A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
The natives, or their ancestors, had fled from the
former oppressions of England, and with the industry of bees had changed
a wilderness into a habitable world. To Britain they were indebted for
nothing. The country was the gift of heaven, and God alone is their Lord
and Sovereign.

The time, sir, will come when you, in a melancholy hour, shall reckon up
your miseries by your murders in America. Life, with you, begins to wear
a clouded aspect. The vision of pleasurable delusion is wearing away,
and changing to the barren wild of age and sorrow. The poor reflection
of having served your king will yield you no consolation in your
parting moments. He will crumble to the same undistinguished ashes with
yourself, and have sins enough of his own to answer for. It is not the
farcical benedictions of a bishop, nor the cringing hypocrisy of a court
of chaplains, nor the formality of an act of Parliament, that can change
guilt into innocence, or make the punishment one pang the less. You may,
perhaps, be unwilling to be serious, but this destruction of the goods
of Providence, this havoc of the human race, and this sowing the world
with mischief, must be accounted for to him who made and governs it.
To us they are only present sufferings, but to him they are deep
rebellions.

If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of wilful and
offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits,
that is, the power of one man cannot give them a very general extension,
and many kinds of sins have only a mental existence from which no
infection arises; but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the
whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.
We leave it to England and Indians to boast of these honors; we feel no
thirst for such savage glory; a nobler flame, a purer spirit animates
America. She has taken up the sword of virtuous defence; she has bravely
put herself between Tyranny and Freedom, between a curse and a blessing,
determined to expel the one and protect the other.

It is the object only of war that makes it honorable. And if there was
ever a just war since the world began, it is this in which America is
now engaged. She invaded no land of yours. She hired no mercenaries to
burn your towns, nor Indians to massacre their inhabitants. She
wanted nothing from you, and was indebted for nothing to you: and thus
circumstanced, her defence is honorable and her prosperity is certain.

Yet it is not on the justice only, but likewise on the importance of
this cause that I ground my seeming enthusiastical confidence of our
success. The vast extension of America makes her of too much value in
the scale of Providence, to be cast like a pearl before swine, at the
feet of an European island; and of much less consequence would it be
that Britain were sunk in the sea than that America should miscarry.
There has been such a chain of extraordinary events in the discovery of
this country at first, in the peopling and planting it afterwards, in
the rearing and nursing it to its present state, and in the protection
of it through the present war, that no man can doubt, but Providence
has some nobler end to accomplish than the gratification of the petty
elector of Hanover, or the ignorant and insignificant king of Britain.

As the blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the Christian church,
so the political persecutions of England will and have already enriched
America with industry, experience, union, and importance. Before the
present era she was a mere chaos of uncemented colonies, individually
exposed to the ravages of the Indians and the invasion of any power that
Britain should be at war with. She had nothing that she could call her
own. Her felicity depended upon accident. The convulsions of Europe
might have thrown her from one conqueror to another, till she had been
the slave of all, and ruined by every one; for until she had spirit
enough to become her own master, there was no knowing to which master
she should belong. That period, thank God, is past, and she is no longer
the dependent, disunited colonies of Britain, but the independent and
United States of America, knowing no master but heaven and herself. You,
or your king, may call this "delusion," "rebellion," or what name you
please. To us it is perfectly indifferent. The issue will determine the
character, and time will give it a name as lasting as his own.

You have now, sir, tried the fate of three campaigns, and can fully
declare to England, that nothing is to be got on your part, but blows
and broken bones, and nothing on hers but waste of trade and credit, and
an increase of poverty and taxes. You are now only where you might have
been two years ago, without the loss of a single ship, and yet not a
step more forward towards the conquest of the continent; because, as I
have already hinted, "an army in a city can never be a conquering army."
The full amount of your losses, since the beginning of the war, exceeds
twenty thousand men, besides millions of treasure, for which you have
nothing in exchange. Our expenses, though great, are circulated within
ourselves. Yours is a direct sinking of money, and that from both ends
at once; first, in hiring troops out of the nation, and in paying them
afterwards, because the money in neither case can return to Britain. We
are already in possession of the prize, you only in pursuit of it. To
us it is a real treasure, to you it would be only an empty triumph. Our
expenses will repay themselves with tenfold interest, while yours entail
upon you everlasting poverty.

