"Kings or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness... We claim them from a higher source -- from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives."
by:
John Dickinson
(1732-1808) signed the Constitution and a member of the Continental Congress
Date:
1766
Source:
An Address to the Committee of Correspondence in Barbados, 1766
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Reader comments about this quote:
Dickinson was dead set against even debating the issue of American independence in the Continental Congress and would not sign the Declaration of Independence. He was a loyalist to the King of England. I find his comments hypocritical.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Dickinson indeed favored reconciliation over separation from England. Following the adoption of the Declaration, though, he at times led 10,000 militia in the revolution, presided over the state of Pennsylvania, wrote the "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" that earned him the sobriquet Penman of the Revolution. Regardless of the fact that of all the members of the Continental Congress his was the only signature absent from the Declaration, his understanding of liberty and the origin of human rights was profound.
     -- John Anderson, Tacoma     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    Not shooting the messenger for any reason, as a stand a lone statement - ABSOLUTELY ! ! ! We hold the truth to be self evident ! ! !
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Jefferson considered Dickinson one of the greatest patriots.
    Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou has received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
    Scatter thou the people that delight in war. Ascribe ye strength unto God. For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
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