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.
The British had encouraged slave and Indian revolts against the colonists. For example, in 1775, Lord Dunmore of Virginia, swore to members of the Virginia House of Burgesses that if "any Injury or insult were offered to himself" he would "declare Freedom to the Slaves, and reduce the City of Williamsburg to Ashes." The governors of North and South Carolina also were planning similar uprisings. General Gage, commander in chief of the British army in America, tried to persuade various of the Indian tribes to attack the colonists.
In Jefferson's original version of the Declaration, this charge was followed by a long passage condemning King George for having failed to suppress the slave trade to America. According to Jefferson's autobiography, Congress struck the passage from the final version of the Declaration in deference to South Carolina and Georgia, who wanted to continue the slave trade with Africa.
This is the stricken passage: "He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."
One should note that Jefferson states that slavery violates the "most sacred rights of human nature," and is totally unworthy of the "Christian king of Great Britain." Also, the use of the word "MEN," written in capital letters, is important. Some Americans today believe that the Declaration's assertion that "all men are created equal" applies only to males, despite the common usage in Jefferson's time of "man" to mean both "human being" and "male." Accordingly, they think that Jefferson and the rest of the Founders meant to exclude women and blacks from the political equality that is one of America's founding principles. However, when Jefferson refers to a "market where MEN are bought and sold," it seems reasonable to assume that he was using "men" in its generic sense, "human being"; for he obviously knew that both women and men were enslaved.