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COMMON SENSE BY THOMAS PAINE

Mr. Paine's footnotes are contained within brackets [ ] within the text.

As this is my first attempt at Etext transcriptionI welcome

all comments and suggestions - I trust there shall be many!

I had an especially difficult time keeping margins even as

the word processor I started with could not handle such a large

file and the program I changed to was one I had not used before

so there were some quirks I had not expected. Most of the text

in all caps was in italics in the version of the book I used.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages

are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour;

a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONGgives it a superficial

appearance of being RIGHTand raises at first a formidable outcry

in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides.

Time makes more converts than reason.

As a long and violent abuse of poweris generally the Means

of calling the right of it in question (and in Matters too which

might never have been thought ofhad not the Sufferers been aggravated

into the inquiry) and as the King of England hath undertaken

in his OWN RIGHTto support the Parliament in what he calls THEIRS

and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed

by the combinationthey have an undoubted privilege to inquire into

the pretensions of bothand equally to reject the usurpation of either.

In the following sheetsthe author hath studiously avoided every

thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as

censure to individuals make no part thereof. The wiseand the worthy

need not the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose sentiments

are injudiciousor unfriendlywill cease of themselves unless

too much pains are bestowed upon their conversion.

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.

Many circumstances hathand will arisewhich are not localbut universal

and through which the principles of all Lovers of Mankind are affected

and in the Event of whichtheir Affections are interested.

The laying a Country desolate with Fire and Sworddeclaring War

against the natural rights of all Mankindand extirpating

the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earthis the Concern

of every Man to whom Nature hath given the Power of feeling;

of which Classregardless of Party Censureis the AUTHOR.

P.S. The Publication of this new Edition hath been delayed

with a View of taking notice (had it been necessary)

of any Attempt to refute the Doctrine of Independance:

As no Answer hath yet appearedit is now presumed that none will

the Time needful for getting such a Performance ready for the Public

being considerably past.

Who the Author of this Production isis wholly unnecessary to the Public

as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELFnot the MAN. Yet it may

not be unnecessary to sayThat he is unconnected with any Partyand underno

sort of Influence public or privatebut the influence of reason andprinciple.

PhiladelphiaFebruary 141776

 

 

 

OF THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL.

WITH CONCISE REMARKS ON THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION

 

 

Some writers have so confounded society with government

as to leave little or no distinction between them;

whereas they are not only differentbut have different origins.

Society is produced by our wantsand government by our wickedness;

the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections

the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one

encourages intercoursethe other creates distinctions.

The first a patronthe last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessingbut government even in its best

state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one;

for when we sufferor are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT

which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENTour calamity

is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

Governmentlike dressis the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings

are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses

of conscience clearuniformand irresistibly obeyedman would need

no other lawgiver; but that not being the casehe finds it necessary

to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection

of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every

other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE

security being the true design and end of governmentit unanswerably follows

that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us

with the least expense and greatest benefitis preferable to all others.

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of

governmentlet us suppose a small number of persons settled in some

sequestered part of the earthunconnected with the restthey will

then represent the first peopling of any countryor of the world.

In this state of natural libertysociety will be their first thought.

A thousand motives will excite them theretothe strength of one man

is so unequal to his wantsand his mind so unfitted for perpetual

solitudethat he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of

anotherwho in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would

be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness

but one man might labour out of the common period of life without

accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not

remove itnor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time

would urge him from his workand every different want call him

a different way. Diseasenay even misfortune would be death

for though neither might be mortalyet either would disable him

from livingand reduce him to a state in which he might

rather be said to perish than to die.

Thus necessitylike a gravitating powerwould soon form our newly

arrived emigrants into societythe reciprocal blessings of which

would supersedeand render the obligations of law and government

unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other;

but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to viceit will

unavoidably happenthat in proportion as they surmount the first

difficulties of emigrationwhich bound them together in a common cause

they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other;

and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing

some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.

Some convenient tree will afford them a State-Houseunder the branches

of whichthe whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters.

It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only

of REGULATIONSand be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem.

In this first parliament every manby natural rightwill have a seat.

But as the colony increasesthe public concerns will increase

likewiseand the distance at which the members may be separated

will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on

every occasion as at firstwhen their number was small

their habitations nearand the public concerns few and trifling.

This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave

the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen

from the whole bodywho are supposed to have the same concerns

at stake which those who appointed themand who will act in the

same manner as the whole body would actwere they present.

If the colony continues increasingit will become necessary

to augment the number of the representativesand that the interest

of every part of the colony may be attended toit will be found

best to divide the whole into convenient partseach part sending

its proper number; and that the ELECTED might never form to themselves

an interest separate from the ELECTORSprudence will point out

the propriety of having elections often; because as the ELECTED

might by that means return and mix again with the general body

of the ELECTORS in a few monthstheir fidelity to the public

will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod

for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish

a common interest with every part of the communitythey will

mutually and naturally support each otherand on this (not on

the unmeaning name of king) depends the STRENGTH OF GOVERNMENT

AND THE HAPPINESS OF THE GOVERNED.

Here then is the origin and rise of government; namelya mode rendered

necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world;

here too is the design and end of governmentviz. freedom and security.

And however our eyes may be dazzled with showor our ears deceived by sound;

however prejudice may warp our willsor interest darken our understanding

the simple voice of nature and of reason will sayit is right.

I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature

which no art can overturnviz. that the more simple any thing is

the less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired

when disordered; and with this maxim in viewI offer a few remarks

on the so much boasted constitution of England. That it was noble

for the dark and slavish times in which it was erectedis granted.

When the world was overrun with tyranny the least remove therefrom

was a glorious rescue. But that it is imperfectsubject to convulsions

and incapable of producing what it seems to promiseis easily demonstrated.

Absolute governments (tho' the disgrace of human nature) have this

advantage with themthat they are simple; if the people suffer

they know the head from which their suffering springsknow likewise

the remedyand are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures.

But the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex

that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover

in which part the fault lies; some will say in one and some in another

and every political physician will advise a different medicine.

I know it is difficult to get over local or long standing prejudices

yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the component parts of the

English constitutionwe shall find them to be the base remains of two

ancient tyranniescompounded with some new republican materials.

 

FIRST - The remains of monarchial tyranny in the person of the king.

SECONDLY - The remains of aristocratical tyranny in the persons of the peers.

THIRDLY - The new republican materials in the persons of the commons

on whose virtue depends the freedom of England.

 

The two firstby being hereditaryare independent of the people;

wherefore in a CONSTITUTIONAL SENSE they contribute nothing towards

the freedom of the state.

To say that the constitution of England is a UNION of three powers

reciprocally CHECKING each otheris farcicaleither the words have

no meaningor they are flat contradictions.

To say that the commons is a check upon the kingpresupposes two things:

FIRST - That the king is not to be trusted without being looked after

or in other wordsthat a thirst for absolute power is the natural

disease of monarchy.

SECONDLY - That the commonsby being appointed for that purpose

are either wiser or more worthy of confidence than the crown.

But as the same constitution which gives the commons a power to check

the king by withholding the suppliesgives afterwards the king a power

to check the commonsby empowering him to reject their other bills;

it again supposes that the king is wiser than those whom it has already

supposed to be wiser than him. A mere absurdity!

There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of monarchy;

it first excludes a man from the means of informationyet empowers him

to act in cases where the highest judgment is required. The state of a king

shuts him from the worldyet the business of a king requires him to know

it thoroughly; wherefore the different partsby unnaturally opposing

and destroying each otherprove the whole character to be absurd and useless.

Some writers have explained the English constitution thus: The king

say theyis onethe people another; the peers are a house in behalf

of the kingthe commons in behalf of the people; but this hath all

the distinctions of a house divided against itself; and though

the expressions be pleasantly arrangedyet when examined

they appear idle and ambiguous; and it will always happen

that the nicest construction that words are capable of

when applied to the description of some thing which either

cannot existor is too incomprehensible to be within

the compass of descriptionwill be words of sound only

and though they may amuse the earthey cannot inform the mind

for this explanation includes a previous questionviz.

HOW CAME THE KING BY A POWER WHICH THE PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO TRUST

AND ALWAYS OBLIGED TO CHECK? Such a power could not be the gift

of a wise peopleneither can any powerWHICH NEEDS CHECKING

be from God; yet the provisionwhich the constitution makes

supposes such a power to exist.

But the provision is unequal to the task; the means either cannot

or will not accomplish the endand the whole affair is a felo de se;

for as the greater weight will always carry up the lessand as all

the wheels of a machine are put in motion by oneit only remains to know

which power in the constitution has the most weightfor that will govern;

and though the othersor a part of themmay clogoras the phrase is

check the rapidity of its motionyet so long as they cannot stop it

their endeavours will be ineffectual; the first moving power will

at last have its wayand what it wants in speedis supplied by time.

That the crown is this overbearing part in the English constitution

needs not be mentionedand that it derives its whole consequence

merely from being the giver of places and pensionsis self-evident

whereforethough we have been wise enough to shut and lock a door

against absolute monarchywe at the same time have been foolish

enough to put the crown in possession of the key.

The prejudice of Englishmen in favour of their own government by king

lordsand commonsarises as much or more from national pride than reason.

Individuals are undoubtedly safer in England than in some other countries

but the WILL of the king is as much the LAW of the land in Britain

as in Francewith this differencethat instead of proceeding directly

from his mouthit is handed to the people under the more formidable shape

of an act of parliament. For the fate of Charles the First hath only made

kings more subtle - not more just.

Whereforelaying aside all national pride and prejudice

in favour of modes and formsthe plain truth isthat

IT IS WHOLLY OWING TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE

AND NOT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT

that the crown is not as oppressive in England as in Turkey.

An inquiry into the CONSTITUTIONAL ERRORS in the English form

of government is at this time highly necessary; for as we are never

in a proper condition of doing justice to otherswhile we continue under

the influence of some leading partialityso neither are we capable of

doing it to ourselves while we remain fettered by any obstinate prejudice.

And as a man. who is attached to a prostituteis unfitted to choose

or judge a wifeso any prepossession in favour of a rotten constitution

of government will disable us from discerning a good one.

 

 

 

OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION

 

 

Mankind being originally equals in the order of creationthe equality

could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance; the distinctions

of richand poormay in a great measure be accounted forand that without

having recourse to the harshill-sounding names of oppression and avarice.

Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCEbut seldom or never the MEANS of riches;

and though avarice will preserve a man from being necessitously poor

it generally makes him too timorous to be wealthy.

But there is another and greater distinctionfor which no truly natural

or religious reason can be assignedand that isthe distinction of men

into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male and female are the distinctions of nature

good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into

the world so exalted above the restand distinguished like some new species

is worth inquiring intoand whether they are the means of happiness

or of misery to mankind.

In the early ages of the worldaccording to the scripture chronology

there were no kings; the consequence of which wasthere were no wars;

it is the pride of kings which throw mankind into confusion. Holland

without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last century than any

of the monarchial governments in Europe. Antiquity favours the same

remark; for the quiet and rural lives of the first patriarchs hath

a happy something in themwhich vanishes away when we come to the

history of Jewish royalty.

Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the

Heathensfrom whom the children of Israel copied the custom.

It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot

for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honours

to their deceased kingsand the Christian world hath improved

on the planby doing the same to their living ones. How impious

is the title of sacred majesty applied to a wormwho in the midst

of his splendor is crumbling into dust!

As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified

on the equal rights of natureso neither can it be defended on the

authority of scripture; for the will of the Almightyas declared

by Gideon and the prophet Samuelexpressly disapproves of government

by kings. All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have been very smoothly

glossed over in monarchical governmentsbut they undoubtedly merit the

attention of countries which have their governments yet to form.

