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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The

They have full power to levy war


[_We

therefore the representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled, do in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these states reject and renounce all allegiance and subjection to the kings of Great Britain and all others who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve all political connection which may heretofore have subsisted between us and, the people or parliament of Great Britain: and finally we do assert and declare these colonies to be free and independent states, 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, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor._]

(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 declaration thus signed on the 4th, on paper, was engrossed on parchment, and signed again on the 2nd of August.

[* Some erroneous statements of the proceedings on the Declaration of Independence having got before the public in latter times, Mr. Samuel A. Wells asked explanations of me, which are given in my letter to him of May 12, '19, before and now again referred to. (See Appendix, note B.) I took notes in my place while these things were going on, and at their close wrote them out in form and with correctness, and from 1 to 7 of the two preceding sheets, are the originals then written; as the two following are of the earlier debates on the Confederation, which I took in like manner.]

* The above note of the author is on a slip of paper, pasted in at the end of the Declaration. Here is also sewed into the MS. a slip of newspaper containing, under the head 'Declaration of Independence,' a letter from Thomas Mc'Kean to Messrs. William M'Corkle & Son, dated 'Philadelphia, June 16 1817.' This letter is to be found in the Port Folio, Sept. 1817, p. 249.

[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson's Handwriting--p1]

[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson's Handwriting--p2]

[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson's Handwriting--p3]

[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson's Handwriting--p4]

On Friday, July 12, the committee appointed to draw the articles of Confederation reported them, and on the 22nd, the House resolved themselves into a committee to take them into consideration. On the 30th and 31st of that month, and 1st of the ensuing, those articles were debated which determined the proportion, or quota, of money which each state should furnish to the common treasury, and the manner of voting in Congress. The first of these articles was expressed in the original draught in these words. 'Art. XI. All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence, or general welfare, and allowed by the United States assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several colonies in proportion to the number of inhabitants of every age, sex, and quality, except Indians not paying taxes, in each colony, a true account-of which, distinguishing the white inhabitants, shall be triennially taken and transmitted to the Assembly of the United States.'


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