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Mendon Musings

With the Fourth of July being celebrated this week, and it being Mendon's 350th anniversary year, it seems only fitting to take a look back in history – to March 1, 1773, when a Mendon Town Meeting passed 19 "resolves," including these:

Resolved, That all men have naturally an Equal Right to Life, Liberty and Property.

Resolved, That all just and lawful Government must necessarily originate in the free Consent of the People.

Resolved, That the Good, Safety and Happiness of the People is the great end of Civil Government, and must be considered as the only rational object in all Original Compacts and Political Institutions.

Resolved, That a principle of Self Preservation, being deeply planted by the God of Nature in every human breast, is as necessary not only to the well being of Individuals, but also to the Order of the Universe, as Attraction and Cohesion are to the preservation of material bodies and the order of the Natural World, Therefore,

Resolved, That a Voluntary Renunciation of any Powers or Privileges, included or necessarily connected with a principle of Self Preservation is necessarily acting counter to the Great Author of Nature, the Supreme Legislator, Therefore,

Resolved, That a Right to Liberty and Property (which is one of the Natural Means of Self Preservation) is absolutely unalienable, and can never, lawfully, be given up by ourselves or taken from us by others.

Resolved, That the claim of the Parliament of Great Britain to the power of Legislation for the Colonies, in all cases whatever, is extremely alarming and threatens the total deprivation of every thing that is dear and valuable in life, and is, we humbly conceive, abhorrent from the spirit and genius of the British Constitution which is Liberty; destructive of the Immunities and Privileges granted us in our Royal Charter, which assures to the Inhabitants of this Province all the Liberties and Immunities of free and natural born subjects of England; and in reality is not reconcilable to the most obvious principles of Reason, as it subjects us to a State of Vassalage and denies those essential Natural Rights, which, being the gift of GOD ALMIGHTY, is not in the power of man to alienate.

The remainder of the resolves is – like the Declaration of Independence – a list of the particular grievances the colonists had against their British rulers. The Mendon Resolves – as they are known today – clearly foreshadow the more widely known document we celebrate on this week's holiday.

We take pride that "the little Town of Mendon" came up with the ideas first, even if the majority of history textbooks ignore that fact.

Note: I am indebted to the work of local historians Richard Grady and John Trainor for making the Mendon Resolves more widely known. A complete list of them can be found at: http://www.hope1842.com/mendonresolves1773.html




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