“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
—The Unanimous Declaration of the
Thirteen United States of America
As I write I am sitting in Pitt County, North Carolina, where in 1775 my ancestor Matthias Moore signed along with his fellow citizens a declaration to King George III, called subsequently after the next year’s fateful declaration “The Pitt County Declaration of Independence.” Yet in reading the text I am struck by a fundamental difference from Jefferson’s document:
We the Freeholders and inhabitants of the county of Pitt and town of Martinborough, being deeply affected with the present alarming state of this Province and all America—Do Resolve that we will pay all due allegiance to his majesty King George the third and endeavor to continue the succession of his crown in the Illustrious house of Hanover as by law established, against the present or any future wicked ministry, or arbitrary set of men whatsoever, at the same time we are determined to assert our rights as men and sensible that by the late acts of Parliament the most valuable...