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Virginia Colony, Third Charter of Virginia, March 1611/1612

King James I of England, Portrait, Critz

NOTE: The text for the Third Virginia Charter gives the date of March 12, 1611, as the date it was issued, because it was dated by the Old Style Calendar. Until 1752, the new year in England started on March 25, not January 1. Most historians use 1612 as the date for the Third Virginia  … Read more

Virginia Colony, Second Charter of Virginia, May 1609

King James I of England, Portrait, Critz

JAMES, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France. and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. To all, to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting. WHEREAS, at the humble Suit and Request of sundry our loving and well-disposed Subjects, intending to deduce a Colony, and to make Habitation and Plantation of sundry our … Read more

Virginia Colony, First Charter of Virginia, April 1606

King James I of England, Portrait, Critz

JAMES, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. WHEREAS our loving and well-disposed Subjects, Sir Thorn as Gales, and Sir George Somers, Knights, Richard Hackluit, Clerk, Prebendary of Westminster, and Edward-Maria Wingfield, Thomas Hanharm and Ralegh Gilbert, Esqrs. William Parker, and George Popham, Gentlemen, and … Read more

Adams, Samuel – Rights of the Colonists, Boston Pamphlet, Text

Samuel Adams, Painting

A State of the Rights of the Colonists I. Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men.  Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches … Read more

Adams, John – XYZ Affair Speech to Congress, Text

John Adams, Portrait, Stuart

The personal inconveniences to the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives in leaving their families and private affairs at this season of the year are so obvious that I the more regret the extraordinary occasion which has rendered the convention of Congress indispensable. It would have afforded me the highest satisfaction … Read more

Treaty of Amity and Commerce with France, Text

Benjamin Franklin, Portrait

The most Christian King, and the thirteen United States of North America, to wit, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay Rhode island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania Delaware, Maryland, Virginia North-Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia, willing to fix in an equitable and permanent manner the Rules which ought to be followed relative to the Correspondence & … Read more

Treaty of Alliance with France, Text

Benjamin Franklin, Portrait

The most Christian King and the United States of North America, to wit, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhodes island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, having this Day concluded a Treaty of amity and Commerce, for the reciprocal advantage of their Subjects and Citizens have thought … Read more

Townshend Acts, Vice Admiralty Court Act, Text

Charles Townshend, Painting

At the Court at St James’s the 6th day of July 1768 Present The King’s most Excellent Majesty in Council. Whereas there was this day read at the Board a Representation from the Lords Commisioners of His Majesty’s Treasury dated the 2nd of this Instant in the words following viz “We the Commissioners of your … Read more

Townshend Acts, Commissioners of Customs Act, Text

Charles Townshend, Painting

An Act to Enable His Majesty to Put the Customs, and Other Duties, in the British Dominions in America, and the Execution of the Laws Relating to Trade There, under the Management of Commissioners to be Appointed for that Purpose, and to be Resident in the Said Dominions. WHEREAS in pursuance of an act of … Read more

Townshend Acts, Indemnity Act, Text

Charles Townshend, Painting

An Act for Taking Off the Inland Duty of One Shilling per Pound Weight upon All Black and Singlo Teas Consumed in Great Britain; and for Granting a Drawback upon the Exportation of Teas to Ireland and the British Dominions in America, for a Limited Time, upon Such Indemnification to Be Made in Respect Thereof … Read more

Townshend Acts, New York Restraining Act, Text

Charles Townshend, Painting

An Act for Restraining and Prohibiting the Governor, Council, and House of Representatives of the Province of New York, until Provision Shall Have Been Made for Furnishing the King’s Troops with All the Necessaries Required by Law, from Passing or Assenting to Any Act of Assembly, Vote, or Resolution for Any Other Purpose. Whereas an … Read more

Townshend Acts, Revenue Act, Text

Charles Townshend, Painting

An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America; for allowing a drawback of the duties of customs upon the exportation, from this kingdom, of coffee and cocoa nuts of the produce of the said colonies or plantations; for discontinuing the drawbacks payable on china earthen ware exported to America; … Read more

Quartering Act of 1765, Text

George Grenville, Portrait

An act to amend and render more effectual, in his Majesty’s dominions in America, an act passed in this present session of parliament, intituled, An act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and for the better payment of the army and their quarters. WHEREAS in and by an act made in the present session of parliament, … Read more

Continental Congress, First – Declaration and Resolves, Text

Peyton Randolph, Illustration

Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power, of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various presences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed … Read more

Adams, Samuel – Letter to James Warren, Boston Port Act, Text

Samuel Adams, Painting

TO JAMES WARREN Boston May 14, 1774 My Dear Sir, This Town has received the Copy of an Act of the British Parliament, wherein it appears that we have been tried and condemned, and are to be punished, by the shutting up of the harbor and other marks of revenge, until we shall disgrace ourselves … Read more

Stamp Act Resolutions, Connecticut Sons of Liberty, Text

Israel Putnam, General

Connecticut Sons of Liberty, Resolutions on the Stamp Act, December 10, 1765 At a meeting of a large assembly of the respectable populace in New London the 10th of December 1765, the following resolves were unanimously come into. Resolved, 1st. That every form of government rightfully founded, originates from the consent of the people. 2d. … Read more

Hall, Prince, 1788 Petition for Freedom, Text

Prince Hall, Illustration

To the Honorable the senit [senate] and House of Riprisentetives [Representatives] of the comon Welth [Commonwealth] of Massachusetts bay in general court assembled Februry 27 1788: The Petition of greet [great] Number of Blacks freemen of this common welth [Commonwealth] Humbly sheweth that your Petetioners [Petitioners] are justly Allarm’d at the enhuman [inhuman] and cruel Treetment … Read more