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A CORRECT Edition of the Constitutions of the Confederated States of North-America being proposed, it was judged an object of utility to incorporate other authentic papers relatively connected with the subject. However well-informed the present age may be, posterity will be curious to examine not onlywthe code.of Continental Laws, but also to trace those progressive steps by which dependent Colonies ascended to the rank of Sovereign States. To assist impartial investigation in this particular, a selection of the most consequential records is submitted to the Public, disposed in such a series as to bear the mutual relation to each other of cause and effect.
The Papers now exhibited acquire additional importance from the recognition of the Independence of America on the part of GreatBritain. All offensiveness in the matter is obliterated. What was formerly treason, is A 3 now flow justifiable assertion; and even the samous Declaration of Independence, so pointed against an exalted Personage, is no more than republican complaint furnishing the ground-work of sovereignty. Offended with Royalty, Congress renounce allegiance; and, confessing by implication that the offence was well-founded
Majesty sanctions every iota in the Declaration of Independence; generously acquiesces in the censures it contains, and deigns to consider the authors as the sovereigns of an extensive em)ire! The annals of Christian forgiveness
>ect to the American Constitutions 'it is observable that they differ in many particulars, some participating more, others less, of the nature of a pure democracy; but they are all valuable, because all favourable to Liberty. The Legislators seem to have been sedulously attentive to avoid the defects, and to adopt the excellencies of the English Constitution; and,, in proportion as this has been accomplished, America may promise herself duration of empire. Thinking, with honest Henry Marten, " one man not wise enough to
"govern "govern them all*," the Americans framed Constitutions for the government of themselves; and, as their councils have hitherto been actuated by the spirit of wi(dom, not a doubt can exist of their attaining the summit of political happiness.
It would be obtrusive on the good sense of the reader, to anticipate the reflections that will naturally occur, on a perusal of the following pieces. In them may be traced the origin of a destructively inglorious war, which began in tyranny, and ended in the unhappy dismemberment of the empire, By a retrospective view of past calamities, future evils may be avoided; and, the Petition brought over by Mr. Penn, the Declaration of Independence, but, above all, the humiliating Treaties subjoined to this Work, may serve as admonitory cautions to Monarchs and Ministers how they reject the Petitions, provoke the resentments, or infringe the liberties of a brave and free people.
The arm of resistance should ever prevail, When directed against the heart of tyranny.
* " I do not think one man wife enough to govern us all." Henry Marten to Edward Hyde.
A 4. AMERICAN
AMERICAN STATE PAPERS.
WITHOUT infringing the province of History, by entering into the origin of the unhappy rupture with America, the measures adopted by the Colonies after the dispute commenced, may be thus concisely stated. On the 5 th of September, 1774, a Continental Congress, consisting of Deputies from thc respective Colonies, assembled at Philadelphia; and on the 10th of October, they agreed on the following
DECLARATION Of RIGHTS.
THE good people of the several Colonies of New Hampstnre, Massachusetts-Bay, RhodeIsland, and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, alarmed at the arbitrary proceedings of the British Parliament and Administration, having severally elected deputies to meet and sit in General Congress in the city of Philadelphia, and those deputies so chosen being assembled on the 5th day of September, after settling several necessary preliminaries, proceeded to take into their most serious consideration the best means of attaining the redress of grievances. In the first place, they, as Englishmen, their ancestors, in like cafes, had usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, Declare,
That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English Constitution, and the several Charters or Compacts, have the following Rights:— Resolved,