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6. A fragment of a copy in the possession of Mrs. Washburn, of Boston.
In addition to these five copies and a fragment of a sixth, Jefferson made, according to Ford,' between the 4th and 10th of July, other copies, which he sent to George Wythe, John Page, Edmund Pendleton and Philip Mazzei, who gave his copy, so Jefferson states in his letter to Vaughan, to the Countess de Tessé, of France, but it is not known if these copies are still in existence.
The copy of the draught of the Declaration presented, as its report, by the Committee of five of which Jefferson was Chairman, to the Congress cannot be found and is believed not to have been preserved. It was probably read in the Congress and passed into the hands of the Secretary, who used it in writing in the amendments as they were adopted during consideration of the document in the Committee of the Whole and, upon its adoption by the House, at once sent it to the printer as copy and it was subsequently destroyed.
If these conclusions and the statement previously referred to of R. H. Lee, the elder, to his son, be correct, the historic value of the draught possessed by this Society lies in the fact, apart from its being an autographic copy by Jefferson, that it is one of the two fair copies made at the same time by Jefferson, one to report to the Congress, the other to send to Lee. As the copy presented to the Congress has been lost, the copy sent to Lee, and now belonging to this Society, must be regarded as the authoritative text of the Declaration of Independence as drawn by the Committee of five and reported to the Congress.
1 Writings of Jefferson, ii, p. 42, Note.
2 This copy was delivered to Mr. Thomas Ritchie, editor of the Richmond Enquirer, by Major Duval, the executor of Mr. Wythe's estate, and its text was printed in Niles's Weekly Register, July 3, 1813 (Vol. iv, No. 13). Notwithstanding inquiry among Mr. Ritchie's descendants I have not been able to learn whether it is still in existence.
3 In the “ Rough Journal” of Congress kept by the Secretary, Charles Thomson, appears the entry under July 4, “ The Declaration being again read was agreed to as follows." Here the printed Declaration, a broadside with the im. print : “ Philadelphia : Printed by John Dunlap,” is attached by wafers. In the fair copy of the “ Rough Journal” the Declaration is written out at length in the same handwriting as the rest of the Journal. See Chamberlain, “ The Signing of the Declaration,” Proceedings of Massachusetts Historical Society, 2d Series, Vol. 1, p. 286.
The text of the draught possessed by this Society and a fac-simile of it are appended :)
(A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General Congress assembled.] In Congress, July 4, 1776, The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with [inherent and inalienable] certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light & transient causes, and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, [begun at a distinguished period &] pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, & to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies, & such is now the necessity which constrains them to [expunge] alter their former systems of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain is a history of funremitting] repeated injuries and usurpations, [among which appears
1 The text is printed in Roman characters. In order to show the changes made by the Congress the parts stricken-out by the Congress are enclosed in [brackets], and the parts inserted by the Congress are printed in Italics.
no solitary fact to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest ; but] all [have] having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this let facts be submitted to a candid world, (for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood].
He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate & pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained ; and when so suspended, he has (neglected utterly) utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature ; a right inestimable to them, & formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, & distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with nis
He has dissolved Representative houses repeatedly [& continually], for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time after such dissolutions to cause others to be elected whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, & convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states ; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners ; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither ; & raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has (suffered the administration of justice totally to cease in some of these states] obstructed the administration of justice by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made [our] judges dependant on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount & paiment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices [by a self-assumed power] & sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies (and ships of war,] without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independant of, & superior to, the civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution[s] and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation
for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us; for protecting them by a mock-trial from punishment for any
murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these
States; for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world ; for imposing taxes on us.without our consent; for depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury; for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences; for abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring
province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example & fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into
these [States] Colonies ; for taking away our charters, 'abolishing our most valuable laws,
and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments; for suspending our own legislatures, & declaring themselves in.
vested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated government here, (withdrawing his governors, &] by declaring us out of his [allegiance and) protection, and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, & destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries, to compleat the works of death, desolation & tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has excited domestic insurrections among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions [of existence].
[He has incited treasonable insurrections of our fellow citizens with the allurements of forfeiture & confiscation of our property.]
He has constrained (others] our fellow citizens taken captive[s] on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the
106 HAYS— DRAUGHT OF DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. (Ap. 1,
executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
[He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel' powers, is the warfare of the Christian' king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce : and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives' of another,]
In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people [who mean to be free. Future ages will scarce believe that the hardiness of one man adventured within the short compass of twelve years only, to build a foundation, so broad and undisguised, for tyranny over a people fostered and fixed in principles of freedom.]
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend [a] an unwarrantable jurisdiction over [these our states] us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here, [no one of which could warrant so strange a pretension : that these were effected at the expence of our own blood and treasure, unassisted by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain: that in constituting indeed our several forms of government, we had adopted one common king, thereby laying a foundation for perpetual league and amity with them : but that submission to their parliament was no part of our constitution, nor ever in idea, if history may be credited : and] we have appealed to their
an absolute n derect dlject the establishment of these states. to move the let facts be submitted to a candid
but all howe tenor of the
1 Underscored in original.