Natick’s “Resolve for Independence” in 1776
The men and women of Natick saw the revolution coming, and they added their patriotic voices to the clamor for “peace, liberty, and safety…to be restored and established in our once happy land.”
On June 20, 1776—two weeks before the Declaration of Independence was approved in Philadelphia by the Second Continental Congress—the Natick Town Meeting endorsed Natick’s own “Resolve for Independence.” Similar public commitments were being made in almost 60 towns throughout Massachusetts, and elsewhere in the colonies. In Natick, Rev. Stephen Badger, Captain John Coolidge, and Daniel Morse IV used the dense patriotic style of their time to draft the “Resolve,” putting “our lives and fortunes” on the line to support the anticipated action of the Congress in resisting the “glaring impropriety, incapacity and fatal tendency” of King George III and the British government “to legislate for these Colonies.” The Natick patriots were ready to fight for their independence if necessary.
Natick’s “Resolve for Independence”
“At a meeting of the town of Natick, June 20, 1776, legally warned, in consequence of a resolve of the late House of Representatives being laid before the Town, setting forth their sense of the obligations that lie upon every town in this Colony solemnly to engage to support with their lives and fortunes the honourable Continental Congress, should said Congress, for the safety of the Colonies, come into the measure of declaring themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, it was unanimously
Voted, That, in consideration of the many acts of the British Parliament, passed at divers sessions of the same, within about thirteen years past, relating to said Colonies, especially those within the two or three last years, by which every idea of moderation, justice, humanity, and Christianity are entirely laid aside, and those principles and measures adopted and pursued which would disgrace the most unenlightened and uncivilized tribe of aboriginal natives in the most interior part of this extensive continent; and also, in consequence of the glaring impropriety, incapacity, and fatal tendency, of any State whatever, at the distance of three thousand miles, to legislate for these Colonies, which at the same time are so numerous, so knowing, and so capable of legislating; or to have a negative [veto] upon those laws which they in their respective Assemblies, and by their united representation in General Congress, shall, from time to time, want and establish for themselves; and upon divers other considerations, which, for brevity’s sake, we omit to mention—we, the inhabitants of Natick, in town-meeting assembled, do hereby declare, agreeable to the tenor of the aforementioned resolve, that, should the honorable Continental Congress declare these American Colonies independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, we will, with our lives and fortunes, join with the other inhabitants of this Colony, and with those of the other Colonies, in supporting them in such measure, which we look upon to be both important and necessary, and which, if we may be permitted to suggest an opinion, the sooner it is come into the fewer difficulties we shall have to contend with, and the grand objects of peace, liberty, and safety, will be more likely speedily to be restored and established in our once happy land.”
[Natick Town Meeting approved it on June 20, 1776]
Selected sources and additional reading:
Natick Historical Society collections.
Maier, Pauline. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. New York: Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc., 1998.