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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
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972

Page 972

PREAMBLE TO THE VIRGINIA CONSTITUTION

Whereas, the delegates and representatives of the good people of Virginia, in convention
assembled, on the twenty-ninth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven
hundred and seventy-six, reciting and declaring, that whereas George the Third, King of
Great Britain and Ireland, and Elector of Hanover, before that time intrusted with the
exercise of the kingly office in the government of Virginia, had endeavored to pervert the
same into a detestable and insupportable tyranny, by putting his negative on laws the most
wholesome and necessary for the public good; by denying his governors permission to pass
laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation for his assent,
and when so suspended, neglecting to attend to them for many years; by refusing to pass
certain other laws unless the persons to be benefited by them would relinquish the inalienable
right of representation in the legislature; by dissolving legislative assemblies, repeatedly and
continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions of the rights of the people; when
dissolved by refusing to call others for a long space of time, thereby leaving the political
system without any legislative head; by endeavoring to prevent the population of our country,
and for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; by keeping among
us, in time of peace, standing armies and ships of war; by affecting to render the military
independent of and superior to the civil power; by combining with others to subject us to a
foreign jurisdiction giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation for quartering
large bodies of armed troops among us; for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
for imposing taxes on us without our consent; for depriving us of the benefit of trial by
jury; for transporting us beyond the seas for trial for pretended offences; for suspending
our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all
cases whatsoever; by plundering our seas, ravaging our coasts, burning our towns, and destroying
the lives of our people; by inciting insurrection of our fellow-subjects with the
allurements of forfeiture and confiscation; by prompting our negroes to rise in arms among
us—those very negroes whom, by an inhuman use of his negative, he had refused us permission
to exclude by law; by endeavoring to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the
merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of
all ages, sexes and conditions of existence; by transporting hither a large army of foreign
mercenaries to complete the work of death, desolation and tyranny, then already begun, with
circumstances of cruelty and perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation; by answering
our repeated petitions for redress with a repetition of our injuries; and finally, by abandoning the
helm of government and declaring us out of his allegiance and protection—by which several
acts of misrule, the government of this country, as before exercised under the crown of
Great Britain, was totally dissolved—did, therefore, having maturely considered the premises,
and viewing with great concern the deplorable condition to which this once happy country
would be reduced unless some regular, adequate mode of civil policy should be speedily
adopted, and in compliance with the recommendation of the general Congress, ordain and
declare a form of government of Virginia.

—Poore's Federal and State Constitutions.