State of New Jersey,
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, THE INSTITUTION, RULES
AND REGULATIONS OF THE GENERAL SOCIETY, GEN-
ERAL OFFICERS, OFFICERS OF NEW JERSEY
SOCIETY, BY-LAWS, ROLL OF MEMBERS,
TRENTON, N. J. :
THE JOHN L. MURPHY PUBLISHING COMPANY, PRINTERS,
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF THE
THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes
necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands
which have connected them with another, and to assume
among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal
station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's
God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes
which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Crea-
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tor with certain unalienable rights, that among these
are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to
secure these rights, Governments are instituted among
Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed, That whenever any form of Government be-
comes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to* abolish it, and to institute new
Government, laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long
established should not be changed for light and transient
causes ; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that
mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are
sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the
forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long
train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably
the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under
absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to
throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards
for their future security. Such has been the patient
sufferance of these Colonies ; and such is now the neces-
sity which constrains them to alter their former Systems
of Government. The history of the present King of
Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usur-
pations, all having in direct object the establishment of
an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this,
let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most whole-
some and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of im-
mediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in
their operation till his Assent should be obtained ; and
when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommo-
dation of large districts of people, unless those people
would relinquish the right of Representation in the
Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable
to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies .at places
unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository
of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing
them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly,
for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the
rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolu-
tions, to cause others to be elected ; whereby the Legis-
lative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned
to the People at large for their exercise ; the State re-
maining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of
invasion from Without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of
these States ; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for
Naturalization of Foreigners ; refusing to pass others
to encourage their migration hither, and raising the
conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by
refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone,
for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and pay-
ment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent
hither swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat
out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing
Armies without the Consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the Military independent
of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a juris-
diction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged
by our laws ; giving his Assent to their Acts of pre-
tended Legislation :
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us :
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punish-
ment for any Murders which they should commit on
the Irxhabitants 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 in many cases, of the benefits of
Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pre-
tended offences :
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a
.neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary
government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to ren-
der it at once an example and fit instrument for intro-
ducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies :
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most
valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms
of our Governments :
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring
themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in
all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us
out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt
our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign
mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation
and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cru-
elty, & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbar-
ous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive
on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to
become the executioners of their friends and Brethren,
or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us,
and has endeavoured 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 and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Peti-
tioned for Redress in the most humble terms : Our re-
peated Petitions have been answered only by repeated
injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by
every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the
ruler of a free People.
Nor have We been wanting in attention to our Brit-
ish brethren. We have warned them from time to
time of attempts by their legislature to extend an un-
warrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded
them of the circumstances of our emigration and settle-
ment here. We have appealed to their native justice
and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the
ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpa-
tions, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections
and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the
voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, there-
fore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our
Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of man-
kind, Enemies in W T ar, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united
States of America, in General Congress, Assembled,
appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the
rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by
Authority of the good People of these Colonies, sol-
emnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies
are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent
States ; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to
the British Crown, and that all political connection
between them and the State of Great Britain, is and
ought to be totally dissolved ; and that as Free and
Independent States, they have full Power to levy War,
conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,
and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent
States may of right do. And for the support of this
Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of
Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other
our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
JOSIAH BARTLETT, MATTHEW THORNTON.
SAML. ADAMS, ROBT. TREAT PAINE,
JOHN ADAMS, ELBRIDGE GERRY.
STEP. HOPKINS, WILLIAM ELLERY.
ROGER SHERMAN, WM. WILLIAMS,
SAM'EL HUNTINGTON, OLIVER WOLCOTT.
WM. FLOYD, FRANS. LEWIS,
PHIL. LIVINGSTON, LEWIS MORRIS.
RICHD. STOCKTON, JOHN HART,
JNO. WlTHERSPOON, ABRA. CLARK.
ROBT. MORRIS, JAS. SMITH,
BENJAMIN RUSH, GEORGE TAYLOR,
BENJA. FRANKLIN, JAMES WILSON,
JOHN MORTON, GEO. Ross.
CESAR RODNEY, THO. M'KEAN.
SAMUEL CHASE, THOS. STONE,
WM. PACA, CHARLES CARROLL of
GEORGE WYTHE, THOS. NELSON, jr.,
RICHARD HENRY LEE, FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT
TH JEFFERSON, LEE,
BENJA. HARRISON, CARTER BRAXTON.
