The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
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 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 and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, 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 [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

– 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 depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

– He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, 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 dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

– He has endeavoured 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, and raising 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.

– 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 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 neighbouring 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 people.

– He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works 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 endeavoured 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.

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 attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts 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 correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of 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, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political 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.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts
John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Liberation vs. security

George W. made another primetime address to the nation this evening, amid declining support for the war on Iraq/terror.*

Once again, there is a conflict between his words. In one breath, he is saying that the human sacrifice is worth it, for the sake of this nation’s security. The next minute, he is saying that when this war is over, people will look back on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq safe in the knowledge that they were vital for the liberation of the respective countries.

It seems bizarre that these two completely different arguments for war can be used interchangeably, or at least in such close proximity, without causing confusion and concern among the audience. No wonder the support for the war, and as a result Bush, is sliding. It’s just a shame that this didn’t happen a year ago, in advance of last year’s election.

* delete as applicable

H3, DC, Stone Roses, Vic & Bob and same-sex marriages

No updates of late, as I decided against taking my laptop on our weekend away to DC. It was great to get away from both New York and the internet from Friday through Monday.

Washington’s very nice. The complete absence of tall buildings makes it very different from any other US city I’ve been to, as does the abundance of relatively historic buildings – lots of buildings with columns, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Senate along with a number of the government buildings and those lining the National Mall. Hopefully some nice photos to follow.

The weather was a little stifling, making the outdoor sites a little traumatic, but we managed to take in a few:

– Arlington National Cemetery was impressive and humbling. The JFK grave-site was quite beautiful (the design reminded me of Diana’s memorial in Hyde Park, but JFK’s put Diana’s to shame big time), while the countless evenly spaced rows of military gravestones imbued nothing but respect
– The Lincoln Memorial is a great building, and the 19 foot high statue of Lincoln atop his chair is magnificent
– The Washington Memorial (obelisk) was soured somewhat by the building work going on all around, and my view is that it is outdone by its counterpart in Buenos Aires
– The World War II memorial midway between those of Washington and Lincoln is a wonderful piece of architecture, one that every visitor to Washington, DC should take time to see and experience.

We also took some time out for the National Museums of American History and Natural History. The former had some interesting stuff; the latter was somewhat disappointing, and I should vow never to go to another Natural History museum, unless we have kids – they’re all much of a muchness, such is the very nature of history.

We stayed in the Watergate Hotel. The room was great, with a picturesque view over the Potomac River, although the building itself is a hideous eyesore.

There is a new TV advert out for the Hummer H3, with the slogan "Disappear". That’s right: Disappear. I would find it hard to think of a car that it’s more difficult to disappear in. I would have loved to be in the meeting in which the ad. agency presented this idea to the client. Maybe the fact that I’m ‘blogging about it means that it has worked. Ben?

So many people have commented on the significance of the Stone Roses’ Fools Gold. While I have to say that it’s a good track, much less reference is made to their masterpiece I am the Resurrection. Thoughts on their relative merits? Any advance?

There was some email banter on Friday about the good ol’ days of Reeves and Mortimer. Good days indeed they were. It reminded me of my hypothesis about the relative merits of comedy duos. Generally, I find that there is a member who has a balancing influence (generally of lesser comedic talent) while the other member carries the pair from a comedy perspective. Wise was the balancer, while Morecambe was the comedy genius; Reeves was the balancer, Mortimer the comedy genius. To a lesser degree, one could argue (and I would) that Dec is the comedy talent behind Ant and Dec. Maybe giving the latter the title of balancer is flattering – maybe they’re just the hanger-on that comes along with the more talented individual. Not sure.

Yesterday, a repeat of the Simpsons episode was shown in which Marge’s sister reveals that she is gay. The episode itself was funny, but I was more amused (and somewhat taken aback) by the warning that preceded the show: "This episode contains discussion of same-sex marriage. Parental discretion is advised." While some states have made the bold, correct move of recognising same-sex marriages from a legal perspective, it seems that children (or should I say parents) must still be warned about it. I find that laughable.

Have you read my ‘blog?

Well? Have you?

Protect the possessive apostrophe

The example given by Ed, Wales is somewhat misguided, but I share the view of the 89% of voting people that the possessive apostrophe should stay. As well as being a beautiful part of the English language, it’s often necessary to avoid confusion.

My favourite comment is from Karen, England below:

"…we should stop being so lazy! Languages would be very difficult to learn if we did not have punctuation, so lets keep it."

Don’t count your chickens

I know they say that you shouldn’t count your chickens, but I’ve not had any spurious comments for over three days now, unless you count the rather odd comment to the post immediately below this one.

Hopefully the renaming of the comments has worked and fended off the evil spammers.

Separated at birth?

Matthew KellyDjibril Cisse

Some articles worthy of note

It’s good that the location of Bin Laden has finally been established. Porter Goss (brother of Matt and Luke, I believe), the head of the CIA says that he has an "excellent idea" of where he’s hiding. That’s good to know. Perhaps there should be a Where’s Waldo? style book published called Where’s Osama?

Meanwhile, take a read of the Observer’s wonderful interview of Noel Gallagher conducted by David Walliams. The reason for Liam’s despise of Peter Kay (towards the end) is reason in itself to read the interview.

Comments vs. words of wisdom

I’ve been inundated as of late with spam comments – mainly promoting either some poker website or some drug that enlarges a certain anatomical part.

There’s a feature whereby I can tag them as spam, and although it claims to learn from previous tagging, it seems to be an uphill struggle. As such, I’ve tried to nip it in the bud by renaming the comment link in my template. While I can’t guarantee that what’s contained therein is indeed a word of wisdom, I’m hoping that the renaming of the link will cause spam engines to pass it by. I’ll let you know whether it’s successful, or else you’ll find out for yourself.

While on the subject of templates, here’s one that I quite like.

Fox, Gatorade and Mandy

Although I hate it, I am occasionally caught watching Fox 5 News at 10pm of an evening. (It’s 10pm: do you know where your children are?) They have a feature in which they review some weak product for which they’ve no doubt been slipped some cash – last night’s featured item was a crayon that could be used to cover up grey hairs, coming in various colours. The feature is called Gotta Have It? and is succeeded by members of the general public giving their response to this very question. This is then succeeded by the irritating Rosanna Scotto asking the bizarre question: So, Do You Gotta Have It? I seriously don’t know where to start with this one.

There’s a great Gatorade advert on at the moment highlighting the benefits of Gatorade across a multitude of sports. I felt the voice-over worth sharing:

A sport is a sport. A foul is a foul. A dunk’s a dunk. An out’s an out, and that’s that. A bat’s a bat, even if it’s flat. Ten feet on the East side is ten feet on the West side. Football is football, unless it’s futbol. A win’s a win. A loss is a loss. But no matter what, you better come with it or don’t come at all, because it’s 90 feet to first no matter where home is.

Finally, was the Mandy that Westlife referred to recently the same girl that Barry Manilow crooned about all those years ago? She certainly shares some similar traits – giving without takin’, kissing and stopping them (Barry or one of the Westlife boys) from shakin’. She certainly sounds like the same gal, but she must be getting a little haggard by now, and I would’ve thought those Westlife boys could do better for themselves.

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