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the upward spirit of the age. They did not emanate from those who in wonder and awe were styled prophets, but from those who were of the people, and uttered what many felt and acknowledged, and so shall be honored even when a purer philosophy shall have pointed out to mankind some flaws in their positions. Magna Charta shall not have a name more imperishable than they. The world's archives do not contain nobler voices from masses of men. They are Eras in the march of Soul.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776.
rica, in Congress assembled.
been honored by pillar, or temple, or poet's song, or stateman's advocacy, or orator's eulogium, or historian's record. Tyrtæus, because he was full of the spirit of carnage, has always sung of battle-fields; and as his songs were to Spartans, Spartans treasured them up above any purer strains. Yet many noble aspirations doubtless graced the ages that have fled. The heart of man, though not perfect, has frequently beat for the true and right. Demosthenes, though a coward at Cheronea, was bold for Freedom in the popular assemblies; Tancred, though some- By the Representatives of the United States of Ametimes fierce, was often kind and pious; and even Xerxes, nurtured as he was with no feeling of brotherhood for his millions of serfs, wept with involuntary pity at what he conceived would be their miserable fate. Then, too, Isaiah and Jeremiah and David and Confucius and Socrates, by close union with God, felt and knew nobleness so in advance of their age, that the truth of it all is not even yet acknowledged by the mass of mankind. Then, too, thousands have gone down to their graves unwept and unremembered, whose voices full of divine accents, falling upon ears not ready to receive them, died with the passing breeze.
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 sepa rate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect for 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 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 a new government, lay. ing 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 and 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, 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, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these Within a few years have appeared three docu-States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a ments, which are worthy of all note as indicating candid world.
The high task of weaving the fragments of nobleness that remain into a Philosophico-Religious history, and deducing from them invaluable conclusions with regard to God's government and man's duty, is reserved for some Freeman whose heart beats warmly for the right, and whose intellect can recognize truth even when covered by the dust which Malice and Ignorance have so liberally flung upon it. We need that the Soul's progress from its lower to its higher destinies should be exhibited in the strong light of history. We need to be assured by infallible proofs that each age has made advances upon that which preceded it, even when at first glance the reverse would appear; and that in every age Love when exerted has been more potent than Hate and Violence to bring men to its measures; and that Freedom has never led to license, but Tyranny always; and that Truth with her pure confiding aspect has ever been more revered even by her enemies, than Falsehood with her gorgeous trappings and millions in her train. We need to have our Infidelity, in God's goodness and power, rebuked by stern facts that shall shame us into heroism that will not doubt of victory in God's causes, but will be as fully assured of it when arming for the assault as if the white flag already streamed from the battlements. We need that no storm breaking upon our brows should quench the fire of hope that burns in our bosoms.
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 and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation, till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has 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, and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the repository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
For abolishing the free system of English law in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies :
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments :
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power, to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeated-people. ly, 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 mean time exposed to all the danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the work of death, desolation, and 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 constrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of
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 migration hither, and rais-our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose ing the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.
known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
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.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts made by their legislature, to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspon
He has combined with others, to subject us to a jurisdiction, foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation For quartering large bodies of armed troops among dence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of
For protecting them by a mock trial, from punishment for any murder 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: :
justice and consanguinity. We must therefore acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind—enemies in war-in peace, friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies,
For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for solemnly publish and declare, that these United Copretended offences :
lonies are, and of right ought to be, free and inde
of moral purity to moral corruption- the destruction of error by the potency of truth-the overthrow of prejudice by the power of love-and the abolition of slavery by the spirit of repentance.
pendent states; that they are absolved from all alle- | shalling in arms-the hostile array-the mortal engiance to the British crown, and that all political counter. Ours shall be such only as the opposition connection between them and the state of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
Their grievances, great as they were, were trifling in comparison with the wrongs and sufferings of those for whom we plead. Our fathers were never slaves— never bought and sold like cattle-mever shut out from the light of knowledge and religion-never subjected to the lash of brutal task-masters.
