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Were you to garrison the places you might march
over, in order to secure their subjection, (for remember you can do it
by no other means,) your army would be like a stream of water running to
nothing. By the time you extended from New York to Virginia, you would
be reduced to a string of drops not capable of hanging together; while
we, by retreating from State to State, like a river turning back upon
itself, would acquire strength in the same proportion as you lost it,
and in the end be capable of overwhelming you. The country, in the
meantime, would suffer, but it is a day of suffering, and we ought
to expect it. What we contend for is worthy the affliction we may go
through. If we get but bread to eat, and any kind of raiment to put on,
we ought not only to be contented, but thankful. More than that we ought
not to look for, and less than that heaven has not yet suffered us
to want. He that would sell his birthright for a little salt, is as
worthless as he who sold it for pottage without salt; and he that would
part with it for a gay coat, or a plain coat, ought for ever to be
a slave in buff. What are salt, sugar and finery, to the inestimable
blessings of "Liberty and Safety!" Or what are the inconveniences of
a few months to the tributary bondage of ages? The meanest peasant in
America, blessed with these sentiments, is a happy man compared with a
New York Tory; he can eat his morsel without repining, and when he has
done, can sweeten it with a repast of wholesome air; he can take his
child by the hand and bless it, without feeling the conscious shame of
neglecting a parent's duty.

In publishing these remarks I have several objects in view.

On your part they are to expose the folly of your pretended authority
as a commissioner; the wickedness of your cause in general; and the
impossibility of your conquering us at any rate. On the part of the
public, my intention is, to show them their true and sold interest;
to encourage them to their own good, to remove the fears and falsities
which bad men have spread, and weak men have encouraged; and to excite
in all men a love for union, and a cheerfulness for duty.

I shall submit one more case to you respecting your conquest of this
country, and then proceed to new observations.

Suppose our armies in every part of this continent were immediately to
disperse, every man to his home, or where else he might be safe, and
engage to reassemble again on a certain future day; it is clear that you
would then have no army to contend with, yet you would be as much at
a loss in that case as you are now; you would be afraid to send your
troops in parties over to the continent, either to disarm or prevent us
from assembling, lest they should not return; and while you kept them
together, having no arms of ours to dispute with, you could not call it
a conquest; you might furnish out a pompous page in the London Gazette
or a New York paper, but when we returned at the appointed time, you
would have the same work to do that you had at first.

It has been the folly of Britain to suppose herself more powerful than
she really is, and by that means has arrogated to herself a rank in the
world she is not entitled to: for more than this century past she
has not been able to carry on a war without foreign assistance. In
Marlborough's campaigns, and from that day to this, the number of German
troops and officers assisting her have been about equal with her own;
ten thousand Hessians were sent to England last war to protect her
from a French invasion; and she would have cut but a poor figure in her
Canadian and West Indian expeditions, had not America been lavish both
of her money and men to help her along. The only instance in which she
was engaged singly, that I can recollect, was against the rebellion in
Scotland, in the years 1745 and 1746, and in that, out of three battles,
she was twice beaten, till by thus reducing their numbers, (as we
shall yours) and taking a supply ship that was coming to Scotland
with clothes, arms and money, (as we have often done,) she was at last
enabled to defeat them. England was never famous by land; her officers
have generally been suspected of cowardice, have more of the air of a
dancing-master than a soldier, and by the samples which we have taken
prisoners, we give the preference to ourselves. Her strength, of late,
has lain in her extravagance; but as her finances and credit are now
low, her sinews in that line begin to fail fast. As a nation she is the
poorest in Europe; for were the whole kingdom, and all that is in it, to
be put up for sale like the estate of a bankrupt, it would not fetch as
much as she owes; yet this thoughtless wretch must go to war, and with
the avowed design, too, of making us beasts of burden, to support her in
riot and debauchery, and to assist her afterwards in distressing those
nations who are now our best friends. This ingratitude may suit a Tory,
or the unchristian peevishness of a fallen Quaker, but none else.

