Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Instructions of the Assembly of Pennsylvania to their Delegates in Congress

June 8, 1776

Gentlemen: When, by our instructions of last November, we strictly enjoined you, in behalf of this Colony, to dissent from, and utterly reject any proposition, should such be made, that might cause or lead to a separation from Great Britain, or a change of the form of this Government, our restrictions did not arise from any diffidence of your ability, prudence, or integrity, but from an earnest desire to serve the good people of Pennsylvania with fidelity, in times so full of alarming dangers and perplexing difficulties.

The situation of publick affairs is since so greatly altered, that we now think ourselves justifiable in removing the restrictions laid upon you by those instructions.

The contempt with which the last petition of the honourable Congress has been treated; the late act of Parliament declaring the just resistance of the Colonists against violences actually offered, to be rebellion, excluding them from the protection of the Crown, and even compelling some of them to bear arms against their countrymen; the treaties of the King of Great Britain with other Princes for engaging foreign mercenaries to aid the forces of that kingdom in their hostile enterprises against America, and his answer to the petition of the Lord-Mayor, Aldermen and Commons, of the City of London, manifest such a determined and implacable resolution to effect the utter destruction of these Colonies, that all hopes of a reconciliation, on reasonable terms, are extinguished. Nevertheless, it is our ardent desire that a civil war, with all its attending miseries, could be ended by a secure and honourable peace.

We therefore hereby authorize you to concur with the other Delegates in Congress in forming such further compacts between the United Colonies, concluding such treaties with foreign Kingdoms and States, and in adopting such other measures as shall be judged necessary for promoting the liberty, safety, and interests of America; reserving to the people of this Colony the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police of the same.

The happiness of these Colonies has, during the whole course of this fatal controversy, been our first wish; their reconciliation with Great Britain our next. Ardently have we prayed for the accomplishment of both. But if we must renounce the one or the other, we humbly trust in the mercies of the Supreme Governour of the Universe, that we shall not stand condemned before His throne if our choice is determined by that overruling law of self-preservation, which His divine wisdom has thought fit to implant in the hearts of His creatures.

No comments: