Editor’s Note: With the inauspicious title of “Committee,” New Hampshire’s chambers declared independence “with the example of several of the most respectable of our sister Colonies before us for entering upon that most important step, of a disunion from Great Britain, and declaring ourselves free and independent of the Crown”, impelled as they were “by the most violent and injurious treatment” to cast their lot with the Second Continental Congress, “the Continental Congress, on whose wisdom, fidelity, and integrity, we firmly rely”.
New Hampshire Declaration of Independence
The Committee of both Houses, appointed to prepare a draft declaring the sentiments and opinion of the Council and Assembly of this Colony relative to the United Colonies setting up an independent State, beg leave to report the following:
Whereas it now appears an undoubted fact that, notwithstanding all the dutiful petitions and decent remonstrances from the American Colonies, and the utmost exertions of their best friends in England on their behalf, the British Ministry, arbitrary and vindictive, are yet determined to reduce by fire and sword our bleeding country to their absolute obedience; and, for this purpose, in addition to their own forces, have engaged great numbers of foreign mercenaries, who may now be on their passage here, accompanied by a formidable fleet, to ravage and plunder the sea-coast; from all which we may expect the most dismal scenes of distress the ensuing year, unless we exert ourselves by every means and precaution possible: And whereas we of this Colony of New-Hampshire have the example of several of the most respectable of our sister Colonies before us for entering upon that most important step, of a disunion from Great Britain, and declaring ourselves free and independent of the Crown thereof, being impelled thereto by the most violent and injurious treatment; and it appearing absolutely necessary in this most critical juncture of our publick affairs that the honourable the Continental Congress, who have this important object under their immediate consideration, should be also informed of our resolutions thereon without loss of time:
We do hereby declare, that it is the opinion of this Assembly our Delegates at the Continental Congress should be instructed, and they are hereby instructed, to join with the other Colonies in declaring the thirteen United Colonies a free and independent State, solemnly pledging our faith and honour that we will, on our parts, support the measure with our lives and fortunes; and that, in consequence thereof, they, the Continental Congress, on whose wisdom, fidelity, and integrity, we firmly rely, may enter into and form such alliances with foreign States for aid and assistance as they may judge most conducive to the present safety and future advantage of these American Colonies: Provided the regulation of our internal police be under the direction of our own Assembly.
IN THE HOUSE or REPRESENTATIVES, June 15,1776. —
The foregoing Report of the Committee of both Houses, being read and considered, Unanimously Voted, That the same be received and accepted, and that the draft by them brought in be sent to our Delegates at the Continental Congress forthwith, as the sense of this House.
Sent up for concurrence:
P. WHITE, Speaker.
IN COUNCIL, eodem die. — Read, and concurred unanimously.
E. THOMPSON, Secretary.
A copy, examined by
E. THOMPSON, Secretary.
American Archives, Series 6, Peter Force, editor, page 1030, Washington: Published by M. St. Clair Clarke and Peter Force, 1843