Beyond Main Street

For the last 7 years, I have been giving historical walking tours of my home village--Woodstock, Vermont. I try with each walk to turn this seemingly tidy and wholly unmysterious place upside down and inside out, to create perceptual surprises. That is what I would wish for this blogwalk to do as well. Thanks for joining me.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The War of the Worlds

Last week I went to see the new film, The War of the Worlds. I still remember how frightened I was by the 1950s film, and I had always been fascinated by the 1938 Halloween incident, when millions mistook Orson Welles’s radio dramatization of the 1898 H.G. Wells novel for a real report of invaders from outer space. Having grown up in New Jersey, I wanted to see how “Grover’s Mills” or its analogue Garden State village would be portrayed in this Steven Spielberg remake. His film has Bayonne as the landing place of the aliens, and Tom Cruise as a divorced longshoreman who, with his weekend-visiting children, spends 90 cinematic minutes fleeing the death-dealing robotic invaders.

Wells’s story is said to have been inspired by Boston astronomer Percival Lowell’s writings about the “canals on Mars.” (Lowell mistranslated Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli’s canali–lines–for human-constructed “canals”) Lowell’s books on Mars were bestsellers, and though dismissed by professional astronomers, he singlehandedly spread the idea–still, amazingly, alive at NASA, witness last year’s Mars lander hype–of life on Mars. But for Americans in 1898, there was a much more dramatic possible inspiration for Wells’s story of visitors from another planet.

In American skies from California to Texas and north to Minnesota, in late 1896 to early 1897, thousands of people saw strange, unknown craft that they called "airships." Airships were variously explained as kites, balloons, the planet Venus, the star Sirius, or just plain hoaxes or fakes. Many explained what they saw as ships from an abandoned civilization on Mars.

The people who saw the mysterious airships also saw and heard the ship’s “pilots” and/or passengers. During the first sighting in Sacramento, several people reported hearing voices from the ship, including one that said: “Well, we ought to reach San Francisco by tomorrow noon.” Others heard laughter. Within a week or so, the airships were seen in San Francisco, by even more observers, and on December 2nd, two Italian fishermen offshore from Pacific Grove, watched a craft swoop down and land on the beach. When three occupants emerged and carried their ship into the woods, the fishermen headed into shore to speak with them. One of the aeronauts stopped and argued with the fishermen, and then allowed them to approach. Coming closer, they saw a 60-foot long cigar shaped object with retractable wings.

The next night, in Twin Peaks California, a similar craft crashed. Witnesses noticed a foul-smelling gas coming from the structure. A man calling himself “J.D. DeGear” emerged and said that this was the airship’s initial flight, and was not connected with any of the other ships sighted.

After a few months quiet, on April Fool’s Day in 1897, the airships started to appear again, this time in Kansas City, Missouri. Around 8 PM a powerful searchlight swept the air, the streets, the housetops and bluffs around the town, attracting attention, and the streets were soon filled with people watching the show. For more than an hour it hovered and wobbled, flashing its light beam along the horizon, then finally it lifted off, growing smaller as it climbed swiftly and vanished to the Northwest. A few minutes later, it was sighted over Everest, Kansas, sixty miles away.

There were thousands of witnesses to the Kansas City sighting, including the governor and many other officials, professionals, and ordinary citizens. All agreed that the unknown vehicle had made abrupt changes in direction and made other strange maneuvers. Once, for a few moments, it had extinguished its light and hung over the city as a dark, motionless mass. Then finally, after almost ninety minutes of aerial display, it was gone.

Suddenly, it seemed as if the heartland of the nation was under siege by an aerial armada of searchlight-equipped airships. The first week of April saw hundreds of reported sightings in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, then the phenomenon spread northeastward to Burlington, Iowa. The airships then turned east through Illinois, appearing in Chicago on April 10. People watched the flickering green and red lights from the top of a downtown skyscraper.

Again, there were reports of “close encounters.” In Springfield, Missouri, a traveling salesman was driving his wagon when he suddenly saw an airship on the ground – and two creatures "dressed in nature's garb." Hopkins described to his local newspaper how the odd naked couple had communicated with him telepathically, inviting him into the airship, which then began to rise. Hopkins panicked and jumped off before it got far off of the ground.

Mysterious, advanced technology spacecraft. Naked, mind-reading aliens. The smell of fire & brimstone. Nonsensical stories. April Fool’s Day. In 1897, nearly fifty years before what is regarded as the official beginning of the “UFO era,” in 1945.

