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land, since known by the name of the thirteen unitedl provinces, she possessed only the single town of Boston, in which her forces were besieged by an enemy with wiiom, on account of their numbers, they were not able to cope, and by whom they must of course expect in a short time to be expelled.
The situation of the inhabitants of Boston, was peculiarly unhappy. After having failed in their attempts to leave the town, general Gage had consented to allow them to retire with their effects, but afterwards refused to fulhu Lis promise. When he resigned his place to general Howe in October, 1775, the latter, apprehensive that they might give intelligence of the situation of the British troops, strictly prohibited any person from leaving the place under pain of military execution. Thus matters continued until the month of March, 1776, when the town was evacuated. On the second of that month general Washington opened a battery on the west side of the town, from whence it was bombarded, with a heavy fire of cannon at the same time; and three days after it was attacked by another battery from the eastern shore ; this continued for fourteen days without intermission. When general Howe, finding the place no longer tenable, determined, if possible, to drive the enemy from their works. Preparations were therefore made for a most vigorous attack, on a hill called Dorchester-neck, which the Americans had fortified in such a inanner, as would in all probability, have rendered the enterprize next to desperate. No difficulties, however, were sufficient to daunt the spirit of the general; and every thing was in readiness, when a sudden storm prevented an exertion, which must have been productive of a dreadful waste of blood. Next day upon a more close examination of the works, it was thought advisable to desist from the attack altogether. The fortifications were very strong, and well provided with artillery ; and upwards of one hundred hogsheads filled with stones, were provided to roll down upon the enemy as they came up ; which, as the ascent was very steep, must have done great execution.
Nothing, therefore, now remained for the British, but to retreat; and to effect this, there appeared great dilliculty and danger. But the Americans, knowing that it was in the power of the enemy to reduce the town to ashes, which
could not have been repaired in many years, did not think proper to give the least molestation ; and for the space of a fortnight the troops were employed in the evacuation of the place, from whence they carried along with them two thousand of the inhabitants, who durst not stay, on account of their attachment to the British cause.
From Boston they sailed to Halifax, but all their vigilance could not prevent a number of valuable ships from falling into the hands of the provincials. A considerable quantity of cannon and ammunition had also been left at Bunker's hill and Boston neck; and in the town an immense variety of goods, principally of woollen and linen, of which the provincials stood very much in need. The estates of those who fled to Halifax were confiscated; as also of those who had remained in the town and who had shewn a decided attachment to the British government.
As an attack was expected as soon as the British forces should arrive, every method was employed to render the fortifications impregnable. For this purpose some foreign engineers were employed, who had arrived at Boston; and so eager were the people of all ranks to accomplish this business, that every able-bodied man in the place, without distinction of rank, set apart two days in the week, to come pleat it the sooner.
The Americans, exasperated by the proceedings of par. liament, which placed them out of the royal protection, and engaged foreign mercenaries in the plan for subduing them, now formally renounced all connexion with Britain, and de clared themselves independent. This celebrated decla. ration was published on the fourth of July, 1776, as follows:
" When in the course of human events, it becomes neces. sary 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, derivinz 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 abo. lish 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 safcty and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that go vernments long estabiished, 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 sufierable, 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 submited 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 immedi. ate 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 accommoda. tion 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 unu sual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguivg them into compliance with his measures. .
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his iavasions on the sights of the People.
He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative pow. ers, 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 endeavoured to prevent the population of these States ; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturali. zation of foreigners ; refusing to pass others, to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of nein appropriations of lands.
Ile has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws, for establishing Judiciary Powe ers.
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 bither 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 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 armed tronps ainong us :....
",", fic For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States :... .is
! ! ! 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 neighbouring 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 forms of our govern inents :..."
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 the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands, · He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless, Indian sayages, whose known rule of war. fare 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 wbose 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 llative justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, wisich would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and consangui