Skip to comments.Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms
Posted on 09/18/2009 12:53:26 PM PDT by neverdem
If it was possible for men, who exercise their reason to believe, that the divine Author of our existence intended a part of the human race to hold an absolute property in, and an unbounded power over others, marked out by his infinite goodness and wisdom, as the objects of a legal domination never rightfully resistible, however severe and oppressive, the inhabitants of these colonies might at least require from the parliament of Great-Britain some evidence, that this dreadful authority over them, has been granted to that body. But a reverance for our Creator, principles of humanity, and the dictates of common sense, must convince all those who reflect upon the subject, that government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to be administered for the attainment of that end. The legislature of Great-Britain, however, stimulated by an inordinate passion for a power not only unjustifiable, but which they know to be peculiarly reprobated by the very constitution of that kingdom, and desparate of success in any mode of contest, where regard should be had to truth, law, or right, have at length, deserting those, attempted to effect their cruel and impolitic purpose of enslaving these colonies by violence, and have thereby rendered it necessary for us to close with their last appeal from reason to arms. - Yet, however blinded that assembly may be, by their intemperate rage for unlimited domination, so to sight justice and the opinion of mankind, we esteem ourselves bound by obligations of respect to the rest of the world, to make known the justice of our cause.
Our forefathers, inhabitants of the island of Great-Britain, left their native land, to seek on these shores a residence for civil and religious freedom. At the expense of their blood, at the hazard of their fortunes, without the least charge to the country from which they removed, by unceasing labour, and an unconquerable spirit, they effected settlements in the distant and unhospitable wilds of America, then filled with numerous and warlike barbarians. -- Societies or governments, vested with perfect legislatures, were formed under charters from the crown, and an harmonious intercourse was established between the colonies and the kingdom from which they derived their origin. The mutual benefits of this union became in a short time so extraordinary, as to excite astonishment. It is universally confessed, that the amazing increase of the wealth, strength, and navigation of the realm, arose from this source; and the minister, who so wisely and successfully directed the measures of Great-Britain in the late war, publicly declared, that these colonies enabled her to triumph over her enemies. --Towards the conclusion of that war, it pleased our sovereign to make a change in his counsels. -- From that fatal movement, the affairs of the British empire began to fall into confusion, and gradually sliding from the summit of glorious prosperity, to which they had been advanced by the virtues and abilities of one man, are at length distracted by the convulsions, that now shake it to its deepest foundations. -- The new ministry finding the brave foes of Britain, though frequently defeated, yet still contending, took up the unfortunate idea of granting them a hasty peace, and then subduing her faithful friends.
These devoted colonies were judged to be in such a state, as to present victories without bloodshed, and all the easy emoluments of statuteable plunder. -- The uninterrupted tenor of their peaceable and respectful behaviour from the beginning of colonization, their dutiful, zealous, and useful services during the war, though so recently and amply acknowledged in the most honourable manner by his majesty, by the late king, and by parliament, could not save them from the meditated innovations. -- Parliament was influenced to adopt the pernicious project, and assuming a new power over them, have in the course of eleven years, given such decisive specimens of the spirit and consequences attending this power, as to leave no doubt concerning the effects of acquiescence under it. They have undertaken to give and grant our money without our consent, though we have ever exercised an exclusive right to dispose of our own property; statutes have been passed for extending the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty and vice-admiralty beyond their ancient limits; for depriving us of the accustomed and inestimable privilege of trial by jury, in cases affecting both life and property; for suspending the legislature of one of the colonies; for interdicting all commerce to the capital of another; and for altering fundamentally the form of government established by charter, and secured by acts of its own legislature solemnly confirmed by the crown; for exempting the "murderers" of colonists from legal trial, and in effect, from punishment; for erecting in a neighbouring province, acquired by the joint arms of Great-Britain and America, a despotism dangerous to our very existence; and for quartering soldiers upon the colonists in time of profound peace. It has also been resolved in parliament, that colonists charged with committing certain offences, shall be transported to England to be tried.
But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute it is declared, that parliament can "of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever." What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power? Not a single man of those who assume it, is chosen by us; or is subject to our control or influence; but, on the contrary, they are all of them exempt from the operation of such laws, and an American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensible purposes for which it is raised, would actually lighten their own burdens in proportion, as they increase ours. We saw the misery to which such despotism would reduce us. We for ten years incessantly and ineffectually besieged the throne as supplicants; we reasoned, we remonstrated with parliament, in the most mild and decent language.
