(from John Adams by David McCullough. . . on Thomas Jefferson's writing of 'the declaration' in 1776)
". . . He borrowed readily from his own previous writing, particularly from a recent draft for a new Virginia constitution, but also from a declaration of rights for Virginia, which appeared in the Pennsylvania Evening Post on June 12. It had been drawn up by George Mason, who wrote that "all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights. . . among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty." And there was a pamphlet written by the Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson, published in Philadelphia in 1774, that declared, "All men are, by nature equal and free: no one has a right to any authority over another without his consent: all lawful government if founded on the consent of those who are subject to It.". . . (John Adams commenting)I was delighted with its high tone and flights of oratory with which it abounded, especially that concerning Negro slavery, which, though I knew his southern brethren would never suffer to pass in Congress, I certainly would never oppose. . ."
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