RENDER UNTO CAESAR THE THINGS WHICH ARE CAESAR'S is the scripture

doctrine of courtsyet it is no support of monarchical government

for the Jews at that time were without a kingand in a state of vassalage

to the Romans.

Now three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic account of the

creationtill the Jews under a national delusion requested a king.

Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases

where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic administered

by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none

and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title

but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous

homage which is paid to the persons of kingshe need not wonder that

the Almightyever jealous of his honourshould disapprove of a form

of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.

Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews

for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them.

The history of that transaction is worth attending to.

The children of Israel being oppressed by the MidianitesGideon

marched against them with a small armyand victorythrough the

divine interpositiondecided in his favour. The Jewselate with

successand attributing it to the generalship of Gideon

proposed making him a kingsayingRULE THOU OVER USTHOU AND THY

SON AND THY SON'S SON. Here was temptation in its fullest extent;

not a kingdom onlybut an hereditary onebut Gideon

in the piety of his soul repliedI WILL NOT RULE OVER YOU

NEITHER SHALL MY SON RULE OVER YOU _THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU._

Words need not be more explicit; Gideon doth not decline the honour

but denieth their right to give it; neither doth he compliment them

with invented declarations of his thanksbut in the positive style

of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper Sovereign

the King of heaven.

About one hundred and thirty years after thisthey fell again into

the same error. The hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous

customs of the Heathensis something exceedingly unaccountable; but

so it wasthat laying hold of the misconduct of Samuel's two sons

who were entrusted with some secular concernsthey came in an abrupt

and clamorous manner to SamuelsayingBEHOLD THOU ART OLDAND THY

SONS WALK NOT IN THY WAYSNOW MAKE US A KING TO JUDGE USLIKE ALL

OTHER NATIONS. And here we cannot but observe that their motives

were badviz. that they might be LIKE unto other nationsi.e. the

Heathenswhereas their true glory laid in being as much UNLIKE them

as possible. BUT THE THING DISPLEASED SAMUEL WHEN THEY SAIDGIVE US

A KING TO JUDGE US; AND SAMUEL PRAYED UNTO THE LORDAND THE LORD

SAID UNTO SAMUELHEARKEN UNTO THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IN ALL THAT

THEY SAY UNTO THEEFOR THEY HAVE NOT REJECTED THEEBUT THEY HAVE

REJECTED ME_THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM._ ACCORDING TO

ALL THE WORKS WHICH THEY HAVE SINCE THE DAY THAT I BROUGHT THEM

UP OUT OF EGYPTEVEN UNTO THIS DAY; WHEREWITH THEY HAVE FORSAKEN ME

AND SERVED OTHER GODS; SO DO THEY ALSO UNTO THEE. NOW THEREFORE HEARKEN

UNTO THEIR VOICEHOWBEITPROTEST SOLEMNLY UNTO THEM AND SHEW THEM

THE MANNER OF THE KING THAT SHALL REIGN OVER THEMI.E. not of any

particular kingbut the general manner of the kings of the earth

whom Israel was so eagerly copying after. And notwithstanding the

great distance of time and difference of mannersthe character is

still in fashion. AND SAMUEL TOLD ALL THE WORDS OF THE LORD UNTO

THE PEOPLETHAT ASKED OF HIM A KING. AND HE SAIDTHIS SHALL BE

THE MANNER OF THE KING THAT SHALL REIGN OVER YOU; HE WILL TAKE YOUR

SONS AND APPOINT THEM FOR HIMSELFFOR HIS CHARIOTSAND TO BE HIS

HORSEMANAND SOME SHALL RUN BEFORE HIS CHARIOTS (this description

agrees with the present mode of impressing men) AND HE WILL APPOINT

HIM CAPTAINS OVER THOUSANDS AND CAPTAINS OVER FIFTIESAND WILL SET THEM

TO EAR HIS GROUND AND REAP HIS HARVESTAND TO MAKE HIS INSTRUMENTS OF WAR

AND INSTRUMENTS OF HIS CHARIOTS; AND HE WILL TAKE YOUR DAUGHTERS

TO BE CONFECTIONARIESAND TO BE COOKS AND TO BE BAKERS

(this describes the expense and luxury as well as the oppression

of kings) AND HE WILL TAKE YOUR FIELDS AND YOUR OLIVE YARDS

EVEN THE BEST OF THEMAND GIVE THEM TO HIS SERVANTS;

AND HE WILL TAKE THE TENTH OF YOUR SEEDAND OF YOUR VINEYARDS

AND GIVE THEM TO HIS OFFICERS AND TO HIS SERVANTS

(by which we see that briberycorruptionand favouritism

are the standing vices of kings) AND HE WILL TAKE THE TENTH

OF YOUR MEN SERVANTSAND YOUR MAID SERVANTSAND YOUR

GOODLIEST YOUNG MEN AND YOUR ASSESAND PUT THEM TO HIS WORK;

AND HE WILL TAKE THE TENTH OF YOUR SHEEPAND YE SHALL BE HIS SERVANTS

AND YE SHALL CRY OUT IN THAT DAY BECAUSE OF YOUR KING WHICH YE SHALL HAVE

CHOSEN_AND THE LORD WILL NOT HEAR YOU IN THAT DAY._

This accounts for the continuation of monarchy;

neither do the characters of the few good kings which have lived since

either sanctify the titleor blot out the sinfulness of the origin;

the high encomium given of David takes no notice of him

OFFICIALLY AS A KINGbut only as a MAN after God's own heart.

NEVERTHELESS THE PEOPLE REFUSED TO OBEY THE VOICE OF SAMUEL

AND THEY SAIDNAYBUT WE WILL HAVE A KING OVER US

THAT WE MAY BE LIKE ALL THE NATIONSAND THAT OUR KING MAY JUDGE US

AND GO OUT BEFORE USAND FIGHT OUR BATTLES.

Samuel continued to reason with thembut to no purpose; he set before

them their ingratitudebut all would not avail; and seeing them fully

bent on their follyhe cried outI WILL CALL UNTO THE LORD

AND HE SHALL SEND THUNDER AND RAIN (which then was a punishment

being in the time of wheat harvest) THAT YE MAY PERCEIVE AND SEE

THAT YOUR WICKEDNESS IS GREAT WHICH YE HAVE DONE IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD

AND THE LORD SENT THUNDER AND RAIN THAT DAYAND ALL THE PEOPLE GREATLY

FEARED THE LORD AND SAMUEL. AND ALL THE PEOPLE SAID UNTO SAMUEL

PRAY FOR THY SERVANTS UNTO THE LORD THY GOD THAT WE DIE NOT

FOR _WE HAVE ADDED UNTO OUR SINS THIS EVILTO ASK A KING._

These portions of scripture are direct and positive.

They admit of no equivocal construction. That the Almighty

hath here entered his protest against monarchical government

is trueor the scripture is false. And a man hath good reason

to believe that there is as much of kingcraftas priestcraft

in withholding the scripture from the public in Popish countries.

For monarchy in every instance is the Popery of government.

To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession;

and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves

so the secondclaimed as a matter of rightis an insult

and an imposition on posterity. For all men being originally equals

no ONE by BIRTH could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual

preference to all others for everand though himself might deserve SOME

decent degree of honours of his contemporariesyet his descendants might

be far too unworthy to inherit them. One of the strongest NATURAL proofs

of the folly of hereditary right in kingsisthat nature disapproves it

otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by

giving mankind an ASS FOR A LION.

Secondlyas no man at first could possess any other public honours

than were bestowed upon himso the givers of those honours could have

no power to give away the right of posterity. And though they might

say"We chooses you for OUR head" they could notwithoutmanifest

injustice to their childrensay"that your children and your

children's children shall reign over OURS for ever." Because such

an unwiseunjustunnatural compact might (perhaps) in the next

succession put them under the government of a rogue or a fool.

Most wise menin their private sentimentshave ever treated

hereditary right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils

which when once established is not easily removed;

many submit from fearothers from superstition

and the more powerful part shares with the king the plunder of the rest.

This is supposing the present race of kings in the world to have had an

honourable origin; whereas it is more than probablethat could we take

off the dark covering of antiquitiesand trace them to their first rise

that we should find the first of them nothing better than the

principal ruffian of some restless gangwhose savage manners

or preeminence in subtlety obtained the title of chief among plunderers;

and who by increasing in powerand extending his depredations

overawed the quiet and defenseless to purchase their safety

by frequent contributions. Yet his electors could have no idea

of giving hereditary right to his descendantsbecause such a perpetual

exclusion of themselves was incompatible with the free and unrestrained

principles they professed to live by. Whereforehereditary succession

in the early ages of monarchy could not take place as a matter of claim

but as something casual or complemental; but as few or no records were

extant in those daysand traditional history stuffed with fables

it was very easyafter the lapse of a few generationsto trump up some

superstitious taleconveniently timedMahomet liketo cram hereditary

right down the throats of the vulgar. Perhaps the disorders which threatened

or seemed to threatenon the decease of a leader and the choice of a new one

(for elections among ruffians could not be very orderly) induced many

at first to favour hereditary pretensions; by which means it happenedas it

hath happened sincethat what at first was submitted to as a convenience

was afterwards claimed as a right.

Englandsince the conquesthath known some few good monarchs

but groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones; yet no man in his

senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very

honourable one. A French bastard landing with an armed bandittiand

establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives

is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original. It certainly hath no

divinity in it. Howeverit is needless to spend much time in exposing

the folly of hereditary right; if there are any so weak as to believe it

let them promiscuously worship the ass and lionand welcome.

I shall neither copy their humilitynor disturb their devotion.

Yet I should be glad to ask how they suppose kings came at first? The

question admits but of three answersviz. either by lotby election

or by usurpation. If the first king was taken by lotit establishes a

precedent for the nextwhich excludes hereditary succession. Saul was

by lotyet the succession was not hereditaryneither does it appear

from that transaction there was any intention it ever should be. If the

first king of any country was by electionthat likewise establishes a

precedent for the next; for to saythat the RIGHT of all future

generations is taken awayby the act of the first electors

in their choice not only of a kingbut of a family of kings for ever

hath no parallel in or out of scripture but the doctrine of original sin

which supposes the free will of all men lost in Adam;

and from such comparisonand it will admit of no other

hereditary succession can derive no glory. For as in Adam all sinned

and as in the first electors all men obeyed; as in the one all mankind

we re subjected to Satanand in the other to Sovereignty; as our innocence

was lost in the firstand our authority in the last; and as both disable

us from reassuming some former state and privilegeit unanswerably

follows that original sin and hereditary succession are parallels.

Dishonourable rank! Inglorious connection! Yet the most subtle sophist

cannot produce a juster simile.

As to usurpationno man will be so hardy as to defend it; and that

William the Conqueror was an usurper is a fact not to be contradicted.

The plain truth isthat the antiquity of English monarchy will not

bear looking into.

But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession

which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men

it would have the seal of divine authoritybut as it opens a door

to the FOOLISHthe WICKEDand the IMPROPERit hath in it the nature

of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to reign

and others to obeysoon grow insolent; selected from the rest

of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance;

and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large

that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests

and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant

and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

Another evil which attends hereditary succession isthat the throne

is subject to be possessed by a minor at any age; all which time

the regencyacting under the cover a kinghave every opportunity

and inducement to betray their trust. The same national misfortune happens

when a kingworn out with age and infirmityenters the last stage

of human weakness. In both these cases the public becomes a prey

to every miscreantwho can tamper successfully with the follies

either of age or infancy.