Things have only gotten wierder since then. I did a quick search for the week of the release of War of the Worlds and found: Over Jalapa Mexico, a huge flotilla of UFOs were seen by thousands on successive nights; television crews filmed them. UFO reports came in from New Hampshire, Michigan, Arizona, Connecticut, Texas, Oklahoma. A 22-year-old woman in Queensland, Australia, who saw while driving, a 7’ tall, scaly, ashen-colored creature with the torso of a man and the head of a locust. In South Bend, Indiana, a number of people called police to report an escaped kangaroo, but there was no zoo in town from which it might have escaped. The same day, War of the Worlds star Tom Cruise snapped at a German magazine reporter who asked him about his allegiance to Scientology and his belief in life on other planets: "'Are you really so arrogant as to believe we are alone in this universe? Millions of stars, and we're supposed to be the only living creatures? No, there are many things out there. We just don't know."

A few nights after this, to “illuminate” listeners whose curiosity and fears about alien invasion might be rekindled by Spielberg’s movie, Larry King had on a panel of “experts” who succeeded in muddying the waters of knowledge about extraterrestrial life, UFOs, and alien abduction even more than it might have already been in their own minds. Too bad Larry wasn’t able to invite Cotton Mather, who would certainly have recognized these sky visitors as demons, or an expert on the Koran, which teaches that the jinn (which translates to mean “something hidden from view”) are beings that attempt to turn humans from God. Mather would no doubt have quoted the Apostle Paul, who wrote, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of the air." Indeed.

The battle with these powers and principalities -- demonic denizens of an unseen world -- has been going on for millennia, but the 20th century, especially in America, saw the demons, the jinn, increasingly make themselves temporarily at home in our world. In 1897 it was only telegraph lines that went haywire when the airships appeared; today, UFO sightings routinely see: cell phones and television sets and computers go dead; car alarms sound; hundreds of electronic door locks in shopping mall parking lots all seize up simultaneously. A few cattle, sheep, and chickens disappeared from midwest farms in 1897; in recent decades, livestock and domestic pets have been found mutilated in ways that baffle both seasoned ranchers and wildlife biologists, but not exorcists and demonologists. The turn of the century episode saw a few fishermen and farmers who encountered fairly friendly spectral airship pilots. The last half century has seen millions of Americans claim that when they were lifted aboard spaceships, the occupants performed horrific acts upon them, akin to what prisoners at Abu Ghairab and Guantanamo have suffered at the hands of their captors.

Many people who have been abducted –and tortured– claim that their captors are really benevolent, interested in the destiny of humankind. They return from their nighttime wanderings with messages from the aliens that man must stop destroying the earth, or they will soon perish. John Mack, the Harvard psychologist, who, with funding provided by Woodstock's own Laurance Rockefeller, celebrated alien abduction as a “transformational experience,” wrote: “The aliens stress the evolutionary aspect of the species-joining process, the repopulation of the Earth subsequent to a total environmental collapse.” How can one love the earth, and wish to preserve it, if one’s ‘love of the earth’ is the product of abduction, terror, and violation of one’s human integrity?

Similar salvific messages come from a host of channeled voices, many of whom claim to be angels or gods who actually created humanity. Prominent among these voices are ones who identify themselves as “Melchizedek,” “Enoch,” and “Metatron.” Metatron is the name of an Archangel. Enoch is an Old Testament prophet deemed immortal. Melchizedek is identified in the Old Testament as Abraham’s master, thought to represent humanity’s original and perennial knowledge of Truth.

If there is anything one can say about the slippery jinn who have been pouring through the fissures opening up between the subtle world and our physical world, it is that they have little relationship to the Truth. Indeed, their hallmark is deception. If, as Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them,” a cursory review of the history of airships and UFOs and alien abduction will provide a cornucopia of rotten fruits.

Here in the daylight world of Woodstock, the myth of the UFO is rather unappealing, and rather unworthy to be spoken of or thought about. Yet it is a myth -- and a sinister reality-- with which I believe we all need to reckon. It is a “sign of our times,” that the “visitors from outer space” are insistently telling us that “higher beings” are preparing to usher in mankind’s true cosmic destiny. This is not an April Fool’s Joke, but a counterfeit of an imminent truth – that not Christ, but the being who is “the ape of God,” the Antichrist, is finding a convivial home on the planet at this time. All of the contemporary responses to UFOs – the view of the aliens as redeemers of humanity and the planet Earth; the suspicion of dark govenmental conspiracies seeking to cover up the “reality” of UFOs and aliens; even the scientistic rejection of all eyewitness and other physical evidence as pure projection and hallucination– only serve the ends of the fallen jinn, in their perennial, and presently fully apocalyptic quest to deceive and confuse humankind.