WM. HOOPER, JOHN PENN.
EDWARD RUTLEDGE, THOMAS LYNCH, Junr.,
THOS. HEYWARD, Junr., ARTHUR MIDDLETON,
BUTTON GWINNETT, GEO. WALTON.
CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN ARMY CANTONMENT OF THE AMERI-
CAN ARMY, ON HUDSON'S RCVER, MAY K)TH, 1783.
PROPOSALS for establishing a Society, upon principles
therein mentioned, whose Members shall be officers
of the American Army, having been communicated
to the several regiments of the respective lines, they
appointed an officer from each, who, in conjunction
with the general officers, should take the same into
consideration at their meeting this day, at which the
Honorable MAJOR GENERAL BARON DE STEUBEN,
the senior officer present, was pleased to preside.
The proposals being read, fully considered, paragraph
by paragraph, and the amendments agreed to, MAJOR
GENERAL KNOX, BRIGADIER GENERAL HAND, BRIGA-
DIER GENERAL HUNTINGTON and CAPTAIN SHAW, were
chosen to revise the same, and prepare a copy to be laid
before this assembly at their next meeting, to be holden
at MAJOR GENERAL BARON DE STEUBEN'S quarters, on
Tuesday, the 13th instant.
Tuesday 13th May, 1783.
The representatives of the American Army being
assembled, agreeably to adjournment, the plan for estab-
lishing a Society, whereof the officers of the American
Army are to be members, is accepted, and is as follows,
"It. having pleased the Supreme Governor of the
Universe, in the disposition of human affairs, to cause
the separation of the colonies of North America from
the domination of Great Britain, and, after a bloody
conflict of eight years, to establish them free, independ-
ent and sovereign States, connected, by alliances founded
on reciprocal advantage, with some of the great princes
and powers of the earth.
" To perpetuate, therefore, as well the remembrance
of this vast event, as the mutual friendships which have
been formed under the pressure of common danger, and,
in many instances, cemented by the blood of the parties,
the officers of the American Army do hereby, in the
most solemn manner, associate, constitute and combine
themselves into one SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, to endure as
long as they shall endure, or any of their eldest male
posterity, and, in failure thereof, the collateral branches
who may be judged worthy of becoming its supporters
" The officers of the American Army having gene-
rally been taken from the citizens of America, possess
high veneration for the character of that illustrious
Roman, Lucius QUINTIUS CINCINNATUS ; and being re-
solved to follow his example, by returning to their citi-
zenship, they think they may with propriety denomi-
nate themselves >
gfce ^ocietjg of tftje Cincinnati.
"THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES SHALL BE IMMUTA-
BLE AND FORM THE BASIS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE
"AN INCESSANT ATTENTION TO PRESERVE INVIOLATE
THOSE EXALTED RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES OF HUMAN
NATURE FOR WHICH THEY HAVE FOUGHT AND BLED,
AND WITHOUT WHICH THE HIGH RANK OF A RATIONAL
BEING IS A CURSE INSTEAD OF A BLESSING.
"AN UNALTERABLE DETERMINATION TO PROMOTE
AND CHERISH, BETWEEN THE RESPECTIVE STATES, THAT
UNION AND NATIONAL HONOR SO ESSENTIALLY NECES-
SARY TO THEIR HAPPINESS, AND THE FUTURE DIGNITY
OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE.
"TO RENDER PERMANENT THE CORDIAL AFFECTION
SUBSISTING AMONG THE OFFICERS. THIS SPIRIT WILL
DICTATE BROTHERLY KINDNESS IN ALL THINGS, AND
PARTICULARLY, EXTEND TO THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL
ACTS OF BENEFICENCE, ACCORDING TO THE ABILITY OF
THE SOCIETY, TOWARDS THOSE OFFICERS AND THEIR
FAMILIES, WHO UNFORTUNATELY MAY BE UNDER THE
NECESSITY OF RECEIVING IT.
" The General Society will, for the sake of frequent
communications, be divided into State Societies, and
these again into such districts as shall be directed by
the State Society.
" The Societies of the districts to meet as often as
shall be agreed upon by the State Society, those of the
State on the fourth day of July annually, or oftener, if
they shall find it expedient, and the General Society on
the first Monday in May, annually, so long as they
shall deem it necessary, and afterwards, at least once in
every three years.
