Sunday, May 7, 2017

Governor Jonathan Trumbull and Connecticut's Declaration of Independence, June 18, 1776.

The United States of America declared its Independence on July 4, 1776, 
but did you know the State of Connecticut declared its Independence on June 18, 1776?

Engraving after John Trumbull's "The Signing of the Declaration of Independence."[1]

 JUNE 18, 1776

The Revolutionary Spirit was evident in Connecticut, when on June 16, 1776, the General  Assembly directed our delegates to the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, to vote for Independence.  This was followed two days later with a Proclamation by Jonathan Trumbull, the Patriot Governor, which has become known as Connecticut’s Declaration of Independence.   The text of the Proclamation follows as reprinted from a contemporary broadside in the public records of the Colony of Connecticut. [2]

By the Honorable Jonathan Trumbull, Esq; Governor and Commander
 in Chief of the English Colony of Connecticut in New England.     

The Race of Mankind was made in a State of Innocence and Freedom, subjected only to the Laws of God the Creator, and through his rich Goodness, designed for virtuous Liberty and Happiness here and forever; and when moral Evil was introduced into the World, and Man had corrupted his Ways before God, Vice and Iniquity came in like a Flood, and Mankind became exposed, and a prey to the Violence, Injustice and Oppression of one another. God, in great Mercy, inclined his People to form themselves into Society, and to set up and establish civil Government for the Protection and Security of their Lives and Properties from the Invasion of wicked Men: But through Pride and Ambition, The King’s and Princes of the World, appointed by the People the Guardians of their Lives and Liberties, early and almost universally, degenerated into Tyrants, and by Fraud or Force betrayed and wrested out of their Hands the very Rights and Properties they were appointed to protect and defend.  But a small Part of the Human Race maintained and enjoyed any tolerable Degree of Freedom. Among those happy Few the Nation of Great-Britain was distinguished, by a Constitution of Government wisely framed and modelled, to support the Dignity and Power of the Prince, for the Protection of the Rights of the People; and under which, that Country in long Succession, enjoyed great Tranquility and Peace, though not unattended with repeated and powerful Efforts, by many of it’s haughty Kings, to destroy the constitutional Rights of the People, and establish arbitrary Power and Dominion.  In one of those convulsive Struggles, our Forefathers having suffered in that, their native Country, great and variety of Injustice and Opression, left their dear Connections and Enjoyments, and fled to this then inhospitable Land, to secure a lasting Retreat from civil and religious Tyranny.

The God of Heaven favored and prospered their Undertaking — made Room for their Settlement — increased and multiplied them to a very numerous People, and inclined succeeding King’s to indulge them and their Children for many Years, the unmolested Enjoyment of the Freedom and Liberty they fled to inherit: But, an unnatural King has risen up — violated his sacred Obligations, and by the Advice of evil Counsellors, attempted to wrest from us, their Children, the sacred Rights we justly claim, and which have been ratified and established by solemn Compact with, and recognized by, his Predecessors and Fathers, King’s of Great-Britain — laid upon us Burdens too heavy and grievous to be born, and issued many cruel and oppressive Edicts, depriving us of our natural, lawful, and most important Rights, and subjecting us to the absolute Power and Control of himself, and the British Legislature; against which we have sought Relief by humble, earnest and dutiful Complaints and Petitions: But, instead of obtaining Redress, our Petitions have been treated with Scorn and Contempt, and fresh injuries heaped upon us, while hostile Armies and Ships are sent to destroy and lay waste our Country.    In this distressing Dilemma, having no Alternative but absolute Slavery, or successful Resistance; this, and the United American Colonies, have been constrained by the over-ruling Laws of Self-Preservation, to take up Arms for the Defence of all that is sacred and dear to Freemen, and make their solemn Appeal to Heaven for the Justice of their Cause, and resist Force by Force.