Never since the beginning of the Christian era have demons appeared so openly and extensively as today, and their message is crystal clear: “Prepare for a savior; however, expect deliverance, not from the Christian revelation and faith in an unseen God, but from vehicles in the sky.” We do need to prepare ourselves for this ersatz savior, this impersonation of Christ, and one of the precursors to recognizing this false savior is to see his preparatory legions for what they are – superficially clever, cloyingly solicitous, and existentially absurd, pests. That a lifeform so much lower than the human has maneuvered itself into a position of being worshiped is a clear sign that the time is ripe for a much larger deception to play itself out on the stage of human history.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

From Star Wars to Our Wars

I rarely go to the movies, but when I do, I like to wait for a film to come to our own Town Hall Theater. Sitting together silently in the dark for a couple of hours is about as communal an experience as we moderns can have, a wan echo of an ancient mystery school initiation rite. Sunday night I went with friends to Town Hall Theater to see the new Star Wars film, "Revenge of the Sith." After the film, we panned its wooden performances and its weak plot, but said nothing about a much more disturbing aspect.

My friend Geoff told us before we went that he had heard "the first twenty minutes are dynamite." I have just spent a half hour searching the Web to see if anyone out there in Star Wars fandom counted the number of explosions – of human beings and "droids" as well as of computer animated starships and their aerial fighting fleets –that happened in this first twenty minutes, not to mention the rest of the film. I would guess that there were far more explosions than we witnessed at the fireworks a few weeks ago. Over a thousand, I bet.

In the publicity photos like the one above, the light sabers look so sexy, don't they? But in the movie, these glowing wands are the instruments of incredible violence. Anakin Skywalker defeats Count Dookov by first severing the Count's hands, then decapitating him, with a pair of lightsabers. Later, Obi Wan Kenobi will slice off both of Anakin's legs, and an arm. Even little Yoda enacts his share of carnage with the favored weapon of the Jedi knight.

The Jedi are portrayed as superior beings whose use of violence is always seen as just – and triumphant. Substitute an arquebus, crossbow, cannon, flintlock or other weapon for the light saber, and you have a pretty handy picture of the process of European colonization of North America. Of course, our own memoirists of war have tended to emphasize the horrific violence of the savage enemy. One can read the journals of Columbus, Cartier, Champlain, Hudson, and scores of other advance agents of empire, or the Jesuit fathers, or Spanish missionaries for early drafts of George Lucas's screen action.

When handsome Jedi Anakin Skywalker sliced off the evil Count's head, I wondered if anyone in the theater thought of Nicholas Berg or Daniel Pearl, or other Americans beheaded by Muslim terrorists. Ever since Columbus stumbled onto Hispaniola's shore, we've been fed images of cannabilistic enemies who would have our heads, but rarely do we see one of our own white knights imagined or real performing a beheading. Only "they" – Caribs, Mohawk, Muslim – could act so savagely, not us. Indeed, the only instance that comes to mind is that scene in the 1930s film of Kenneth Roberts' Northwest Passage, where one of Major Robert Rogers' (Spencer Tracy) Rangers, a survivor of a murderous raid on his family by savage Abenaki warriors, furtively places an Abenaki head in his saddlebag.

