©National Archives

Olive Branch Petition, 1775 The aptly-named Olive Branch Petition represents the last attempt by the moderate party in North America to avoid a war of independence against Britain. It was signed by representatives of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina on 8 July 1775 and presented to King George III. Among the 48 signatories were John Adams, Stephen Hopkins, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others who on 4 July 1776 signed the Declaration of Independence. The petition did not achieve its end and was summarily disregarded by the King. In a speech to Parliament on 26 October 1775, he declared: "It is now become the part of wisdom, and (in its effects) of clemency, to put a speedy end to these disorders by the most decisive exertions." The War of Independence followed soon after.

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