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THERE is of course but one Declara tion of Independence—the Declara tion of Independence we celebrate on the Fourth of July. It makes no dif ference that Ricard Henry Lee’s resolu tion “That these united colonies are and of right ought to be, free and indepen dent states —” was introduced in congress June 7, 1776; that it was adopted July 2, and that the document itself was not made public until July 5, and was not signed by the members of congress until August 2. It was on July 4, 1776, that the vote on the Declaration itself was taken, and the document ordered “authenticated and printed.” So the Fourth of July it is— and ever shall be. Nevertheless, there are other Declara tions, and some of them come pretty near being Declarations of Independence, ex cept that they were not adopted by con gress. The truth is that independence was in the air for some time before July 4, 1776. The leaders preferred to say that they were “petitioners in arms,” even after Lexington and Concord and Bun ker Hill, and many of them doubtless had no determination for independence. But the people in many localities were ripe for independence. So it is not to be won dered that some of them made declarations. One of the earliest of these Declarations was that of the people of Mendon, Mass., March 1, 1773. It speaks for itself, and here it is: “That all men have naturally an equal right to life, liberty and property. “That all just and lawful government must originate iy the free consent of the people. “That the good, happiness and safety of the people is the great end of civil government. “That a principle of self preservation, being duly planted by the God of Nature in every human breast, it is necessary, not only to the well-being of the indi vidual, but also to the order of the uni verse, as attraction and cohesion are to the preservation of material bodies and the order of the natural world. “That a voluntary renunciation of any power or privileges included in or neces sarily connected with a principle of self preservation is manifestly acting counter to the will of the great Author of Nature, the Supreme Legislator, that a right to lib erty and property is absolutely inalienable. “That the claim of the parliament of Great Britain to the power of legislation for the colonies in all cases whatsoever is abhorrent to the spirit and genius of the British Constitution, to the letter of our charter and to the most obvious principles of reason and to the essential natural rights given us by God Almighty; and, finally, “That the introduction of standing armies in a free country in time of peace, without the consent of the people, is a vio lation of their rights as free men.” Then there is the Declaration of Han na’s Town, May 16, 1775. On that day the men of that portion of the colony of Pennsylvania lying west of Laurel Moun tain and embraced in the present limits of the county of Westmoreland, then, and for long afterwards claimed by Virginia to be within the limits of Augusta county, in the Old Dominion, assembled at Han na’s Town, then the seat of justice, to take counsel on the situation. The first "iST Declarations of Hindependence two paragraphs of the document adopted are as follows: “At a general meeting of the inhabi tants of Westmoreland county, held at Hanna’s Town, on May 16, 1775, for taking into consideration the very alarm ing situation of the country occasioned by the dispute with Great Britian, resolved unanimously, that the parliament of Great Britain by several late acts has declared the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay to be in rebellion; and the ministry, by en deavoring to enforce said acts, has at tempted to reduce the said inhabitants to a more wretched state of slavery • than ever before existed in any country; not content with thus violating their constitu tional and chartered privileges, they would strip them of their rights of hu manity, exposing their lives to the wanton and unpunishable sport of a licentious soldiery and depriving them of the very means of subsistence. “Resolved, unanimously, That there is no reason to doubt but the same system of tyranny and oppression will, should it meet with success in Massachusetts, be ex tended to other parts of America; it is therefore become the indispensable duty of every American, of every man who has any love for his country, or any bowels for posterity, by every means which God has put in his power, to resist and oppose the execution of it; that for us we will be ready to oppose it with our lives and fortunes. And the better to enable us to accomplish it we will immediately form ourselves into a military body to consist of companies, to be made up out of the several townships under the following as sociation, which is declared to be the As sociation of Westmoreland County.” And, finally, there is the famous so called “Mecklenburg Declaration of In dependence,” adopted at Charlotte, Meck lenburg county, North Carolina, May 20, 1775, of which the first three resolutions are as follows: “Resolved, That whosoever directly or indirectly, abetted, or in any way, form or manner, countenanced the unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this country, to America and to the in herent and inalienable rights of man. “Resolved, That we, the citizens of Mecklenburg county, do hereby dissolve 'Kr *** *•* "* "* *** w * SM ET our object be our country, our | whole country, and nothing but our | iffe 1 country And, by the blessing of God, may that country itself become ] a vast and splendid monument, not of j oppression and terror, but of wisdom, of peace, and of liberty, upon which the world 1 may gaze with admiration forever. 