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´╗┐Title: Common Sense
Author: Paine, Thomas, 1737-1809
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Common Sense" ***

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Thomas Paine









Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET
sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit
of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of
being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of
custom.  But the tumult soon subsides.  Time makes more converts than

As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the Means of calling
the right of it in question (and in Matters too which might never have
been thought of, had not the Sufferers been aggravated into the
inquiry) and as the King of England hath undertaken in his OWN RIGHT,
to support the Parliament in what he calls THEIRS, and as the good
people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination,
they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of
both, and equally to reject the usurpation of either.

In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every thing
which is personal among ourselves.  Compliments as well as censure to
individuals make no part thereof.  The wise, and the worthy, need not
the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose sentiments are injudicious,
or unfriendly, will cease of themselves unless too much pains are
bestowed upon their conversion.

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.
Many circumstances hath, and will arise, which are not local, but
universal, and through which the principles of all Lovers of Mankind
are affected, and in the Event of which, their Affections are
interested.  The laying a Country desolate with Fire and Sword,
declaring War against the natural rights of all Mankind, and
extirpating the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earth, is the
Concern of every Man to whom Nature hath given the Power of feeling; of
which Class, regardless of Party Censure, is the AUTHOR.

P.S.  The Publication of this new Edition hath been delayed, with a
View of taking notice (had it been necessary) of any Attempt to refute
the Doctrine of Independance: As no Answer hath yet appeared, it is now
presumed that none will, the Time needful for getting such a
Performance ready for the Public being considerably past.

Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the
Public, as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELF, not the
MAN.  Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected with
any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the
influence of reason and principle.

Philadelphia, February 14, 1776


Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave
little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only
different, but have different origins.  Society is produced by our
wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our
POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by
restraining our vices.  The one encourages intercourse, the other
creates distinctions.  The first a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best
state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one;
for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A
GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our
calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which
we suffer.  Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the
palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise.  For
were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly
obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case,
he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish
means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by
the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two
evils to choose the least.  WHEREFORE, security being the true design
and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever FORM
thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense
and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of
government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some
sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will
then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world.  In
this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought.  A
thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is
so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual
solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of
another, who in his turn requires the same.  Four or five united would
be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but
one man might labour out of the common period of life without
accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not
remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time
would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a
different way.  Disease, nay even misfortune would be death, for though
neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and
reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than
to die.

Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly
arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which,
would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government
unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as
nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen,
that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of
emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will
begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this
remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of
government to supply the defect of moral virtue.

Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches
of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public
matters.  It is more than probable that their first laws will have the
title only of REGULATIONS, and be enforced by no other penalty than
public disesteem.  In this first parliament every man, by natural
right, will have a seat.

But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase
likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will
render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as
at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the
public concerns few and trifling.  This will point out the convenience
of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a
select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the
same concerns at stake which those who appointed them, and who will act
in the same manner as the whole body would act, were they present.  If
the colony continues increasing, it will become necessary to augment
the number of the representatives, and that the interest of every part
of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best to divide the
whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number; and
that the ELECTED might never form to themselves an interest separate
from the ELECTORS, prudence will point out the propriety of having
elections often; because as the ELECTED might by that means return and
mix again with the general body of the ELECTORS in a few months, their
fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not
making a rod for themselves.  And as this frequent interchange will
establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will
mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the
unmeaning name of king) depends the STRENGTH OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE

Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered
necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here
too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security.
And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by
sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our
understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason will say, it is

I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature,
which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the
less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired when
disordered; and with this maxim in view, I offer a few remarks on the
so much boasted constitution of England.  That it was noble for the
dark and slavish times in which it was erected, is granted.  When the
world was overrun with tyranny the least remove therefrom was a
glorious rescue.  But that it is imperfect, subject to convulsions, and
incapable of producing what it seems to promise, is easily demonstrated.

Absolute governments (tho' the disgrace of human nature) have this
advantage with them, that they are simple; if the people suffer, they
know the head from which their suffering springs, know likewise the
remedy, and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures.  But
the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex, that the nation
may suffer for years together without being able to discover in which
part the fault lies; some will say in one and some in another, and
every political physician will advise a different medicine.

