The Olive Branch Petition Text - July 5, 1775 (2022)

Read the Olive Branch Petition text. The Olive Branch Petition was the last effort of the Continental Congress to avoidwar with Great Britain in 1775. Some delegates to the Continental Congress wantedto break with England at this time, but they yielded to the majority who weren't readyyet. Those who were more moderate wanted to explain their position clearly to King George,in hopes that he had been misinformed about their intentions. They made it clear that theywere loyal subjects to Great Britain and they wanted to remain so, as long as theirgrievances were addressed. The king eventually refused to even receive their petition,which eventually came to be known as "The Olive Branch Petition." This set the stagefor the American Declaration of Independence a year later. The names of eachdelegate who signed the Olive Branch Petition are at the bottom.

Approved by the Continental Congress on July 5, 1775

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty:

MOST EXCELLENT SOVERIEIGN: We your Majesty's faithful subjects of the colonies of New-hampshire, Massachusetts-bay,Rhode island and Providence plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey,Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland,Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, in behalf of ourselves and the inhabitantsof these colonies, who have deputed us to represent them in general Congress, entreatyour Majesty’s gracious attention to this our humble petition.

The union between our Mother Country and these colonies, and the energy of mildand just government, produced benefits so remarkably important, and afforded suchan assurance of their permanency and increase, that the wonder and envy of otherNations were excited, while they beheld Great Britain riseing to a power the mostextraordinary the world had ever known.

Her rivals observing, that therewas no probability of this happy connection being broken by civil dissentions,and apprehending its future effects, if left any longer undisturbed, resolved toprevent her receiving such continual and formidable accessions of wealth and strength,by checking the growth of these settlements from which they were to be derived.

In the prosecution of this attempt events so unfavourable to the design took place,that every friend to the interests of Great Britain and these colonies entertainedpleasing and reasonable expectations of seeing an additional force and extentionimmediately given to the operations of the union hitherto experienced, by anenlargement of the dominions of the Crown, and the removal of ancient and warlikeenemies to a greater distance.

At the conclusion therefore of the late war,the most glorious and advantagious that ever had been carried on by British arms,your loyal colonists having contributed to its success, by such repeated and strenuousexertions, as frequently procured them the distinguished approbation of your Majesty,of the late king, and of Parliament, doubted not but that they should be permittedwith the rest of the empire, to share in the blessings of peace and the emolumentsof victory and conquest. While these recent and honorable acknowledgments of theirmerits remained on record in the journals and acts of the august legislature thearliament, undefaced by the imputation or even the suspicion of any offence, they were alarmed by a new system of Statutes and regulations adopted for the administration of the colonies, that filled their minds with the most painful fears and jealousies; and to their inexpressible astonishment perceived the dangers of a foreign quarrel quickly succeeded by domestic dangers, in their judgment of a more dreadful kind.

Nor were their anxieties alleviated by any tendancy in this system to promote the welfareof the Mother Country. For 'tho its effects were more immediately felt by them, yetsits influence appeared to be injurious to the commerce and prosperity of Great Britain.

We shall decline the ungrateful task of describing the irksome variety of artificespractised by many of your Majestys ministers, the delusive pretences, fruitless terrors,and unavailing severities, that have from time to time been dealt out by them, in theirattempts to execute this impolitic plan, or of traceing thro' a series of years past theprogress of the unhappy differences between Great Britain and these colonies which haveflowed from this fatal source.

Your Majestys ministers persevering in their measuresand proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our owndefence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affection ofyour still faithful colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest,and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes areaccounted by us, only as parts of our distress.

Knowing, to what violent resentmentsand incurable animosities, civil discords are apt to exasperate and inflame the contendingparties, we think ourselves required by indispensable obligations to Almighty God, to yourMajesty, to our fellow subjects, and to ourselves, immediately to use all the means in ourpower not incompatible with our safety, for stopping the further effusion of blood, and foraverting the impending calamities that threaten the British Empire.

Thus called upon to address your Majesty on affairs of such moment to America, and probablyto all your dominions, we are earnestly desirous of performing this office with the utmostdeference for your Majesty; and we therefore pray, that your royal magnanimity and benevolencemay make the most favourable construction of our expressions on so uncommon an occasion. Couldwe represent in their full force the sentiments that agitate the minds of us your dutifulsubjects, we are persuaded, your Majesty would ascribe any seeming deviation from reverence,and our language, and even in our conduct, not to any reprehensible intention but to theimpossibility of reconciling the usual appearances of respect with a just attention to ourown preservation against those artful and cruel enemies, who abuse your royal confidence andauthority for the purpose of effecting our destruction.