In Revenge of the Sith, no heads are placed in saddlebags, for they and other body parts leave their host bodies in episodes of explosive fury. Though they haven't actually counted the explosions, the Young Media Australia site does an excellent job of tallying the overall violence:
  • In the opening battle between a Republican army and an army of droids there are many violent images: ships exploding, pilots tumbling through space, pilots consumed by cockpit fire, dozens of droids consumed by an oil fire, buildings in the air destroyed by explosion, bodies hurled against walls, Obi-Wan pinned unconscious underneath a section of wall.
  • Count Dooku's hands are severed and he kneels in front of Anakin, holding the stumps of his wrists in the air (minimal blood and gore).
  • Anakin holds two lightsabres at Count Dooku's throat, and Chancellor Palpatine entices him to kill the Count. Anakin decapitates the Count and there is an ecstatic look on Palpatine's face. (Actual images of the decapitation are not shown. Dooku's body falls to the ground and his head is seen rolling away in the background.)
  • Obi-Wan battles the leader of the droid army, General Grievous. At one point, Grievous tosses Obi-Wan around like a rag doll. Later Obi-Wan rips open Grievous's chest to reveal a beating heart, and then shoots Grievous with a lazar gun. Flames erupt from his chest cavity and eye sockets.
  • The scene where Mace Windu and the Jedi attempt to arrest Palpatine is dark and brutal. Palpatine resembles a rabid animal as he leaps from his chair, attacking the Jedi with his lightsabre. He impales one Jedi, and slices another through the chest (minimal display of blood and gore). Later in the scene, Palpatine's body is consumed by bolts of electricity, his face distorts taking on a horrifying, desiccated, pitiful, mummy like appearance as the electrical current consumes his body. Palpatine pitifully pleads for Anakin to save his life. Anakin responds by severing Mace Windu's lightsabre hand. Palpatine then hurls bolts of electricity at Mace hurling his body out of the window to disappear from sight His body is shown sailing past the buildings below.
  • Anakin/Vader uses his lightsabre to mercilessly slaughter numerous Jedi, including images of a temple floor strewn with Jedi bodies.
  • There is a scene where Anakin (implicitly) kills numerous defenseless Jedi children. Anakin stands in front of a room full of young children with his lightsabre blazing and a very dark and possessed look in his eyes. A boy of about five years if age, who seems worried, asks Anakin what's going on. Anakin's response is to fire up his light saber. It is obvious that he is going to kill the child. This scene is potentially very distressing to a child. There are later images of the same room littered with the bodies of dead children.
  • There are numerous scenes of clone warriors murdering their Jedi masters; images are shown of Jedi men and women, and a young Jedi boy of about twelve years of age, being ruthlessly shot with multiple laser fire.
  • Anakin/Vader ruthlessly slaughters several Separatist leaders. The scene is particularly brutal, with Anakin/Vader portrayed as completely void of all remorse. One Separatist begs Anakin/Vader to spare his life, but Anakin cold bloodedly looks at him taking his time to draw out the scene before he commits the murder.
  • Anakin uses The Force to strangle Padme into unconsciousness. Anakin stares at Padme with a very dark and hateful look in his eyes, then raises his hand as though pinching the air. Padme grabs her throat gasping for breath, and several seconds later she collapses to the floor.
  • The final lightsabre battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan is brutal and vicious, with images of Anakin/Vader strangling Obi-Wan, Anakin and Obi-Wan punching and kicking each other in the face and body, both striking blows at each other with their lightsabres. The fight takes place over a huge river of molten lava, and there is a strong sense of threat or menace, including very dramatic music. The scene goes on for quite a while and the final image is of Anakin/Vader somersaulting over the top of Obi-Wan, as Obi-Wan wields his lightsabre and Anakin falls to the ground in a heap.
  • At the same time as this fight is going on, Palpatine and Yoda are also fighting with lightsabres. The fight is carried out quite high up in the Senate chamber with the threat of a long fall.
  • The next image is of Anakin/Vader lying on the ground at the edge of the river of lava. Both of his legs have been severed and one of his arms. As Anakin uses his one remaining arm to crawl up the bank, the remains of his ruined torso catch fire; the fire starts at the bottom and works its way up until his ruined body is engulfed. Finally a wave of lava washes over his burning torso. The last image is of a completely ruined body with the flesh left raw, burnt and smouldering; the image is explicit.

Where is the conversation that all of us in Woodstock and in America should be having about the spiritual and social effects of such violence? Just as there is a direct line from America's colonial Indian wars to its first overseas imperial venture in the Phillipines, there is a direct line from Star Wars to the war in Iraq, where the boys who grew up on this orgy of simulated carnage now man the gunships and tanks that maneuver not through the outer reaches of the solar system, but Fallujah, Mosul, Karballah.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

American Revolutionaries

Taking just one day to celebrate America's revolutionary heritage seems rather stingy, so I thought I might go "beyond main street" to look at an American revolutionary who usually doesn't get to share the limelight with Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin. Neither the Huguenot night-rider nor the Founding Fathers can come close to the incendiary ambitions of Michael Ledeen, "Freedom Scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute. Ledeen is one revolutionary guy, and oddly enough, I found out just how revolutionary in a surprising source, The American Conservative, whose June 30, 2003 issue includes an article, "Flirting with Fascism," by John Laughland.