Administration sensible that we should regard these oppressive measures as freemen ought to do, sent over fleets and armies to enforce them. The indignation of the Americans was roused, it is true; but it was the indignation of a virtuous, loyal, and affectionate people. A Congress of delegates from the United Colonies was assembled at Philadelphia, on the fifth day of last September. We resolved again to offer an humble and dutiful petition to the King, and also addressed our fellow-subjects of Great-Britain. We have pursued every temperate, every respectful measure; we have even proceeded to break off our commercial intercourse with our fellow-subjects, as the last peaceable admonition, that our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty. -- This, we flattered ourselves, was the ultimate step of the controversy: but subsequent events have shewn, how vain was this hope of finding moderation in our enemies.
Several threatening expressions against the colonies were inserted in his majesty's speech; our petition, tho' we were told it was a decent one, and that his majesty had been pleased to receive it graciously, and to promise laying it before his parliament, was huddled into both houses among a bundle of American papers, and there neglected. The lords and commons in their address, in the month of February, said, that "a rebellion at that time actually existed within the province of Massachusetts-Bay; and that those concerned with it, had been countenanced and encouraged by unlawful combinations and engagements, entered into by his majesty's subjects in several of the other colonies; and therefore they besought his majesty, that he would take the most effectual measures to inforce due obediance to the laws and authority of the supreme legislature." -- Soon after, the commercial intercourse of whole colonies, with foreign countries, and with each other, was cut off by an act of parliament; by another several of them were intirely prohibited from the fisheries in the seas near their coasts, on which they always depended for their sustenance; and large reinforcements of ships and troops were immediately sent over to general Gage.
Fruitless were all the entreaties, arguments, and eloquence of an illustrious band of the most distinguished peers, and commoners, who nobly and strenuously asserted the justice of our cause, to stay, or even to mitigate the heedless fury with which these accumulated and unexampled outrages were hurried on. -- equally fruitless was the interference of the city of London, of Bristol, and many other respectable towns in our favor. Parliament adopted an insidious manoeuvre calculated to divide us, to establish a perpetual auction of taxations where colony should bid against colony, all of them uninformed what ransom would redeem their lives; and thus to extort from us, at the point of the bayonet, the unknown sums that should be sufficient to gratify, if possible to gratify, ministerial rapacity, with the miserable indulgence left to us of raising, in our own mode, the prescribed tribute. What terms more rigid and humiliating could have been dictated by remorseless victors to conquered enemies? in our circumstances to accept them, would be to deserve them.
Soon after the intelligence of these proceedings arrived on this continent, general Gage, who in the course of the last year had taken possession of the town of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts-Bay, and still occupied it a garrison, on the 19th day of April, sent out from that place a large detachment of his army, who made an unprovoked assault on the inhabitants of the said province, at the town of Lexington, as appears by the affidavits of a great number of persons, some of whom were officers and soldiers of that detachment, murdered eight of the inhabitants, and wounded many others. From thence the troops proceeded in warlike array to the town of Concord, where they set upon another party of the inhabitants of the same province, killing several and wounding more, until compelled to retreat by the country people suddenly assembled to repel this cruel aggression. Hostilities, thus commenced by the British troops, have been since prosecuted by them without regard to faith or reputation. -- The inhabitants of Boston being confined within that town by the general their governor, and having, in order to procure their dismission, entered into a treaty with him, it was stipulated that the said inhabitants having deposited their arms with their own magistrate, should have liberty to depart, taking with them their other effects. They accordingly delivered up their arms, but in open violation of honour, in defiance of the obligation of treaties, which even savage nations esteemed sacred, the governor ordered the arms deposited as aforesaid, that they might be preserved for their owners, to be seized by a body of soldiers; detained the greatest part of the inhabitants in the town, and compelled the few who were permitted to retire, to leave their most valuable effects behind.
By this perfidy wives are separated from their husbands, children from their parents, the aged and the sick from their relations and friends, who wish to attend and comfort them; and those who have been used to live in plenty and even elegance, are reduced to deplorable distress.