The most plausible pleawhich hath ever been offered in favour of

hereditary successionisthat it preserves a nation from civil wars;

and were this trueit would be weighty; whereasit is the most

barefaced falsity ever imposed upon mankind. The whole history of

England disowns the fact. Thirty kings and two minors have reigned

in that distracted kingdom since the conquestin which time there

have been (including the Revolution) no less than eight civil wars

and nineteen rebellions. Wherefore instead of making for peaceit

makes against itand destroys the very foundation it seems to stand on.

The contest for monarchy and successionbetween the houses of York

and Lancasterlaid England in a scene of blood for many years.

Twelve pitched battlesbesides skirmishes and siegeswere fought between

Henry and Edward. Twice was Henry prisoner to Edwardwho in his turn

was prisoner to Henry. And so uncertain is the fate of war and the

temper of a nationwhen nothing but personal matters are the ground

of a quarrelthat Henry was taken in triumph from a prison to a palace

and Edward obliged to fly from a palace to a foreign land; yet

as sudden transitions of temper are seldom lastingHenry in his turn

was driven from the throneand Edward recalled to succeed him.

The parliament always following the strongest side.

This contest began in the reign of Henry the Sixthand was not entirely

extinguished till Henry the Seventhin whom the families were united.

Including a period of 67 yearsviz. from 1422 to 1489.

In shortmonarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only)

but the world in blood and ashes. Tis a form of government which the word

of God bears testimony againstand blood will attend it.

If we inquire into the business of a kingwe shall find that in some

countries they have none; and after sauntering away their lives

without pleasure to themselves or advantage to the nation

withdraw from the sceneand leave their successors to tread

the same idle ground. In absolute monarchies the whole weight of business

civil and militarylies on the king; the children of Israel in their

request for a kingurged this plea "that he may judge usand go out

before us and fight our battles." But in countries where he is neither

a judge nor a generalas in Englanda man would be puzzled to know

what IS his business.

The nearer any government approaches to a republic the less business

there is for a king. It is somewhat difficult to find a proper name

for the government of England. Sir William Meredith calls it a republic;

but in its present state it is unworthy of the namebecause the corrupt

influence of the crownby having all the places in its disposal

hath so effectually swallowed up the powerand eaten out the virtue

of the house of commons (the republican part in the constitution)

that the government of England is nearly as monarchical as that of France

or Spain. Men fall out with names without understanding them.

For it is the republican and not the monarchical part of the constitution

of England which Englishmen glory inviz. the liberty of choosing an house

of commons from out of their own body - and it is easy to see that when

republican virtue failsslavery ensues. Why is the constitution

of England sicklybut because monarchy hath poisoned the republic

the crown hath engrossed the commons?

In England a king hath little more to do than to make war

and give away places; which in plain termsis to impoverish

the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed

for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for

and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man

to society and in the sight of Godthan all the crowned ruffians

that ever lived.

 

 

 

THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF AMERICAN AFFAIRS

 

 

In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts

plain argumentsand common sense; and have no other Preliminaries

to settle with the readerthan that he will divest himself of prejudice

and prepossessionand suffer his reason and his feelings to determine

for themselves; that he will put ONor rather that he will not put OFF

the true character of a manand generously enlarge his views beyond

the present day.

Volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle between

England and America. Men of all ranks have embarked in the controversy

from different motivesand with various designs; but all have been

ineffectualand the period of debate is closed. Armsas the last

resourcedecide this contest; the appeal was the choice of the king

and the continent hath accepted the challenge.

It hath been reported of the late Mr. Pelham (who tho' an

able minister was not without his faults) that on his being

attacked in the house of commonson the scorethat his measures

were only of a temporary kindreplied "THEY WILL LAST MY TIME."

Should a thought so fatal and unmanly possess the colonies

in the present contestthe name of ancestors will be remembered

by future generations with detestation.

The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. 'Tis not

the affair of a citya countya provinceor a kingdombut of

a continent - of at least one eighth part of the habitable globe.

'Tis not the concern of a daya yearor an age; posterity are

virtually involved in the contestand will be more or less

affectedeven to the end of timeby the proceedings now.

Now is the seed-time of continental unionfaith and honour.

The least fracture now will be like a name engraved with the point

of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound will enlarge

with the treeand posterity read it in full grown characters.

By referring the matter from argument to armsa new aera

for politics is struck; a new method of thinking hath arisen.

All plansproposals&c. prior to the nineteenth of April

i. e. to the commencement of hostilitiesare like the almanacs

of the last year; whichthough proper then are superseded

and useless now. Whatever was advanced by the advocates on

either side of the question thenterminated in one and the

same point. viz. a union with Great-Britain: the only difference

between the parties was the method of effecting it; the one

proposing forcethe other friendship; but it hath so far

happened that the first hath failedand the second hath

withdrawn her influence.

As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation which

like an agreeable dreamhath passed away and left us as we were

it is but rightthat we should examine the contrary side

of the argumentand inquire into some of the many material injuries

which these colonies sustainand always will sustain

by being connected withand dependent on Great Britain:

To examine that connection and dependenceon the principles

of nature and common senseto see what we have to trust to

if separatedand what we are to expectif dependant.

I have heard it asserted by somethat as America hath

flourished under her former connection with Great Britain

that the same connection is necessary towards her future

happinessand will always have the same effect.

Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument.

We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk

that it is never to have meator that the first twenty years

of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty.

But even this is admitting more than is truefor I answer roundly

that America would have flourished as muchand probably much more

had no European power had any thing to do with her. The commerce

by which she hath enriched herselfare the necessaries of life

and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.

But she has protected ussay some. That she has engrossed

us is trueand defended the continent at our expense as well

as her own is admittedand she would have defended Turkey

from the same motiveviz. the sake of trade and dominion.

Alaswe have been long led away by ancient prejudices

and made large sacrifices to superstition. We have boasted

the protection of Great Britainwithout considering

that her motive was INTEREST not ATTACHMENT; that she

did not protect us from OUR ENEMIES on OUR ACCOUNT

but from HER ENEMIES on HER OWN ACCOUNTfrom those

who had no quarrel with us on any OTHER ACCOUNT

and who will always be our enemies on the SAME ACCOUNT.

Let Britain wave her pretensions to the continent

or the continent throw off the dependenceand we should

be at peace with France and Spain were they at war with Britain.

The miseries of Hanover last war ought to warn us against connections.

It has lately been asserted in parliamentthat the colonies

have no relation to each other but through the parent country

i. e. that Pennsylvania and the Jerseysand so on for the rest

are sister colonies by the way of England; this is certainly

a very round-about way of proving relationshipbut it is the

nearest and only true way of proving enemyshipif I may so call it.

France and Spain never were. nor perhaps ever will be our enemies

as AMERICANSbut as our being the subjects of GREAT BRITAIN.

But Britain is the parent countrysay some. Then the more shame

upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young

nor savages make war upon their families; wherefore the assertion

if trueturns to her reproach; but it happens not to be true

or only partly so and the phrase PARENT or MOTHER COUNTRY

hath been jesuitically adopted by the king and his parasites

with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias

on the credulous weakness of our minds. Europeand not England

is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum

for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from EVERY PART

of Europe. Hither have they flednot from the tender embraces of the motherbut

from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England

that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home

pursues their descendants still.

In this extensive quarter of the globewe forget the narrow limits

of three hundred and sixty miles (the extent of England)

and carry our friendship on a larger scale; we claim brotherhood

with every European Christianand triumph in the generosity of thesentiment.

It is pleasant to observe by what regular gradations

we surmount the force of local prejudiceas we enlarge

our acquaintance with the world. A man born in any town

in England divided into parisheswill naturally associate most

with his fellow-parishioners (because their interests in many

cases will be common) and distinguish him by the name of NEIGHBOUR;

if he meet him but a few miles from homehe drops the narrow idea

of a streetand salutes him by the name of TOWNSMAN; if he travel out

of the countyand meet him in any otherhe forgets the minor divisions

of street and townand calls him COUNTRYMANi. e. COUNTRYMAN;

but if in their foreign excursions they should associate in France

or any other part of EUROPEtheir local remembrance would be enlarged

into that of ENGLISHMEN. And by a just parity of reasoning

all Europeans meeting in Americaor any other quarter of the globe

are COUNTRYMEN; for EnglandHollandGermanyor Swedenwhen compared

with the wholestand in the same places on the larger scale

which the divisions of streettownand county do on the smaller ones;

distinctions too limited for continental minds. Not one third of

the inhabitantseven of this provinceare of English descent.

Wherefore I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother country applied

to England onlyas being falseselfishnarrow and ungenerous.

But admittingthat we were all of English descentwhat does

it amount to? Nothing. Britainbeing now an open enemy

extinguishes every other name and title: And to say that

reconciliation is our dutyis truly farcical. The first

king of Englandof the present line (William the Conqueror)

was a Frenchmanand half the Peers of England are descendants

from the same country; thereforeby the same method of reasoning

England ought to be governed by France.

Much hath been said of the united strength of Britain and the colonies

that in conjunction they might bid defiance to the world. But this

is mere presumption; the fate of war is uncertainneither do

the expressions mean any thing; for this continent would never suffer

itself to be drained of inhabitantsto support the British arms

in either AsiaAfricaor Europe.

Besides what have we to do with setting the world at defiance?

Our plan is commerceand thatwell attended towill secure us

the peace and friendship of all Europe; becauseit is the

interest of all Europe to have America a FREE PORT. Her trade

will always be a protectionand her barrenness of gold and silver

secure her from invaders.

I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliationto shew

a single advantage that this continent can reapby being connected

with Great Britain. I repeat the challengenot a single advantage

is derived. Our corn will fetch its price in any market in Europe

and our imported goods must be paid forbuy them where we will.

But the injuries and disadvantages we sustain by that connection

are without number; and our duty to mankind at large

as well as to ourselvesinstruct us to renounce the alliance:

Becauseany submission toor dependence on Great Britain

tends directly to involve this continent in European wars and quarrels;

and sets us at variance with nationswho would otherwise seek ourfriendship

and against whomwe have neither anger nor complaint. As Europe is ourmarket

for tradewe ought to form no partial connection with any part of it.

It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European contentions

which she never can dowhile by her dependence on Britain

she is made the make-weight in the scale of British politics.

Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace

and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power

the trade of America goes to ruinBECAUSE OF HER CONNECTION WITH ENGLAND.

The next war may not turn out like the lastand should it not

the advocates for reconciliation nowwill be wishing for separation then

becauseneutrality in that casewould be a safer convoy than a man of war.

Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood

of the slainthe weeping voice of nature cries'TIS TIME TO PART.

Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America

is a strong and natural proofthat the authority of the oneover the other

was never the design of Heaven. The time likewise at which the continent

was discoveredadds weight to the argumentand the manner in which it

was peopled increases the force of it. The reformation was preceded

by the discovery of Americaas if the Almighty graciously meant

to open a sanctuary to the Persecuted in future years

when home should afford neither friendship nor safety.

The authority of Great Britain over this continent

is a form of governmentwhich sooner or later must have an end:

And a serious mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward

under the painful and positive convictionthat what he calls

"the present constitution" is merely temporary. As parents

we can have no joyknowing that THIS GOVERNMENT is not sufficiently

lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity:

And by a plain method of argumentas we are running the next generation

into debtwe ought to do the work of itotherwise we use them meanly

and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly

we should take our children in our handand fix our station a few years

farther into life; that eminence will present a prospectwhich a few

present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offense

yet I am inclined to believethat all those who espouse the doctrine

of reconciliationmay be included within the following descriptions.

Interested menwho are not to be trusted; weak menwho CANNOT see;

prejudiced menwho WILL NOT see; and a certain set of moderate men

who think better of the European world than it deserves;

and this last classby an ill-judged deliberationwill be

the cause of more calamities to this continentthan all the other three.