'Tis the unhappy temper of the English to be pleased with any war, right
or wrong, be it but successful; but they soon grow discontented with ill
fortune, and it is an even chance that they are as clamorous for peace
next summer, as the king and his ministers were for war last winter.
In this natural view of things, your lordship stands in a very critical
situation: your whole character is now staked upon your laurels; if they
wither, you wither with them; if they flourish, you cannot live long to
look at them; and at any rate, the black account hereafter is not far
off. What lately appeared to us misfortunes, were only blessings in
disguise; and the seeming advantages on your side have turned out to
our profit. Even our loss of this city, as far as we can see, might be a
principal gain to us: the more surface you spread over, the thinner
you will be, and the easier wiped away; and our consolation under that
apparent disaster would be, that the estates of the Tories would become
securities for the repairs. In short, there is no old ground we can fail
upon, but some new foundation rises again to support us. "We have put,
sir, our hands to the plough, and cursed be he that looketh back."

Your king, in his speech to parliament last spring, declared, "That
he had no doubt but the great force they had enabled him to send to
America, would effectually reduce the rebellious colonies." It has not,
neither can it; but it has done just enough to lay the foundation of
its own next year's ruin. You are sensible that you left England in a
divided, distracted state of politics, and, by the command you had here,
you became a principal prop in the court party; their fortunes rest on
yours; by a single express you can fix their value with the public, and
the degree to which their spirits shall rise or fall; they are in your
hands as stock, and you have the secret of the alley with you. Thus
situated and connected, you become the unintentional mechanical
instrument of your own and their overthrow. The king and his ministers
put conquest out of doubt, and the credit of both depended on the proof.
To support them in the interim, it was necessary that you should make
the most of every thing, and we can tell by Hugh Gaine's New York
paper what the complexion of the London Gazette is. With such a list
of victories the nation cannot expect you will ask new supplies; and
to confess your want of them would give the lie to your triumphs, and
impeach the king and his ministers of treasonable deception. If you make
the necessary demand at home, your party sinks; if you make it not, you
sink yourself; to ask it now is too late, and to ask it before was too
soon, and unless it arrive quickly will be of no use. In short, the part
you have to act, cannot be acted; and I am fully persuaded that all you
have to trust to is, to do the best you can with what force you have
got, or little more. Though we have greatly exceeded you in point of
generalship and bravery of men, yet, as a people, we have not entered
into the full soul of enterprise; for I, who know England and the
disposition of the people well, am confident, that it is easier for us
to effect a revolution there, than you a conquest here; a few thousand
men landed in England with the declared design of deposing the present
king, bringing his ministers to trial, and setting up the Duke of
Gloucester in his stead, would assuredly carry their point, while you
are grovelling here, ignorant of the matter. As I send all my papers to
England, this, like Common Sense, will find its way there; and though
it may put one party on their guard, it will inform the other, and the
nation in general, of our design to help them.

Thus far, sir, I have endeavored to give you a picture of present
affairs: you may draw from it what conclusions you please. I wish
as well to the true prosperity of England as you can, but I consider
INDEPENDENCE as America's natural right and interest, and never could
see any real disservice it would be to Britain. If an English merchant
receives an order, and is paid for it, it signifies nothing to him who
governs the country. This is my creed of politics. If I have any where
expressed myself over-warmly, 'tis from a fixed, immovable hatred I
have, and ever had, to cruel men and cruel measures. I have likewise an
aversion to monarchy, as being too debasing to the dignity of man; but
I never troubled others with my notions till very lately, nor ever
published a syllable in England in my life. What I write is pure nature,
and my pen and my soul have ever gone together. My writings I have
always given away, reserving only the expense of printing and paper, and
sometimes not even that. I never courted either fame or interest, and my
manner of life, to those who know it, will justify what I say. My study
is to be useful, and if your lordship loves mankind as well as I do,
you would, seeing you cannot conquer us, cast about and lend your hand
towards accomplishing a peace. Our independence with God's blessing
we will maintain against all the world; but as we wish to avoid
evil ourselves, we wish not to inflict it on others.



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