The general, further emulating his ministerial masters, by a proclamation bearing date on the 12th day of June, after venting the grossest falsehoods and calumnies against the good people of these colonies, proceeds to "declare them all, either by name or description, to be rebels and traitors, to supersede the course of the common law, and instead thereof to publish and order the use and exercise of the law martial." -- His troops have butchered our countrymen, have wantonly burnt Charlestown, besides a considerable number of houses in other places; our ships and vessels are seized; the necessary supplies of provisions are intercepted, and he is exerting his utmost power to spread destruction and devastation around him.
We have rceived certain intelligence, that general Carelton[Carleton], the governor of Canada, is instigating the people of that province and the Indians to fall upon us; and we have but too much reason to apprehend, that schemes have been formed to excite domestic enemies against us. In brief, a part of these colonies now feel, and all of them are sure of feeling, as far as the vengeance of administration can inflict them, the complicated calamities of fire, sword and famine. We(2) are reduced to the alternative of chusing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. -- The latter is our choice. -- We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. -- Honour, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.
Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. -- We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.
Lest this declaration should disquiet the minds of our friends and fellow-subjects in any part of the empire, we assure them that we mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely wish to see restored. -- Necessity has not yet driven us into that desperate measure, or induced us to excite any other nation to war against them. -- We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great-Britain, and establishing independent states. We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.
In our own native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it -- for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.
With an humble confidence in the mercies of the supreme and impartial Judge and Ruler of the Universe, we most devoutly implore his divine goodness to protect us happily through this great conflict, to dispose our adversaries to reconciliation on reasonable terms, and thereby to relieve the empire from the calamities of civil war.
(1) Primarily the work of Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson.p.168 Morison, Samuel Eliot and Henry Steele Commager, William E. Leuchtenburg. The Growth of the American Republic : Volume 1. Seventh Edition. New York : Oxford University Press; 1980. (Note added by the Avalon Project). Back
(2) From this point the declaration follows Jefferson's draft. Back.
Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States.
Government Printing Office, 1927.
House Document No. 398.
Selected, Arranged and Indexed by Charles C. Tansill
This article cited it as: "Thomas Jefferson, 'Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms,' 6 July 1775."
What Good Can a Handgun Do Against an Army.....?
It is very difficult and more than a little dangerous to enslave an armed people. Hence, the left’s perpetual attempts to confiscate weapons from the American public.
Hence the Left’s need to obfuscate everything they do (a la “you can keep your health plan, but we won’t tell you how easily you can lose it”). They need to talk you into voluntary compliance, lest their goals plainly stated induce immediate revolt.
A thing of beauty that.
Thanks for the link!
Mr. President, and Members of Congress Assembled,
We, the People, by your own deplorable Acts, now find ourselves in the dire position of contemplating the choice between unconditional submission to the tyranny of unbounded Federal Government, or resistance by force. — Know that, should your present malfeasance not abate, should you actualise that which you have, heretofore, merely debated, the latter shall be our choice. — We have, against the prospect of such a time as this, counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. — Honour, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.
Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, our national military, and local police, being comprised of like-minded volunteers, shall doubtless stand with us, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. — We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and had not yet been stripped of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we are being compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.
In our own native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till these impending violations of it — for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, at the point of violence actually offered against liberty, we shall take up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.
With an humble confidence in the mercies of the supreme and impartial Judge and Ruler of the Universe, we most devoutly implore his divine goodness to restore sanity to the minds of our President, and our Legislators, or, failing that, to protect us happily through the ensuing conflict, to dispose our adversaries to reconciliation on reasonable terms amenable to free men disposed to liberty, and thereby to relieve the Republic from the dire calamities of civil war.
HKMk23, one man, Free or Dead
What is fascinating about Jefferson’s missive is that it recites the circumstances existing to justify taking up arms against the state within the context of Christian doctrine (and which circumstances may be considered by some to exist even now), being:
1. Certain, grave and prolonged violation of human rights
2. All other means of redress are exhausted
3. Armed resistance will not provoke worse disorder
4. There is well founded hope of success, and
5. It is impossible to reasonably forsee a better solution
So, I guess the USA was founded on the principles as a Christian nation after all, contrary to the belief of some resident.
Don’t miss the, “Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress,” that’s linked from the text.
THAT, was a GREAT post, HKMk23.
Thanks for the ping.
Bump Thank you so much!!!
