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Will not
the capture of one army after another satisfy him, must all become
prisoners? Must England ever be the sport of hope, and the victim of
delusion? Sometimes our currency was to fail; another time our army was
to disband; then whole provinces were to revolt. Such a general said
this and that; another wrote so and so; Lord Chatham was of this
opinion; and lord somebody else of another. To-day 20,000 Russians and
20 Russian ships of the line were to come; to-morrow the empress was
abused without mercy or decency. Then the Emperor of Germany was to
be bribed with a million of money, and the King of Prussia was to do
wonderful things. At one time it was, Lo here! and then it was, Lo
there! Sometimes this power, and sometimes that power, was to engage in
the war, just as if the whole world was mad and foolish like Britain.
And thus, from year to year, has every straw been catched at, and every
Will-with-a-wisp led them a new dance.

This year a still newer folly is to take place. Lord Shelburne wishes to
be sent to Congress, and he thinks that something may be done.

Are not the repeated declarations of Congress, and which all America
supports, that they will not even hear any proposals whatever, until the
unconditional and unequivocal independence of America is recognised; are
not, I say, these declarations answer enough?

But for England to receive any thing from America now, after so many
insults, injuries and outrages, acted towards us, would show such
a spirit of meanness in her, that we could not but despise her for
accepting it. And so far from Lord Shelburne's coming here to solicit
it, it would be the greatest disgrace we could do them to offer it.
England would appear a wretch indeed, at this time of day, to ask or owe
any thing to the bounty of America. Has not the name of Englishman blots
enough upon it, without inventing more? Even Lucifer would scorn to
reign in heaven by permission, and yet an Englishman can creep for only
an entrance into America. Or, has a land of liberty so many charms, that
to be a doorkeeper in it is better than to be an English minister of
state?

But what can this expected something be? Or, if obtained, what can it
amount to, but new disgraces, contentions and quarrels? The people
of America have for years accustomed themselves to think and speak so
freely and contemptuously of English authority, and the inveteracy is
so deeply rooted, that a person invested with any authority from that
country, and attempting to exercise it here, would have the life of a
toad under a harrow. They would look on him as an interloper, to whom
their compassion permitted a residence. He would be no more than the
Mungo of a farce; and if he disliked that, he must set off. It would
be a station of degradation, debased by our pity, and despised by our
pride, and would place England in a more contemptible situation than
any she has yet been in during the war. We have too high an opinion
of ourselves, even to think of yielding again the least obedience to
outlandish authority; and for a thousand reasons, England would be the
last country in the world to yield it to. She has been treacherous, and
we know it. Her character is gone, and we have seen the funeral.

Surely she loves to fish in troubled waters, and drink the cup of
contention, or she would not now think of mingling her affairs with
those of America. It would be like a foolish dotard taking to his arms
the bride that despises him, or who has placed on his head the ensigns
of her disgust. It is kissing the hand that boxes his ears, and
proposing to renew the exchange. The thought is as servile as the war is
wicked, and shows the last scene of the drama to be as inconsistent as
the first.

As America is gone, the only act of manhood is to let her go. Your
lordship had no hand in the separation, and you will gain no honor
by temporising politics. Besides, there is something so exceedingly
whimsical, unsteady, and even insincere in the present conduct of
England, that she exhibits herself in the most dishonorable colors. On
the second of August last, General Carleton and Admiral Digby wrote to
General Washington in these words:

"The resolution of the House of Commons, of the 27th of February last,
has been placed in Your Excellency's hands, and intimations given at
the same time that further pacific measures were likely to follow. Since
which, until the present time, we have had no direct communications
with England; but a mail is now arrived, which brings us very important
information. We are acquainted, sir, by authority, that negotiations for
a general peace have already commenced at Paris, and that Mr. Grenville
is invested with full powers to treat with all the parties at war, and
is now at Paris in execution of his commission. And we are further, sir,
made acquainted, that His Majesty, in order to remove any obstacles to
this peace which he so ardently wishes to restore, has commanded his
ministers to direct Mr. Grenville, that the independence of the Thirteen
United Provinces, should be proposed by him in the first instance,
instead of making it a condition of a general treaty."

