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Loyalist Proclamations & Documents

Declaration of Dependence | Transcription | Tour of Canada

1776 Declaration of Dependence

The Declaration of Dependence was signed over a period of three days, ending November 28, 1776. The Declaration was signed by 547 Loyalists from New York. The signers were merchants, yeomen, freed slaves – basically a mixed bag of people all wishing to remain loyal to the Crown. The Declaration of Dependence has 491 more signatures than its counterpart which was signed earlier in 1776.

The Declaration of Dependence is in the library of the New York Historical Society.

Transcription

To the Right Honorable Richard Viscount Howe, of the Kingdom of Ireland, and His Excellency The Honorable William Howe, Esquire, General of His Majesty's Forces in America, the Kings' Commissioners for restoring Peace in His Majesty's Colonies and Plantations in North America &c. &c. &c.

May it please your excellencies.

Impressed with the most grateful sense of the Royal Clemency, manifested I you Proclamation of the 14th. Of July last, whereby His Majesty hath been graciously pleased to declare, "That he is desirous to deliver His American subjects from the calamities of War, and other oppressions, which they now undergo:" and equally affected with sentiments of gratitude for the generous and humane attention to the disposition "to confer with His Majesty's well affected subjects, upon the means of restoring the public Tranquility, and establishing a permanent union with every Colony as a part of the British Empire."

We whose names are hereunto subscribed, Inhabitants of the City and County of New-York, beg leave to inform your Excellencies: that altho most of us have subscribed a general Representation with many other of the Inhabitants; yet we wish that our conduct, in maintaining inviolate our loyalty to our Sovereign, against the strong tide of oppression and tyranny, which has almost overwhelmed this Land, may be marked by some line of distinction, which cannot well be drawn from the mode of Representation that has been adopted for the Inhabitants in general.

Influenced by this Principle, and from a regard to our peculiar Situation, we have humbly presumed to trouble your Excellencies with the second application; in which, we flatter ourselves, none participate but those who have ever, with unshaken fidelity, borne true Allegiance to His Majesty, and the most warm and affectionate attachment to his Person and Government. That, notwithstanding the tumult of the times, and the extreme difficulties and losses to which many of us have been exposed, we have always expressed, and do now give this Testimony of our Zeal to preserve and support the Constitutional Supremacy of Great Britain over the Colonies; and do most ardently wish for a speedy restoration of that union between them, which, while it subsisted, proved the unfailing source of their mutual happiness and prosperity.

We cannot help lamenting that the number of Subscribers to this Address is necessarily lessened, by the unhappy circumstance that many of our Fellow-Citizens, who have firmly adhered their loyalty, have been driven from their Habitations, and others sent Prisoners into some of the neighbouring Colonies: and tho' it would have afforded us the highest satisfaction, could they have been present upon this occasion: yet we conceive it to be the duty we owe to ourselves and our prosperity, whilst this testimony of our Allegiance can be supported by known and recent facts, to declare to your Excellencies; that so far from having given the last countenance or encouragement, to the most unnatural, unprovoked Rebellion, that ever disgraced the annuls of Time; we have on the contrary, steadily and uniformly opposed it, in every stage of its rise and progress, at the risque of our Lives and Fortunes.

Tour of Canada

A project has been initiated to bring the Declaration of Dependence for display, possibly as a tour, in Canada. Approval and funding is being sought as a Canada 150 celebration project.