Front Page Titles (by Subject) first draft - The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779)
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first draft - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
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The large advances strides of late taken by the legislature of Great Britain towards establishing in over these colonies their absolute rule, and the hardiness of their present attempt to effect by force of arms what by law or right they could never effect, renders it necessary for us also to shift change the ground of opposition and to close with their last appeal from reason to arms. And as it behoves those who are called to this great decision to be assured that their cause is approved before supreme reason, so is it of great avail that its justice be made known to the world whose prayers cannot be wanting intercessions affections will ever be favorable to a people take part with those encountring oppression. Our forefathers, inhabitants of the island of Gr. Britn harassed having there vainly long endeavored to bear up against the evils of misrule, left their native land to seek on these shores a residence for civil & religious freedom. At the expense of their blood, with to the loss ruin of their fortune, with the relinquishment of everything quiet & comfortable in life, they effected settlements in the inhospitable wilds of America; they there established civil societies under with various forms of constitution, but possessing all, what is inherent in all, the full & perfect powers of legislation. To continue their connection with the those friends whom they had left & loved but they arranged themselves by charters of compact under the same one common king who became the thro’ whom who thus became the link uniting of union between the several union was ensured to them multiplied parts of the empire. Some occasional assumptions of power by the parl. of Gr. Brit. however foreign & unknown to unacknowledged by the constitutions we had formed of our governments were finally acquiesced in thro’ the warmth of affection. Proceeding thus in the fullness of mutual harmony & confidence both parts of the empire encreased in population and wealth with a rapidity unknown in the history of man. The various soils political institutions of America, its various climes soils & climates opening sure certain resource to the unfortunate & to the enterprising of all every countrys where and ensured to them the acquisition and full possession of property. Great Britain too acquired a lustre & a weight in the political system among the powers of the world earth which it is thought her internal resources could never have given her. To the a communication of the wealth & the power of the several parts of the whole every part of the empire we may surely ascribe in some measure surely ascribe the illustrious character she sustained thro’ her last European war and its successful event. At the close of that war however Gr. Britain having subdued all her foes she took up the unfortunate idea of subduing her friends also. Her parliament then for the first time asserted a right of unbounded legislation for over the colonies of America: by several acts passed in the year of the 5th the 6th & the 7th & the 8th years of the reign of his present majesty several duties were imposed for the purpose of raising a evenue on the said colonists, the powers of courts of admiralty were extended beyond their antient and the inestimable right of being tried in all cases civil trial by twelve peers of our vicinage was taken away in places affecting both life & property. By part of an act passed in the 12th year of the present reign an American colonist charged with the offenses described in that act may be transported beyond sea for trial of such offenses by the very persons against whose pretended sovereignty the supposed offense is supposed to be committed and pursuing with eagerness the newly assumed thought have in the space of 10 years during which they have exercisd yt right have made given such decisive severe specimens of the spirit [Editor: illegible word] this new legislation would be exercised conducted [[Editor: illegible word towards the establishment of absolute government over us as leaves no room to doubt the consequence of our further acquiescence under it by two those two other acts passed in the 14th of his present majesty they have assumed a right of altering the form of our governments altogether, and of thereby taking away every security for the possession of life and property.]]
By several acts of parliament passed in the reign of his present majesty within that period space of time they have imposed upon us duties for the purpose of raising a revenue attempted to take from us our money without our consent, they have taken away the interdicted all commerce first of of one of our principal trading towns thereby annihilating its property in the hands of the holders, & more lately they have cut off our the commercial intercourse with all of several of these of whole colonies with all foreign countries whatsoever; they have extended the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond their antient limits thereby depriving us right of trial by jury in cases affecting both life & property & subjecting both to the decision arbitrary decision of a single & dependent judge; they have declared that American subjects committing charged with certain pretended offences shall be transported beyond sea fortrial to be tried before the very persons against whose pretended sovereignty offenses supposed to be committed; they have attempted fundamentally to alter the form of government in one of these colonies, a form established by acts of its own legislature and further secured to them by charters of compact with & grants from on the part of the crown; they have erected a tyranny in a neighbouring province acquired by the joint arms of Great Britain & America, a tyranny dangerous to the very existence of all these colonies. But why should we enumerate their injuries in the detail? By one act they have suspended the powers of one American legislature & by another they have declared they may legislate for us themselves in all cases whatsoever. These two acts alone form a basis broad enough whereon to erect a despotism of unlimited extent, when it is considered that the person by whom these acts are passed are not with us subject to their [[Editor: illegible word and what is to prevent secure us against the demolition of our present & establishment of new & despotie government? this dreaded evil? The persons who assuming the power of doing this are not chosen by ourselves us, are not subject to us our controul from us are themselves freed the exempted by their situation from the operation of these laws they thus pass, and remove from themselves as much burthens as they impose on us. lighten their own burthens in proportion as they encrease ours. These temptations might put to trial the severest characters of antient virtue: with what new armour shall a British parliament then