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And shall disaffection only
be rewarded with security? Can any thing be a greater inducement to a
miserly man, than the hope of making his Mammon safe? And though the
scheme be fraught with every character of folly, yet, so long as he
supposes, that by doing nothing materially criminal against America
on one part, and by expressing his private disapprobation against
independence, as palliative with the enemy, on the other part, he stands
in a safe line between both; while, I say, this ground be suffered to
remain, craft, and the spirit of avarice, will point it out, and men
will not be wanting to fill up this most contemptible of all characters.

These men, ashamed to own the sordid cause from whence their
disaffection springs, add thereby meanness to meanness, by endeavoring
to shelter themselves under the mask of hypocrisy; that is, they had
rather be thought to be Tories from some kind of principle, than Tories
by having no principle at all. But till such time as they can show
some real reason, natural, political, or conscientious, on which their
objections to independence are founded, we are not obliged to give them
credit for being Tories of the first stamp, but must set them down as
Tories of the last.

In the second number of the Crisis, I endeavored to show the
impossibility of the enemy's making any conquest of America, that
nothing was wanting on our part but patience and perseverance, and
that, with these virtues, our success, as far as human speculation could
discern, seemed as certain as fate. But as there are many among us, who,
influenced by others, have regularly gone back from the principles
they once held, in proportion as we have gone forward; and as it is the
unfortunate lot of many a good man to live within the neighborhood of
disaffected ones; I shall, therefore, for the sake of confirming the one
and recovering the other, endeavor, in the space of a page or two, to go
over some of the leading principles in support of independence. It is a
much pleasanter task to prevent vice than to punish it, and, however our
tempers may be gratified by resentment, or our national expenses eased
by forfeited estates, harmony and friendship is, nevertheless, the
happiest condition a country can be blessed with.

The principal arguments in support of independence may be comprehended
under the four following heads.

1st, The natural right of the continent to independence.
2d, Her interest in being independent.
3d, The necessity,--and
4th, The moral advantages arising therefrom.

I. The natural right of the continent to independence, is a point which
never yet was called in question. It will not even admit of a debate.
To deny such a right, would be a kind of atheism against nature: and the
best answer to such an objection would be, "The fool hath said in his
heart there is no God."

II. The interest of the continent in being independent is a point as
clearly right as the former. America, by her own internal industry,
and unknown to all the powers of Europe, was, at the beginning of the
dispute, arrived at a pitch of greatness, trade and population, beyond
which it was the interest of Britain not to suffer her to pass, lest she
should grow too powerful to be kept subordinate. She began to view
this country with the same uneasy malicious eye, with which a covetous
guardian would view his ward, whose estate he had been enriching himself
by for twenty years, and saw him just arriving at manhood. And America
owes no more to Britain for her present maturity, than the ward would
to the guardian for being twenty-one years of age. That America hath
flourished at the time she was under the government of Britain, is
true; but there is every natural reason to believe, that had she been an
independent country from the first settlement thereof, uncontrolled by
any foreign power, free to make her own laws, regulate and encourage her
own commerce, she had by this time been of much greater worth than now.
The case is simply this: the first settlers in the different colonies
were left to shift for themselves, unnoticed and unsupported by any
European government; but as the tyranny and persecution of the old world
daily drove numbers to the new, and as, by the favor of heaven on their
industry and perseverance, they grew into importance, so, in a like
degree, they became an object of profit to the greedy eyes of Europe.
It was impossible, in this state of infancy, however thriving and
promising, that they could resist the power of any armed invader that
should seek to bring them under his authority. In this situation,
Britain thought it worth her while to claim them, and the continent
received and acknowledged the claimer. It was, in reality, of no very
great importance who was her master, seeing, that from the force and
ambition of the different powers of Europe, she must, till she acquired
strength enough to assert her own right, acknowledge some one. As well,
perhaps, Britain as another; and it might have been as well to have been
under the states of Holland as any. The same hopes of engrossing and
profiting by her trade, by not oppressing it too much, would have
operated alike with any master, and produced to the colonies the same
effects. The clamor of protection, likewise, was all a farce; because,
in order to make that protection necessary, she must first, by her own
quarrels, create us enemies. Hard terms indeed!