"At each meeting, the principles of the Institution
will be fully considered, and the best measures to pro-
mote them adopted.
" The State Societies will consist of all the members
resident in each State respectively ; and any member
removing from one State to another, is to be considered,
in all respects, as belonging to the Society of the State
in which he shall actually reside.
" The State Societies to have a President, Vice-Presi-
dent, Secretary, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer, to
be chosen annually, by a majority of votes, at the State
" Each State meeting shall write annually, or oftener,
if necessary, a circular letter, to the other State Societies,
noting whatever they may think worthy of observation,
respecting the good of the Society, or the general union
of the States, and giving information of the officers
chosen for the current year; copies of these letters
shall be regularly transmitted to the Secretary-General
of the Society, who will record them in a book to be
assigned for that purpose.
" The State Society will regulate everything respect-
ing itself and the Societies of its districts consistent with
the general maxims of the Cincinnati, judge of the
qualifications of the members who may be proposed,
and expel any member who, by a conduct inconsistent
with a gentleman and a man of honor, or by an oppo-
sition to the interests of the community in general, or
the Society in particular, may render himself unworthy
to continue a member.
" In order to form funds which may be respectable,
and assist the unfortunate, each officer shall deliver to
the Treasurer of the State Society one month's pay,
which shall remain for ever to the use of the State
Society ; the interest only of which, if necessary, to be
appropriated to the relief of the unfortunate.
" Donations may be made by persons not of the
Society, and by members of the Society, for the express
purpose of forming permanent funds for the use of the
State Society, and the interests of these donations ap-
propriated in the same manner as that of the month's
" Moneys, at the pleasure of each member, may be
subscribed in the Societies of the districts, or the State
Societies, for the relief of the unfortunate members, or
their widows and orphans, to be appropriated by the
State Society only.
" The meeting of the General Society shall consist of
its officers and a representation from each State Society,
in number not exceeding five, whose expenses shall be
borne by their respective State Societies.
" In the general meeting, the President, Vice-Presi-
dent, Secretary, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurers-
General, shall be chosen, to serve until the next
"The circular letters which have been written by
the respective State Societies to each other, and their
particular laws, shall be read and considered, and all
measures concerted which may conduce to the general
intendment of the Society.
" It is probable that some persons may make donations
to the General Society, for the purpose of establishing
funds for the further comfort of the unfortunate, in
which case, such donations must be placed in the hands
of the Treasurer-General, the interests only of which
to be disposed of, if necessary, by the general meeting.
"All the officers of the American army, as well
those who have resigned with honor, after three years
service in the capacity of officers, or who have been
deranged by the resolutions of Congress, upon the sev-
eral reforms of the army, as those who shall have con-
tinued to the end of the war, have the right to become
parties to this Institution ; provided that they subscribe
one month's pay, and sign their names to the general
rules, in their respective State Societies, those who are
present with the Army immediately, and others within
six months after the Army shall be disbanded, extraor-
dinary cases excepted ; the rank, time of service, reso-
lution of Congress by which any have been deranged,
and place of residence must be added to each name
and as a testimony of affection to the memory and the
offspring of such officers as have died in the service,
their eldest male branches shall have the same right of
becoming members, as the children of the actual mem-
bers of the Society.
" Those officers who are foreigners, not resident in
any of the States, will have their names enrolled by
the Secretary-General, and are to be considered as
members in the Societies of any of the States in which
they may happen to be.
"And as there are, and will at all times be, men in
the respective States eminent for their abilities and
patriotism, whose views may be directed to the same
laudable objects with those of the Cincinnati, it shall
be a rule to admit such characters, as Honorary Mem-
bers of the Society, for their own lives only : Provided
always, That the number of Honorary members, in
each State, does not exceed a ratio of one to four of the
officers or their descendants.
