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DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
In Congress, at New York, October 19, 1765.
The Congress, upon mature deliberation, agreed to the following declarations of the rights and grievances of the colonists in America:
The members of this Congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty, to His Majesty's person and government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the Protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered, as maturely as time will permit, the circumstances of the said col. onies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the colonists and of the grievances under which they labor by reason of the several late acts of Parliament:
1. That His Majesty's subjects in these colonies owe the same allegiance to the crown of Great Britain that is owing from his subjects born within the realm; and all due subordination to that august body, the Parliament of Great Britain.
2. That His Majesty's liege subjects, in these colonies, are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural-born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain.
3. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of English men, that no taxes be imposed on them but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.
4. That the people of these colonies are not, and from their local circumstances cannot be, represented in the House of Commons, in Great Britain.
5. That the only representatives of the people of these colonies are persons chosen therein by themselves; and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures.
6. That all supplies to the Crown, being the free gifts of the people, it is unreasonable and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution for the people of Great Britain to grant to His Majesty the property of the colonists.
7. That trial by jury is the inherent and invaluable right of every British subject in these colonies.
8. That the late act of Parliament, entitled "An act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties in the British colonies and plantations, in America, etc.,” by imposing taxes on the inhabitants of these colonies, and the said act, and several other acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists.
9. That the duties imposed by several late acts of Parliament, from the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely burthensome and grievous, and from the scarcity of specie, the payment of them absolutely impracticable.
10. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately center in Great Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all supplies granted there to the Crown.
11. That the restrictions imposed by several late acts of Parliament on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great Britain.
12. That the increase, prosperity, and happiness of these colonies depend on the full and free enjoyments of their rights and liberties, and an intercourse with Great Britain, mutually affectionate and advantageous.
13. That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies to petition the King, or either house of Parliament.
Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies, to the best of sovereigns, to the mother country, and to themselves, to endeavor by a loyal and dutiful address to His Majesty, and humble applications to both houses of Parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other acts of Parliament, whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is extended, as aforesaid, and of the other late acts for the restriction of American commerce.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
In Congress, at Philadelphia, October 14, 1774.
WHEREAS, Since the close of the last war, the British Parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various pretenses, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these Colonies, established a board of com. missioners with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of adn ty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county
AND WHEREAS, In consequence of other statutes, Judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent on the Crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace.
AND WHEREAS, It has lately been resolved in Parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the Colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned.
AND WHEREAS, In the last session of Parliament three statutes were made: one entitled “An Act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping of goods, wares and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbor of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America”; another, entitled "An Act for the better regulating the government of the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England”; and another, entitled "An Act for the impartial administration of justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England”; and another statute was then made, “for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec, etc." All which statutes are impolitic, unjust and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights.
AND WHEREAS, Assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the Crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt by his Majesty's Ministers of State:
The good people of the several colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Castle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of Parliament and Administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in General Congress, in the City of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties may not be subverted. Whereupon, the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these Colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for effecting and vindicating their rights and liberties, DECLARE:
That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English Constitution, and the several Charters or Compacts, have the following RIGHTS :
Resolved, 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever a right to dispose of either without their consent.
Resolved, 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these Colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects within the realm of England.
Resolved, 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.
Resolved, 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English Colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British Parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their Sovereign, in such manner as has heretofore been used and accustomed. But, from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British Parliament, as are bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial benefits of its respective members; excluding every idea of taxation, internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects in America, without their consent.
Resolved, 5. That the respective Colonies are entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law.
Resolved, 6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the English statutes, as existed at the time of their colonization; and which they have, by experience, respectively found to be applicable to their several local and other circumstances.
Resolved, 7. That these, his Majesty's Colonies, are likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed to them by Royal Charters, or secured by their several codes of Provincial Laws.
Resolved, 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider their grievances, and petition the King; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same, are illegal.
Resolved, 9. That the keeping a standing army in these Colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the Legislature of that Colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.
Resolved, 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English Constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power in several Colonies, by a Council appointed during the pleasure of the Crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the freedom of American legislation.