It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of sorrow;

the evil is not sufficient brought to their doors to make THEM

feel the precariousness with which all American property is possessed.

But let our imaginations transport us far a few moments to Boston

that seat of wretchedness will teach us wisdomand instruct us

for ever to renounce a power in whom we can have no trust.

The inhabitants of that unfortunate citywho but a few months ago

were in ease and affluencehave nowno other alternative than

to stay and starveor turn and beg. Endangered by the fire

of their friends if they continue within the cityand plundered

by the soldiery if they leave it. In their present condition

they are prisoners without the hope of redemptionand in

a general attack for their reliefthey would be exposed

to the fury of both armies.

Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offenses

of Britainandstill hoping for the bestare apt to call out

"COMECOMEWE SHALL BE FRIENDS AGAINFOR ALL THIS."

But examine the passions and feelings of mankind

Bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature

and then tell mewhether you can hereafter lovehonor

and faithfully serve the power that hath carried

fire and sword into your land? If yon cannot do all these

then are you only deceiving yourselvesand by your delay

bringing ruin upon posterity. Your future connection with Britain

whom you can neither love nor honor will be forced and unnatural

and being formed only on the plan of present convenience

will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first.

But if you sayyou can still pass the violations overthen I ask

Hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before

your face! Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on

or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands

and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor! If you have not

then are you not a judge of those who have. But if you have

and still can shake hands with the murderersthen are you unworthy

the name of husbandfatherfriendor loverand whatever

may be your rank or title in lifeyou have the heart of a coward

and the spirit of a sycophant.

This is not inflaming or exaggerating mattersbut trying

them by those feelings and affections which nature justifies

and without whichwe should be incapable of discharging

the social duties of lifeor enjoying the felicities of it.

I mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking revenge

but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbersthat we

may pursue determinately some fixed object. It is not in the

power of Britain or of Europe to conquer Americaif she do

not conquer herself by DELAY and TIMIDITY. The present winter

is worth an age if rightly employedbut if lost or neglected

the whole continent will partake of the misfortune;

and there is no punishment which that man will not deserve

be he whoor whator where he willthat may be the means

of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.

It is repugnant to reasonto the universal order of things

to all examples from former agesto supposethat this

continent can longer remain subject to any external power.

The most sanguine in Britain does not think so. The utmost

stretch of human wisdom cannotat this timecompass a plan

short of separationwhich can promise the continent even

a year's security. Reconciliation is NOW a fallacious dream.

Nature hath deserted the connectionand Art cannot supply

her place. Foras Milton wisely expresses"never can true

reconcilement growwhere wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep."

Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. Our prayers

have been rejected with disdain; and only tended to convince us

that nothing Batters vanityor confirms obstinacy in Kings

more than repeated petitioning-and nothing hath contributed

more than that very measure to make the Kings of Europe absolute:

Witness Denmark and Sweden. Whereforesince nothing but blows will do

for God's sakelet us come to a final separationand not leave

the next generation to be cutting throatsunder the violated

unmeaning names of parent and child.

To saythey will never attempt it again is idle and visionary

we thought so at the repeal of the stamp-actyet a year

or two undeceived us; as well may we suppose that nations

which have been once defeatedwill never renew the quarrel.

As to government mattersit is not in the power of Britain

to do this continent justice: The business of it will soon

be too weightyand intricateto be managed with any tolerable

degree of convenienceby a power so distant from usand so

very ignorant of us; for if they cannot conquer usthey cannot

govern us. To be always running three or four thousand miles

with a tale or a petitionwaiting four or five months

for an answerwhich when obtained requires five or six more

to explain it inwill in a few years be looked upon as folly

and childishness--There was a time when it was proper

and there is a proper time for it to cease.

Small islands not capable of protecting themselves

are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care;

but there is something very absurdin supposing a continent

to be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath

nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet

and as England and Americawith respect to each other

reverses the common order of natureit is evident they belong

to different systems; England to EuropeAmerica to itself.

I am not induced by motives of pridepartyor resentment

to espouse the doctrine of separation and independance;

I am clearlypositivelyand conscientiously persuaded

that it is the true interest of this continent to be so;

that every thing short of THAT is mere patchwork

that it can afford no lasting felicity

--that it is leaving the sword to our children

and shrinking back at a timewhena little more

a little fartherwould have rendered this continent

the glory of the earth.

As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination towards

a compromisewe may be assured that no terms can be obtained

worthy the acceptance of the continentor any ways equal

to the expense of blood and treasure we have been already put to.

The objectcontended forought always to bear some just proportion

to the expense. The removal of Northor the whole detestable junto

is a matter unworthy the millions we have expended. A temporary stoppage

of tradewas an inconveniencewhich would have sufficiently balanced

the repeal of all the acts complained ofhad such repeals been obtained;

hut if the whole continent must take up armsif every man must be a soldier

it is scarcely worth our while to fight against a contemptible ministry only.

Dearlydearlydo we pay for the repeal of the actsif that is all

we fight for; for in a just estimationit is as great a folly to pay

a Bunker-hill price for lawas for land. As I have always considered

the independancy of this continentas an eventwhich sooner or later

must arriveso from the late rapid progress of the continent to maturity

the event could not be far off. Whereforeon the breaking out ofhostilities

it was not worth while to have disputed a matterwhich time would have

finally redressedunless we meant to be in earnest; otherwiseit is like

wasting an estate on a suit at lawto regulate the trespasses of a tenant

whose lease is just expiring. No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation

than myselfbefore the fatal nineteenth of April 1775but the moment

the event of that day was made knownI rejected the hardened

sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever; and disdain the wretch

that with the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE can unfeelingly hear

of their slaughterand composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.

But admitting that matters were now made upwhat would be the event?

I answerthe ruin of the continent. And that for several reasons.

FIRST. The powers of governing still remaining in the hands

of the kinghe will have a negative over the whole legislation

of this continent. And as he hath shewn himself such an

inveterate enemy to liberty. and discovered such a thirst

for arbitrary power; is heor is he nota proper man to say to

these colonies"YOU SHALL MAKE NO LAWS BUT WHAT I PLEASE.'

And is there any inhabitant in America so ignorant as not to know

that according to what is called the PRESENT CONSTITUTION

that this continent can make no laws but what the king gives leave to;

and is there any man so unwiseas not to seethat (considering what

has happened) he will suffer no law to be made herebut such as suit

HIS purpose. We may be as effectually enslaved by the want

of laws in Americaas by submitting to laws made for us in England.

After matters are made up (as it is called) can there be any doubt

but the whole power of the crown will be exertedto keep this continent

as low and humble as possible? Instead of going forward we shall

go backwardor be perpetually quarrelling or ridiculously petitioning.

--WE are already greater than the king wishes us to beand will he not

hereafter endeavour to make us less? To bring the matter to one point.

Is the power who is jealous of our prosperitya proper power to govern us?

Whoever says No to this questionis an INDEPENDANTfor independancy

means no morethanwhether we shall make our own laws

or whether the kingthe greatest enemy this continent hath

or can haveshall tell us "THERE SHALL BE NO LAWS BUT SUCH AS ILIKE."

But the king you will say has a negative in England; the people there

can make no laws without his consent. In point of right and good order

there is something very ridiculousthat a youth of twenty-one

(which hath often happened) shall say to several millions of people

older and wiser than himselfI forbid this or that act of yours to be law.

But in this place I decline this sort of replythough I will never cease

to expose the absurdity of itand only answerthat England being the King's

residenceand America not somakes quite another case. The king's negative

HERE is ten times more dangerous and fatal than it can be in England

for THERE he will scarcely refuse his consent to a bill for putting England

into as strong a state of defense as possibleand in America he would never

suffer such a bill to be passed.

America is only a secondary object in the system of British politics

England consults the good of THIS countryno farther than it answers

her OWN purpose. Whereforeher own interest leads her to suppress

the growth of OURS in every case which doth not promote her advantage

or in the least interferes with it. A pretty state we should soon be in

under such a secondhand governmentconsidering what has happened!

Men do not change from enemies to friends by the alteration of a name:

And in order to shew that reconciliation now is a dangerous doctrine

I affirmTHAT IT WOULD BE POLICY IN THE KING AT THIS TIMETO REPEAL

THE ACTS FOR THE SAKE OF REINSTATING HIMSELF IN THE GOVERNMENT

OF THE PROVINCES; in orderthat HE MAY ACCOMPLISH BY CRAFT AND SUBTLETY

IN THE LONG RUNWHAT HE CANNOT DO BY FORCE AND VIOLENCE IN THE SHORT ONE.

Reconciliation and ruin are nearly related.

SECONDLY. That as even the best termswhich we can expect to obtain

can amount to no more than a temporary expedientor a kind of government

by guardianshipwhich can last no longer than till the colonies come of age

so the general face and state of thingsin the interimwill be unsettled

and unpromising. Emigrants of property will not choose to come to a country

whose form of government hangs but by a threadand who is every daytottering

on the brink of commotion and disturbance; and numbers of the present

inhabitants would lay hold of the intervalto dispense of their effects

and quit the continent.

But the most powerful of all argumentsisthat nothing but independence

i.e. a continental form of governmentcan keep the peace of the continent

and preserve it inviolate from civil wars. I dread the event of a

reconciliation with Britain nowas it is more than probable

that it will be followed by a revolt somewhere or otherthe consequences

of which may be far more fatal than all the malice of Britain.

Thousands are already ruined by British barbarity; (thousands more will

probably suffer the same fate) Those men have other feelings than us who

have nothing suffered. All they NOW possess is libertywhat they before

enjoyed is sacrificed to its serviceand having nothing more to lose

they disdain submission. Besidesthe general temper of the colonies

towards a British governmentwill be like that of a youth

who is nearly out of his time; they will care very little about her.

And a government which cannot preserve the peaceis no government at all

and in that case we pay our money for nothing; and pray what is it that

Britain can dowhose power will he wholly on paper. should a civil

tumult break out the very day after reconciliation! I have heard

some men saymany of whom I believe spoke without thinkingthat they

dreaded an independencefearing that it would produce civil wars.

It is but seldom that our first thoughts are truly correctand that

is the case here; for there are ten times more to dread from a patched up

connection than from independence. I make the sufferers case my own

and I protestthat were I driven from house and homemy property destroyed

and my circumstances ruinedthat as mansensible of injuriesI could never

relish the doctrine of reconciliationor consider myself bound thereby.

The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and obedience

to continental governmentas is sufficient to make every reasonable

person easy and happy on that head. No man can assign the least pretence

for his fearson any other groundsthan such as are truly childish

and ridiculousviz. that one colony will be striving for superiority

over another.

Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority

perfect equality affords no temptation. The republics of Europe

are all (and we may say always) in peace. Holland and Switzerland

are without warsforeign or domestic: Monarchical governments

it is trueare never long at rest; the crown itself is a temptation

to enterprising ruffians at HOME; and that degree of pride and insolence

ever attendant on regal authorityswells into a rupture with foreign powers

in instanceswhere a republican governmentby being formed on more

natural principleswould negotiate the mistake.

If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence

it is because no plan is yet laid down. Men do not see their way out--

Whereforeas an opening into that businessI offer the following hints;

at the same time modestly affirmingthat I have no other opinion

of them myselfthan that they may be the means of giving rise to

something better. Could the straggling thoughts of individuals

be collectedthey would frequently form materials for wise

and able men to improve into useful matter.

LET the assemblies be annualwith a President only.

The representation more equal. Their business wholly domestic

and subject to the authority of a Continental Congress.

