Transcription: Page 4
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British Brethren. we have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable a jurisdiction over [these our states.] we have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration & settlement here, [no one of which could warrant so strange a pretension: that these were effected at the expence of our own blood &
treasure, unassisted by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain: that in constituting indeed our several forms of government, we had adopted one common king, thereby laying a foundation for perpetual league & amity with them: but that submission to their parliament was no part of our constitution, nor ever in idea if history may be credited: and] we have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity [as well as to] & we have conjured them on the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably [were likely to] interrupt our connection & correspondence. they too have been deaf to the voice of justice & of consanguinity [& We must therefore when occasions have been given them, by the regular course of their laws, of removing from their councils the disturbers of our harmony, they have by their free election re-established them in power. at this very time too they are permitting their chief magistrate to send over not only soldiers of our common blood, but Scotch & foreign mercenaries to invade & destroy us [Dr. Franklin]
deluge us in blood. these facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us to renounce forever these unfeeling brethren. we must endeavor to forget our former love for them, and to hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends. we might have been a free & a great people together; but a communication of grandeur & of freedom it seems is below their dignity, be it so, since they will have it: the road to glory & happiness & to glory is open to us too we will must tread climb it in apart from them a separately state, and] acquiesce in the necessity which pro denounces our everlasting Adieu! [eternal] separation!
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 & by the authority of the good people of these [states,] colonies [or different phraseology inserted] reject and renounce all allegiance & subjection to the kings of Great Britain & all others who may hereafter claim, by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve
& break off all political connection which may have heretofore have subsisted between us & 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 & independent states they shall hereafter have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, & 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, & our sacred honor.