protestant colonies to the same
state of slavery with themselves.

This was evidently the object of the act; and in this view, being extremely dangerous to our liberty and quiet, we cannot forbear complaining of it, as hostile to British America. Superadded to these considerations, we cannot help deploring the unhappy condition to which it has reduced the many English settlers, who, encouraged by the royal proclamation, promising the enjoyment of all their rights, have purchased estates in that country. They are now the subjects of an arbitrary government, deprived of trial by jury, and when imprisoned, cannot claim the benefit of the habeas corpus act, that great bulwark and palladium of English liberty; nor can we suppress our astonishment, that a British Parliament should ever consent to establish in that country a religion that has deluged your island in blood, and dispersed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murder, and rebellion, through every part of the world.

This being a true state of facts, let us beseech you to consider to what end they lead.

Admit the ministry, by the powers of Britain, and the aid of our Roman Catholic neighbors, should be able to carry the point of taxation, and reduce us to a state of perfect humiliation and

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slavery. Such an enterprise would doubtless make some addition to your national debt, which already presses down your liberty, and fills you with pensioners and placemen. We presume, also, that your commerce will be somewhat diminished. However, suppose you should prove victorious, in what condition will you then be? What advantages or what laurels will you reap from such a conquest?

May not a ministry with the same armies enslave you? It may be said, you will cease to pay them; but remember the taxes from America, the wealth, and we may add the men, and particularly the Roman Catholics of this vast continent, will then be in the power of your enemies ; nor will you have any reason to expect, that after making slaves of us, many among us should refuse to assist in reducing you to the same abject state. Do not treat this as chimerical. Know, that in less than half a century, the quit rents reserved for the crown, from the numberless grants of this vast continent, will pour large streams of wealth into the royal coffers; and if to this be added the power of taxing America at pleasure, the crown will be rendered independent of you for supplies, and will possess more treasure than may be necessary to purchase the remains of liberty in your island. In a word, take care that you do not fall into the pit that is preparing for us.

We believe there is yet much virtue, much justice, and much public spirit in the English nation. To that justice we now appeal. You have been told that we are seditious, impatient of government, and desirous of independency. Be assured that these are not facts, but calumnies. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, and we shall ever esteem a union with you to be our greatest glory and our greatest happiness; we shall ever be ready to contribute all in our power to the welfare of the empire; we shall consider your enemies as our enemies, and your interest as our own. But, if you are determined that your ministers shall wantonly sport with the rights of mankind—if neither the voice of justice, the dictates of the law, the principles of the constitution, nor the suggestions of humanity, can restrain your hands from shedding human blood in such an impious cause, we must tell you, that we will never submit to be hewers of wood or drawers of water, for any ministry or nation in the world. Place us in the same situation that we were at

the close of the last war, and our former harmony will be restored.

But, lest the same supineness, and the same inattention to our common interest, which you have for several years shown, should continue, we think it prudent to anticipate the consequences.

By the destruction of the trade of Boston, the ministry have endeavored to induce submission to their measures. The like fate may befall us all. We will endeavor, therefore, to live without trade, and recur, for subsistence, to the fertility and bounty of our native soil, which will afford us all the necessaries, and some of the conveniences, of life. We have suspended our importation from Great Britain and Ireland; and, in less than a year's time, unless our grievances should be redressed, shall discontinue our exports to those kingdoms and to the West Indies.

It is with the utmost regret, however, that we find ourselves compelled, by the overruling principles of self-preservation, to adopt measures detrimental in their consequences to numbers of our fellow subjects in Great Britain and Ireland. But we hope that the magnanimity and justice of the British nation will furnish a Parliament of such wisdom, independence, and public spirit, as may save the violated rights of the whole empire from the devices of wicked ministers and evil counsellors, whether in or out of office; and thereby restore that harmony, friendship, and fraternal affection, between all the inhabitants of his Majesty's kingdoms and territories, so ardently wished for by every true and honest American.

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