Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence
he has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good:
he has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate & pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has neglected utterly to attend to them.
he has refused to pass other laws for the accomodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation, a right inestimable to them, & formidable to tyrants alone:
he has dissolved Representative houses repeatedly & continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people:
he has refused for a long space of time to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, & convulsions within:
he has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither; & raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands:
he has suffered the administration of justice totally to cease in some of these colonies, refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers:
he has made our judges dependant on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and amount of their salaries:
he has erected a multitude of new offices by a self-assumed power, & sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people & eat out their substance:
he has kept among us in times of peace standing armies & ships of war:
he has affected to render the military, independant of & superior to the civil power:
he has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions and unacknoleged by our laws; giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;
for protecting them by a mock-trial from punishment for any murders they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
for imposing taxes on us without our consent;
for depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury;
for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences:
for taking away our charters, & altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;
for suspending our own legislatures & declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:
he has abdicated government here, withdrawing his governors, & declaring us out of his allegiance & protection:
he has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns & destroyed the lives of our people:
he is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation & tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty & perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation:
he has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, & conditions of existence:
he has incited treasonable insurrections in our fellow-subjects, with the allurements of forfeiture & confiscation of our property:
he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
Dft (DLC). Endorsed by TJ, late in life, “Independance. Declaration of original Rough draught.”
The text here presented approximates its state at the time TJ transcribed it from the manuscript of which the Fragment was a part (Document II; Boyd, Declaration of Independence, 1945, p. 18–22) and before John Adams took off the copy in his own handwriting (MS in Adams Manuscript Trust, Boston; facsimile in Boyd, pl. IV). The “Rough draught” includes changes made in the text in the various stages of its evolution—changes made by TJ himself, by Adams and Franklin, who were consulted separately, by the Committee or by Congress. The separation of the alterations made in these various stages has been traced in Hazelton, p. 306–42; Becker, ch. IV; and Boyd, p. 28–38. TJ’s indication of the changes made during the progress of the text at its various stages may be seen in Document IV in the present sequence of texts (printed above with TJ’s Notes of Proceedings in the Continental Congress, 7 June to 1 Aug. 1776). The alterations made in the text as here presented, with the possible exception of that indicated in note 9, were probably made by TJ in the course of making the “Rough draught”; this was certainly true of those indicated in notes 13–16.
 TJ first wrote “of” and then changed it to “by.”
 The phrase “sacred & undeniable” was changed to “self-evident” before Adams made his copy. This change has been attributed to Franklin, but the opinion rests on no conclusive evidence, and there seems to be even stronger evidence that the change was made by TJ or at least that it is in his handwriting (Boyd, Declaration of Independence, 1945, p. 22–3).
 The word “in” was deleted before “rights”; TJ may have started to write “inherent.”
 The word “subject” was changed to “reduce”; this, however, was not an interlineation but was a correction made on the same line, a clear evidence that the alteration was made at the time TJ wrote out the “Rough draught.”
 The phrase “to arbitrary power” was changed, in a sequence of two alterations, to “under absolute Despotism,” the first alteration being made by TJ so that, when Adams made his copy, the phrase read “under absolute power.” Franklin made the second change, substituting “Despotism” for “power.”
 The phrase “in the legislature” was interlined after the word “representation”; this change was probably made in the course of copying the “Rough draught,” for “in the legislature” occurs at the same point in Document I.
 The word “alone” was changed to read “only.” This change, like that indicated in notes 1, 10, and 12, was made by expunging or erasing one word while the ink was still wet and overwriting the substituted word; thus all three of these changes were probably made by TJ in the course of copying the “Rough draught.”
 The phrase “he has dissolved” was struck out at the beginning of this line; it is obvious that TJ had started to repeat the preceding sentence-a clear evidence that he was copying from an earlier draft (Boyd, Declaration of Independence, 1945, p. 26).
 Here an alteration was made by John Adams. After Adams had interlined, with a caret, the words “after such Dissolutions” and had transcribed the document as it stood with these alterations, TJ then crossed out the words “space of time” and prefixed “time” to Adams’ interlineation.
 TJ originally wrote “fellowsubjects,” copying the term from the corresponding passage in the first page of the First Draft of the Virginia Constitution; then, while the ink was still wet on the “Rough draught” he expunged or erased “subjects” and wrote “citizens” over it. The fact that he made the same change in Document I is evidence that he was using that document as the composition text for this part of the Declaration.
 The words “determined to keep open a market where men should be bought & sold” were bracketed in the “Rough draught” and then interlined at the point indicated; Adams copied the clause at the same point. TJ subsequently deleted the brackets, crossed out the interlined repetition of the words after “commerce,” and thus restored the original reading. While, therefore, the text at this point does not reflect its state at the time the Adams copy was written, it does give the text in the order in which TJ first copied it in the “Rough draught.” Congress, of course, struck out the entire passage.
 TJ first wrote the figure “12” and then, as in the changes indicated in notes 1, 7, and 10, wrote the word “twelve” over it, the correction being made in the course of copying.
 TJ changed “in a separate state” to “separately” in the “Rough draught”; then altered both that and the passage in Document II to read “apart from them”; this was the form which Adams copied. Thus we are able to follow TJ here in turning to two alternative readings in the “Rough draught” before going back to the text of Document II to record the one that finally satisfied him.