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Lesson One

Reading 10


of the Inhabitants of the City and County of Philadelphia May 21, 1776

The proponents of independence in Philadelphia presented a paper to the Pennsylvania Assembly calling for it to disband pursuant to the resolution passed by the Continental Congress. The Assembly responded and issued a formal public reply to the petition. The Assembly authorized that two representatives of their cause carry the Remon- strance throughout the countryside and urged people to sign it as a testimony to their trust in the Assembly.

WHEREAS to our great Affliction we find, that a paper has been presented to the House, stiled “The Protest of divers Inhabitants of the Province,” said to be “In Behalf of themselves and others;” the Purport of which is to subvert and change the Constitution of this Govern- ment, upon sundry Allegations which we cannot conceive to be well founded; and whereas, we think it an indispensable Duty to ourselves and our Posterity, to claim and support our Birthright, in the Charter and wise Laws of Pennsylvania, either consented to by ourselves, or delivered down to us by our Ancestors, as far as may be possible, without Injury to the public Cause of America, during the present distressed Situation of our Affairs: We do therefore remonstrate against the said Protest, for the following Reasons.

First. Because it holds up the Resolve of Congress . . . as an absolute Injunction for the “taking up and establishing new Governments, throughout all the United Colonies, under the Authority of the People.” Whereas the said Resolve is only a conditional Recommen- dation “to the respective Assemblies and Conventions of the United Colonies, where no Government, sufficient to the Exigencies of their Affairs, has been established . . . . And here it is obvious to remark, that . . . the Assembly of this Province cannot be prorogued or dissolved; that they have been exceeded by no Province, in their noble Exertions, in the common Cause of Liberty; . . . the Representatives of the People are left as the sole Judges, whether their Governments be “sufficient for the Exigencies of their Affairs” or not; that our Courts of law are open, Justice has been administered with a due Attention to our Circumstances, and large Sums of Money imposed, the Credit of which might be shaken, and numberless Confusions ensure, from Innovations hastily or unnecessarily made.

Second. We remonstrate against the said Protest, as setting on foot a Measure which tends to Disunion, and must damp the Zeal of Multitudes of good people of Pennsylvania, in common Cause, who, having a high Veneration for their civil and religious Rights, as secured by our Charter, never conceived . . . that they would be called upon to make a Sacrifice of their own Charter.—Nor can we now see anyThing, in our Situation, which requires such an unequal Sacrifice . . . .

Source: Votes of Assembly, VIII, 7524–26.


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