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Penny-wise
and pound-foolish, has been the ruin of thousands. The present spring,
if rightly improved, will free us from our troubles, and save us
the expense of millions. We have now only one army to cope with. No
opportunity can be fairer; no prospect more promising. I shall conclude
this paper with a few outlines of a plan, either for filling up the
battalions with expedition, or for raising an additional force, for any
limited time, on any sudden emergency.

That in which every man is interested, is every man's duty to support.
And any burden which falls equally on all men, and from which every
man is to receive an equal benefit, is consistent with the most perfect
ideas of liberty. I would wish to revive something of that virtuous
ambition which first called America into the field. Then every man was
eager to do his part, and perhaps the principal reason why we have in
any degree fallen therefrom, is because we did not set a right value by
it at first, but left it to blaze out of itself, instead of regulating
and preserving it by just proportions of rest and service.

Suppose any State whose number of effective inhabitants was 80,000,
should be required to furnish 3,200 men towards the defence of the
continent on any sudden emergency.

1st, Let the whole number of effective inhabitants be divided into
hundreds; then if each of those hundreds turn out four men, the whole
number of 3,200 will be had.

2d, Let the name of each hundred men be entered in a book, and let four
dollars be collected from each man, with as much more as any of the
gentlemen, whose abilities can afford it, shall please to throw in,
which gifts likewise shall be entered against the names of the donors.

3d, Let the sums so collected be offered as a present, over and above
the bounty of twenty dollars, to any four who may be inclined to propose
themselves as volunteers: if more than four offer, the majority of the
subscribers present shall determine which; if none offer, then four out
of the hundred shall be taken by lot, who shall be entitled to the said
sums, and shall either go, or provide others that will, in the space of
six days.

4th, As it will always happen that in the space of ground on which a
hundred men shall live, there will be always a number of persons who, by
age and infirmity, are incapable of doing personal service, and as such
persons are generally possessed of the greatest part of property in any
country, their portion of service, therefore, will be to furnish each
man with a blanket, which will make a regimental coat, jacket, and
breeches, or clothes in lieu thereof, and another for a watch cloak,
and two pair of shoes; for however choice people may be of these things
matters not in cases of this kind; those who live always in houses can
find many ways to keep themselves warm, but it is a shame and a sin to
suffer a soldier in the field to want a blanket while there is one in
the country.

Should the clothing not be wanted, the superannuated or infirm persons
possessing property, may, in lieu thereof, throw in their money
subscriptions towards increasing the bounty; for though age will
naturally exempt a person from personal service, it cannot exempt him
from his share of the charge, because the men are raised for the defence
of property and liberty jointly.

There never was a scheme against which objections might not be raised.
But this alone is not a sufficient reason for rejection. The only line
to judge truly upon is to draw out and admit all the objections which
can fairly be made, and place against them all the contrary qualities,
conveniences and advantages, then by striking a balance you come at the
true character of any scheme, principle or position.

The most material advantages of the plan here proposed are, ease,
expedition, and cheapness; yet the men so raised get a much larger
bounty than is any where at present given; because all the expenses,
extravagance, and consequent idleness of recruiting are saved or
prevented. The country incurs no new debt nor interest thereon; the
whole matter being all settled at once and entirely done with. It is
a subscription answering all the purposes of a tax, without either the
charge or trouble of collecting. The men are ready for the field with
the greatest possible expedition, because it becomes the duty of the
inhabitants themselves, in every part of the country, to find their
proportion of men instead of leaving it to a recruiting sergeant, who,
be he ever so industrious, cannot know always where to apply.

I do not propose this as a regular digested plan, neither will the
limits of this paper admit of any further remarks upon it. I believe it
to be a hint capable of much improvement, and as such submit it to the
public.

COMMON SENSE.

LANCASTER, March 21, 1778.




THE CRISIS VI. (TO THE EARL OF CARLISLE AND GENERAL CLINTON)


TO THE EARL OF CARLISLE, GENERAL CLINTON, AND
WILLIAM EDEN, ESQ., BRITISH COMMISSIONERS
AT NEW YORK.