To know whether it be the interest of the continent to be independent,
we need only ask this easy, simple question: Is it the interest of a man
to be a boy all his life? The answer to one will be the answer to both.
America hath been one continued scene of legislative contention from
the first king's representative to the last; and this was unavoidably
founded in the natural opposition of interest between the old country
and the new. A governor sent from England, or receiving his authority
therefrom, ought never to have been considered in any other light
than that of a genteel commissioned spy, whose private business was
information, and his public business a kind of civilized oppression. In
the first of these characters he was to watch the tempers, sentiments,
and disposition of the people, the growth of trade, and the increase of
private fortunes; and, in the latter, to suppress all such acts of the
assemblies, however beneficial to the people, which did not directly
or indirectly throw some increase of power or profit into the hands of
those that sent him.

America, till now, could never be called a free country, because her
legislation depended on the will of a man three thousand miles distant,
whose interest was in opposition to ours, and who, by a single "no,"
could forbid what law he pleased.

The freedom of trade, likewise, is, to a trading country, an article of
such importance, that the principal source of wealth depends upon it;
and it is impossible that any country can flourish, as it otherwise
might do, whose commerce is engrossed, cramped and fettered by the
laws and mandates of another--yet these evils, and more than I can here
enumerate, the continent has suffered by being under the government of
England. By an independence we clear the whole at once--put
an end to the business of unanswered petitions and fruitless
remonstrances--exchange Britain for Europe--shake hands with the
world--live at peace with the world--and trade to any market where we
can buy and sell.

III. The necessity, likewise, of being independent, even before it was
declared, became so evident and important, that the continent ran the
risk of being ruined every day that she delayed it. There was reason to
believe that Britain would endeavor to make an European matter of it,
and, rather than lose the whole, would dismember it, like Poland, and
dispose of her several claims to the highest bidder. Genoa, failing in
her attempts to reduce Corsica, made a sale of it to the French, and
such trafficks have been common in the old world. We had at that time no
ambassador in any part of Europe, to counteract her negotiations, and
by that means she had the range of every foreign court uncontradicted
on our part. We even knew nothing of the treaty for the Hessians till it
was concluded, and the troops ready to embark. Had we been independent
before, we had probably prevented her obtaining them. We had no credit
abroad, because of our rebellious dependency. Our ships could claim no
protection in foreign ports, because we afforded them no justifiable
reason for granting it to us. The calling ourselves subjects, and at
the same time fighting against the power which we acknowledged, was
a dangerous precedent to all Europe. If the grievances justified the
taking up arms, they justified our separation; if they did not justify
our separation, neither could they justify our taking up arms. All
Europe was interested in reducing us as rebels, and all Europe (or the
greatest part at least) is interested in supporting us as independent
States. At home our condition was still worse: our currency had no
foundation, and the fall of it would have ruined Whig and Tory alike. We
had no other law than a kind of moderated passion; no other civil
power than an honest mob; and no other protection than the temporary
attachment of one man to another. Had independence been delayed a few
months longer, this continent would have been plunged into irrecoverable
confusion: some violent for it, some against it, till, in the general
cabal, the rich would have been ruined, and the poor destroyed. It is to
independence that every Tory owes the present safety which he lives
in; for by that, and that only, we emerged from a state of dangerous
suspense, and became a regular people.

The necessity, likewise, of being independent, had there been no rupture
between Britain and America, would, in a little time, have brought one
on. The increasing importance of commerce, the weight and perplexity of
legislation, and the entangled state of European politics, would daily
have shown to the continent the impossibility of continuing subordinate;
for, after the coolest reflections on the matter, this must be allowed,
that Britain was too jealous of America to govern it justly; too
ignorant of it to govern it well; and too far distant from it to govern
it at all.

IV.



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