The Declaration of Arms
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms
As it appears in the Gentleman's Magazine, London, August, 1775
After the breakout of fighting at Lexington and Concord, and the battle of Bunker Hill — all within recent months — John Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson prepare what will become an historic statement of the colonists' rights.
In their Declaration they hold out the hope of reconciliation with England, but at the same time approve the use of armed resistance to obtain recognition of their rights. While it disavows all claims of independence, it insists Americans will die rather than yield to enslavement.
The colonists claim they are fighting a "ministerial" army and not the King. Their view is that George III has been misled by his counselors.
The Americans promise to lay down their arms when their liberties are secured, but also indicate that the colonies may obtain foreign aid against Britain.
The Declaration of Arms was approved by the Second Continental Congress on July 6, 1775.