Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Declaration of the Pennsylvania Provincial Conference

June 24, 1776

The Conference Met. The committee appointed for that purpose brought in a draft of a Declaration on the subject of Independence of this Colony of the Crown of Great Britain, which was ordered to be read, by special order. The same was read a second time, and, being fully considered, it was, with the greatest unanimity of all the Members, agreed to and adopted, and is in the words following, viz:

“Whereas, George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c., in violation of the principals of the British Constitution, and of the laws of justice and humanity, hath, by an accumulation of oppressions unparalleled in history, excluded the inhabitants of this, with the other American Colonies, from his protection and whereas he hath paid no regard to any of our numerous and dutiful petitions for a redress of our complicated grievances, but hath lately purchased foreign troops to assist in enslaving us, and hath excited the savages of this country to carry on a war against us, as also the negroes to imbrue their hands in the blood of their masters, in a manner unpracticed by civilized nations; and hath lately insulted our calamities, by declaring that he will show us no mercy until he has reduced us: And whereas the obligations of allegiance (being reciprocal between a King and his subjects) are not dissolved on the side of the Colonists, by the despotism of the said King, insomuch that it now appears that loyalty to him is treason against the good people of this country: And whereas not only the Parliament, but, there is reason to believe, too many of the people of Great Britain, have concurred in the aforesaid arbitrary and unjust proceedings against us: And whereas the publick virtue of this Colony (so essential to its liberty and happiness) must be endangered by a future political union with, or dependence upon, a Crown and nation so lost to justice, patriotism, and magnanimity:- We, the Deputies of the people of Pennsylvania, assembled in full Provincial Conference, for forming a plan for executing the Resolve of Congress of the 15th of May last, for suppressing all authority in this Province derived from the Crown of Great Britain, and for establishing a Government upon the authority of the people only, now, in this publick manner, in behalf of ourselves, and with the approbation, consent, and authority of our constituents, unanimously declare our willingness to concur in a vote of the Congress declaring the United Colonies free and independent States, provided the forming the Government, and regulation of the internal police of this Colony, be always reserved to the people of the said Colony; and we do further call upon the nations of Europe, and appeal to the great Arbiter and Governour of the Empires of the World, to witness for us that this declaration did not originate in ambition, or in an impatience of lawful authority, but that we were driven to it, in obedience to the first principles of nature, by the oppressions and cruelties of the aforesaid King and Parliament of Great Britain, as the only possible measure that was left us to preserve and establish our liberties, and to transmit them inviolate to posterity.”

Ordered, That this Declaration be signed at the table, and that the President deliver it to Congress.

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