" Each State Society shall obtain a list of its mem-
bers, and at the first annual meeting, the State Secre-
tary shall have engrossed, on parchment, two copies of
the Institution of the Society, which every member
present shall sign, and the Secretary shall endeavor to
procure the signature of every absent member ; one of
those lists to be transmitted to the Secretary-General
to be kept in the archives of the Society, and the other
to remain in the hands of the State Secretary. From
the State lists, the Secretary-General must make out,
at the first general meeting, a complete list of the whole
Society, with a copy of which he will furnish each State
" The Society shall have an Order, by which its
members shall be known and distinguished, which
shall be a medal of gold, of a proper size to receive the
emblems, and suspended by a deep blue riband two
inches wide, edged with white, descriptive of the union
of France and America, viz. :
"The principal figure, Cincinnatus : Three Senators presenting him
with a sword and other military ensigns on a field in the back-ground,
his wife standing at the door of their Cottage near it a plough and
instruments of husbandry. Round the whole, Omnia Reliquit Servare
Rempublicam. On the reverse, sun rising a city with open gates, and
vessels entering the port Fame crowning CINCINNATUS with a wreath,
inscribed Virtutis Praemium. Below, hands joined, supporting a heart,
with the motto, Esto Perpetua. Round the whole, Societas Cincinnatorum
Instituta. A. D. 1783."
The Society, deeply impressed with a sense of the
generous assistance this country has received from
France, and desirous of perpetuating the friendships
which have been formed, and so happily subsisted,
between the officers of the allied forces, in the prose-
cution of the war, direct, that the President-General
transmit, as soon as may be, to each of the characters
hereafter named, a medal containing the Order of the
Society, viz. :
His Excellency the CHEVALIER DE LA LUZERNE, Min-
His Excellency the SIEUR GERARD, late Minister Pleni-
The COUNT DE ESTAING,
The COUNT DE GRASSE,
The COUNT DE BARRAS,
The CHEVALIER DE TOUCHES,
Admirals and Commanders in the Navy,
His Excellency the COUNT DE ROCHAMBEAU, Com-
mander in Chief,
And the Generals and Colonels of his army, and
acquaint them, that the Society does itself the honor to
consider them members.
Resolved, That a copy of the aforegoing Institution be
given to the senior officer of each State line, and that
the officers of the respective State lines sign their names
to the same, in manner and form following, viz. :
"We, the subscribers, officers of the American army,
do hereby voluntarily become parties to the foregoing
Institution, and do bind ourselves to observe, and be
governed by, the principles therein contained. For the
performance whereof we do solemnly pledge to each
other our sacred honor.
" Done in the Cantonment, on Hudson's river, in the
That the members of the Society, at the time of sub-
scribing their names to the Institution, do also sign a
draft on the Paymaster-General, in the following terms
(the regiments to do it regimentally, and the generals
and other officers not belonging to regiments, each for
himself, individually), viz.:
"To JOHN PIERCE, Esquire, Pay- Master- General to the
Army of the United States.
Sir: Please to pay to Treasurer for the
State association of the Cincinnati, or his order, one
month's pay of our several grades respectively, and
deduct the same from the balance which shall be found
due to us on the final liquidation of our accounts ; for
which this shall be your warrant."
That the members of the several State Societies
assemble as soon as may be, for the choice of their
President and other officers ; and that the Presidents
correspond together, and appoint a meeting of the offi-
cers who may be chosen for each State, in order to pur-
sue such further measures as may be judged necessary.
That the General officers, and the officers delegated
to represent the several corps of the Army, subscribe to
the Institution of the General Society, for themselves
and their constituents, in the manner and form before
That GENERAL HEATH, GENERAL BARON DE STEU-
BEN, and GENERAL KNOX, be a committee to wait on
his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, with a copy
of the Institution, and request him to honor the Society
by placing his name at the head of it.
That MAJOR GENERAL HEATH, second in command
in this Army, be, and he hereby is, desired to transmit
copies of the Institution, with the proceedings thereon,
to the commanding officer of the Southern Army, the
senior officer in each State, from Pennsylvania to Geor-
gia, inclusive, and to the commanding officer of the
Rhode Island line, requesting them to communicate the
same to the officers under their several commands, and
to take such measures as may appear to them necessary
for expediting the establishment of their State Societies,
and sending a delegation to represent them in the first
general meeting, to be holden on the first Monday in
The meeting then adjourned without day.
EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES OF THE CONVENTION FOR ESTABLISHING
THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI, HELD AT THE CAN-
TONMENT OF THE AMERICAN ARMY,
19TH OF JUNE, 1783.
The BARON DE STEUBEN communicated a letter from
Major L'ENFANT, enclosing a design for the medal and
order, containing the emblems of the Institution,
Resolved, That the bald eagle, carrying the emblems
on its breast, be established as the order of the Society,
and that the ideas of Major L'ENFANT, respecting it
and the manner of its being worn by the members, be
adopted. That the order be of the same size, and in