Let each colony be divided into sixeightor tenconvenient districts

each district to send a proper number of delegates to Congress

so that each colony send at least thirty. The whole number in Congress

will be at least 390. Each Congress to sit and to choose a president

by the following method. When the delegates are metlet a colony be taken

from the whole thirteen colonies by lotafter whichlet the whole Congress

choose (by ballot) a president from out of the delegates of that province.

In the next Congresslet a colony be taken by lot from twelve onlyomitting

that colony from which the president was taken in the former Congressand so

proceeding on till the whole thirteen shall have had their proper rotation.

And in order that nothing may pass into a law but what is satisfactorily

just not less than three fifths of the Congress to be called a majority--

He that will promote discordunder a government so equally formed as this

would have joined Lucifer in his revolt.

But as there is a peculiar delicacyfrom whomor in what manner

this business must first ariseand as it seems most agreeable

and consistentthat it should come from some intermediate body

between the governed and the governorsthat isbetween the Congress

and the people. let a CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE be heldin the followingmanner

and for the following purpose.

A committee of twenty-six members of Congressviz. two for each colony.

Two Members from each House of Assemblyor Provincial Convention;

and five representatives of the people at largeto be chosen in the capital

city or town of each provincefor and in behalf of the whole province

by as many qualified voters as shall think proper to attend from

all parts of the province for that purpose; orif more convenient

the representatives may be chosen in two or three of the most populous

parts thereof. In this conferencethus assembledwill be united

the two grand principles of business KNOWLEDGE and POWER. The members

of CongressAssembliesor Conventionsby having had experience in

national concernswill be able and useful counsellorsand the whole

being empowered by the peoplewill have a truly legal authority.

The conferring members being metlet their business be to frame

a CONTINENTAL CHARTEROr Charter of the United Colonies;

(answering to what is called the Magna Carta of England) fixing

the number and manner of choosing members of Congressmembers of Assembly

with their date of sittingand drawing the line of business and jurisdiction

between them: (Always rememberingthat our strength is continental

not provincial:) Securing freedom and property to all menand above

all thingsthe free exercise of religionaccording to the dictates

of conscience; with such other matter as is necessary for a charter

to contain. Immediately after whichthe said Conference to dissolve

and the bodies which shall be chosen comformable to the said charter

to be the legislators and governors of this continent for the time being:

Whose peace and happiness may God preserveAmen.

Should any body of men be hereafter delegated for this

or some similar purposeI offer them the following extracts

or that wise observer on governments DRAGONETTI.

"The science" says he "of the politician consists

in fixing the true point of happiness and freedom.

Those men would deserve the gratitude of ages

who should discover a mode of government that contained

the greatest sum of individual happinesswith the least

national expense. [Dragonetti on virtue and rewards]

But wheresays someis the King of America? I'll tell you.

Friendhe reigns aboveand doth not make havoc of mankind

like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear

to be defective even in earthly honorslet a day be solemnly

set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth

placed on the divine lawthe word of God; let a crown be placed thereon

by which the world may knowthat so far we approve of monarchy

that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments

the King is lawso in free countries the law OUGHT to be King;

and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should

afterwards ariselet the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony

be demolishedand scattered among the people whose right it is.

A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man seriously

reacts on the precariousness of human affairshe will become convinced

that it is infinitely wiser and saferto form a constitution

of our own in a cool deliberate mannerwhile we have it in our power

than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.

If we omit it nowsome [Thomas Anello otherwise Massanello

a fisherman of Napleswho after spiriting up his countrymen

in the public marketplaceagainst the oppressions of the Spaniards

to whom the place was then subject prompted them to revolt

and in the space of a day became king.] Massanello may hereafter arise

who laying hold of popular disquietudesmay collect together the desperate

and the discontentedand by assuming to themselves the powers of government

may sweep away the liberties of the continent like a deluge. Should the

government of America return again into the hands of Britainthe tottering

situation of things will be a temptation for some desperate adventurer

to try his fortune; and in such a casethat relief can Britain give?

Ere she could hear the newsthe fatal business might be done;

and ourselves suffering like the wretched Britons under

the oppression of the Conqueror. Ye that oppose independence now

ye know not what ye do; ye are opening a door to eternal tyranny

by keeping vacant the seat of government. There are thousands

and tens of thousandswho would think it glorious

to expel from the continent that barbarous and hellish power

which hath stirred up the Indians and Negroes to destroy us;

the cruelty hath a double guiltit is dealing brutally by us

and treacherously by them.

To talk of friendship with those in whom our reason forbids us

to have faithand our affections wounded through a thousand pores

instruct us to detestis madness and folly. Every day wears out

the little remains of kindred between us and themand can there

be any reason to hopethat as the relationship expires

the affection will increaseor that we shall agree better

when we have ten times more and greater concerns to quarrel over than ever?

Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliationcan ye restore to us the

time that is past? Can ye give to prostitution its former innocence?

Neither can ye reconcile Britain and America. The last cord

now is brokenthe people of England are presenting addresses against us.

There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature

if she did. As well can the lover forgive the ravisher of his mistress

as the continent forgive the murders of Britain. The Almighty hath

implanted in us these unextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes.

They are the guardians of his image in our hearts. They distinguish us

from the herd of common animals. The social compact would dissolve

and justice be extirpated the earthor have only a casual existence

were we callous to the touches of affection. The robberand the murderer

would often escape unpunisheddid not the injuries which our temperssustain

provoke us into justice.

O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare opposenot only the tyranny

but the tyrantstand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with

oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asiaand Africa

have long expelled her--Europe regards her like a strangerand England

hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitiveand prepare

in time an asylum for mankind.

 

 

 

OF THE PRESENT _ABILITY_ OF _AMERICA_WITH SOME MISCELLANEOUS _REFLECTIONS_

 

 

I have never met with a maneither in England or Americawho hath not

confessed his opinion that a separation between the countries

would take place one time or other: And there is no instancein which we

have shewn less judgementthan in endeavouring to describewhat we call

the ripeness or fitness of the Continent for independence.

As all men allow the measureand vary only in their opinion of the time

let usin order to remove mistakestake a general survey of things

and endeavourif possibleto find out the VERY time. But we need not

go farthe inquiry ceases at onceforthe TIME HATH FOUND US.

The general concurrencethe glorious union of all things prove the fact.

It is not in numbersbut in unitythat our great strength lies;

yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world.

The Continent hathat this timethe largest body of armed and

disciplined men of any power under Heaven; and is just arrived at that

pitch of strengthin which no single colony is able to support itself

and the wholewhen unitedcan accomplish the matterand either more

orless than thismight be fatal in its effects. Our land force is

already sufficientand as to naval affairswe cannot be insensible

that Britain would never suffer an American man of war to be built

while the continent remained in her hands. Whereforewe should be no

forwarder an hundred years hence in that branchthan we are now;

but the truth iswe should be less sobecause the timber of the country

is every day diminishingand thatwhich will remain at last

will be far off and difficult to procure.

Were the continent crowded with inhabitantsher sufferings under

the present circumstances would be intolerable. The more seaport towns

we hadthe more should we have both to defend and to lose. Our present

numbers are so happily proportioned to our wantsthat no man need be idle.

The diminution of trade affords an armyand the necessities of an army

create a new trade.

Debts we have none; and whatever we may contract on this account will

serve as a glorious memento of our virtue. Can we but leave posterity

with a settled form of governmentan independent constitution of its own

the purchase at any price will be cheap. But to expend millions for the sake

of getting a few vile acts repealedand routing the present ministry only

is unworthy the chargeand is using posterity with the utmost cruelty;

because it is leaving them the great work to doand a debt upon their backs

from which they derive no advantage. Such a thought is unworthy

of a man of honorand is the true characteristic of a narrow heart

and a peddling politician.

The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regardif the work

be but accomplished. No nation ought to be without a debt.

A national debt is a national bond; and when it bears no interest

is in no case a grievance. Britain is oppressed with a debt of upwards

of one hundred and forty millions sterlingfor which she pays upwards

of four millions interest. And as a compensation for her debt

she has a large navy; America is without a debtand without a navy;

yet for the twentieth part of the English national debt

could have a navy as large again. The navy of England is not worth

at this timemore than three millions and an half sterling.

The first and second editions of this pamphlet were published without

the following calculationswhich are now given as a proof that the

above estimation of the navy is just.

[See Entic's naval historyintro. page 56.]

The charge of building a ship of each rateand furnishing her with masts

yardssails and riggingtogether with a proportion of eight months

boatswain's and carpenter's seastoresas calculated by Mr. Burchett

Secretary to the navy.

[pounds Sterling]

For a ship of a 100 guns - 35553

90 - - 29886

80 - - 23638

70 - - 17795

60 - - 14197

50 - - 10606

40 - - 7558

30 - - 5846

20 - - 3710

 

And from hence it is easy to sum up the valueor cost ratherof

the whole British navywhich in the year 1757when it was

at its greatest glory consisted of the following ships and guns:

 

Ships. Guns. Cost of one. Cost of all

6 - 100 - 35553 - 213318

12 - 90 - 29886 - 358632

12 - 80 - 23638 - 283656

43 - 70 - 17785 - 764755

35 - 60 - 14197 - 496895

40 - 50 - 10606 - 424240

45 - 40 - 7558 - 340110

58 - 20 - 3710 - 215180

85 Sloopsbombs

and fireshipsone 2000 170000

with another_________

Cost 3266786

Remains for guns_________ 233214

_________

3500000

 

No country on the globe is so happily situatedor so internally capable

of raising a fleet as America. Tartimberironand cordage are her

natural produce. We need go abroad for nothing. Whereas the Dutch

who make large profits by hiring out their ships of war to the Spaniards

and Portugueseare obliged to import most of their materials they use.

We ought to view the building a fleet as an article of commerceit being

the natural manufactory of this country. It is the best money we can lay out.

A navy when finished is worth more than it cost. And is that nice point

in national policyin which commerce and protection are united. Let usbuild;

if we want them notwe can sell; and by that means replace our papercurrency

with ready gold and silver.

In point of manning a fleetpeople in general run into great errors;

it is not necessary that one fourth part should he sailors.

The Terrible privateerCaptain Deathstood the hottest engagement

of any ship last waryet had not twenty sailors on board

though her complement of men was upwards of two hundred.

A few able and social sailors will soon instruct a sufficient number

of active landmen in the common work of a ship. Whereforewe never

can be more capable to begin on maritime matters than now

while our timber is standingour fisheries blocked up

and our sailors and shipwrights out of employ. Men of war of seventy

and eighty guns were built forty years ago in New-England

and why not the same now? Ship-building is America's greatest pride

and in which she will in time excel the whole world.

The great empires of the east are mostly inland

and consequently excluded from the possibility of rivalling her.

Africa is in a state of barbarism; and no power in Europe hath either

such an extent of coastor such an internal supply of materials.

Where nature hath given the oneshe has withheld the other;

to America only hath she been liberal of both. The vast empire of Russia

is almost shut out from the sea: whereforeher boundless forestsher tar

ironand cordage are only articles of commerce.

In point of safetyought we to be without a fleet? We are not the

little people nowwhich we were sixty years ago; at that time we might

have trusted our property in the streetsor fields rather; and slept

securely without locks or bolts to our doors or windows. The case now

is alteredand our methods of defense ought to improve with our increase

of property. A common piratetwelve months agomight have come up

the Delawareand laid the city of Philadelphia under instant contribution

for what sum he pleased; and the same might have happened to other places.

Nayany daring fellowin a brig of fourteen or sixteen guns might have

robbed the whole continentand carried off half a million of money.

These are circumstances which demand our attentionand point out

the necessity of naval protection.

Someperhapswill saythat after we have made it up Britain

she will protect us. Can we be so unwise as to mean

that she shall keep a navy in our harbours for that purpose?

Common sense will tell usthat the power which hath endeavoured

to subdue usis of all others the most improper to defend us.