THERE is a dignity in the warm passions of a Whig, which is never to be
found in the cold malice of a Tory. In the one nature is only heated--in
the other she is poisoned. The instant the former has it in his power to
punish, he feels a disposition to forgive; but the canine venom of the
latter knows no relief but revenge. This general distinction will, I
believe, apply in all cases, and suits as well the meridian of England
as America.

As I presume your last proclamation will undergo the strictures of other
pens, I shall confine my remarks to only a few parts thereof. All that
you have said might have been comprised in half the compass. It is
tedious and unmeaning, and only a repetition of your former follies,
with here and there an offensive aggravation. Your cargo of pardons will
have no market. It is unfashionable to look at them--even speculation
is at an end. They have become a perfect drug, and no way calculated for
the climate.

In the course of your proclamation you say, "The policy as well as the
benevolence of Great Britain have thus far checked the extremes of war,
when they tended to distress a people still considered as their fellow
subjects, and to desolate a country shortly to become again a source of
mutual advantage." What you mean by "the benevolence of Great Britain"
is to me inconceivable. To put a plain question; do you consider
yourselves men or devils? For until this point is settled, no
determinate sense can be put upon the expression. You have already
equalled and in many cases excelled, the savages of either Indies; and
if you have yet a cruelty in store you must have imported it, unmixed
with every human material, from the original warehouse of hell.

To the interposition of Providence, and her blessings on our endeavors,
and not to British benevolence are we indebted for the short chain that
limits your ravages. Remember you do not, at this time, command a foot
of land on the continent of America. Staten Island, York Island, a small
part of Long Island, and Rhode Island, circumscribe your power; and even
those you hold at the expense of the West Indies. To avoid a defeat, or
prevent a desertion of your troops, you have taken up your quarters in
holes and corners of inaccessible security; and in order to conceal what
every one can perceive, you now endeavor to impose your weakness upon
us for an act of mercy. If you think to succeed by such shadowy devices,
you are but infants in the political world; you have the A, B, C, of
stratagem yet to learn, and are wholly ignorant of the people you have
to contend with. Like men in a state of intoxication, you forget that
the rest of the world have eyes, and that the same stupidity which
conceals you from yourselves exposes you to their satire and contempt.

The paragraph which I have quoted, stands as an introduction to the
following: "But when that country [America] professes the unnatural
design, not only of estranging herself from us, but of mortgaging
herself and her resources to our enemies, the whole contest is changed:
and the question is how far Great Britain may, by every means in her
power, destroy or render useless, a connection contrived for her ruin,
and the aggrandizement of France. Under such circumstances, the laws
of self-preservation must direct the conduct of Britain, and, if the
British colonies are to become an accession to France, will direct her
to render that accession of as little avail as possible to her enemy."

I consider you in this declaration, like madmen biting in the hour of
death. It contains likewise a fraudulent meanness; for, in order to
justify a barbarous conclusion, you have advanced a false position. The
treaty we have formed with France is open, noble, and generous. It is
true policy, founded on sound philosophy, and neither a surrender
or mortgage, as you would scandalously insinuate. I have seen every
article, and speak from positive knowledge. In France, we have found an
affectionate friend and faithful ally; in Britain, we have found nothing
but tyranny, cruelty, and infidelity.

But the happiness is, that the mischief you threaten, is not in your
power to execute; and if it were, the punishment would return upon you
in a ten-fold degree. The humanity of America has hitherto restrained
her from acts of retaliation, and the affection she retains for
many individuals in England, who have fed, clothed and comforted her
prisoners, has, to the present day, warded off her resentment, and
operated as a screen to the whole. But even these considerations
must cease, when national objects interfere and oppose them. Repeated
aggravations will provoke a retort, and policy justify the measure. We
mean now to take you seriously up upon your own ground and principle,
and as you do, so shall you be done by.

You ought to know, gentlemen, that England and Scotland, are far more
exposed to incendiary desolation than America, in her present state, can
possibly be. We occupy a country, with but few towns, and whose riches
consist in land and annual produce.



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