Now, taking your present measures into view, and comparing them with the
declaration in this letter, pray what is the word of your king, or his
ministers, or the Parliament, good for? Must we not look upon you as a
confederated body of faithless, treacherous men, whose assurances are
fraud, and their language deceit? What opinion can we possibly form of
you, but that you are a lost, abandoned, profligate nation, who sport
even with your own character, and are to be held by nothing but the
bayonet or the halter?

To say, after this, that the sun of Great Britain will be set whenever
she acknowledges the independence of America, when the not doing it is
the unqualified lie of government, can be no other than the language of
ridicule, the jargon of inconsistency. There were thousands in America
who predicted the delusion, and looked upon it as a trick of treachery,
to take us from our guard, and draw off our attention from the only
system of finance, by which we can be called, or deserve to be called,
a sovereign, independent people. The fraud, on your part, might be worth
attempting, but the sacrifice to obtain it is too high.

There are others who credited the assurance, because they thought it
impossible that men who had their characters to establish, would begin
with a lie. The prosecution of the war by the former ministry was savage
and horrid; since which it has been mean, trickish, and delusive.
The one went greedily into the passion of revenge, the other into the
subtleties of low contrivance; till, between the crimes of both, there
is scarcely left a man in America, be he Whig or Tory, who does not
despise or detest the conduct of Britain.

The management of Lord Shelburne, whatever may be his views, is a
caution to us, and must be to the world, never to regard British
assurances. A perfidy so notorious cannot be hid. It stands even in the
public papers of New York, with the names of Carleton and Digby affixed
to it. It is a proclamation that the king of England is not to be
believed; that the spirit of lying is the governing principle of the
ministry. It is holding up the character of the House of Commons to
public infamy, and warning all men not to credit them. Such are the
consequences which Lord Shelburne's management has brought upon his
country.

After the authorized declarations contained in Carleton and Digby's
letter, you ought, from every motive of honor, policy and prudence,
to have fulfilled them, whatever might have been the event. It was
the least atonement that you could possibly make to America, and the
greatest kindness you could do to yourselves; for you will save millions
by a general peace, and you will lose as many by continuing the war.

COMMON SENSE.

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 29, 1782.

P. S. The manuscript copy of this letter is sent your lordship, by the
way of our head-quarters, to New York, inclosing a late pamphlet of
mine, addressed to the Abbe Raynal, which will serve to give your
lordship some idea of the principles and sentiments of America.

C. S.




THE CRISIS. XIII. THOUGHTS ON THE PEACE, AND PROBABLE ADVANTAGES
THEREOF.

"THE times that tried men's souls,"* are over--and the greatest and
completest revolution the world ever knew, gloriously and happily
accomplished.


* "These are the times that try men's souls," The Crisis No. I.
published December, 1776.

But to pass from the extremes of danger to safety--from the tumult
of war to the tranquillity of peace, though sweet in contemplation,
requires a gradual composure of the senses to receive it. Even calmness
has the power of stunning, when it opens too instantly upon us. The long
and raging hurricane that should cease in a moment, would leave us in a
state rather of wonder than enjoyment; and some moments of recollection
must pass, before we could be capable of tasting the felicity of repose.
There are but few instances, in which the mind is fitted for sudden
transitions: it takes in its pleasures by reflection and comparison
and those must have time to act, before the relish for new scenes is
complete.

In the present case--the mighty magnitude of the object--the various
uncertainties of fate it has undergone--the numerous and complicated
dangers we have suffered or escaped--the eminence we now stand on,
and the vast prospect before us, must all conspire to impress us with
contemplation.

To see it in our power to make a world happy--to teach mankind the art
of being so--to exhibit, on the theatre of the universe a character
hitherto unknown--and to have, as it were, a new creation intrusted to
our hands, are honors that command reflection, and can neither be too
highly estimated, nor too gratefully received.

In this pause then of recollection--while the storm is ceasing, and the
long agitated mind vibrating to a rest, let us look back on the scenes
we have passed, and learn from experience what is yet to be done.

Never, I say, had a country so many openings to happiness as this.



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