I know it is difficult to get over local or long standing prejudices,
yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the component parts of the
English constitution, we shall find them to be the base remains of two
ancient tyrannies, compounded with some new republican materials.

FIRST - The remains of monarchial tyranny in the person of the king.
SECONDLY - The remains of aristocratical tyranny in the persons of the
peers.  THIRDLY - The new republican materials in the persons of the
          on whose virtue depends the freedom of England.

The two first, by being hereditary, are independent of the people;
wherefore in a CONSTITUTIONAL SENSE they contribute nothing towards the
freedom of the state.

To say that the constitution of England is a UNION of three powers
reciprocally CHECKING each other, is farcical, either the words have no
meaning, or they are flat contradictions.

To say that the commons is a check upon the king, presupposes two

FIRST - That the king is not to be trusted without being looked after,
or in other words, that a thirst for absolute power is the natural
disease of monarchy.

SECONDLY - That the commons, by being appointed for that purpose, are
either wiser or more worthy of confidence than the crown.

But as the same constitution which gives the commons a power to check
the king by withholding the supplies, gives afterwards the king a power
to check the commons, by empowering him to reject their other bills; it
again supposes that the king is wiser than those whom it has already
supposed to be wiser than him.  A mere absurdity!

There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of
monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet
empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required.
The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a
king requires him to know it thoroughly; wherefore the different parts,
by unnaturally opposing and destroying each other, prove the whole
character to be absurd and useless.

Some writers have explained the English constitution thus: The king,
say they, is one, the people another; the peers are a house in behalf
of the king, the commons in behalf of the people; but this hath all the
distinctions of a house divided against itself; and though the
expressions be pleasantly arranged, yet when examined, they appear idle
and ambiguous; and it will always happen, that the nicest construction
that words are capable of, when applied to the description of some
thing which either cannot exist, or is too incomprehensible to be
within the compass of description, will be words of sound only, and
though they may amuse the ear, they cannot inform the mind, for this
explanation includes a previous question, viz.  HOW CAME THE KING BY A
CHECK?  Such a power could not be the gift of a wise people, neither
can any power, WHICH NEEDS CHECKING, be from God; yet the provision,
which the constitution makes, supposes such a power to exist.

But the provision is unequal to the task; the means either cannot or
will not accomplish the end, and the whole affair is a felo de se; for
as the greater weight will always carry up the less, and as all the
wheels of a machine are put in motion by one, it only remains to know
which power in the constitution has the most weight, for that will
govern; and though the others, or a part of them, may clog, or, as the
phrase is, check the rapidity of its motion, yet so long as they cannot
stop it, their endeavours will be ineffectual; the first moving power
will at last have its way, and what it wants in speed, is supplied by

That the crown is this overbearing part in the English constitution,
needs not be mentioned, and that it derives its whole consequence
merely from being the giver of places and pensions, is self-evident,
wherefore, though we have been wise enough to shut and lock a door
against absolute monarchy, we at the same time have been foolish enough
to put the crown in possession of the key.

The prejudice of Englishmen in favour of their own government by king,
lords, and commons, arises as much or more from national pride than
reason.  Individuals are undoubtedly safer in England than in some
other countries, but the WILL of the king is as much the LAW of the
land in Britain as in France, with this difference, that instead of
proceeding directly from his mouth, it is handed to the people under
the more formidable shape of an act of parliament.  For the fate of
Charles the First hath only made kings more subtle--not more just.

Wherefore, laying aside all national pride and prejudice in favour of
modes and forms, the plain truth is, that IT IS WHOLLY OWING TO THE
GOVERNMENT, that the crown is not as oppressive in England as in Turkey.

An inquiry into the CONSTITUTIONAL ERRORS in the English form of
government is at this time highly necessary; for as we are never in a
proper condition of doing justice to others, while we continue under
the influence of some leading partiality, so neither are we capable of
doing it to ourselves while we remain fettered by any obstinate
prejudice.  And as a man, who is attached to a prostitute, is unfitted
to choose or judge a wife, so any prepossession in favour of a rotten
constitution of government will disable us from discerning a good one.