Conquest may be effected under the pretence of friendship;

and ourselves after a long and brave resistancebe at last cheated

into slavery. And if her ships are not to be admitted into our harbours

I would askhow is she to protect us? A navy three or four thousand miles

off can be of little useand on sudden emergenciesnone at all.

Whereforeif we must hereafter protect ourselveswhy not do it forourselves?

The English list of ships of waris long and formidablebut not

a tenth part of them are at any one time fit for servicenumbers of them

not in being; yet their names are pompously continued in the list

f only a plank be left of the ship: and not a fifth part of such as are

fit for servicecan be spared on any one station at one time.

The East and West IndiesMediterraneanAfricaand other parts

over which Britain extends her claimmake large demands upon her navy.

From a mixture of prejudice and inattentionwe have contracted a false

notion respecting the navy of Englandand have talked as if we should

have the whole of it to encounter at onceand for that reasonsupposed

that we must have one as large; which not being instantly practicable

have been made use of by a set of disguised Tories to discourage

our beginning thereon. Nothing can be farther from truth than this;

for if America had only a twentieth part of the naval force of Britain

she would be by far an overmatch for her; becauseas we neither have

nor claim any foreign dominionour whole force would be employed on

our own coastwhere we shouldin the long runhave two to one theadvantage

of those who had three or four thousand miles to sail over

before they could attack usand the same distance to return

in order to refit and recruit. And although Britainby her fleet

hath a check over our trade to Europewe have as large a one over her trade

to the West Indieswhichby laying in the neighbourhood of the continent

is entirely at its mercy.

Some method might be fallen on to keep up a naval force in time of peace

if we should not judge it necessary to support a constant navy.

If premiums were to be given to merchantsto build and employ in their

service ships mounted with twentythirtyforty or fifty guns

(the premiums to be in proportion to the loss of bulk to the merchants)

fifty or sixty of those shipswith a few guardships on constant duty

would keep up a sufficient navyand that without burdening ourselves

with the evil so loudly complained of in Englandof suffering their fleet

in time of peace to lie rotting in the docks. To unite the sinews

of commerce and defense is sound policy; for when our strength

and our riches play into each other's handwe need fear no external enemy.

In almost every article of defense we abound. Hemp flourishes even

to ranknessso that we need not want cordage. Our iron is superior

to that of other countries. Our small arms equal to any in the world.

Cannon we can cast at pleasure. Saltpetre and gunpowder we are every

day producing. Our knowledge is hourly improving. Resolution is our

inherent characterand courage hath never yet forsaken us. Wherefore

what is it that we want? Why is it that we hesitate? From Britain we can

expect nothing but ruin. If she is once admitted to the government

of America againthis Continent will not be worth living in.

Jealousies will be always arising; insurrections will be constantlyhappening;

and who will go forth to quell them? Who will venture his life to reduce his

own countrymen to a foreign obedience? The difference between Pennsylvania

and Connecticutrespecting some unlocated landsshews the insignificance

of a British governmentand fully provesthat nothing but Continental

authority can regulate Continental matters.

Another reason why the present time is preferable to all othersis

that the fewer our numbers arethe more land there is yet unoccupied

which instead of being lavished by the king on his worthless dependants

may be hereafter appliednot only to the discharge of the present debt

but to the constant support of government. No nation under heaven hath

such an advantage at this.

The infant state of the Coloniesas it is calledso far

from being againstis an argument in favour of independance.

We are sufficiently numerousand were we more sowe might be less united.

It is a matter worthy of observationthat the mare a country is peopled

the smaller their armies are. In military numbersthe ancients far exceeded

the modems: and the reason is evident. for trade being the consequence

of populationmen become too much absorbed thereby to attend to

anything else. Commerce diminishes the spiritboth of patriotism

and military defence. And history sufficiently informs usthat the

bravest achievements were always accomplished in the non-age of a nation.

With the increase of commerceEngland hath lost its spirit. The city

of Londonnotwithstanding its numberssubmits to continued insults

with the patience of a coward. The more men have to losethe less willing

are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fearand submit

to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a Spaniel.

Youth is the seed time of good habitsas well in nations as in individuals.

It might be difficultif not impossibleto form the Continent into one

government half a century hence. The vast variety of interests

occasioned by an increase of trade and populationwould create confusion.

Colony would be against colony. Each being able might scorn each other's

assistance: and while the proud and foolish gloried in their little

distinctionsthe wise would lamentthat the union had not been formedbefore.

Whereforethe PRESENT TIME is the TRUE TIME for establishing it.

The intimacy which is contracted in infancyand the friendship which

is formed in misfortuneareof all othersthe most lasting andunalterable.

Our present union is marked with both these characters: we are young

and we have been distressed; but our concord hath withstood our troubles

and fixes a memorable are for posterity to glory in.

The present timelikewiseis that peculiar timewhich never happens

to a nation but onceviz. the time of forming itself into a government.

Most nations have let slip the opportunityand by that means have been

compelled to receive laws from their conquerorsinstead of making laws

for themselves. Firstthey had a kingand then a form of government;

whereasthe articles or charter of governmentshould be formed first

and men delegated to execute them afterward but from the errors of other

nationslet us learn wisdomand lay hold of the present opportunity

--TO BEGIN GOVERNMENT AT THE RIGHT END.

When William the Conqueror subdued Englandhe gave them law at the

point of the sword; and until we consentthat the seat of government

in Americabe legally and authoritatively occupiedwe shall be in

danger of having it filled by some fortunate ruffianwho may treat us

in the same mannerand thenwhere will be our freedom? where our property?

As to religionI hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government

to protect all conscientious professors thereofand I know of no other

business which government hath to do therewithLet a man throw aside

that narrowness of soulthat selfishness of principlewhich the niggards

of all professions are willing to part withand he will be at delivered

of his fears on that head. Suspicion is the companion of mean souls

and the bane of all good society. For myselfI fully and conscientiously

believethat it is the will of the Almightythat there should be diversity

of religious opinions among us: It affords a larger field for our Christian

kindness. Were we all of one way of thinkingour religious dispositions

would want matter for probation; and on this liberal principleI look

on the various denominations among usto be like children of the samefamily

differing onlyin what is calledtheir Christian names.

In page fortyI threw out a few thoughts on the propriety of a

Continental Charter(for I only presume to offer hintsnot plans)

and in this placeI take the liberty of rementioning the subject

by observingthat a charter is to be understood as a bond

of solemn obligationwhich the whole enters into

to support the right of every separate part

whether of religionpersonal freedomor property.

A firm bargain and a right reckoning make long friends.

In a former page I likewise mentioned the necessity of a large

and equal representation; and there is no political matter

which more deserves our attention. A small number of electors

or a small number of representativesare equally dangerous.

But if the number of the representatives be not only small

but unequalthe danger is increased. As an instance of this

I mention the following; when the Associators petition was before

the House of Assembly of Pennsylvania; twenty-eight members only werepresent

all the Bucks county membersbeing eightvoted against it

and had seven of the Chester members done the samethis whole province had

been governed by two counties onlyand this danger it is always exposed to.

The unwarrantable stretch likewisewhich that house made

in their last sittingto gain an undue authority over the delegates

of that provinceought to warn the people at largehow they trust power

out of their own hands. A set of instructions for the Delegates

were put togetherwhich in point of sense and business would have

dishonoured a schoolboyand after being approved by a FEWa VERY FEW

without doorswere carried into the Houseand there passed

IN BEHALF OF THE WHOLE COLONY; whereasdid the whole colony know

with what ill-will that House hath entered on some necessary public measures

they would not hesitate a moment to think them unworthy of such a trust.

Immediate necessity makes many things convenientwhich if continued

would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things.

When the calamities of America required a consultationthere was no

method so readyor at that time so properas to appoint persons from

the several Houses of Assembly for that purpose; and the wisdom with

which they have proceeded hath preserved this continent from ruin.

But as it is more than probable that we shall never be without a

CONGRESSevery well wisher to good ordermust ownthat the mode

for choosing members of that bodydeserves consideration. And I put it

as a question to thosewho make a study of mankindwhether representation

and election is not too great a power for one and the same body of men

to possess? When we are planning for posteritywe ought to remember

that virtue is not hereditary.

It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent maximsand are

frequently surprised into reason by their mistakesMr. Cornwall

(one of the Lords of the Treasury) treated the petition of the New-York

Assembly with contemptbecause THAT Househe saidconsisted but

of twenty-six memberswhich trifling numberhe arguedcould not

with decency be put for the whole. We thank him for his involuntary honesty.

[Those who would fully understand of what great consequence a large and equal

representation is to a stateshould read Burgh's political disquisitions.]

 

TO CONCLUDEhowever strange it may appear to someor however unwilling

they may be to think somatters notbut many strong and striking reasons

may be givento shewthat nothing can settle our affairs so expeditiously

as an open and determined declaration for independance. Some of which are

FIRST. -- It is the custom of nationswhen any two are at war

for some other powersnot engaged in the quarrelto step in as mediators

and bring about the preliminaries of a peace: hut while America calls

herself the Subject of Great Britainno powerhowever well disposed

she may becan offer her mediation. Whereforein our present state

we may quarrel on for ever.

SECONDLY. -- It is unreasonable to supposethat France or Spain will

give us any kind of assistanceif we mean onlyto make use of that

assistance for the purpose of repairing the breachand strengthening

the connection between Britain and America; becausethose powers would

be sufferers by the consequences.

THIRDLY. -- While we profess ourselves the subjects of Britainwe must

in the eye of foreign nations. be considered as rebels. The precedent

is somewhat dangerous to THEIR PEACEfor men to be in arms under the name

of subjects; weon the spotcan solve the paradox: but to unite resistance

and subjectionrequires an idea much too refined for common understanding.

FOURTHLY. -- Were a manifesto to be publishedand despatched

to foreign courtssetting forth the miseries we have endured

and the peaceable methods we have ineffectually used for redress;

declaringat the same timethat not being ableany longer

to live happily or safely under the cruel disposition of the British court

we had been driven to the necessity of breaking off all connections with her;

at the same timeassuring all such courts of our peaceable disposition

towards themand of our desire of entering into trade with them:

Such a memorial would produce more good effects to this Continent

than if a ship were freighted with petitions to Britain.

Under our present denomination of British subjectswe can neither

be received nor heard abroad: The custom of all courts is against us

and will be sountilby an independancewe take rank with other nations.

These proceedings may at first appear strange and difficult; but

like all other steps which we have already passed overwill in a little time

become familiar and agreeable; anduntil an independance is declared

the Continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some

unpleasant business from day to dayyet knows it must be donehates to

set about itwishes it overand is continually haunted with

the thoughts of its necessity.

 

 

 

APPENDIX

 

 

Since the publication of the first edition of this pamphlet

or ratheron the same day on which it came outthe King's Speech

made its appearance in this city. Had the spirit of prophecy directed

the birth of this productionit could not have brought it forth

at a more seasonable junctureor a more necessary time.

The bloody mindedness of the oneshew the necessity of pursuing

the doctrine of the other. Men read by way of revenge.

And the Speechinstead of terrifyingprepared a way

for the manly principles of Independance.

Ceremonyand evensilencefrom whatever motive they

may arisehave a hurtful tendencywhen they give the least

degree of countenance to base and wicked performances;

whereforeif this maxim be admittedit naturally follows

that the King's Speechas being a piece of finished villany

deservedand still deservesa general execration both by the

Congress and the people. Yetas the domestic tranquillity of

a nationdepends greatlyon the CHASTITY of what may properly

be called NATIONAL MANNERSit is often betterto pass

some things over in silent disdainthan to make use of such

new methods of dislikeas might introduce the least innovation

on that guardian of our peace and safety. Andperhaps

it is chiefly owing to this prudent delicacythat the King's

Speechhath notbefore nowsuffered a public execution.

