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While drunk with the
certainty of victory, they disdained to be civil; and in proportion as
disappointment makes them sober, and their apprehensions of an European
war alarm them, they will become cringing and artful; honest they cannot
be. But our answer to them, in either condition they may be in, is short
and full--"As free and independent States we are willing to make peace
with you to-morrow, but we neither can hear nor reply in any other
character."

If Britain cannot conquer us, it proves that she is neither able to
govern nor protect us, and our particular situation now is such, that
any connection with her would be unwisely exchanging a half-defeated
enemy for two powerful ones. Europe, by every appearance, is now on the
eve, nay, on the morning twilight of a war, and any alliance with George
the Third brings France and Spain upon our backs; a separation from him
attaches them to our side; therefore, the only road to peace, honor and
commerce is Independence.

Written this fourth year of the UNION, which God preserve.

COMMON SENSE.

PHILADELPHIA, April 19, 1777.




THE CRISIS IV. (THOSE WHO EXPECT TO REAP THE BLESSINGS OF FREEDOM)


THOSE who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men,
undergo the fatigues of supporting it. The event of yesterday was one
of those kind of alarms which is just sufficient to rouse us to duty,
without being of consequence enough to depress our fortitude. It is not
a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause, that we are defending,
and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the
consequences will be the same.

Look back at the events of last winter and the present year, there you
will find that the enemy's successes always contributed to reduce them.
What they have gained in ground, they paid so dearly for in numbers,
that their victories have in the end amounted to defeats. We have always
been masters at the last push, and always shall be while we do our duty.
Howe has been once on the banks of the Delaware, and from thence driven
back with loss and disgrace: and why not be again driven from the
Schuylkill? His condition and ours are very different. He has everybody
to fight, we have only his one army to cope with, and which wastes away
at every engagement: we can not only reinforce, but can redouble our
numbers; he is cut off from all supplies, and must sooner or later
inevitably fall into our hands.

Shall a band of ten or twelve thousand robbers, who are this day fifteen
hundred or two thousand men less in strength than they were yesterday,
conquer America, or subdue even a single state? The thing cannot be,
unless we sit down and suffer them to do it. Another such a brush,
notwithstanding we lost the ground, would, by still reducing the enemy,
put them in a condition to be afterwards totally defeated. Could our
whole army have come up to the attack at one time, the consequences
had probably been otherwise; but our having different parts of
the Brandywine creek to guard, and the uncertainty which road to
Philadelphia the enemy would attempt to take, naturally afforded them an
opportunity of passing with their main body at a place where only a
part of ours could be posted; for it must strike every thinking man with
conviction, that it requires a much greater force to oppose an enemy in
several places, than is sufficient to defeat him in any one place.

Men who are sincere in defending their freedom, will always feel concern
at every circumstance which seems to make against them; it is the
natural and honest consequence of all affectionate attachments, and the
want of it is a vice. But the dejection lasts only for a moment; they
soon rise out of it with additional vigor; the glow of hope, courage and
fortitude, will, in a little time, supply the place of every inferior
passion, and kindle the whole heart into heroism.

There is a mystery in the countenance of some causes, which we have not
always present judgment enough to explain. It is distressing to see an
enemy advancing into a country, but it is the only place in which we can
beat them, and in which we have always beaten them, whenever they made
the attempt. The nearer any disease approaches to a crisis, the nearer
it is to a cure. Danger and deliverance make their advances together,
and it is only the last push, in which one or the other takes the lead.

There are many men who will do their duty when it is not wanted; but a
genuine public spirit always appears most when there is most occasion
for it. Thank God! our army, though fatigued, is yet entire. The attack
made by us yesterday, was under many disadvantages, naturally arising
from the uncertainty of knowing which route the enemy would take; and,
from that circumstance, the whole of our force could not be brought
up together time enough to engage all at once. Our strength is yet
reserved; and it is evident that Howe does not think himself a gainer by
the affair, otherwise he would this morning have moved down and attacked
General Washington.