1 —Daniel Webster. , OUR MOTTO—“IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” Stillwater, Minnesota, Thursday, July 5, 1923. Selected the political bonds which have connected us to the mother country, and hereby ab solve ourselves from all allegiance to the British crown, and adjure all political connection, contact or association with that nation, who has wantonly trampled on our rights and inhumanly shed the blood of American patriots at Lexington. “Resolved, That we do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent peo ple, and of right ought to be a sovereign and self-governing association, under the control of no power other than that of our God and the general government of the congress; to the maintenance of w’hich independence we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual co-operation, our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor.” The Mecklenburg convention was called for May 19. Its original purpose was to pronounce the annulment of all laws and commissions in consequence of the king’s address of February declaring the colonies in a state of rebellion; and to make pro vision for a temporary form of govern ment “until instructions, from the pro vincial congress regulating the jurispru dence of the province shall provide other wise, or the legislative body of Great Britain resigns its unjust and arbitrary pretensions with respect to America.” In this expectation an elaborate set of resolu tions had been prepared. Discussion of these resolutions was in terrupted by the arrival of a courier with the news of Lexington. The convention reassembled in a fury of patriotism. It seethed and debated until well into the morning of May 20, when the quoted paragraphs were adopted as a preliminary to the regular business of the convention. It must be admitted that the Mecklen burgers did a good job. They organized a provisional central government. They sequestered all public and county taxes and all quit rents to the crown and de clared traitors all persons who should ac cept new commissions from the crown or exercise old commissions. And they formed nine military companies for action—when the time should come. Curiously enough, this Mecklenburg Declaration did not become generally known till 1819, forty-four years later, and then through publication in the Ra leigh Register. Its publication caused an enormous stir, and began a controversy Vol. XXXVI; No. 49 that may be said to be yet going on, in asmuch as some historians still refuse to accept the genuineness of the document. In 1819 Jefferson and John Adams were both old and testy. Adams said, in so many words, that Jefferson evidently had plagiarized. Jefferson angrily retorted that in his belief the document was spurious. The controversy over the genuineness of the Mecklenburg Declaration immed iately became fast and furious. North Carolina finally took a hand in it, and in 1831 its legislature appointed a committee of investigation. This committee reported that the document was genuine. Accord ingly, May 20th was made a state holi day, which is celebrated as the “Anni versary of*'the Signing of the Mecklen burg Declaration.” Tn 1898 in Charlotte, was dedicated a monument in commemo ration of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration. The historians have been busy all these years, and little by little the case of the Mecklenburgers has been built up, until now it is generally accepted. The contract of government signed in 1620 in the cabin of the Mayflower in Massachusetts Bay may be said in a sense to be the first Declaration of Indepen dence, out of which grew’ the Declaration of Independence of 1776. Sacred Emblem of Unity The Stars and Stripes is not the flag of t a ruler or an individual. When General Y Grant was a candidate for the Presidency i he saw a flag with his name attached to it and exclaimed, “Take that flag or take my name from it; the man has never yet been J>orn w hose name is great li enough to put upon the flag of my country.” i It is the flag of all the people. It is the t emblem of our unity, safety and faith, e Into whatever parties we may be divided i by varying political convictions, as a sin y gle person we take our stand under the . one flag. It is not the badge of a particu lar policy, but of a complex agreement 1 of privileges and checks. y The flag is the only thing we have s about which ta twine our national senti ment. We have no royal family; we have no hereditary aristocracy; we are r pledged to no political party. Of any 1 country w r e have the least race pride; we i can scarcely be said to have any distinc . tive art or music. As the grave of the martyred Kosci useko is made of a handful of earth from every battlefield of long-suffering Poland, so our flag is \yoven of every thread of our national struggles. Because it alone represents all the principles which our forefathers upheld, because it is a con stant reminder of duties heroically per formed and of errors and defects retrieved through suffering and sacrifice, because it testifies to a century and a half of en lightened progress and prophesies all the hope and assurance of our future, it stHl has power to direct thought and concen trate emotion, to make the hot blood throb in the heart of every citizen. • Its white stands for purity, its red for valor, its blue for justice. Together they form a trinity of social virtues which it is our inherited privilege to honor and uphold and promulgate over the whole earth.— Ex.