Laughland opens his article with a quote from Ledeen's latest book, The War Against the Terror Masters:

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.

On first blush you might wonder if Ledeen's inspiration for such violent rhetoric comes from Leon Trotsky or Aleister Crowley. Ledeen covertly proclaimed Trotsky as his ideological mentor with his 1996 book, Freedom Betrayed, whose title is a hagiographic echo of Trotsky’s Revolution Betrayed. Ledeen explains that “America is a revolutionary force” because the American Revolution is the only revolution in history that has succeeded, the French and Russian revolutions having quickly collapsed into terror. Consequently, “[O]ur revolutionary values are part of our genetic make-up . . We drive the revolution because of what we represent: the most successful experiment in human freedom. . . We are an ideological nation, and our most successful leaders are ideologues.”

Ledeen's other books reveal just how revolutionary a fellow he is. In Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago, Ledeen declares that "Change -- above all violent change -- is the essence of human history."

The chief theorist of the neoconservative cabal is a fan of some other Italians beside Machiavelli: in 1976, he wrote a worshipful biography of Italian fascist Gabrielle D'Annunzio, and in his masterwork, Universal Fascism (1972), (in which he critizes Mussolini for not being revolutionary enough), he calls Berto Ricci—the editor of the fascist newspaper L’Universale– “brilliant” and “an example of enthusiasm and independence."

I guess that Ledeen's love of Italy was cultivated while serving as visiting professor of history, University of Rome, Italy (1975-1977) and as Rome correspondent with The New Republic (1975-1977). Those are the credits listed on the AEI site, but it seems that he was up to some "creative destruction" of his own in those years. In the wake of the August 2, 1980 Bologna train station bombing that killed 81 people and injured 200 others, Italian intelligence officials testified that the bombing had been planned by a coalition of British, Swiss, and American operatives. According to Barbara Honegger's October Surprise (1989), when Italian police raided the home of Licio Gelli, the grandmaster of Rome's extreme right-wing Masonic Lodge, P2, Michael Ledeen offered to buy the list of 953 P2 members in an attempt to keep it from becoming public. Along with his own name, the list included his friends Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig.

Ledeen's biography on the AEI site shows his Italy junket followed by posts as Senior staff member, Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies (1977-1981) and "Special adviser to the Secretary of State (1981-1982). That would be Secretary of State Alexander Haig. His "special advice" was on "anti-terrorism."

Jeff Wells has stayed on Ledeen's trail –both the possibility of Ledeen's involvement with the Yellow Cake/Niger affair and Nicola Caspari's murder by American troops in Iraq– over at the Rigorous Intuition blog. Of course, the most recent unfolding of the "Italian connection" seems to be the seizure by 13 wildly uncautious CIA agents of Osama Nasr Mostafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, from a Muslim community in Milan.

The degree to which secret societies bent on global domination are emerging into the open is quite astonishing to me, although given the torpor of the mainstream media, they are easily hiding in plain sight. The "outing" of these sinister outfits seems to be more and more thanks to the students of esotericism, from dedicated bloggers to scholars. For an example of the new 007, see the most recent issue of Esoterica, for an article by Ohio State University's Hugh Urban: "RELIGION AND SECRECY IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION : The Gentleman, the Prince, and the Simulacrum."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Independence Day


I looked around to see who else was not reciting the pledge of allegiance yesterday at the opening of Woodstock's Independence Day celebration, but was stunned to see that all hands were over hearts, with full attention directed at the flag. Folks didn't even seem to see the irony of Pepsi's plethora of red, white and blue advertisements plastered beside Old Glory. Before riding my bike down to the gathering, I had had fantasies of creating some sort of guerilla theater to draw attention to the lamentable state of the nation on this its 229th birthday. A giant puppet of Dubya breathing fire or dribbling goo out of his smirking mouth. Or a Karl Rove garagantuan papier maché mock up running amok with the legs and torso of outed and offed CIA agents sticking out of his demonic mouth. . .

I settled for a straight ahead reading of the Declaration of Independence to the convivial crowd assembled on the high school lawn for a pre-fireworks picnic. Sabrina Brown promised that next year I could read it to the whole crowd. This birth certificate for the American nation is powerful prose at any time, but particularly now, when our government has become a monstrous caricature of the imperial behemoth from which the signers were declaring their independence. The 4th has come and gone, but it's not too late to renew your acquaintance with the "unanimous declaration" of 1776.

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces 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. --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. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

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; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. 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.