GOD ALMIGHTY has been pleased, of his infinite Mercy, to succeed our Attempts, and give us many Instances of signal Success and Deliverance; but the Wrath of the King is still increasing, and not content with before employing all the Force which can be sent from his own Kingdom to execute his cruel Purposes, has procured, and is sending all the Mercenaries he can obtain from foreign Countries, to assist in extirpating the Rights of America and with their’s, almost all the Liberty remaining among Mankind.

In this most critical and alarming Situation, this, and all the Colonies, are called upon, and earnestly pressed, by the honorable CONGRESS of the American Colonies, united for mutual Defence, to raise a large additional Number of their Militia and able Men, to be furnished and equiped with all possible Expedition, for Defence against the soon expected Attack and Invasion of those who are our Enemies without a Cause.  In chearful Compliance with which Request, and urged by Motives the most cogent and important that can affect the human Mind, the General Assembly of this Colony have freely and unanimously agreed and resolved, that upwards of Seven Thousand able and effective Men be immediately raised, furnished and equipped, for the great and interesting Purposes aforesaid.  And not Desirous that any should go to a Warfare at their own Charges, (though equally interested with others) for Defence of the great and all-important Cause in which we are engaged, have granted large and liberal Pay and Encouragements, to all who shall voluntarily undertake for the Defence of themselves and their Country, as by their Acts may appear.

I Do THEREFORE, by and with the Advice of the Council, and at the Desire of the Representatives in General Court assembled, issue this PROCLAMATION, and make the solemn Appeal of said Assembly to the Virtue and public Spirit of the good People of this Colony.  Affairs are hastening fast to a Crisis, and the approaching Campaign will, in all Probability, determine forever the Fate of America.  If this should be successful on our Side, there is little to fear on Account of any other.  Be exhorted to rise, therefore, to superior Exertions on this great Occasion; and let all that are able and necessary, shew themselves ready in behalf of their injured and oppressed Country, and come forth to the Help of the LORD against the Mighty, and convince the unrelenting Tyrant of Britain, that they are resolved to be FREE.  Let them step forth to defend their Wives, their little Ones, their Liberty, and every thing they hold sacred and dear, to defend the Cause of their Country, their Religion and their GOD.  Let every one to the utmost of their Power, lend a helping Hand to promote and forward a Design on which the Salvation of America now evidently depends.  Nor need any be dismayed: the Cause is certainly a just and a glorious one: GOD is able to save us in such Way and Manner as he pleases, and to humble our proud Oppressors.  The Cause is that of Truth and Justice: he has already shewn his Power in our Behalf, and for the Destruction of many of our Enemies. Our Fathers trusted in him and were delivered.  Let us all repent, and thoroughly amend our Ways, and turn to him, put all our Trust and Confidence in him — in his Name go forth, and in his Name set up our Banners, and he will save us with temporal and eternal Salvation.  And while our Armies are Abroad, jeoparding their Lives in the high Places of the Field, let all who remain at Home, cry mightily to GOD for the Protection of his Providence, to shield and defend their Lives from Death, and to crown them with Victory and Success.  And in the Name of the said General Assembly, I do hereby earnestly recommend it to all, both Ministers and People, frequently to meet together for social Prayer to ALMIGHTY GOD, for the out-pouring of his blessed Spirit upon this guilty Land — That he would awaken his People to Righteousness and Repentance — bless our Councils — prosper our Arms, and succeed the Measures using for our necessary Self-Defence — disappoint the evil and cruel devices of our Enemies — preserve our precious Rights and Liberties — lengthen out our Tranquility, and make us a People of his Praise, and the blessed of the LORD, as long as the Sun and Moon shall endure.

And all the Ministers of the Gospel in this Colony, are directed and desired to publish this Proclamation in their several Churches and Congregations, and to enforce the Exhortations therof by their own pious Example and public Instructions.

GIVEN under my Hand, at the Council Chamber in Hartford, the 18th Day of June, Anno Domini 1776.
                                                                     — JONATHAN TRUMBULL. [3]


Connecticut SAR 229th Anniversary of "Connecticut Independence Day" Ceremonies, Commemorating Connecticut's "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776.

