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[465] under the British constitution, which he still acknowl-
Chap. LXX.} 1776. July 2-4.
edgedto he the best that the world had thus far seen. His enunciation of general principles was fearless; but he was no visionary devotee of abstract theories, which, like disembodied souls, escape from every embrace; the nursling of his country, the offspring of his time, he set about the work of a practical statesman, and his measures grew so naturally out of previous law and the facts of the past, that they struck deep root and have endured.

From the fulness of his own mind, without consulting one single book, Jefferson drafted the declaration, submitted it separately to Franklin and to John Adams, accepted from each of them one or two verbal, unimportant corrections, and on the twenty eighth of June reported it to congress, which now on the second of July, immediately after the resolution of independence, entered upon its consideration. During the remainder of that day and the two next, the language, the statements, and the principles of the paper were closely scanned.

In the indictment against George the Third, Jefferson had written:

‘He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every ’

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