"If you shall judge it necessary or expedient for this purpose, we empower you to join in declaring the United Colonies independent of Great Britain, entering into a confederation for union and common defence," &c.

Monday, July 1, 1776.

"A resolution of the Convention of Maryland, passed the 28th of June, was laid before Congress and read," containing the following instructions to their deputies in Congress: "That the deputies of said Colony, or any three or more of them, he authorized and empowered to concur with the other United Colonies, or a majority of them, in declaring the United Colonies free and independent States; in forming such further compact and confederation between them," &c.

The order of the day being read:

Resolved, That this Congress will resolve itself into a Committee of the "Whole, to take into consideration the resolution respecting independency.

That the Declaration be referred to said Committee.

The Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole. After some time the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported that the Committee had come to a resolution, which they desired him to report, and to move for leave to sit again.

The resolution agreed to by the Committee of the Whole being read, the determination thereof was, at the request of a Colony, postponed until to-morrow.

Resolved, That this Congress will, to-morrow, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole, to take into consideration the Declaration respecting independence.

Tuesday, July 2, 1776.

The Congress resumed the consideration of the resolution reported from the Committee of the Whole, which was agreed to as follows:

Resolved, 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 Gh*eat Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Agreeable to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole; and after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the Committee have had under consideration the Declaration to them referred j but not having had time to go through the same, desired him to move for leave to sit again.

Resolved, That this Congress will, to-morrow, again resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole, to take into their further consideration the Declaration respecting independence.

Wednesday, July S, 1776.

Agreeable to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, to take into their further consideration the Declaration; and after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported that the Committee, not having yet gone through it, desired leave to sit again.

Resolved, That this Congress will, to-morrow, again resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole, to take into their further consideration the Declaration of Independence.

Thursday, xjuly 4, 1776.

Agreeable to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, to take into their further consideration the Declaration; and after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported that the Committee had agreed to a Declaration, which they desired him to report.

The Declaration being read, was agreed to as follows:

A Declaration By The Eepresentatives Of The United States Of America, In Congress Assembled. .

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 a 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 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 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 danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

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 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 officesr 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 legislature.

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 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 powers 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 complete 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 spas, 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 among us, and has endeavored 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 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 correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. "We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which demands our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends.

We, therefore, the Eepresentatives 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 foregoing Declaration was, by order of Congress, engrossed, and signed by the following members:

John Hancock.

Josiah Bartlett,

Samuel Adams,
John Adams,

Stephen Hopkins,

Eoger Sherman,
Samuel Huntington,

William Floyd,
Philip Livingston,

Kichard Stockton,
John Witherspoon,

Eobert Morris,
Benjamin Bush,
Benjamin Franklin,

Caesar Eodney,

Samuel Chase,

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Charles Carroll, of Carrollton,

William Williams,

New York.
Francis Lewis,

New Jersey.
Francis Hopkinson,
John Hart,

John Morton,
George Clymer,
James Smith,

George Eead,

William Paca,

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Oliver Wolcott.

Lewis Morris.

Abraham Clark.

George Taylor,
James Wilson,
George Eoss.

Thomas McKean.
Thomas Stone.

Francis Lightfoot Lee,
Carter Braxton.

John Penn.
Arthur Middleton.

George Walton.

Resolved, That copies of the Declaration be sent to the several assemblies, conventions, and committees, or .councils of safety, and to the several commanding officers of the Continental troops; that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the army.



The following List of Members of the Continental Congress, who signed the Declaration of Independence (although the names are included in the general list of that Congress, from 1774 to 1788), is given separately, for the purpose of showing the places and dates of their birth, and the time of their respective deaths, for convenient reference:



Adams, John,

Adams, Samuel,

Bartlett, Josiab,

Braxton, Carter,

Carroll, Charles, of Carrollton,

Chase, Samuel,

Clark, Abraham,

Clymer, George,

Ellery, William,

Floyd, William,

Franklin, Benjamin, ....

Gerry, Elbridge,

Gwinnett, Button,

Hall, Lyman,

Hancock, John,

Harrison, Benjamin, ....

Hart, John,

Heyward, Thomas. Jr., . . .

Hewes, Joseph,

Hooper, William,

Hopkins, Stephen,

Hopkinson, Francis, ....
Huntington, Samuel,....

Jefferson, Thomas,

Lee, Francis Lightfoot, . . .
Lee, Richard Henry, ....

Lewis, Francis,

Livingston, Philip, ....
Lynch, Thomas, Jr., ....

McKean, Thomas,

Middleton, Arthur, ....

Morris, Lewis,

Morris, Robert,

Morton, John,

Nelson, Thomas, Jr., ....