Mankind being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality
could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance; the
distinctions of rich, and poor, may in a great measure be accounted
for, and that without having recourse to the harsh, ill-sounding names
of oppression and avarice.  Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCE, but
seldom or never the MEANS of riches; and though avarice will preserve a
man from being necessitously poor, it generally makes him too timorous
to be wealthy.

But there is another and greater distinction, for which no truly
natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is, the
distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS.  Male and female are the
distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but
how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and
distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and
whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.

In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology,
there were no kings; the consequence of which was, there were no wars;
it is the pride of kings which throw mankind into confusion.  Holland
without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last century than any
of the  monarchial governments in Europe.  Antiquity favours the same
remark; for the quiet and rural lives of the first patriarchs hath a
happy something in them, which vanishes away when we come to the
history of Jewish royalty.

Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the
Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom.  It was
the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the
promotion of idolatry.  The Heathens paid divine honours to their
deceased kings, and the Christian world hath improved on the plan, by
doing the same to their living ones.  How impious is the title of
sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is
crumbling into dust!

As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified
on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the
authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by
Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by
kings.  All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have been very smoothly
glossed over in monarchical governments, but they undoubtedly merit the
attention of countries which have their governments yet to form.
doctrine of courts, yet it is no support of monarchical government, for
the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage
to the Romans.

Now three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic account of the
creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king.
Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases,
where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic administered by a
judge and the elders of the tribes.  Kings they had none, and it was
held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of
Hosts.  And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage
which is paid to the persons of kings, he need not wonder that the
Almighty, ever jealous of his honour, should disapprove of a form of
government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.

Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for
which a curse in reserve is denounced against them.  The history of
that transaction is worth attending to.

The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites, Gideon
marched against them with a small army, and victory, through the divine
interposition, decided in his favour.  The Jews, elate with success,
and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon, proposed making him a
Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only, but an
hereditary one, but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied, I WILL NOT
OVER YOU._ Words need not be more explicit; Gideon doth not decline the
honour, but denieth their right to give it; neither doth he compliment
them with invented declarations of his thanks, but in the positive
style of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper
Sovereign, the King of heaven.

About one hundred and thirty years after this, they fell again into the
same error.  The hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous
customs of the Heathens, is something exceedingly unaccountable; but so
it was, that laying hold of the misconduct of Samuel's two sons, who
were entrusted with some secular concerns, they came in an abrupt and
clamorous manner to Samuel, saying, BEHOLD THOU ART OLD, AND THY SONS
NATIONS.  And here we cannot but observe that their motives were bad,
viz. that they might be LIKE unto other nations, i.e.  the Heathens,
whereas their true glory laid in being as much UNLIKE them as possible.
SHALL REIGN OVER THEM, I.E.  not of any particular king, but the
general manner of the kings of the earth, whom Israel was so eagerly
copying after.  And notwithstanding the great distance of time and
difference of manners, the character is still in fashion.  AND SAMUEL
CHARIOTS (this description agrees with the present mode of impressing
BE BAKERS (this describes the expense and luxury as well as the
OFFICERS AND TO HIS SERVANTS (by which we see that bribery, corruption,
and favouritism are the standing vices of kings) AND HE WILL TAKE THE
THE LORD WILL NOT HEAR YOU IN THAT DAY._ This accounts for the
continuation of monarchy; neither do the characters of the few good
kings which have lived since, either sanctify the title, or blot out
the sinfulness of the origin; the high encomium given of David takes no
notice of him OFFICIALLY AS A KING, but only as a MAN after God's own
US, AND FIGHT OUR BATTLES.  Samuel continued to reason with them, but
to no purpose; he set before them their ingratitude, but all would not
avail; and seeing them fully bent on their folly, he cried out, I WILL
a punishment, being in the time of wheat harvest) THAT YE MAY PERCEIVE
portions of scripture are direct and positive.  They admit of no
equivocal construction.  That the Almighty hath here entered his
protest against monarchical government, is true, or the scripture is
false.  And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much of
kingcraft, as priestcraft, in withholding the scripture from the public
in Popish countries.  For monarchy in every instance is the Popery of

To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession;
and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the
second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and an imposition on
posterity.  For all men being originally equals, no ONE by BIRTH could
have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all
others for ever, and though himself might deserve SOME decent degree of
honours of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too
unworthy to inherit them.  One of the strongest NATURAL proofs of the
folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it,
otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving
mankind an ASS FOR A LION.

