Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament,
claiming a power of right to bind the people of America by statute 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 commissioners with unconstitutional powers, and extended the
jurisdiction of courts of Admiralty 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 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
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 the 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
the 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, & 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, Newcastle 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 asserting
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:
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.
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.
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 been heretofore
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.
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.
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.
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.
That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances,
and petition the King; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations,
and commitments for the same, are illegal.
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.
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 pleasure, by the
crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the freedom of
All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves,
and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable
rights and liberties; which cannot be legally taken from them, altered
or abridged by any power whatever, without their own consent, by their
representatives in their several provincial legislatures.
In the course of our inquiry, we find many infringements and violations
of the foregoing rights, which, from an ardent desire that harmony and
mutual intercourse of affection and interest may be restored, we pass over
for the present, and proceed to state such acts and measures as have been
adopted since the last war, which demonstrate a system formed to enslave
Resolved, That the following acts of Parliament are infringements and
violations of the rights of the colonists; and that the repeal of them
is essentially necessary, in order to restore harmony between Great Britain
and the American colonies, viz.:
The several Acts of 4 Geo. 3, ch. 15 & ch. 34; 5 Geo. 3, ch. 25;
6 Geo. 3, ch. 52; 7 Geo. 3, ch. 41 & 46; 8 Geo. 3, ch. 22; which impose
duties for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, extend the powers
of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American
subject of trial by jury, authorize the judges' certificate to indemnify
the prosecutor from damages that he might otherwise be liable to, requiring
oppressive security from a claimant of ships and goods seized before he
shall be allowed to defend his property; and are subversive of American
Also the 12 Geo. 3, ch. 24, entitled "An act for the better preserving
his Majesty's dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores,"
which declares a new offense in America, and deprives the American subject
of a constitutional trial by jury of the vicinage, by authorizing the trial
of any person charged with the committing any offense described in the
said act, out of the realm, to be indicted and tried for the same in any
shire or county within the realm.
Also the three acts passed in the last session of parliament, for stopping
the port and blocking up the harbor of Boston, for altering the charter
& government of the Massachusetts bay, and that which is entitled "An
Act for the better administration of Justice," &c.
Also the act passed the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic
Religion in the province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of
English laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger, from so
great a dissimilarity of Religion, law, and government, of the neighboring
British colonies by the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said
country was conquered from France.
Also the act passed the same session for the better providing suitable
quarters for officers and soldiers in his Majesty's service in North America.
Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies,
in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony
in which the army is kept, is against law.
To these grievous acts and measures Americans cannot submit, but in
hopes that their fellow subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of
them, restore us to that state in which both countries found happiness
and prosperity, we have for the present only resolved to pursue the following
peaceable measures: 1st. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption,
and non-exportation agreement or association. 2. To prepare an address
to the people of Great Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British
America, & 3. To prepare a loyal address to his Majesty, agreeable
to resolutions already entered into.