But those for whose emancipation we are striving constituting at the present time at least onesixth part of our countrymen,-are recognized by the law, and treated by their fellow beings, as market
DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS OF THE AMERICAN able commodities, as goods and chattels, as brute
The Convention assembled in the city of Philadelphia, to organize a National Anti-Slavery Society, promptly seize the opportunity to promulgate the following Declaration of Sentiments as cherished by them in relation to the enslavement of one-sixth portion of the American people.
beasts; are plundered daily of the fruits of their toil without redress; really enjoying no constitutional nor legal protection from licentious and murderous outrages upon their persons, are ruthlessly torn asunder-the tender babe from the arms of its frantic mother-the heart-broken wife from her weeping husband-at the caprice or pleasure of irresponMore than fifty-seven years have elapsed since a sible tyrants. For the crime of having a dark band of patriots convened in this place, to devise complexion, they suffer the pangs of hunger, the inmeasures for the deliverance of this country from a fliction of stripes, and the ignominy of brutal servi foreign yoke. The corner stone upon which they tude. They are kept in heathenish darkness by laws founded the Temple of Freedom was broadly this expressly enacted to make their instruction a crimi"that all men are created equal; and they are en-nal offence. dowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." At the sound of their trumpetcall three millions of people rose up as from the sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of blood; deeming it more glorious to die instantly as freemen, than desirable to live one hour as slaves. They were few in number-poor in resources; but the honest conviction that Truth, Justice, and Right were on their side, made them invincible.
These are the prominent circumstances in the condition of more than two millions of our people, the proof of which may be found in thousands of indisputable facts, and in the laws of the slaveholding states.
Hence we maintain,-that in view of the civil and religious privileges of this nation, the guilt of its oppression is unequalled by any other on the face of the earth; and, therefore,
That it is bound to repent instantly, to undo the heavy burdens, to break every yoke, and to let the
We have met together for the achievement of an enterprise, without which that of our fathers is in-oppressed go free. complete; and which, for its magnitude, solemnity, and probable results upon the destiny of the world, as far transcends theirs as moral truth does physical force.
We further maintain,-that no man has a right to enslave or imbrute his brother-to hold or acknowledge him, for one moment, as a piece of merchandize to keep back his hire by fraud-or to brutalize
In parity of motive, in earnestness of zeal, in de- his mind by denying him the means of intellectual, cision of purpose, in intrepidity of action, in stead-social and moral improvement. fastness of faith, in sincerity of spirit, we would not be inferior to them.
The right to enjoy liberty is inalienable. To invade it is to usurp the prerogative of Jehovah. Every man has a right to his own body-the products of his own labor-to the protection of law, and to the common advantages of society. It is piracy to buy or steal a native African, and subject him to servitude. Surely the sin is as great to enslave an American as an African.
Their principles led them to wage war against their oppressors, and to spill human blood like water, in order to be free. Ours forbid the doing of evil that good may come, and lead us to reject, and to entreat the oppressed to reject, the use of all carnal weapons for deliverance from bondage; relying solely upon those which are spiritual, and mighty Therefore we believe and affirm-that there is through God to the pulling down of strong holds. no difference in principle, between the African slave Their measures were physical resistance--the mar-trade and American slavery:
That every American citizen who detains a human, national compact, has no right to interfere with any being in involuntary bondage as his property, is of the slave states, in relation to this momentous according to scripture (Ex. xxi. 16) a man stealer: That the slaves ought instantly to be set free, and brought under the protection of law:
That if they lived from the time of Pharaoh down to the present period, and had been entailed through successive generations, their right to be free could never have been alienated, but their claims would have constantly risen in solemnity.
That all those laws which are now in force, admitting the right of slavery, are therefore before God utterly null and void; being an audacious usurpation of the Divine prerogative, a daring infringement on the law of nature, a base overthrow of the very foundations of the social compact, a complete extinction of all the relations, endearments, and obligations of mankind, and a presumptuous transgression of all the holy commandments-and that therefore they ought instantly to be abrogated.