Attached to your Majestys person,family and government with all the devotion that principle and affection can inspire, connectedwith Great Britain by the strongest ties that can unite societies, and deploring every eventthat tends in any degree to weaken them, we solemnly assure your Majesty, that we not onlymost ardently desire the former harmony between her and these colonies may be restored butthat a concord may be established between them upon so firm a basis, as to perpetuate itsblessings uninterrupted by any future dissentions to succeeding generations in both countries,and to transmit your Majestys name to posterity adorned with that signal and lasting glorythat has attended the memory of those illustrious personages, whose virtues and abilitieshave extricated states from dangerous convulsions, and by securing happiness to others, haveerected the most noble and durable monuments to their own fame.

We beg leave further toassure your Majesty that notwithstanding the sufferings of your loyal colonists during thecourse of the present controversy, our breasts retain too tender a regard for the kingdom fromwhich we derive our origin to request such a reconciliation as might in any manner be inconsistentwith her dignity or her welfare. These, related as we are to her, honor and duty, as well asinclination induce us to support and advance; and the apprehensions that now oppress our heartswith unspeakable grief, being once removed, your Majesty will find your faithful subjects on thiscontinent ready and willing at all times, as they ever have been with their lives and fortunes toassert and maintain the rights and interests of your Majesty and of our Mother Country.

We therefore beseech your Majesty, that your royal authority and influence may be graciouslyinterposed to procure us releif [sic] from our afflicting fears and jealousies occasioned bythe system before mentioned, and to settle peace through every part of your dominions, withall humility submitting to your Majesty's wise consideration, whether it may not be expedientfor facilitating those important purposes, that your Majesty be pleased to direct some modeby which the united applications of your faithful colonists to the throne, in pursuance oftheir common councils, may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation; and thatin the meantime measures be taken for preventing the further destruction of the lives of yourMajesty's subjects; and that such statutes as more immediately distress any of your Majestyscolonies be repealed: For by such arrangements as your Majesty's wisdom can form for collectingthe united sense of your American people, we are convinced, your Majesty would receive suchsatisfactory proofs of the disposition of the colonists towards their sovereign and the parentstate, that the wished for opportunity would soon be restored to them, of evincing the sincerityof their professions by every testimony of devotion becoming the most dutiful subjects and themost affectionate colonists.

That your Majesty may enjoy a long and prosperous reign, andthat your descendants may govern your dominions with honor to themselves and happiness to theirsubjects is our sincere and fervent prayer.

JOHN HANCOCK,

JOHN LANGDON,
THOMAS CUSHING, New-Hampshire

SAMUEL ADAMS,
JOHN ADAMS,
ROBERT TREAT PAINE, Massachusetts

STEPHEN HOPKINS,

SAMUEL WARD,
ELIPHALET DYER, Rhode-Island

ROGER SHERMAN,
SILAS DEANE, Connecticut

PHILIP LIVINGSTON,
JAMES DUANE,
JOHN ALSOP,
FRANCIS LEWIS,
JOHN JAY,
ROBERT LIVINGSTON, JR.,
LEWIS MORRIS,
WILLIAM FLOYD,
HENRY WISNER, New-York

WILLIAM LIVINGSTON,
JOHN DE HART,
RICHARD SMITH, New-Jersey

JOHN DICKINSON,
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
GEORGE ROSS,
JAMES WILSON,
CHARLES HUMPHREYS,
EDWARD BIDDLE, Pennsylvania

CAESAR RODNEY,
THOMAS McKEAN,
GEORGE READ, Delaware Counties

MATTHEW TILGHMAN,
THOMAS JOHNSON, JR.,
WILLIAM PACA,
SAMUEL CHASE,
THOMAS STONE, Maryland

PATRICK HENRY, JR.,
RICHARD HENRY LEE,
EDMUND PENDLETON,
BENJAMIN HARRISON,
THOMAS JEFFERSON, Virginia

WILLIAM HOOPER,
JOSEPH HEWES, North-Carolina

HENRY MIDDLETON,
THOMAS LYNCH,
CHRISTOPHER GADSDEN,
JOHN RUTLEDGE,
EDWARD RUTLEDGE, South-Carolina

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