(Upon the passage of the Stamp Act by the British Parliament in March,
1765, requiring all legal instruments used in the American colonies to
bear a government stamp in order to be valid, delegates from nine
colonies met in New York on October 7, 1765 to protest against this
and other encroachments upon their rights. They drew up this
Declaration of Rights. The Stamp Act was repealed in March, 1766.)
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 manufacturers 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 manufacturers 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.
14. 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.