The Declaration of Rights
[Passed in response to the Stamp Act]
The members of this congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest
sentiments of affection and duty to his majesty's person and
government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment
of the protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a
sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British
colonies on this continent; having considered, as maturely as time
will permit, the circumstances of the said colonies, esteem it our
indispensable duty to make the following declarations of our humble
opinion, respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the
colonists, and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason
of several late acts of parliament.
1. That his majesty's subjects in these colonies, owe the same
allegiance to the crown of Great Britain, that is owing from his
subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that
august body the parliament of Great Britain.
2. That his majesty's liege subjects in these colonies, are
entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural
born subjects, within the kingdom of Great Britain.
3. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people,
and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on
them but with their own consent, given personally, or by their
4. That the people of these colonies are not, and, from their
local circumstances, cannot be, represented in the House of Commons
in Great Britain.
5. That the only representatives of the people of these colonies,
are persons chosen therein by themselves; and that no taxes ever
have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their
6. That all supplies to the crown being free gifts of the people,
it is unreasonable and inconsistent with the principles and spirit
of the British constitution, for the people of Great Britain to
grant to his majesty the property of the colonists.
7. That trial by jury, is the inherent and invaluable right of
every British subject in these colonies.
8. That the late act of parliament, entitled, an act for granting
and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British
colonies and plantations in America, &c., by imposing taxes on the
inhabitants of these colonies, and the said act, and several other
acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty
beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the
rights and liberties of the colonists.
9. That the duties imposed by several late acts of parliament,
from the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely
burdensome and grievous; and from the scarcity of specie, the
payment of them absolutely impracticable.
10. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately
center in Great Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are
obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely
to all supplies granted there to the crown.
11. That the restrictions imposed by several late acts of
parliament on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable
to purchase the manufactures of Great Britain.
12. That the increase, prosperity and happiness of these
colonies, depend on the full and free enjoyments of their rights and
liberties, and an intercourse with Great Britain mutually
affectionate and advantageous.
13. That it is the right of the British subjects in these
colonies, to petition the king, or either house of parliament.
Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of
these colonies, to the best of sovereigns, to the mother country,
and to themselves, to endeavour by a loyal and dutiful address to
his majesty, and humble applications to both houses of parliament,
to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain
stamp duties, of all clauses of any other acts of parliament,
whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is extended as aforesaid,
and of the other late acts for the restriction of American commerce.