At 2 P.M. on 1 March 1919, the 33 nationalists who formed the core of the Samil Movement convened at Taehwagwan Restaurant in Seoul, and read the Korean Declaration of Independence that had been drawn up by the historian/writer Choe Nam-seon and the poet/Buddhist monk Manhae (also known as Han Yongun). The nationalists initially planned to assemble at Tapgol Park in downtown Seoul, but they chose a more private location out of fear that the gathering might turn into a riot. The leaders of the movement signed the document and sent a copy to the Japanese Governor General, with their compliments.
"We herewith proclaim the independence of Korea and the liberty of the Korean people. We tell it to the world in witness of the equality of all nations and we pass it on to our posterity as their inherent right. We make this proclamation, having back of us 5,000 year of history, and 20,000,000 of a united loyal people. We take this step to insure to our children for all time to come, personal liberty in accord with the awakening consciousness of this new era. This is the clear leading of God, the moving principle of the present age, the whole human race's just claim. It is something that cannot be stamped out, or stifled, or gagged, or suppressed by any means. "