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Her common language is vulgar
and offensive, and children suck in with their milk the rudiments of
insult--"The arm of Britain! The mighty arm of Britain! Britain that
shakes the earth to its center and its poles! The scourge of France! The
terror of the world! That governs with a nod, and pours down vengeance
like a God." This language neither makes a nation great or little; but
it shows a savageness of manners, and has a tendency to keep national
animosity alive. The entertainments of the stage are calculated to the
same end, and almost every public exhibition is tinctured with insult.
Yet England is always in dread of France,--terrified at the apprehension
of an invasion, suspicious of being outwitted in a treaty, and privately
cringing though she is publicly offending. Let her, therefore, reform
her manners and do justice, and she will find the idea of a natural
enemy to be only a phantom of her own imagination.

Little did I think, at this period of the war, to see a proclamation
which could promise you no one useful purpose whatever, and tend only
to expose you. One would think that you were just awakened from a four
years' dream, and knew nothing of what had passed in the interval.
Is this a time to be offering pardons, or renewing the long forgotten
subjects of charters and taxation? Is it worth your while, after every
force has failed you, to retreat under the shelter of argument and
persuasion? Or can you think that we, with nearly half your army
prisoners, and in alliance with France, are to be begged or threatened
into submission by a piece of paper? But as commissioners at a hundred
pounds sterling a week each, you conceive yourselves bound to do
something, and the genius of ill-fortune told you, that you must write.

For my own part, I have not put pen to paper these several months.
Convinced of our superiority by the issue of every campaign, I was
inclined to hope, that that which all the rest of the world now see,
would become visible to you, and therefore felt unwilling to ruffle your
temper by fretting you with repetitions and discoveries. There have been
intervals of hesitation in your conduct, from which it seemed a pity to
disturb you, and a charity to leave you to yourselves. You have often
stopped, as if you intended to think, but your thoughts have ever been
too early or too late.

There was a time when Britain disdained to answer, or even hear
a petition from America. That time is past and she in her turn is
petitioning our acceptance. We now stand on higher ground, and offer
her peace; and the time will come when she, perhaps in vain, will ask
it from us. The latter case is as probable as the former ever was. She
cannot refuse to acknowledge our independence with greater obstinacy
than she before refused to repeal her laws; and if America alone could
bring her to the one, united with France she will reduce her to the
other. There is something in obstinacy which differs from every other
passion; whenever it fails it never recovers, but either breaks like
iron, or crumbles sulkily away like a fractured arch. Most other
passions have their periods of fatigue and rest; their suffering and
their cure; but obstinacy has no resource, and the first wound is
mortal. You have already begun to give it up, and you will, from the
natural construction of the vice, find yourselves both obliged and
inclined to do so.

If you look back you see nothing but loss and disgrace. If you look
forward the same scene continues, and the close is an impenetrable
gloom. You may plan and execute little mischiefs, but are they worth the
expense they cost you, or will such partial evils have any effect on the
general cause? Your expedition to Egg Harbor, will be felt at a distance
like an attack upon a hen-roost, and expose you in Europe, with a sort
of childish frenzy. Is it worth while to keep an army to protect you
in writing proclamations, or to get once a year into winter quarters?
Possessing yourselves of towns is not conquest, but convenience, and
in which you will one day or other be trepanned. Your retreat from
Philadelphia, was only a timely escape, and your next expedition may be
less fortunate.

It would puzzle all the politicians in the universe to conceive what you
stay for, or why you should have stayed so long. You are prosecuting
a war in which you confess you have neither object nor hope, and that
conquest, could it be effected, would not repay the charges: in the mean
while the rest of your affairs are running to ruin, and a European war
kindling against you. In such a situation, there is neither doubt nor
difficulty; the first rudiments of reason will determine the choice, for
if peace can be procured with more advantages than even a conquest can
be obtained, he must be an idiot indeed that hesitates.