Secondly, as no man at first could possess any other public honours
than were bestowed upon him, so the givers of those honours could have
no power to give away the right of posterity.  And though they might
say, "We choose you for OUR head," they could not, without manifest
injustice to their children, say, "that your children and your
children's children shall reign over OURS for ever."  Because such an
unwise, unjust, unnatural compact might (perhaps) in the next
succession put them under the government of a rogue or a fool.  Most
wise men, in their private sentiments, have ever treated hereditary
right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils, which when once
established is not easily removed; many submit from fear, others from
superstition, and the more powerful part shares with the king the
plunder of the rest.

This is supposing the present race of kings in the world to have had an
honourable origin; whereas it is more than probable, that could we take
off the dark covering of antiquities, and trace them to their first
rise, that we should find the first of them nothing better than the
principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners or
preeminence in subtlety obtained the title of chief among plunderers;
and who by increasing in power, and extending his depredations,
overawed the quiet and defenseless to purchase their safety by frequent
contributions.  Yet his electors could have no idea of giving
hereditary right to his descendants, because such a perpetual exclusion
of themselves was incompatible with the free and unrestrained
principles they professed to live by.  Wherefore, hereditary succession
in the early ages of monarchy could not take place as a matter of
claim, but as something casual or complemental; but as few or no
records were extant in those days,  and traditional history stuffed
with fables, it was very easy, after the lapse of a few generations, to
trump up some superstitious tale, conveniently timed, Mahomet like, to
cram hereditary right down the throats of the vulgar.  Perhaps the
disorders which threatened, or seemed to threaten, on the decease of a
leader and the choice of a new one (for elections among ruffians could
not be very orderly) induced many at first to favour hereditary
pretensions; by which means it happened, as it hath happened since,
that what at first was submitted to as a convenience, was afterwards
claimed as a right.

England, since the conquest, hath known some few good monarchs, but
groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones; yet no man in his
senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very
honourable one.  A French bastard landing with an armed banditti, and
establishing himself king of England against the consent of the
natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original.  It
certainly hath no divinity in it.  However, it is needless to spend
much time in exposing the folly of hereditary right; if there are any
so weak as to believe it, let them promiscuously worship the ass and
lion, and welcome.  I shall neither copy their humility, nor disturb
their devotion.

Yet I should be glad to ask how they suppose kings came at first?  The
question admits but of three answers, viz. either by lot, by election,
or by usurpation.  If the first king was taken by lot, it establishes a
precedent for the next, which excludes hereditary succession.  Saul was
by lot, yet the succession was not hereditary, neither does it appear
from that transaction there was any intention it ever should be.  If
the first king of any country was by election, that likewise
establishes a precedent for the next; for to say, that the RIGHT of all
future generations is taken away, by the act of the first electors, in
their choice not only of a king, but of a family of kings for ever,
hath no parallel in or out of scripture but the doctrine of original
sin, which supposes the free will of all men lost in Adam; and from
such comparison, and it will admit of no other, hereditary succession
can derive no glory.  For as in Adam all sinned, and as in the first
electors all men obeyed; as in the one all mankind were subjected to
Satan, and in the other to Sovereignty; as our innocence was lost in
the first, and our authority in the last; and as both disable us from
reassuming some former state and privilege, it unanswerably follows
that original sin and hereditary succession are parallels.
Dishonourable rank! Inglorious connection!  Yet the most subtle sophist
cannot produce a juster simile.

As to usurpation, no man will be so hardy as to defend it; and that
William the Conqueror was an usurper is a fact not to be contradicted.
The plain truth is, that the antiquity of English monarchy will not
bear looking into.

But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary
succession which concerns mankind.  Did it ensure a race of good and
wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens a
door to the FOOLISH, the WICKED, and the IMPROPER, it hath in it the
nature of oppression.  Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and
others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind
their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in
differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but
little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed
to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any
throughout the dominions.

Another evil which attends hereditary succession is, that the throne is
subject to be possessed by a minor at any age; all which time the
regency, acting under the cover of a king, have every opportunity and
inducement to betray their trust.  The same national misfortune
happens, when a king, worn out with age and infirmity, enters the last
stage of human weakness.  In both these cases the public becomes a prey
to every miscreant, who can tamper successfully with the follies either
of age or infancy.

