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Like a prodigal lingering in an habitual consumption, you feel
the relics of life, and mistake them for recovery. New schemes, like
new medicines, have administered fresh hopes, and prolonged the disease
instead of curing it. A change of generals, like a change of physicians,
served only to keep the flattery alive, and furnish new pretences for
new extravagance.

"Can Britain fail?"* has been proudly asked at the undertaking of every
enterprise; and that "whatever she wills is fate,"*(2) has been given
with the solemnity of prophetic confidence; and though the question
has been constantly replied to by disappointment, and the prediction
falsified by misfortune, yet still the insult continued, and your
catalogue of national evils increased therewith. Eager to persuade
the world of her power, she considered destruction as the minister of
greatness, and conceived that the glory of a nation like that of an
[American] Indian, lay in the number of its scalps and the miseries
which it inflicts.


* Whitehead's New Year's ode for 1776.
*(2) Ode at the installation of Lord North, for Chancellor of the
University of Oxford.

Fire, sword and want, as far as the arms of Britain could extend them,
have been spread with wanton cruelty along the coast of America; and
while you, remote from the scene of suffering, had nothing to lose
and as little to dread, the information reached you like a tale of
antiquity, in which the distance of time defaces the conception, and
changes the severest sorrows into conversable amusement.

This makes the second paper, addressed perhaps in vain, to the people
of England. That advice should be taken wherever example has failed,
or precept be regarded where warning is ridiculed, is like a picture
of hope resting on despair: but when time shall stamp with universal
currency the facts you have long encountered with a laugh, and the
irresistible evidence of accumulated losses, like the handwriting on
the wall, shall add terror to distress, you will then, in a conflict of
suffering, learn to sympathize with others by feeling for yourselves.

The triumphant appearance of the combined fleets in the channel and at
your harbor's mouth, and the expedition of Captain Paul Jones, on the
western and eastern coasts of England and Scotland, will, by placing
you in the condition of an endangered country, read to you a stronger
lecture on the calamities of invasion, and bring to your minds a truer
picture of promiscuous distress, than the most finished rhetoric can
describe or the keenest imagination conceive.

Hitherto you have experienced the expenses, but nothing of the miseries
of war. Your disappointments have been accompanied with no immediate
suffering, and your losses came to you only by intelligence. Like fire
at a distance you heard not even the cry; you felt not the danger, you
saw not the confusion. To you every thing has been foreign but the taxes
to support it. You knew not what it was to be alarmed at midnight with
an armed enemy in the streets. You were strangers to the distressing
scene of a family in flight, and to the thousand restless cares and
tender sorrows that incessantly arose. To see women and children
wandering in the severity of winter, with the broken remains of a well
furnished house, and seeking shelter in every crib and hut, were matters
that you had no conception of. You knew not what it was to stand by and
see your goods chopped for fuel, and your beds ripped to pieces to make
packages for plunder. The misery of others, like a tempestuous night,
added to the pleasures of your own security. You even enjoyed the storm,
by contemplating the difference of conditions, and that which carried
sorrow into the breasts of thousands served but to heighten in you a
species of tranquil pride. Yet these are but the fainter sufferings
of war, when compared with carnage and slaughter, the miseries of a
military hospital, or a town in flames.

The people of America, by anticipating distress, had fortified their
minds against every species you could inflict. They had resolved to
abandon their homes, to resign them to destruction, and to seek new
settlements rather than submit. Thus familiarized to misfortune, before
it arrived, they bore their portion with the less regret: the justness
of their cause was a continual source of consolation, and the hope of
final victory, which never left them, served to lighten the load and
sweeten the cup allotted them to drink.

But when their troubles shall become yours, and invasion be transferred
upon the invaders, you will have neither their extended wilderness
to fly to, their cause to comfort you, nor their hope to rest upon.
Distress with them was sharpened by no self-reflection. They had not
brought it on themselves. On the contrary, they had by every proceeding
endeavored to avoid it, and had descended even below the mark of
congressional character, to prevent a war. The national honor or the
advantages of independence were matters which, at the commencement of
the dispute, they had never studied, and it was only at the last moment
that the measure was resolved on. Thus circumstanced, they naturally
and conscientiously felt a dependence upon providence. They had a clear
pretension to it, and had they failed therein, infidelity had gained a
triumph.

