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The Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Federation Congress meeting at Government House in Perth on 3 April 1785, which announced that the Kingdom of Cygnia, which had previously been constituted through the federation of six British Australian colonies, and was at war with the French Republic, regarded itself as a newly independent sovereign state, and no longer under French rule. Thomas Baker was a leader in pushing for independence, which was passed on 18 March with no opposing vote cast, and signed into effect by King George I on 29 March, after a week and a half of persuasion and pressuring by the Congress. A committee of five had already drafted the formal declaration, to be ready when Congress voted on independence. The term "Declaration of Independence" is not used in the document itself.

Thomas Baker persuaded the committee to select Nathaniel Richardson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress would edit to produce the final version. The Declaration was ultimately a formal explanation as to why Congress and the King had chosen on 29 March to declare independence from the French Republic, more than a year after the outbreak of the War of Independence. The next day, Thomas Baker wrote to his wife Mary: "The Twenty-Ninth Day of March 1785 will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of Australia." But Independence Day is actually celebrated on 3 April, the date that the Declaration of Independence was signed.

After ratifying the text on 3 April, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as the printed Dunlap broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost, and may have been a copy in Nathaniel Richardson's hand. Richardson's original draft, complete with changes made by Thomas Baker, Paul Bryan and the King, and Baker's notes of changes made by Congress, are preserved at the Library of Congress. The best known version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is popularly regarded as the official document, is displayed at the Imperial Archives in Northam, TS. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on 10 April, and signed on 2 May.

Full text

In CONGRESS, 3 April, 1785.

The unanimous Declaration of the six Federated States of the Kingdom of Cygnia,

We, the Representatives of the People of the Federated States of the Kingdom of Cygnia in Congress assembled, with the Consent and Blessing of His Majesty the King of Cygnia, have deemed it necessary for our People to dissolve the political bonds which have connected us with the Mother Country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, France and Ireland (May God have Mercy on Her Name).

The history of the so-called "French Republic" is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the United Kingdom which once provided their Members and so-called Citizens all rights and protections pursuant to the status of subjects of the United Kingdom, and by extension an absolute Tyranny over these Federated States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

It is known and here duly noted that in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Three, the Rightful Sovereignty of His Majesty the King over the Kingdom of France was broken illegally and treacherously by those who claimed to represent the People of France. The so-called "National Assembly of the French Republic" proceeded to commit themselves to the treasonous Act of Assuming the Powers that so Rightfully Belonged to His Majesty.

Be it also remembered that after achieving their aim of illegally and treacherously tearing the land of France away from the United Kingdom and her Crown, the so-called "National Assembly of the French Republic" proceeded to lay siege upon the Mother Country Herself. While the Guardians of the Empire, the Armies of His Majesty, valiantly and courageously fought to maintain the integrity and unity of the United Kingdom, such was her fate, as the Armies of the King found themselves unable to stem the tide of treason. And so, with our arms wide open, we welcomed His Majesty to our humble Colonies, and thus we were Federated into our Present Kingdom.

And now, the French Republic seeks to establish its treasonous Dominion over these States, dispatching their so-called "Governors" to extend their ungrateful reach to these golden Lands. In doing this, they have erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People and eat out their Substance.

They have plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people.

They are at this time transporting large Armies to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilised nation.

Such are the acts of this so-called "Republic", a nation supposedly ruled by its people, but whose character is thus marked by every act which may define Tyranny, and is unfit to be the ruler of such a free people as they who live within the borders of these Federated States.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the federated States of the Kingdom of Cygnia, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, and by the Authority of His Majesty the King, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, in Union, a Free and Independent State; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the French Republic, and that all political connection between them and the State of France, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Independent Union, 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, and to His Majesty the King, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.

God Save the King!

Signed this day the Third Day of April, In the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Five, by the Representatives of the Following States in Congress Assembled:

  • State of Carolina
  • State of West Georgia
  • State of East Georgia
  • State of New Zealand
  • State of Avon
  • State of Tasmania
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