But we maintain that Congress has a right, and is solemnly bound, to suppress the domestic slave trade between the several states, and to abolish slavery in those portions of our territory which the Constitution has placed under its exclusive jurisdiction.
We also maintain that there are, at the present time, the highest obligations resting upon the people of the free states, to remove slavery by moral and political action, as prescribed in the Constitution of the United States. They are now living under a pledge of their tremendous physical force, to fasten the galling fetters of tyranny upon the limbs of millions in the southern states; they are liable to be called at any moment to suppress a general insurrection of the slaves; they authorize the slave owner to vote on three fifths of his slaves as property, and thus enable him to perpetuate his oppression; they support a standing army at the south for its protection; and they seize the slave who has escaped into their territories, and send him back to be tortured by an enraged master or a brutal driver. This relation to slavery is criminal and full of dan
We further believe and affirm-that all persons of color who possess the qualifications which are demanded of others, ought to be admitted forthwith to the enjoyment of the same privileges, and the exercise of the same prerogatives, as others; and that the paths of preferment, of wealth, and of intelli-ger: it must be broken up. gence, should be opened as widely to them as to persons of a white complexion.
These are our views and principles-these our designs and measures. With entire confidence in
We maintain that no compensation should be given the overruling justice of God, we plant ourselves to the planters emancipating the slaves;
Because it would be a surrender of the great fundamental principle that man cannot hold property in
upon the Declaration of our Independence and the truths of Divine Revelation as upon the Everlasting Rock.
We shall organize Anti-Slavery Societies, if pos
Because slavery is a crime, and therefore is not sible, in every city, town and village in our land. an article to be sold;
Because the holders of slaves are not the just proprietors of what they claim; freeing the slaves is not depriving them of property, but restoring it to its rightful owners; it is not wronging the master, but righting the slave-restoring him to himself:
Because immediate and general emancipation would only destroy nominal, not real property; it would not amputate a limb or break a bone of the slaves, but by infusing motives into their breasts, would make them doubly valuable to the masters as free laborers; and
Because, if compensation is to be given at all, it should be given to the outraged and guiltless slaves, and not to those who have plundered and abused them.
We regard as delusive, cruel, and dangerous, any scheme of expatriation which pretends to aid, either directly or indirectly in the emancipation of the slaves, or to be a substitute for the immediate and total abolition of slavery.
We shall send forth agents to lift up the voice of remonstrance, of warning, of entreaty, and rebuke. We shall circulate, unsparingly and extensively, anti-slavery tracts and periodicals.
We shall enlist the pulpit and the press in the cause of the suffering and the dumb.
We shall aim at a purification of the churches from all participation in the guilt of slavery.
We shall encourage the labor of freemen rather than that of slaves by giving a preference to their productions: and
We shall spare no exertions nor means to bring the whole nation to speedy repentance.
Our trust for victory is solely in God. be personally defeated, but our principles never. Truth, Justice, Reason, Humanity, must and will gloriously triumph. Already a host is coming up to the help of the Lord against the mighty, and the prospect before us is full of encouragement.
Submitting this declaration to the candid examination of the people of this country, and of the We fully and unanimously recognise the sovereign- friends of liberty throughout the world, we hereby ty of each state, to legislate exclusively on the sub-affix our signatures to it; pledging ourselves that, ject of the slavery which is tolerated within its under the guidance and by the help of Almighty limits; we concede that Congress, under the present God we will do all that in us lies, consistently with
this Declaration of our principles, to overthrow the most execrable system of slavery that has ever been witnessed upon earth-to deliver our land from its deadliest curse-to wipe out the foulest stain which rests upon our national escutcheon-and to secure to the colored population of the United States all the rights and privileges which belong to them as men, and as Americans come what may to our persons, our interests, or our reputation-whether we live to witness the triumph of liberty, justice and humanity, or perish untimely as martyrs in this great, benevolent, and holy cause.