June 18, 2005, War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut. 


Connecticut SAR 230th Anniversary of "Connecticut Independence Day" Ceremonies, Commemorating Connecticut's "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776.

June 18, 2006, War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut. 

230th Anniversary Event Flyer.
Connecticut Society Sons of the American Revolution
June 18, 2006

Official State of Connecticut Proclamation, signed by M. Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut, requested by the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), officially proclaiming June 18, 2006 as Connecticut Independence Day.

230th Anniversary Event Ribbon.
Connecticut Society Sons of the American Revolution
June 18, 2006

A full article with photos on the 230th anniversary event titled, "Connecticut Independence Day 1776-2006," by T. M. Jacobs, appeared in the, "Common Patriot, The American Revolutionary War Magazine, Volume I, Issue II, 2006, Pages 17-18. 


Connecticut SAR 234th Anniversary of "Connecticut Independence Day" Ceremonies, Commemorating Connecticut's "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776.

June 19, 2010, War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut. 

Governor Jonathan Trumbull greets an officer of the Connecticut Line
in the council room of the War Office.

Governor Jonathan Trumbull and his Council of Safety meet with officers of the Connecticut Line and Connecticut Militia in the council room of the War Office (North Room).

"But within, it was divided, as seen but a few years ago, into two apartments - - one of which, that on the North, was strictly the office-room of the Governor, where he matured his councils -- and the other of which, that on the South, was his store room, and the apartment also in which his messengers and expresses were usually received." [4]

Governor Jonathan Trumbull issues military supplies to the Connecticut troops in
the War Office store room (South Room).

"During the Revolutionary War, Governor Trumbull turned his store in Lebanon into a military depot. Governor Trumbull's store was the famous war office, still preserved. Supplies of all kinds were gathered, weighed, and shipped to the continental army." [5]


Connecticut SAR 240th Anniversary of "Connecticut Independence Day" Exhibit, Commemorating Connecticut's "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776.

June 18, 2016, War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut. 


Connecticut SAR 241st Anniversary of "Connecticut Independence Day" Exhibit, Commemorating Connecticut's "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776.

June 18, 2017, War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut. 


Connecticut SAR 242nd Anniversary of "Connecticut Independence Day" Exhibit, Commemorating Connecticut's "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776
243rd Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill,
First Major Battle of the American Revolution, June 17, 1775

June 17, 2018, War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut. 


Connecticut SAR 243rd Anniversary of "Connecticut Independence Day" Exhibit, 
Commemorating Connecticut's "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776
244th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill,
First Major Battle of the American Revolution, June 17, 1775
242nd Anniversary of the United States Flag (Flag Day), June 14, 1777

June 16, 2019, War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut. 


1. The American Revolution, A Picture Sourcebook, John Grafton, Dover Publications, New York, 1975.
2. Connecticut's Declaration of Independence, June 18, 1776, The Scarlet Standard, Historical Series, Number Five, July 1998.
3. The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, from May, 1775, to June, 1776, inclusive, . . ., Transcribed and Edited by Charles J. Hoadly, LL.D., Hartford, 1890, pages 450-453; Connecticut's Own Declaration of Independence, Phyllis H. Redford, Yankee Magazine, July 1970, pages 143-145. See also: In Olde Connecticut, . . ., Charles Burr Todd, The Grafton Press, New York, 1906, pages 177-185; A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, . . ., Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Volume II, Wilkes-Barre, 1909, pages 874-876; Trumbull's Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence, May, 1776, William Gillis, Connecticut Circle Magazine, Vol. XV, No. 1, January 1952, New London, Conn., pages 23, 61. 
4. Life of Jonathan Trumbull, Sen., Governor of Connecticut," by I. W. Stuart, 1859, Chapter XV, page 183.
5. The Story of Connecticut, Vol. II, 1765-1825, Robert N. Holcomb, The Hartford Times, Hartford, Connecticut, 1936, pages 31-32.

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