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a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

5. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States.

6. We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.

7. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

unalienable, that can not be abolish, to put an end to. usurpation, taking too much

given up.

dictate, to direct.

transient, soon passing away.

power. absolute, entire.

despotism, the rule of one

evince, to prove.
rectitude, rightness.


invariably, without change. sufferable, that which can be pursue, to follow.


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URING the war of the American Revolution, in 1777, an attempt was made by the British to surprise and capture General Washington in his camp. This design was defeated by the courage and patriotism of Lydia Darrach, a Quaker woman of Philadelphia.

2. The Adjutant General of the British army had his quarters in Lydia's house; and the commanding officers frequently met with him there for consultation. One evening he ordered Lydia to get a room ready for some gentlemen who were coming to see him on business.

3. As he was particular in telling her to send all her family to bed early, she suspected that some important scheme was being formed; and she loved her country too well to be indifferent when its enemies were plotting to destroy it; so she resolved to find out their plans.

4. But she obeyed the orders given her, and had her family in bed and asleep at an early hour. The expected officers came late; and, as soon as Lydia had admitted them, she retired to her own room, and lay down for a while without undressing.

5. At length she arose, and went barefooted, in the

cold December night, to the door of the room where the men were sitting. There she stood and listened until she heard an order from Howe, the British general, for the troops to march secretly the night following, and attack General Washington in his camp.

6. Lydia went back to her bed to get a few hours' rest; and at early dawn, after a prayer for guidance and protection, she set out to warn her fellow-countrymen of their danger. Taking with her a mealbag, under pretence of going to Frankford Mills for flour, she hurried through the snow towards Ger


7. Happily meeting an American officer by the way, she told him her precious secret; and then, hastening back, took up her bag of flour, and reached Philadelphia before any one was stirring, so that her absence and errand were not suspected by the British.

8. The next night she saw the troops go off as agreed, but rejoiced to believe that their errand would be fruitless; and so it proved. They returned mortified and disappointed; and the Adjutant General called Lydia to account, asking her if any of her family were up, contrary to his orders, on the night previous to their march. "It is very

9. Lydia assured him they were not. strange," said he; "I know you were asleep, for I knocked three times at your door without waking you. But some one must have betrayed us; for we found Washington so prepared at every point, that we had to come back without injuring him, like a parcel of fools."

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PHILLIS WHEATLEY, whose likeness is on

this page, was brought to this country from Africa in the year 1761. She was then between seven and eight years old. She was bought by Mrs. John Wheatley, a Boston lady, who chose her from a crowd of robust negroes, although she looked feeble and slender, because of her modest appearance and pleasant face.

2. Phillis early showed great eagerness for learning, and was often found trying to make letters upon the wall with a piece of chalk or charcoal. This led a daughter of Mrs. Wheatley to teach her to read ; and so rapid was her progress, that in sixteen months she could read the most difficult parts of the Bible. She soon learned to write also; and, in four years from the time of her being stolen from Africa, this negro girl wrote interesting letters on various subjects.

3. She was treated by her mistress more as a child than a slave, and not only allowed, but encouraged, to study. Many persons of learning took great interest in her, and helped her. At the age of sixteen she became a member of the Old South Church in Boston; and she seems to have been a faithful and humble Christian.

4. Phillis was very fond of reading and writing poetry. At one time, General Washington, having received some lines from her, replied by a letter, in which he says, "I thank you most sincerely for your polite notice of me in the elegant lines you enclosed," and tells her he would be happy to see her should she ever come to Cambridge, where his "headquarters then were.


5. At the age of nineteen, her health was so poor that her physicians advised a sea-voyage. In company with a member of the Wheatley family she visited England, and was well received by many distinguished persons. While there, her poems were published. She returned to America, where she died in her twenty-sixth year.

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