“A people unwilling to use extreme violent force to secure or obtain their liberty deserves the tyrants that rule them.”
Those God lovers? Funny I have friends who have left their respective faiths and now are on some mission to disprove God’s existence.
Funny thing is, I believe many are resigned to the fact that he exists and he still loves you.
As a Father would.
I think they are getting ready to walk back to him and ask for a big hug.
This is a must read for everyone.
It is applicable today as it was then.
This time we came before them in peace
do not force us to return in war.
“”.In our own native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it — for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.
“...to extort from us, at the point of the bayonet, the unknown sums that should be sufficient to gratify, if possible to gratify, ministerial rapacity, with the miserable indulgence left to us of raising, in our own mode, the prescribed tribute.
What terms more rigid and humiliating could have been dictated by remorseless victors to conquered enemies? in our circumstances to accept them, would be to deserve them.”
There it is, “To accept them, would be to deserve them”.
Ministerial Rapacity, is that not what we face now under
this towering debt.
How long have we accepted it without question?
Our children do not deserve the chains of tyranny we
are forging for them by our acquiessence.
The time to stand is now.
Stand, or surely fall.
Be still, my heart!
I am with you. There can be no other manner in which to approach this contest in defeat of tyranny.
Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
No one will take it away without stirring the hearts , minds, bodies and weaponry of patriots.
Thank you for that writing.Let our adversaries tremble in their materialist weakness.
Not until you see the whites of their eyes.
"In our own native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till these impending violations of it for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, at the point of violence actually offered against liberty, we shall take up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before."
God be with you.
God be with all honorable FREEPERS.
LISTEN UP CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS. IF YOU PASS THIS HEALTHCARE BILL AGAINST THE WISHES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR JOBS IN 2010.
TODAY WAS THE FIRST SALVO IN THE FIGHT AGAINST OBAMA IN THE COURT SYSTEM. IT WILL BE HEARD ON ITS MERITS TO DETERMINE IF OBAMA IS QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT.
MAKE NO MISTAKE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, AMERICA DOES NOT WANT THIS HEALTH CARE PLAN SHOVED DOWN OUR THROATS. IF YOU TRY, YOU DO SO AT THE COST OF YOUR JOBS.
IF OBAMA IS FOUND TO BE A FRAUD, HE WILL BE REMOVED, AND THIS LEGISLATION WILL NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. YOU WILL HAVE SEALED YOU FATE, SIDING AGAINST YOUR CONSTITUENTS.
Do not say that you have not been warned. We are pissed off, we have told you we are pissed off, and do not want this to happen. If you dont listen, you have only yourselves to blame.
You, do not represent YOU, you represent US, if you have forgotten, let me remind you.
Listen to the people you represent, or be tossed out on your ass...
That clear enough?
That was written as if it could have come from our Founding Fathers 230 years ago. Most excellent piece
Well, and good; for the most part, it did.
Most of what I posted was the work of John Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson; I merely adapted their excellent writing to meet the needs of our present day.
BE sure to read the original post to this thread in its entirety. What a piece of elegance and majestic language it is! And -- Oh, how the heart breaks at a survey of what once was set against what now is! Even the most casual comparison of the wordcraft of our greatest present-day writers with past giants, such as Jefferson, reveals the paucity of our present, anguished English language, and -- by direct linkage -- lays bare the damnable vacuity of the average modern mind.
BUMP for later.
From the Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms: But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute it is declared, that parliament can "of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever." What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power?
From the Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress: Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power, of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever...
"[A]ll cases whatsoever" - not much different from the claims of our own federal government...
Now the more important question: Where and how do we go from NOW???
By Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson, dated 6 July 1775.
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If I had the money (I’m on a paltry fixed income) I would have a sidearm and a CCW in a heartbeat. For now, all I can do is drool.
Unfortunately, I’m a “senior female” and therefore, a potential target in Las Vegas Valley.
Lately, a lot of crimes are committed against the elderly, because they look so weak and helpless, and in most cases, are.
I’ve never liked being a victim, though I have been at different times in my life. This time, I don’t want to “accept victimhood:” I want to prevent the punks from assaulting seniors... </ rant
Hey, GI...buy me a gun??? *wink-wink*
ping from dad
“A people unwilling to use extreme violent force to preserve or obtain their liberty deserves the tyrants that rule them.” T. Jefferson
So true, so very true.