*Update: several readers have brought to my attention some confusion over the author of this piece. To clarify, it is not a quote from one of the Signers, but rather a tribute I wrote as if I had been a Signer.

My fellow Countrymen,

There has been laid before us this day a most honorable Document, offspring of the vigorous mental powers of our dear Mr. Jefferson, a Declaration of Independence of these United Colonies from their Mother Country, Great Britain. Each of us here present has given careful consideration to the Document at hand, and each of us comprehends the gravity of what this Declaration entails. As for me though, Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I shall sign this Declaration. But before so doing, I should like to lay before you my reasons for which I shall here affix my name.

          First. —The words of this Document are true. By no means of exaggeration have we put forth these twenty-seven Grievances that have been committed against us by His Majesty—indeed, we have kept ourselves from that peculiar tendency of Man. In such instances as this, in which the innocent must defend himself, the inclination of the aggrieved party would be to exaggerate the wrong done, that by so pleading his case, he might fix the heart of the mediator upon himself. But nay, Gentlemen—not so in this case. As the Almighty Himself is our Judge, we have, as true and honorable Men, purposed to set before His Majesty an accurate depiction of the wrongs he has suffered us to bear.

          Second. —We have, to the best of our abilities, put forth a clear and coherent Document. It addresses the reasons of why we, as a People, have deemed it necessary to declare our Independence. It specifically lists each grievance committed against us by His Majesty. And it concludes with our clear and righteous intentions of breaking the ties that bind us to His Majesty’s Empire, thereby declaring our right to become a free and independent Nation. This, Gentlemen, is a most comprehensible Document. Indeed, he who cannot grasp our aim here is a sorry fellow indeed, and in some sense, must be subject to the mental ills of lunacy.

          Third. —In short, the timing of the submittance of this document is crucial to the welfare of our Country. We have borne the King’s injustices long enough. Who knows what may happen that by a non-consensus of the honorable Gentlemen here present, we should be forced to re-draft a similar Document and thus waste precious time in making our intentions known to His Majesty. Yes, Gentlemen, time is of the essence. I beseech you all, as fellow inhabitants of these aforesaid United Colonies, to sign your names to this our Declaration of Independence, trusting Divine Providence that whatever may come to pass as a result of this Declaration, is His perfect and inerrant Will.

This Declaration of our Independence issues forth a new era for the good People of this fair Land. We embark on a journey that shall carry us through uncharted territory; the axe has been laid to the root of the tree—our work is set before us. But “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. So then, with God and you, Gentlemen, as my witnesses, I here affix my name to this most veritable Document—signed in blood, as it were: I do pledge my Life, my Liberty, and my sacred Honor.

Copyright © 2016 Sarah E. Dautel