encounter the rude assault? Towards these deadly injuries from the tender plant of liberty which we have brought over & with so much affection we have planted and have fostered on these our own shores we have pursued every lawful measure. We have supplicated our king at various times in terms almost disgraceful to freedom; we have reasoned, we have remonstrated with parliament in the most mild & decent language; we have even proceeded to break off our commercial intercourse with them altogether as to the last peaceable admonition of our determination to be free by breaking of altogether our commercial intercourse with them break off our commercial intercourse with them our fellow subjects as the last peaceable admonition that our attachment to no nation on earth should supplant our attachment to liberty: and here we had well hoped was the ultimate step of the controversy. But subsequent events have shewn how vain was even this last remain of confidence in the moderation of the British ministry. During the course of the last year they their troops in a hostile manner invested the town of Boston in the province of Massachusetts bay, from that time have held the same beleaguered by sea & land. On the 19th day of April last in the present year they made an unprovoked attack assault on the inhabitants of the sd province at the town of Lexington, killed, murdered eight of them on the spot and wounded many others. From thence they proceeded in the same warlike all the array manner of war to the town of Concord where they attacked set upon another party of the inhabitants of the sd same province killing many of them also burning their houses & laying waste their property & continuing these depredations until repressed by the arms of the people assembled to oppose this hostile unprovoked cruel [[Editor: illegible word]] aggression on their lives & properties. Hostilities being thus commenced on the part of the British Ministerial troops army they have been since without respite by them pursued the same by their without regard to faith or to fame. The inhabitants of the said town of Boston having entered into treaty with a certain Thomas Gage said to be commander of these troops and who has actually been a principal actor in the siege of the town of Boston, proffered to the inhabitants of the sd town a liberty to depart from the same on principal & encourager of these in chief of adverse enormities violence enormities it was stipulated that the sd inhabitants having first deposited their arms and Editor: illegible word with their own magistrates their arms & military stores should have free liberty to depart out of the same from out of the sd town taking with them their other goods and other effects. Their arms & military stores were they accordingly delivered into their magistrates, & claimed the stipulated license of departing with their effects. But in open violation of plighted faith & honour, in defiance of those that the sacred laws of nations obligations of treaty which even the savage nations observe, their arms & warlike stores deposited with their own magistrates to be kept preserved as their property were immediately seized by a body of armed men under orders from the sd Thomas Gage, the greater part of the inhabitants were detained in the town & the few permitted to depart were compelled to leave their most valuable effects goods behind. We leave to the world their to its own reflections on this atrocious perfidy. The same Thos Gage on the 18th day of June That we might no longer be in doubt the ultimate purpose object aim of these Ministerial maneuvres, the same Thos Gage by proclamn bearing date the 12 day of June by after reciting the most abandoned grossest falsehoods & calumnies against the good people of America these colonies proceeds to declare them all, either by name or description, to be rebels & traitors, to supersede by his own authority the common law of the land of the sd province and to proclaim & order instead thereof the use & exercise of the law martial throughout the sd province. This bloody edict issued, he has proceeded to commit further ravages & murders in the same province burning the town of Charlestown, & attacking & killing great numbers of the people residing or assembling therein; and is now going on in an avowed course of murder & devastation taking every occasion to destroying the lives & properties of the inhabitants of the said province.]]
To oppose their his arms we have also taken up arms. We should be wanting to ourselves, we should be wanting perfidious to our posterity, we should be unworthy that free ancestry from which both they & we are derived one common birth, whom we derive our birth descent, were we to suffer ourselves to be butchered, and our properties to be laid waste should we submit with folded arms to military butchery & depredation to gratify the lordly ambition of any nation on earth and or sate the avarice of a British ministry. We do then most solemnly before in the presence of before God & the world declare, that, regardless of every consequence at the risk of every distress, the arms we have been compelled to assume we will wage with bitter perseverance, exerting to their utmost energies all those powers with which our creator hath invested given us to guard preserve that sacred Liberty which He committed to us in sacred deposit, & to protect from every hostile hand our lives & our properties. But that this our declaration & our determined resolution may give no disquietude to not disquiet the minds of our good fellow subjects in any part of the empire, we do further declare and assure them that we mean not in any wise to affect that union with them in which we have so long & so happily lived & which we wish so much to see again restored: that necessity must be hard indeed which could may force upon us this desperate measure, or induce us to avail ourselves of any aid which their enemies of Great Britain might proffer. We took up arms to defend in defense of our persons & properties under actual violation: when that violence shall be removed, when hostilities shall cease on the ministerial part the ministerial party therefore shall cease be suspended hostilities on their part ministerial cease part of the oppression of hostilities they shall be suspended cease on our part also; the moment they withdraw their armies we shall disband ours. We did not embody &c1next to a vigourous exertion of our own internal force we throw ourselves towards the achievement of this happy event we call for we confide in on the good offices of our fellow subjects beyond the Atlantic. Of their friendly dispositions we confide we hope with justice reason can not yet cease to hope & assure them they are aware as they must be that they have nothing more to expect from the same common enemy than the humble favour of being last devoured.
[1 ]Jefferson writes at bottom of page: “We did not embody men a soldiery to commit aggression on them; we did not raise armies for march to glory or to conquest or for glory; we did not invade their island proffering death or slavery to its inhabitants.”