‘We beseech your majesty to direct some mode by
which the united applications of your faithful colonists to the throne, in pursuance of their common councils, may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation; and that, in the mean time, measures may be taken for preventing the further destruction of the lives of your majesty's subjects, and that such statutes as more immediately distress any of your majesty's colonies may be repealed.’
The colonies, by refusing to treat separately and offering to treat jointly, announced their union, which thus preceded their independence.
Yet as the king would not receive a document from congress, the petition was signed by the members individually Dickinson
, confident of success, was proud of his work.
‘There is but one word in it which I wish altered,’ said he, ‘and that is—congress.’
‘It is the only word I wish should remain,’ answered Harrison
, of Virginia
Having thus owned the continuing sovereignty of the king, before whom they presented themselves as beadsmen, the United Colonies, as a nation dealing with a nation, a people speaking to a people, addressed the inhabitants of Great Britain
From English institutions they had derived the principles for which they had taken up arms, and their visions of future greatness were blended with their pride as men of English descent.
They spoke, therefore, to Englishmen as to countrymen and brothers, recapitulating their griefs, and plainly setting forth that the repeal of the laws of which they complained, must go before the disbanding of their army, or the renewal of commercial intercourse.