Gentlemen of the city and country, it is in your power, by a spirited
improvement of the present circumstance, to turn it to a real advantage.
Howe is now weaker than before, and every shot will contribute to reduce
him. You are more immediately interested than any other part of the
continent: your all is at stake; it is not so with the general cause;
you are devoted by the enemy to plunder and destruction: it is the
encouragement which Howe, the chief of plunderers, has promised his
army. Thus circumstanced, you may save yourselves by a manly resistance,
but you can have no hope in any other conduct. I never yet knew our
brave general, or any part of the army, officers or men, out of heart,
and I have seen them in circumstances a thousand times more trying than
the present. It is only those that are not in action, that feel languor
and heaviness, and the best way to rub it off is to turn out, and make
sure work of it.

Our army must undoubtedly feel fatigue, and want a reinforcement of rest
though not of valor. Our own interest and happiness call upon us to
give them every support in our power, and make the burden of the day, on
which the safety of this city depends, as light as possible. Remember,
gentlemen, that we have forces both to the northward and southward of
Philadelphia, and if the enemy be but stopped till those can arrive,
this city will be saved, and the enemy finally routed. You have too much
at stake to hesitate. You ought not to think an hour upon the matter,
but to spring to action at once. Other states have been invaded, have
likewise driven off the invaders. Now our time and turn is come, and
perhaps the finishing stroke is reserved for us. When we look back on
the dangers we have been saved from, and reflect on the success we have
been blessed with, it would be sinful either to be idle or to despair.

I close this paper with a short address to General Howe. You, sir, are
only lingering out the period that shall bring with it your defeat.
You have yet scarce began upon the war, and the further you enter, the
faster will your troubles thicken. What you now enjoy is only a respite
from ruin; an invitation to destruction; something that will lead on to
our deliverance at your expense. We know the cause which we are engaged
in, and though a passionate fondness for it may make us grieve at every
injury which threatens it, yet, when the moment of concern is over, the
determination to duty returns. We are not moved by the gloomy smile of a
worthless king, but by the ardent glow of generous patriotism. We fight
not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the
earth for honest men to live in. In such a case we are sure that we are
right; and we leave to you the despairing reflection of being the tool
of a miserable tyrant.

COMMON SENSE.

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 12, 1777.




THE CRISIS. V. TO GEN. SIR WILLIAM HOWE.


TO argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason,
and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like
administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist
by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting.
It is the prerogative of animals. And no man will envy you these honors,
in which a savage only can be your rival and a bear your master.

As the generosity of this country rewarded your brother's services
in the last war, with an elegant monument in Westminster Abbey, it is
consistent that she should bestow some mark of distinction upon you. You
certainly deserve her notice, and a conspicuous place in the catalogue
of extraordinary persons. Yet it would be a pity to pass you from the
world in state, and consign you to magnificent oblivion among the tombs,
without telling the future beholder why. Judas is as much known as John,
yet history ascribes their fame to very different actions.

Sir William has undoubtedly merited a monument; but of what kind, or
with what inscription, where placed or how embellished, is a question
that would puzzle all the heralds of St. James's in the profoundest mood
of historical deliberation. We are at no loss, sir, to ascertain your
real character, but somewhat perplexed how to perpetuate its identity,
and preserve it uninjured from the transformations of time or mistake.
A statuary may give a false expression to your bust, or decorate it with
some equivocal emblems, by which you may happen to steal into reputation
and impose upon the hereafter traditionary world. Ill nature or ridicule
may conspire, or a variety of accidents combine to lessen, enlarge, or
change Sir William's fame; and no doubt but he who has taken so much
pains to be singular in his conduct, would choose to be just as singular
in his exit, his monument and his epitaph.

The usual honors of the dead, to be sure, are not sufficiently sublime
to escort a character like you to the republic of dust and ashes; for
however men may differ in their ideas of grandeur or of government here,
the grave is nevertheless a perfect republic.



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