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delegates to

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“the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the “United States in congress assembled, shall be defrayed out “of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the seve“ral states in proportion to the value of all land within each “state, granted to or surveyed for any person as such lands "and the buildings and improvements thereon, shall be esti“mated according to such mode as the United States in congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and “appoint,” shall be and the same is hereby revoked and made void, so far as the same extended to this state.

§ 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful for the delegates for the time and the being, representing this state in the congress of the United subcribe States, or any three of them, and they are hereby required to the words subscribe and ratify the following, as part of the said instru- herein menment of union, and in place of the part revoked and made the place void as aforesaid, to wit: “That all charges of war, and all "other expenses that have been, or shall be incurred for the “common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the "United States in congress assembled, except so far as shall “be otherwise provided for, shall be defrayed out of a com“mon treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states “in proportion to the whole number of white and other free "citizens and inhabitants of every age, sex and condition, in'cluding those bound to servitude for a term of years, and “three-fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the 'foregoing description, except Indians, not paying taxes in "each state;" which said alteration when so subscribed and to be as ratified, shall be deemed and held to be as sufficient and valid revoked, for the purposes therein mentioned, as the part herein before its revocarevoked and made void, was or ought to have been before the tion. revocation and disannulling thereof.

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THE FIRST CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

IN CONVENTION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,

KINGSTON, 20TH APRIL, 1777. WHEREAS the many tyrannical and oppressive usurpations Govern,

ment by of the king and parliament of Great Britain, on the rights and congresses liberties of the people of the American colonies, had reduced mittees. them to the necessity of introducing a government by congresses and committees, as temporary expedients, and to exist no longer than the grievances of the people should remain without redress.

AND WHEREAS the congress of the colony of New York, did, on the thirty-first day of May, now last past, resolve as follows, viz :

Its object temporary.

Its inconveniences.

" Whereas the present government of this colony, by congress and committees, was instituted while the former government, under the crown of Great Britain, existed in full force; and was established for the sole purpose of opposing the usurpation of the British parliament, and was intended to expire on a reconciliation with Great Britain, which it was then apprehended would soon take place, but is now considered as remote and uncertain.

“And whereas many and great inconveniences attend the said mode of government by congress and committees, as of necessity, in many instances, legislative, judicial and executive powers have been vested therein, especially since the dissolution of the former government, by the abdication of the late governor, and the exclusion of this colony from the protection of the king of Great Britain.

“And whereas the continental congress did resolve as fol

loweth, to wit: Recital. “ • Whereas his Britannic majesty, in conjunction with the

lords and commons of Great Britain, has, by a late act of parliament, excluded the inhabitants of these united colonies from the protection of his crown. And whereas, no answers whatever, to the humble petition of the colonies for redress of grievances and reconciliation with Great Britain, has been, or is likely to be given, but the whole force of that kingdom, aided by foreign mercenaries, is to be exerted for the destruction of the good people of these colonies. And whereas it appears absolutely irreconcilable to reason and good conscience, for the people of these colonies, now to take the oaths and affirmations necessary for the support of any government under the crown of Great Britain, and it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown, should be totally suppressed, and all the powers of government exerted under the authority of the people of the colonies, for the preservation of internal peace, virtue and good order, as well as for the defence of our lives, liberties and properties, against the hostile invasions and cruel depredations of our enemies :

"Therefore,

"Resolved, That it be recommended to the respective por ele gene assemblies and conventions of the united colonies, where no commend government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs has institution been hitherto established, to adopt such government as shall, of new gove in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best con

duce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in par

ticular, and America in general.' Powers of “ And whereas doubts have arisen, whether this congress

are invested with sufficient power and authority to deliberate adequate.

and determine on so important a subject as the necessity of erecting and constituting a new form of government and internal police, to the exclusion of all foreign jurisdiction, dominion and control whatever. And whereas it appertains

Resolution
of the
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gress re-

the

erninents.

the provincial con

gress in

mendation

powers.

of right solely to the people of this colony to determine the said doubts: Therefore,

Resolved, That it be recommended to the electors in the Recomseveral counties in this colony, by election in the manner and to elect form prescribed for the election of the present congress, either with adeto authorise (in addition to the powers vested in this con- gunter gress) their present deputies, or others in the stead of their present deputies, or either of them, to take into consideration the necessity and propriety of instituting such new government as in and by the said resolution of the continental congress is described and recommended: And if the majority of the counties, by their deputies in provincial congress, shall be of opinion that such new government ought to be instituted and established, then to institute and establish such a government as they shall deem best calculated to secure the rights, liberties, and happiness of the good people of this colony: and to continue in force until a future peace with Great Britain shall render the same necessary. And,

Resolved, That the said elections in the several counties, Time and ought to be had on such day, and at such place or places, as meeting. by the committee of each county respectively shall be determined. And it is recommended to the said committees, to fix such early days for the said elections, as that all the deputies to be elected have sufficient time to repair to the city of NewYork by the second Monday in July next; on which day all the said deputies ought punctually to give their attendance.

“And whereas the object of the aforegoing resolutions is of the utmost importance to the good people of this colony;

Resolved, That it be, and it is hereby earnestly recommended to the committees, freeholders and other electors in the different counties in this colony, diligently to carry the same into execution."

AND WHEREAS the good people of the said colony, in pur- Appoint suance of the said resolution, and reposing special trust and convention. confidence in the members of this convention, have appointed, authorised, and empowered them for the purposes, and in the manner, and with the powers in and by the said resolve specified, declared and mentioned.

AND WHEREAS the delegates of the United American States, Proceedin general congress convened, did on the fourth day of July general now last past, solemnly publish and declare, in the words fol- congress. lowing, viz.

“When in the course of human events, it becomes neces- Declaration sary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have pendence. 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 Reasons created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with thereof.

ings of the

of

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 those 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 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 system 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 dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

“He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturaliza

Grievances.

tion 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 harrass 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 troops among us:

“For protecting them by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders 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 goverment, 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 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 seas, to bear arms against their country, to become

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