The Speech if it may be called oneis nothing better than

a wilful audacious libel against the truththe common good

and the existence of mankind; and is a formal and pompous

method of offering up human sacrifices to the pride of tyrants.

But this general massacre of mankind. is one of the privileges

and the certain consequence of Kings; for as nature knows them NOT

they know NOT HERand although they are beings of our OWN creating

they know not USand are become the gods of their creators.

The Speech hath one good qualitywhich isthat it is not calculated

to deceiveneither can weeven if we wouldbe deceived by it.

Brutality and tyranny appear on the face of it. It leaves us at no loss:

And every line convinceseven in the moment of readingthat He

who hunts the woods for preythe naked and untutored Indian

is less a Savage than the King of Britain.

Sir John Dalrymplethe putative father of a whining jesuitical piece

fallaciously called"THE ADDRESS OF THE PEOPLE OF _ENGLAND_

TO THE INHABITANTS OF _AMERICA_" hathperhapsfrom a vainsupposition

that the people here were to be frightened at the pomp and description

of a kinggiven(though very unwisely on his part) the real character

of the present one: "But" says this writer"if you areinclined to pay

compliments to an administrationwhich we do not complain of"

(meaning the Marquis of Rockingham's at the repeal of the Stamp Act)

"it is very unfair in you to withhold them from that prince

by WHOSE _NOD ALONE_ THEY WERE PERMITTED TO DO ANY THING."

This is toryism with a witness! Here is idolatry even without a mask:

And he who can calmly hearand digest such doctrine

hath forfeited his claim to rationality an apostate

from the order of manhood; and ought to be considered as one

who hath not only given up the proper dignity of man

but sunk himself beneath the rank of animals

and contemptibly crawl through the world like a worm.

Howeverit matters very little nowwhat the king of England

either says or does; he hath wickedly broken through every

moral and human obligationtrampled nature and conscience

beneath his feet; and by a steady and constitutional spirit

of insolence and crueltyprocured for himself an universal

hatred. It is NOW the interest of America to provide for herself.

She hath already a large and young familywhom it is more her

duty to take care ofthan to be granting away her property

to support a power who is become a reproach to the names

of men and christians--YEwhose office it is to watch over

the morals of a nationof whatsoever sect or denomination

ye are ofas well as yewhoare more immediately the guardians

of the public libertyif ye wish to preserve your native country

uncontaminated by European corruptionye must in secret wish

a separation--But leaving the moral part to private reflection

I shall chiefly confine my farther remarks to the following heads.

First. That it is the interest of America to be separated from Britain.

Secondly. Which is the easiest and most practicable plan

RECONCILIATION OR INDEPENDANCE? With some occasional remarks.

In support of the firstI couldif I judged it proper

produce the opinion of some of the ablest and most experienced men

on this continent; and whose sentimentson that headare not yet

publicly known. It is in reality a self-evident position:

For no nation in a state of foreign dependancelimited in its commerce

and cramped and fettered in its legislative powerscan ever arrive

at any material eminence. America doth not yet know what opulence is;

and although the progress which she hath made stands unparalleled

in the history of other nationsit is but childhood

compared with what she would be capable of arriving at

had sheas she ought to havethe legislative powers in her own hands.

England isat this timeproudly coveting what would do her no good

were she to accomplish it; and the Continent hesitating on a matter

which will be her final ruin if neglected. It is the commerce

and not the conquest of Americaby which England is to he benefited

and that would in a great measure continuewere the countries

as independant of each other as France and Spain; because in many articles

neither can go to a better market. But it is the independance of this country

on Britain or any otherwhich is now the main and only object worthy

of contentionand whichlike all other truths discovered by necessity

will appear clearer and stronger every day.

First. Because it will come to that one time or other.

Secondly. Becausethe longer it is delayed the harder

it will be to accomplish.

I have frequently amused myself both in public and private

companieswith silently remarkingthe specious errors

of those who speak without reflecting. And among the many

which I have heardthe following seems the most generalviz.

that had this rupture happened forty or fifty years hence

instead of NOWthe Continent would have been more able

to have shaken off the dependance. To which I replythat our

military abilityAT THIS TIMEarises from the experience

gained in the last warand which in forty or fifty years time

would have been totally extinct. The Continentwould not

by that timehave had a Generalor even a military officer left;

and weor those who may succeed uswould have been as ignorant

of martial matters as the ancient Indians: And this single position

closely attended towill unanswerably provethat the present time

is preferable to all others. The argument turns thus--at the conclusion

of the last warwe had experiencebut wanted numbers;

and forty or fifty years hencewe should have numbers

without experience; whereforethe proper point of time

must be some particular point between the two extremes

in which a sufficiency of the former remainsand a proper

increase of the latter is obtained: And that point of time

is the present time.

The reader will pardon this digressionas it does not properly

come under the head I first set out withand to which I again return

by the following positionviz.

Should affairs he patched up with Britainand she to remain the governing

and sovereign power of America(whichas matters are now circumstanced

is giving up the point entirely) we shall deprive ourselves of the very means

of sinking the debt we haveor may contract. The value of the back lands

which some of the provinces are clandestinely deprived ofby the unjust

extension of the limits of Canadavalued only at five pounds sterling

per hundred acresamount to upwards of twenty-five millions

Pennsylvania currency; and the quit-rents at one penny sterling per acre

to two millions yearly.

It is by the sale of those lands that the debt may be sunk

without burthen to anyand the quit-rent reserved thereon

will always lessenand in timewill wholly support the yearly

expence of government. It matters not how long the debt is in

payingso that the lands when sold be applied to the discharge

of itand for the execution of whichthe Congress for the time

beingwill be the continental trustees. .

I proceed now to the second headviz. Which is the easiest

and most practicable planRECONCILIATION or lNDEPENDANCE;

With some occasional remarks.

He who takes nature for his guide is not easily beaten out of his argument

and on that groundI answer GENERALLY--THAT _INDEPENDANCE_

BEING A _SINGLE SIMPLE LINE_ CONTAINED WITHIN OURSELVES;

AND RECONCILIATIONA MATTER EXCEEDINGLY PERPLEXED AND COMPLICATED

AND IN WHICHA TREACHEROUS CAPRICIOUS COURT IS TO INTERFERE

GIVES THE ANSWER WITHOUT A DOUBT.

The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is

capable of reflexion. Without lawwithout governmentwithout any

other mode of power than what is founded onand granted by courtesy.

Held together by an unexampled concurrence of sentimentwhich

is nevertheless subject to changeand whichevery secret enemy is

endeavouring to dissolve. Our present conditionisLegislation

without law; wisdom without a plan; a constitution without a name;

andwhat is strangely astonishingperfect Independance contending

for dependance. The instance is without a precedent; the case never

existed before; and who can tell what may be the event? The property

of no man is secure in the present unbraced system of things. The mind

of the multitude is left at randomand seeing no fixed object before

themthey pursue such as fancy or opinion starts. Nothing is criminal;

there is no such thing as treason; whereforeevery one thinks himself

at liberty to act as he pleases. The Tories dared not have assembled

offensivelyhad they known that their livesby that actwere forfeited

to the laws of the state. A line of distinction should be drawnbetween

English soldiers taken in battleand inhabitants of America taken in arms.

The first are prisonersbut the latter traitors.

The one forfeits his libertythe other his head.

Notwithstanding our wisdomthere is a visible feebleness in some

of our proceedings which gives encouragement to dissensions.

The Continental Belt is too loosely buckled. And if something

is not done in timeit will be too late to do any thing

and we shall fall into a statein whichneither RECONCILIATION

nor INDEPENDANCE will be practicable. The king and his worthless

adherents are got at their old game of dividing the Continent

and there are not wanting among usPrinterswho will be busy

in spreading specious falsehoods. The artful and hypocritical letter

which appeared a few months ago in two of the New York papers

and likewise in two othersis an evidence that there are men

who want either judgment or honesty.

It is easy getting into holes and corners and talking of reconciliation:

But do such men seriously considerhow difficult the task isand how

dangerous it may proveshould the Continent divide thereon. Do they

take within their viewall the various orders of men whose situation

and circumstancesas well as their ownare to be considered therein.

Do they put themselves in the place of the sufferer whose ALL

is ALREADY goneand of the soldierwho hath quitted ALL for the defence

of his country. If their ill judged moderation be suited to their own

private situations onlyregardless of othersthe event will convince them

that "they are reckoning without their Host."

Put ussays someon the footing we were on in sixty-three:

To which I answerthe request is not now in the power of Britain

to comply withneither will she propose it; but if it were

and even should be grantedI askas a reasonable question

By what means is such a corrupt and faithless court to be kept

to its engagements? Another parliamentnayeven the present

may hereafter repeal the obligationon the pretense

of its being violently obtainedor unwisely granted;

and in that caseWhere is our redress?--No going to law

with nations; cannon are the barristers of Crowns;

and the swordnot of justicebut of wardecides the suit.

To be on the footing of sixty-threeit is not sufficient

that the laws only be put on the same statebutthat our circumstances

likewisebe put on the same state; Our burnt and destroyed towns repaired

or built upour private losses made goodour public debts

(contracted for defence) discharged; otherwisewe shall be millions

worse than we were at that enviable period. Such a request

had it been complied with a year agowould have won the heart

and soul of the Continent - but now it is too late"The Rubicon ispassed."

Besidesthe taking up armsmerely to enforce the repeal

of a pecuniary lawseems as unwarrantable by the divine law

and as repugnant to human feelingsas the taking up arms

to enforce obedience thereto. The objecton either sidedoth not

justify the means; for the lives of men are too valuable

to be cast away on such trifles. It is the violence which is done

and threatened to our persons; the destruction of our property

by an armed force; the invasion of our country by fire and sword

which conscientiously qualifies the use of arms: And the instantin which

such a mode of defence became necessaryall subjection to Britain ought

to have ceased; and the independancy of Americashould have been considered

as dating its aera fromand published byTHE FIRST MUSKET THAT WAS FIRED

AGAINST HER. This line is a line of consistency; neither drawn by caprice

nor extended by ambition; but produced by a chain of events

of which the colonies were not the authors.

I shall conclude these remarks with the following timely

and well intended hints. We ought to reflectthat there are

three different ways by which an independancy may hereafter

be effected; and that ONE of those THREEwill one day or other

be the fate of Americaviz. By the legal voice of the people

in Congress; by a military power; or by a mob--It may not always

happen that OUR soldiers are citizensand the multitude

a body of reasonable men; virtueas I have already remarked

is not hereditaryneither is it perpetual. Should an independancy

be brought about by the first of those meanswe have every

opportunity and every encouragement before usto form the

noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have

it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation

similar to the presenthath not happened since the days

of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand

and a race of menperhaps as numerous as all Europe contains

are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months.

The Reflexion is awful--and in this point of viewHow trifling

how ridiculousdo the littlepaltry cavillingsof a few weak

or interested men appearwhen weighed against the business of a world.

Should we neglect the present favourable and inviting period

and an Independance be hereafter effected by any other means

we must charge the consequence to ourselvesor to those rather

whose narrow and prejudiced soulsare habitually opposing the measure

without either inquiring or reflecting. There are reasons to be given

in support of Independancewhich men should rather privately think of

than be publicly told of. We ought not now to be debating whether

we shall be independant or notbutanxious to accomplish it on a firm

secureand honorable basisand uneasy rather that it is not yet began upon.

Every day convinces us of its necessity. Even the Tories (if such beings

yet remain among us) shouldof all menbe the most solicitous to promoteit;

foras the appointment of committees at firstprotected them from

popular ragesoa wise and well established form of government

will be the only certain means of continuing it securely to them.

