The Charter of Barbados which was ratified in Barbados (17th January 1652) has some similarity to the American Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776).

Barbados 1652:

“That no taxes, customs, imports, loans or excise shall be laid, nor levy made on any the inhabitants of this island, without their consent in a General Assembly.”

America 1776:

There shall be no taxation without representation. (See Barbados Forum)

Barbados Connection with the Signers

Arthur Middleton (1742 - 1787)

(Source DSDI)

Arthur Middleton’s great-grandfather, Edward Middleton, was born in 1620 and emigrated with his brother, Arthur Middleton, on the Dorset to Barbados in 1635.  Several decades later, in 1768, Edward Middleton emigrated to the low country of South Carolina, where he became Lord Proprietor’s deputy and assistant justice of the Grand Council, 1768-1684.  He received large grants of land on Goose Creek on which he proceeded to establish a plantation which he named the Oaks.

Lewis Morris (1726-1798)

Lewis Morris (April 8, 1726 — January 22, 1798) was an American landowner and developer from Morrisania, New York. He signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence as a delegate to the Continental Congress for New York.

This Morris was the third to be named Lewis Morris, and was born on the family estate of Morrisania. He was the son of Lewis and Katrintje or Catherine (Staats) Moris. His great grandfather (Richard, died 1672) had immigrated to New York through Barbados after being part of Oliver Cromwell’s army in the English Civil War of 1648. He purchased the first tract of land in the Bronx that became the basis for the Morrisania manor. When Richard and his young wife died, leaving behind an infant son named Lewis, it was Richard’s brother, Colonel Lewis Morris, also of Barbados, who came to Morrisania to help manage the estate formerly belonging to his late-brother and now his infant nephew.

Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814)

Upon graduation Elbridge entered his father’s counting house.  The Gerrys owned their own vessels and shipped dried codfish to the Barbados and Spanish Ports, and returned with bills of exchange and goods.

Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) and his
brother Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797)

May have had a Barbados connection Source

Two signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Arthur Middleton, were from Barbados,

… but it appears to be way back: Lee Lineage, Stories & History (1945)

About 1650 or later three Lee brothers came from England to the Barbados. (These islands still belong to England). After staying there some time they also went to Virginia. Their names were Francis, Timothy, and Joseph. The climate being too severe, they went back to the Barbados, where they married. Francis had a son Thomas who had a very large family. From this father and sons we had seventy men who served in the Civil War. General Stephen D. Lee of S. C., Col. Charles Lee, of North Carolina; Col. P. Lynch Lee of 20th Arkansas; Major Hutton Lee, Chief Quarter-Master Dept. of S. C., Georgia and Florida and many other officers of lower rank as well as several surgeons.

Presidential Connection

George Washington was the President of the US when it declared its independence. George Washington had visited Barbados in 1751 with his older brother Lawrence, who was sorely afflicted with tuberculosis. He stayed at Bush Hill House.

Unfortunately the Barbados trip did not cure Lawrence. He returned to the States and died there from TB. George developed smallpox in Barbados, and his face was badly scarred. (Source: The Health and Medical History of President George Washington)

At age 19 Washington and his half-brother Lawrence spent time on the island of Barbados, hoping the climate would benefit Lawrence. Lawrence was ill with tuberculosis. Around this time George developed a severe case of smallpox, which ultimately left his skin scarred for life. [3e] [7a].

How Strong are the Connections?

There is a long list of influential Americans with Barbadian connections, so it is not a surprise to see that the Declaration of Independence had some Barbadian influence.

George Washington not only visited  Barbados, but had connections with Barbadians as well. The Middletons and Morrises were well connected with Barbados too, but there is not much evidence to show that the two Lee signers were connected.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!