But your condition is the reverse of theirs. Every thing you suffer you
have sought: nay, had you created mischiefs on purpose to inherit
them, you could not have secured your title by a firmer deed. The world
awakens with no pity it your complaints. You felt none for others; you
deserve none for yourselves. Nature does not interest herself in cases
like yours, but, on the contrary, turns from them with dislike, and
abandons them to punishment. You may now present memorials to what court
you please, but so far as America is the object, none will listen.
The policy of Europe, and the propensity there in every mind to curb
insulting ambition, and bring cruelty to judgment, are unitedly against
you; and where nature and interest reinforce with each other, the
compact is too intimate to be dissolved.

Make but the case of others your own, and your own theirs, and you
will then have a clear idea of the whole. Had France acted towards her
colonies as you have done, you would have branded her with every epithet
of abhorrence; and had you, like her, stepped in to succor a struggling
people, all Europe must have echoed with your own applauses. But
entangled in the passion of dispute you see it not as you ought, and
form opinions thereon which suit with no interest but your own. You
wonder that America does not rise in union with you to impose on herself
a portion of your taxes and reduce herself to unconditional submission.
You are amazed that the southern powers of Europe do not assist you
in conquering a country which is afterwards to be turned against
themselves; and that the northern ones do not contribute to reinstate
you in America who already enjoy the market for naval stores by the
separation. You seem surprised that Holland does not pour in her succors
to maintain you mistress of the seas, when her own commerce is suffering
by your act of navigation; or that any country should study her own
interest while yours is on the carpet.

Such excesses of passionate folly, and unjust as well as unwise
resentment, have driven you on, like Pharaoh, to unpitied miseries, and
while the importance of the quarrel shall perpetuate your disgrace, the
flag of America will carry it round the world. The natural feelings of
every rational being will be against you, and wherever the story shall
be told, you will have neither excuse nor consolation left. With an
unsparing hand, and an insatiable mind, you have desolated the world,
to gain dominion and to lose it; and while, in a frenzy of avarice and
ambition, the east and the west are doomed to tributary bondage, you
rapidly earned destruction as the wages of a nation.

At the thoughts of a war at home, every man amongst you ought to
tremble. The prospect is far more dreadful there than in America. Here
the party that was against the measures of the continent were in general
composed of a kind of neutrals, who added strength to neither army.
There does not exist a being so devoid of sense and sentiment as to
covet "unconditional submission," and therefore no man in America could
be with you in principle. Several might from a cowardice of mind, prefer
it to the hardships and dangers of opposing it; but the same disposition
that gave them such a choice, unfitted them to act either for or against
us. But England is rent into parties, with equal shares of resolution.
The principle which produced the war divides the nation. Their
animosities are in the highest state of fermentation, and both sides, by
a call of the militia, are in arms. No human foresight can discern, no
conclusion can be formed, what turn a war might take, if once set on
foot by an invasion. She is not now in a fit disposition to make a
common cause of her own affairs, and having no conquests to hope for
abroad, and nothing but expenses arising at home, her everything is
staked upon a defensive combat, and the further she goes the worse she
is off.

There are situations that a nation may be in, in which peace or war,
abstracted from every other consideration, may be politically right or
wrong. When nothing can be lost by a war, but what must be lost without
it, war is then the policy of that country; and such was the situation
of America at the commencement of hostilities: but when no security can
be gained by a war, but what may be accomplished by a peace, the case
becomes reversed, and such now is the situation of England.

That America is beyond the reach of conquest, is a fact which experience
has shown and time confirmed, and this admitted, what, I ask, is now the
object of contention? If there be any honor in pursuing self-destruction
with inflexible passion--if national suicide be the perfection of
national glory, you may, with all the pride of criminal happiness,
expire unenvied and unrivalled.



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