WHEREFOREif they have not virtue enough to be WHIGS

they ought to have prudence enough to wish for Independance.

In shortIndependance is the only BOND that can tye and keep

us together. We shall then see our objectand our ears will

be legally shut against the schemes of an intriguingas well

as a cruel enemy. We shall then toobe on a proper footing

to treat with Britain; for there is reason to conclude

that the pride of that courtwill be less hurt by treating

with the American states for terms of peacethan with those

whom she denominates"rebellious subjects" for terms ofaccommodation.

It is our delaying it that encourages her to hope for conquestand our

backwardness tends only to prolong the war. As we havewithout any good

effect therefromwithheld our trade to obtain a redress of our grievances

let us now try the alternativeby independantly redressing them ourselves

and then offering to open the trade. The mercantile and reasonable part

in Englandwill be still with us; becausepeace with tradeis preferable

to war without it. And if this offer be not acceptedother courts

may be applied to.

On these grounds I rest the matter. And as no offer hath

yet been made to refute the doctrine contained in the former

editions of this pamphletit is a negative proofthat either

the doctrine cannot be refutedorthat the party in favour

of it are too numerous to be opposed. WHEREFOREinstead

of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity;

let each of ushold out to his neighbour the hearty hand of

friendshipand unite in drawing a linewhichlike an act of

oblivion shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension.

Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other

be heard among usthan those of A GOOD CITIZEN

AN OPEN AND RESOLUTE FRIENDAND A VIRTUOUS SUPPORTER

OF THE RIGHTS OF MANKIND AND OF THE _FREE AND INDEPENDANT STATES OF AMERICA_.

To the Representatives of the Religious Society of the People called Quakers

or to so many of them as were concerned in publishing the late piece

entitled "THE ANCIENT TESTIMONY and PRlNCIPLES of the People calledQUAKERS

renewedwith Respect to the KING and GOVERNMENTand touching the COMMOTIONS

now prevailing in these and other parts of AMERICA addressed to the

PEOPLE IN GENERAL."

The Writer of thisis one of those fewwho never dishonours religion

either by ridiculingor cavilling at any denomination whatsoever.

To Godand not to manare all men accountable on the score of religion.

Whereforethis epistle is not so properly addressed to you as a religious

but as a political bodydabbling in matterswhich the professed Quietude

of your Principles instruct you not to meddle with. As you havewithout

a proper authority for so doingput yourselves in the place of the wholebody

of the Quakerssothe writer of thisin order to be on an equal rank

with yourselvesis under the necessityof putting himself in the place

of all thosewhoapprove the very writings and principlesagainst which

your testimony is directed: And he hath chosen this singular situation

in orderthat you might discover in him that presumption of character

which you cannot see in yourselves. For neither he nor you can have any

claim or title to POLITICAL REPRESENTATION.

When men have departed from the right wayit is no wonder that they

stumble and fall. And it is evident from the manner in which ye have

managed your testimonythat politics(as a religious body of men)

is not your proper Walk; for however well adapted it might appear to you

it isneverthelessa jumble of good and bad put unwisely together

and the conclusion drawn therefromboth unnatural and unjust.

The two first pages(and the whole doth not make four) we give you

credit forand expect the same civility from youbecause the love

and desire of peace is not confined to Quakerismit is the natural

as well the religious wish of all denominations of men. And on this ground

as men labouring to establish an Independant Constitution of our owndo we

exceed all others in our hopeendand aim. OUR PLAN IS PEACE FOR EVER.

We are tired of contention with Britainand can see no real end to it

but in a final separation. We act consistentlybecause for the sake

of introducing an endless and uninterrupted peacedo we bear the evils

and burthens of the present day. We are endeavoringand will steadily

continue to endeavourto separate and dissolve a connexion which hath

already filled our land with blood; and whichwhile the name of it

remainswill he the fatal cause of future mischiefs to both countries.

We fight neither for revenge nor conquest; neither from pride nor

passion; we are not insulting the world with our fleets and armiesnor

ravaging the globe for plunder. Beneath the shade of our own vines are

we attacked; in our own housesand on our own landsis the violence

committed against us. We view our enemies in the character of Highwaymen

and Housebreakersand having no defence for ourselves in the civil law

are obliged to punish them by the military oneand apply the sword

in the very casewhere you have before nowapplied the halter--

Perhaps we feel for the ruined and insulted sufferers in all and every

part of the continentwith a degree of tenderness which hath not yet

made its way into some of your bosoms. But be ye sure that ye mistake not

the cause and ground of your Testimony. Call not coldness of soulreligion;

nor put the BIGOT in the place of the CHRISTIAN.

O ye partial ministers of your own acknowledged principles. If the

bearing arms be sinfulthe first going to war must be more so

by all the difference between wilful attackand unavoidable defence.

Whereforeif ye really preach from conscienceand mean not to make

a political hobbyhorse of your religion convince the world thereof

by proclaiming your doctrine to our enemiesFOR THEY LIKEWISE BEAR _ARMS_.

Give us proof of your sincerity by publishing it at St. James's

to the commanders in chief at Bostonto the Admirals and Captains

who are piratically ravaging our coastsand to all the murdering

miscreants who are acting in authority under HIM whom ye profess to serve.

Had ye the honest soul of BARCLAY ye would preach repentance to YOUR king;

Ye would tell the Royal Wretch his sinsand warn him of eternal ruin.

["Thou hast tasted of prosperity and adversity; thou knowest what it is

to be banished thy native countryto be over-ruled as well as to rule

and set upon the throne; and being oppressed thou hast reason to know

how hateful the oppressor is both to God and man: If after all these warnings

and advertisementsthou dost not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart

but forget him who remembered thee in thy distressand give up thyself

to fallow lust and vanitysurely great will be thy condemnation.--

Against which snareas well as the temptation of those who may

or do feed theeand prompt thee to evilthe most excellent and prevalent

remedy will beto apply thyself to that light of Christ which shineth

in thy conscienceand which neither cannor will flatter thee

nor suffer thee to be at ease in thy sins."--Barclay's address toCharles II.]

Ye would not spend your partial invectives against the injured

and the insulted onlybutlike faithful ministerswould cry aloud

and SPARE NONE. Say not that ye are persecutedneither endeavour to make

us the authors of that reproachwhichye are bringing upon yourselves;

for we testify unto all menthat we do not complain against you because

ye are Quakersbut because ye pretend to be and are NOT Quakers.

Alas! it seems by the particular tendency of some part of your testimony

and other parts of your conductas ifall sin was reduced to

and comprehended inTHE ACT OF BEARING ARMSand that by the people only.

Ye appear to usto have mistaken party for conscience; because

the general tenor of your actions wants uniformity--And it is exceedingly

difficult to us to give credit to many of your pretended scruples;

becausewe see them made by the same menwhoin the very instant

that they are exclaiming against the mammon of this worldare nevertheless

hunting after it with a step as steady as Timeand an appetite as keen

as Death.

The quotation which ye have made from Proverbsin the third page

of your testimonythat"when a man's ways please the Lordhe maketh

even his enemies to be at peace with him"; is very unwisely chosen

on your part; becauseit amounts to a proofthat the king's ways

(whom ye are desirous of supporting) do NOT please the Lordotherwise

his reign would be in peace.

I now proceed to the latter part of your testimonyand thatfor which

all the foregoing seems only an introduction viz.

"It hath ever been our judgment and principlesince we were called to

profess the light of Christ Jesusmanifested in our consciences unto

this daythat the setting up and putting down kings and governments

is God's peculiar prerogative; for causes best known to himself:

And that it is not our business to have any hand or contrivance therein;

nor to be busy bodies above our stationmuch less to plot and contrive

the ruinor overturn of any of thembut to pray for the kingand safety

of our nation. and good of all men - That we may live a peaceable and

quiet lifein all godliness and honesty; UNDER THE GOVERNMENT WHICH GOD

IS PLEASED TO SET OVER US" - If these are REALLY your principles why

do ye not abide by them? Why do ye not leave thatwhich ye call

God's Workto be managed by himself? These very principles instruct

you to wait with patience and humilityfor the event of all public measures

and to receive that event as the divine will towards you. Wherefore

what occasion is there for your POLITICAL TESTIMONY if you fully believe

what it contains? And the very publishing it provesthat either

ye do not believe what ye professor have not virtue enough to practise

what ye believe.

The principles of Quakerism have a direct tendency to make a man

the quiet and inoffensive subject of anyand every government

WHICH IS SET OVER HIM. And if the setting up and putting down of kings

and governments is God's peculiar prerogativehe most certainly

will not be robbed thereof by us: whereforethe principle itself leads

you to approve of every thingwhich ever happenedor may happen to kings

as being his work. OLIVER CROMWELL thanks you. CHARLESthendied not

by the hands of man; and should the present Proud Imitator of him

come to the same untimely endthe writers and publishers of the Testimony

are boundby the doctrine it containsto applaud the fact. Kings are not

taken away by miraclesneither are changes in governments brought about

by any other means than such as are common and human; and such as we are

now using. Even the dispersion of the Jewsthough foretold by our Saviour

was effected by arms. Whereforeas ye refuse to be the means on one side

ye ought not to be meddlers on the other; but to wait the issue in silence;

and unless ye can produce divine authorityto provethat the Almighty

who hath created and placed this new worldat the greatest distance

it could possibly standeast and westfrom every part of the old

dothneverthelessdisapprove of its being independent of the corrupt

and abandoned court of Britainunless I sayye can shew this

how can ye on the ground of your principlesjustify the exciting

and stirring up the people "firmly to unite in the abhorrence

of all such writingsand measuresas evidence a desire and design

to break off the happy connexion we have hitherto enjoyed

with the kingdom of Great-Britainand our just and necessary subordination

to the kingand those who are lawfully placed in authority under him."

What a slap of the face is here! the menwho in the very paragraph before

have quietly and passively resigned up the orderingaltering

and disposal of kings and governmentsinto the hands of Godare now

recalling their principlesand putting in for a share of the business.

Is it possiblethat the conclusionwhich is here justly quoted

can any ways follow from the doctrine laid down? The inconsistency

is too glaring not to be seen; the absurdity too great not to be laughed at;

and such as could only have been made by thosewhose understandings

were darkened by the narrow and crabby spirit of a despairing politicalparty;

for ye are not to be considered as the whole body of the Quakers

but only as a factional and fractional part thereof.

Here ends the examination of your testimony; (which I call upon no man

to abhoras ye have donebut only to read and judge of fairly;)

to which I subjoin the following remark; "That the setting up andputting

down of kings" most certainly meanthe making him a kingwho is yet

not soand the making him no king who is already one. And pray what hath

this to do in the present case? We neither mean to set up nor to pull down

neither to make nor to unmakebut to have nothing to do with them.

Whereforeyour testimony in whatever light it is viewed serves only

to dishonor your judgementand for many other reasons had better

have been let alone than published.

FirstBecause it tends to the decrease and reproach

of all religion whateverand is of the utmost danger

to society to make it a party in political disputes.

SecondlyBecause it exhibits a body of mennumbers of whom disavow

the publishing political testimoniesas being concerned therein

and approvers thereof.

Thirdlybecause it hath a tendency to undo that continental harmony

and friendship which yourselves by your late liberal and charitable

donations hath lent a hand to establish; and the preservation of which

is of the utmost consequence to us all.

And here without anger or resentment I bid you farewell.

Sincerely wishingthat as men and christiansye may always

fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right;

and bein your turnthe means of securing it to others;

but that the example which ye have unwisely set

of mingling religion with politicsMAY BE DISAVOWED

AND REPROBATED BY EVERY INHABITANT OF _AMERICA._

F I N I S.