Paca, William,

Paine. Robert Treat, ....

Penn, John,

Read, George,

Rodney, Caesar,

Ross, George,

Rush, Benjamin. M.D., . . .

Rutledge, Edward,

Sherman, Roger,

Smith, James,

Stockton, Richard, ....

Stone, Thomas,

Taylor, George,

Thornton, Matthew, ....

Walton, George,

Whipple, William,

Williams, William, ....

Wilson, James, ......

Witherspoon, John, ....

Wolcott, Oliver,

Wythe, George,

Braintree, Mass., October 19, 1735
Boston, " Sept. 27, 1722

Amesbury," in Nov. 1729

Newington, Va., Sept. 10,1736
Annapolis, Md., Sept. 20,1737
Somerset Co., Md., April 17,1741
Elizabethtown, N. J., Feb. 15,1726
Philadelphia, Penna., in 1739
Newport, R. I., Dec. 22,1727

Suffolk Co., N. Y., Dec. 17, 1734
Boston, Mass., Jan. 17,1706

Marblehead, Mass., July 17,1744


, Conn.,
Braintree, Mass.,
Berkeley, Va.,
Hopewell, N J.,
St. Luke's, S. C,
Kingston, N. J.,
Boston, Mass.,

in 1732
in 1731
in 1737

about 1715
in 1746
in 1730
June 17, 1742
March 7, 1707
Philadelphia, Penna., in 1737
Windham, Conn., July 3,1732
Shadwell, Va., April 13,1743
Stratford," October 14, 1734
Stratford," January 20, 1732
Landaff, Wales, in March, 1713
Albany, N. Y., January 15,1716
St. George's, S. C, Aug. 5,1749
Chester Co., Pa., March 19,1734
Middleton Place, S. C, in 1743
Morrisania, N. Y., in 1726
Lancashire, Eng., Jan. 1733-4
Ridley, Penna., in 1724
York, Va., Dec. 26, 1738
Wye Hill, Md., October 31, 1740
Boston, Mass., in 1731
Caroline Co., Va., May 17, 1741
Cecil Co., Md.. *

Dover, Del.,
New Castle, Del.,
Byberry, Penna.,
Charleston, S. C,
Newton, Mass.,

, Ireland,

in 1734

in 1730

in 1730

Dec. 24,1745

in Nov. 1749

April 19,1721

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Massachusetts, .
Massachusetts, .
New Hampshire,
Virginia, . . .
Maryland, . . .
Maryland, . . .
New Jersey, . .
Pennsylvania, .
R. I. and Prov. PI.
New York, . .
Pennsylvania, .
Massachusetts, .
Georgia, . . .
Georgia, . . .
Massachusetts, .
Virginia, . . .
New Jersey, . .
South Carolina, .
North Carolina,.
North Carolina, .
R.I, and Prov. PI.
New Jersey, . .
Connecticut, . .
Virginia, . . .
Virginia, . . .
Virginia, . . .
New York,. . .
New York,. . .
South Carolina,.
Delaware, . . .
South Carolina, .
New York,. . .
Pennsylvania, .
Pennsylvania, .
Virginia, . . .
Maryland, . . .
Massachusetts, .
North Carolina,.
Delaware, . . .
Delaware, . . .
Pennsylvania, .
Pennsylvania, .
South Carolina,.
Connecticut, . .
Pennsylvania, .
New Jersey, . .
Maryland, . . .
Pennsylvania, .
New Hampshire,
Georgia. . . .
New Hampshire,
Connecticut, . .
Pennsylvania, .
New Jersey, . .
Connecticut, . .
Virginia, . . .

July 4, 1826

October 2, 1803

May 19, 1795

October 10, 1797

Novem. 14, 1832

June 19, 1811

September, 1794
January 23,1813

Feb'y 15, 1820

August 4, 1821

April 17, 1790

Novem. 23, 1814

May 27, 1777

February, 1790
October 8.

1793 1791 1780 1809 1779 1790 1785 1790 1796 1826 1797 1794 1803 1778 1779 1817 1787

Novem. 10,
July 13,
May 9,
January 5,
July 4,
June 19,
Decern. 30,
June 12,
Lost at sea,
June 24,
January 1,
January 22,1798
May 8, 1806

April, 1777

January 4, 1789 —-, 1799

May 11, 1804 October 26, 1809 -, 1798

-, 1783

July, 1779

April 19, 1813
January 23, 1800
July 23, 1793
July 11, 1806
Feb'y 28, 1781
October 5,
Feb'y 23,
June 24,
Feb'y 2,
Novem. 28,
August 2,
August 28,
Novem. 15, 1794
December 1,1797
June 8, 1806

1787 1781 1803 1805 1785 1811 1798

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