But you are probably buoyed up by a set of wretched mortals, who, having
deceived themselves, are cringing, with the duplicity of a spaniel, for
a little temporary bread. Those men will tell you just what you
please. It is their interest to amuse, in order to lengthen out their
protection. They study to keep you amongst them for that very purpose;
and in proportion as you disregard their advice, and grow callous to
their complaints, they will stretch into improbability, and season their
flattery the higher. Characters like these are to be found in every
country, and every country will despise them.

COMMON SENSE.

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 20, 1778.




THE CRISIS VII. TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND.


THERE are stages in the business of serious life in which to amuse is
cruel, but to deceive is to destroy; and it is of little consequence, in
the conclusion, whether men deceive themselves, or submit, by a kind of
mutual consent, to the impositions of each other. That England has long
been under the influence of delusion or mistake, needs no other proof
than the unexpected and wretched situation that she is now involved in:
and so powerful has been the influence, that no provision was ever made
or thought of against the misfortune, because the possibility of its
happening was never conceived.

The general and successful resistance of America, the conquest of
Burgoyne, and a war in France, were treated in parliament as the dreams
of a discontented opposition, or a distempered imagination. They were
beheld as objects unworthy of a serious thought, and the bare intimation
of them afforded the ministry a triumph of laughter. Short triumph
indeed! For everything which has been predicted has happened, and all
that was promised has failed. A long series of politics so remarkably
distinguished by a succession of misfortunes, without one alleviating
turn, must certainly have something in it systematically wrong. It is
sufficient to awaken the most credulous into suspicion, and the most
obstinate into thought. Either the means in your power are insufficient,
or the measures ill planned; either the execution has been bad, or the
thing attempted impracticable; or, to speak more emphatically, either
you are not able or heaven is not willing. For, why is it that you have
not conquered us? Who, or what has prevented you? You have had every
opportunity that you could desire, and succeeded to your utmost wish in
every preparatory means. Your fleets and armies have arrived in America
without an accident. No uncommon fortune has intervened. No foreign
nation has interfered until the time which you had allotted for victory
was passed. The opposition, either in or out of parliament, neither
disconcerted your measures, retarded or diminished your force. They only
foretold your fate. Every ministerial scheme was carried with as high a
hand as if the whole nation had been unanimous. Every thing wanted was
asked for, and every thing asked for was granted.

A greater force was not within the compass of your abilities to send,
and the time you sent it was of all others the most favorable. You were
then at rest with the whole world beside. You had the range of every
court in Europe uncontradicted by us. You amused us with a tale of
commissioners of peace, and under that disguise collected a numerous
army and came almost unexpectedly upon us. The force was much greater
than we looked for; and that which we had to oppose it with, was unequal
in numbers, badly armed, and poorly disciplined; beside which, it was
embodied only for a short time, and expired within a few months after
your arrival. We had governments to form; measures to concert; an
army to train, and every necessary article to import or to create. Our
non-importation scheme had exhausted our stores, and your command by sea
intercepted our supplies. We were a people unknown, and unconnected with
the political world, and strangers to the disposition of foreign
powers. Could you possibly wish for a more favorable conjunction of
circumstances? Yet all these have happened and passed away, and, as
it were, left you with a laugh. There are likewise, events of such an
original nativity as can never happen again, unless a new world should
arise from the ocean.

If any thing can be a lesson to presumption, surely the circumstances
of this war will have their effect. Had Britain been defeated by
any European power, her pride would have drawn consolation from the
importance of her conquerors; but in the present case, she is excelled
by those that she affected to despise, and her own opinions retorting
upon herself, become an aggravation of her disgrace. Misfortune and
experience are lost upon mankind, when they produce neither reflection
nor reformation. Evils, like poisons, have their uses, and there are
diseases which no other remedy can reach. It has been the crime and
folly of England to suppose herself invincible, and that, without
acknowledging or perceiving that a full third of her strength was drawn
from the country she is now at war with. The arm of Britain has been
spoken of as the arm of the Almighty, and she has lived of late as if
she thought the whole world created for her diversion. Her politics,
instead of civilizing, has tended to brutalize mankind, and under the
vain, unmeaning title of "Defender of the Faith," she has made war like
an Indian against the religion of humanity.



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