invaders, no individual possesses that right in his own case. The unit cannot be of greater importance than the aggregate. If one man may take life, to obtain or defend his rights, the same license must necessarily be granted to communities, states, and nations. If he may use a dagger or a pistol, they may employ cannon, bomb-shells, land and naval forces. The means of self-preservation must be in proportion to the magnitude of interests at stake, and the number of lives exposed to destruction. But if a rapacious and blood-thirsty soldiery, thronging these shores from abroad, with intent to commit
Done at Philadelphia, the sixth day of December, A.D. 1833. rapine and destroy life, may not be resisted by the
DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS
people or magistracy, then ought no resistance to be offered to domestic troublers of the public peace, or of private security. No obligation can rest upon Americans to regard foreigners as more sacred in
Adopted by the Peace Convention, held in Boston, their persons than themselves, or to give them a September 18, 19, and 20, 1838.
monopoly of wrong-doing with impunity. Assembled in Convention, from various sections, The dogma, that all the governments of the world of the American Union, for the promotion of peace are approvingly ordained of God, and that the pow on earth, and good will among men, we, the under-ers that be in the United States, in Russia, in Tursigned, regard it as due to ourselves, to the cause key, are in accordance with His will, is not less which we love, to the country in which we live, and absurd than impious. It makes the impartial Author to the world, to publish a Declaration, expressive of human freedom and equality, unequal and tyranof the principles we cherish, the purposes we aim nical. It cannot be affirmed, that the powers that to accomplish, and the measures we shall adopt to be, in any nation, are actuated by the spirit, or carry forward the work of peaceful universal re-guided by the example of Christ, in the treatment of formation.
We cannot acknowledge allegiance to any human government; neither can we oppose any such government, by a resort to physical force. We recog. nize but one King and Lawgiver, one Judge and Ruler of mankind. We are bound by the laws of a kingdom which is not of this world; the subjects of which are forbidden to fight; in which Mercy and Truth are met together, and Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other; which has no state lines, no national partitions, no geographical boundaries; in which there is no distinction of rank, or division of caste, or inequality of sex; the officers of which are Peace, its exactors Righteousness, its walls Salvation, and its gates Praise; and which is destined to break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms.
enemies therefore, they cannot be agreeable to the will of God: and, therefore, their overthrow, by a spiritual regeneration of their subjects, is inevitable.
We register our testimony, not only against all wars, whether offensive or defensive, but all prepa rations for war; against every naval ship, every arsenal, every fortification; against the militia system and a standing army; against all military chieftains and soldiers; against all monuments commemorative of victory over a foreign foe, all trophies won in battle, all celebrations in honor of military or naval exploits; against all appropriations for the defence of a nation by force and arms, on the part of any legislative body; against every edict of government, requiring of its subjects military service. Hence, we deem it unlawful to bear arms, or to hold a military office.
As every human government is upheld by physi. cal strength, and its laws are enforced virtually at the point of the bayonet, we cannot hold any office which imposes upon its incumbent the obligation to do right, on pain of imprisonment or death. We therefore voluntarily exclude ourselves from every legislative and judicial body, and repudiate all human politics, worldly honors, and stations of autho
Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind. We love the land of our nativity, only as we love all other lands. The interests, rights, and liberties of American citizens are no more dear to us, than are those of the whole human race. Hence, we can allow no appeal to patriotism, to revenge any national insult or injury. The Prince of Peace, under whose stainless banner we rally, came not to destroy, but to save, even the worst of ene-rity. If we cannot occupy a seat in the legislature, mies. He has left us an example, that we should follow his steps. God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We conceive that if a nation has no right to defend itself against foreign enemies, or to punish its
or on the bench, neither can we elect others to act as our substitutes in any such capacity.
It follows that we cannot sue any man at law, to compel him by force to restore any thing which he may have wrongfullly taken from us or others; but,