On May 4th, 1776, a full two months before the rest of the new nation, the Rhode Island General Assembly formally declared independence from Great Britain. Of course, Rhode Island was already in a state of rebellion by that point, as the declaration came four years after the Gaspee affair, and a year after the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

On that day, the RI legislature published a document entitled “An Act Repealing an Act Intituled [sic], ‘An Act for the More Effectual Securing to His Majesty the Allegiance of His Subjects in this His Colony and Dominion of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations;’ and Altering the Form of Commissions, of All Writs and Processes in the Courts, and of the Oaths Prescribed by Law.”

We know, very wordy. The message however was clear – no more allegiance to the King of England.

There are only two copies of the original document known to exist, the photo below is shared from the Rhode Island Historical Society.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...