Take a review, sir, of the ground which you have gone over, and let
it teach you policy, if it cannot honesty. You stand but on a very
tottering foundation. A change of the ministry in England may probably
bring your measures into question, and your head to the block. Clive,
with all his successes, had some difficulty in escaping, and yours being
all a war of losses, will afford you less pretensions, and your enemies
more grounds for impeachment.

Go home, sir, and endeavor to save the remains of your ruined country,
by a just representation of the madness of her measures. A few moments,
well applied, may yet preserve her from political destruction. I am not
one of those who wish to see Europe in a flame, because I am persuaded
that such an event will not shorten the war. The rupture, at present,
is confined between the two powers of America and England. England finds
that she cannot conquer America, and America has no wish to conquer
England. You are fighting for what you can never obtain, and we
defending what we never mean to part with. A few words, therefore,
settle the bargain. Let England mind her own business and we will mind
ours. Govern yourselves, and we will govern ourselves. You may then
trade where you please unmolested by us, and we will trade where we
please unmolested by you; and such articles as we can purchase of each
other better than elsewhere may be mutually done. If it were possible
that you could carry on the war for twenty years you must still come to
this point at last, or worse, and the sooner you think of it the better
it will be for you.

My official situation enables me to know the repeated insults which
Britain is obliged to put up with from foreign powers, and the wretched
shifts that she is driven to, to gloss them over. Her reduced strength
and exhausted coffers in a three years' war with America, has given a
powerful superiority to France and Spain. She is not now a match
for them. But if neither councils can prevail on her to think, nor
sufferings awaken her to reason, she must e'en go on, till the honor of
England becomes a proverb of contempt, and Europe dub her the Land of
Fools.

I am, Sir, with every wish for an honorable peace,

Your friend, enemy, and countryman,

COMMON SENSE.



TO THE INHABITANTS OF AMERICA.

WITH all the pleasure with which a man exchanges bad company for good,
I take my leave of Sir William and return to you. It is now nearly three
years since the tyranny of Britain received its first repulse by the
arms of America. A period which has given birth to a new world, and
erected a monument to the folly of the old.

I cannot help being sometimes surprised at the complimentary references
which I have seen and heard made to ancient histories and transactions.
The wisdom, civil governments, and sense of honor of the states of
Greece and Rome, are frequently held up as objects of excellence and
imitation. Mankind have lived to very little purpose, if, at this period
of the world, they must go two or three thousand years back for lessons
and examples. We do great injustice to ourselves by placing them in such
a superior line. We have no just authority for it, neither can we tell
why it is that we should suppose ourselves inferior.

Could the mist of antiquity be cleared away, and men and things be
viewed as they really were, it is more than probable that they would
admire us, rather than we them. America has surmounted a greater variety
and combination of difficulties, than, I believe, ever fell to the share
of any one people, in the same space of time, and has replenished the
world with more useful knowledge and sounder maxims of civil government
than were ever produced in any age before. Had it not been for America,
there had been no such thing as freedom left throughout the whole
universe. England has lost hers in a long chain of right reasoning from
wrong principles, and it is from this country, now, that she must learn
the resolution to redress herself, and the wisdom how to accomplish it.

The Grecians and Romans were strongly possessed of the spirit of liberty
but not the principle, for at the time that they were determined not to
be slaves themselves, they employed their power to enslave the rest of
mankind. But this distinguished era is blotted by no one misanthropical
vice. In short, if the principle on which the cause is founded, the
universal blessings that are to arise from it, the difficulties that
accompanied it, the wisdom with which it has been debated, the fortitude
by which it has been supported, the strength of the power which we had
to oppose, and the condition in which we undertook it, be all taken
in one view, we may justly style it the most virtuous and illustrious
revolution that ever graced the history of mankind.

A good opinion of ourselves is exceedingly necessary in private life,
but absolutely necessary in public life, and of the utmost importance in
supporting national character.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.