Editor’s note: On June 14, 1776, inhabitants of the town of Acton, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, apparently left out of an earlier opportunity “to express their minds with respect to the important question of American Independence,” make it clear here that they are ready to break from Britain, convinced as they are that “the present age will be deficient in their duty to God, to their posterity, and themselves, if they do not establish an American Republick.”
SIR: Our not being favoured with the resolution of the late honourable House of Representatives, calling upon the several towns in this Colony to express their minds with respect to the important question of American Independence, is the occasion of our not expressing our minds sooner; but we cheerfully embrace this opportunity to instruct you on that important question. The subverting our Constitution, the many injuries and unheard-of barbarities which these Colonies have received from Great Britain, confirm us in the opinion that the present age will be deficient in their duty to God, to their posterity, and themselves, if they do not establish an American Republick. This is the only form of Government we wish to see established. But we mean not to dictate. We freely submit this interesting affair to the wisdom of the honourable Continental Congress, who we trust are guided and directed in these important affairs by the Supreme Governour of the world; and we entreat you, sir, to give them the strongest assurances that, if they should declare America to be a free and independent Republick, your constituents will defend the measure with their lives and fortunes.
We further entreat you that you do nothing to subvert the laws concerning the settling and maintaining Gospel ministers; but, on the contrary, that you do all you can to uphold them in their full power.
Source: American Archives, A Documentary History of the English Colonies of North America, Vol. 6, Fourth Series, Peter Force, ed., Washington, D.C.: M. St. Claire Clark and Peter Force, 1846, p. 702
Recommended Reading: American Scripture: The Making of the Declaration of Independence, Pauline Maier, New York: Knopf, 1997