The most plausible plea, which hath ever been offered in favour of
hereditary succession, is, that it preserves a nation from civil wars;
and were this true, it would be weighty; whereas, it is the most
barefaced falsity ever imposed upon mankind.  The whole history of
England disowns the fact.  Thirty kings and two minors have reigned in
that distracted kingdom since the conquest, in which time there have
been (including the Revolution) no less than eight civil wars and
nineteen rebellions.  Wherefore instead of making for peace, it makes
against it, and destroys the very foundation it seems to stand on.

The contest for monarchy and succession, between the houses of York and
Lancaster, laid England in a scene of blood for many years.  Twelve
pitched battles, besides skirmishes and sieges, were fought between
Henry and Edward.  Twice was Henry prisoner to Edward, who in his turn
was prisoner to Henry.  And so uncertain is the fate of war and the
temper of a nation, when nothing but personal matters are the ground of
a quarrel, that Henry was taken in triumph from a prison to a palace,
and Edward obliged to fly from a palace to a foreign land; yet, as
sudden transitions of temper are seldom lasting, Henry in his turn was
driven from the throne, and Edward recalled to succeed him.  The
parliament always following the strongest side.

This contest began in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and was not
entirely extinguished till Henry the Seventh, in whom the families were
united.  Including a period of 67 years, viz. from 1422 to 1489.

In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom
only) but the world in blood and ashes.  'Tis a form of government
which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it.

If we inquire into the business of a king, we shall find that in some
countries they have none; and after sauntering away their lives without
pleasure to themselves or advantage to the nation, withdraw from the
scene, and leave their successors to tread the same idle ground.  In
absolute monarchies the whole weight of business, civil and military,
lies on the king; the children of Israel in their request for a king,
urged this plea "that he may judge us, and go out before us and fight
our battles."  But in countries where he is neither a judge nor a
general, as in England, a man would be puzzled to know what IS his

The nearer any government approaches to a republic the less business
there is for a king.  It is somewhat difficult to find a proper name
for the government of England.  Sir William Meredith calls it a
republic; but in its present state it is unworthy of the name, because
the corrupt influence of the crown, by having all the places in its
disposal, hath so effectually swallowed up the power, and eaten out the
virtue of the house of commons (the republican part in the
constitution) that the government of England is nearly as monarchical
as that of France or Spain.  Men fall out with names without
understanding them.  For it is the republican and not the monarchical
part of the constitution of England which Englishmen glory in, viz. the
liberty of choosing an house of commons from out of their own body--and
it is easy to see that when republican virtue fails, slavery ensues.
Why is the constitution of England sickly, but because monarchy hath
poisoned the republic, the crown hath engrossed the commons?

In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away
places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it
together by the ears.  A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed
eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the
bargain!  Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight
of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.


In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain
arguments, and common sense; and have no other Preliminaries to settle
with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and
prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for
themselves; that he will put ON, or rather that he will not put OFF the
true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the
present day.

Volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle between
England and America.  Men of all ranks have embarked in the
controversy, from different motives, and with various designs; but all
have been ineffectual, and the period of debate is closed.  Arms, as
the last resource, decide this contest; the appeal was the choice of
the king, and the continent hath accepted the challenge.

It hath been reported of the late Mr. Pelham (who tho' an able minister
was not without his faults) that on his being attacked in the house of
commons, on the score, that his measures were only of a temporary kind,
replied "THEY WILL LAST MY TIME." Should a thought so fatal and unmanly
possess the colonies in the present contest, the name of ancestors will
be remembered by future generations with detestation.

The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.  'Tis not the affair
of a city, a county, a province, or a kingdom, but of a continent--of
at least one eighth part of the habitable globe.  'Tis not the concern
of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the
contest, and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by
the proceedings now.  Now is the seed-time of continental union, faith
and honour.  The least fracture now will be like a name engraved with
the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound will
enlarge with the tree, and posterity read it in full grown characters.

By referring the matter from argument to arms, a new aera for politics
is struck; a new method of thinking hath arisen.  All plans, proposals,
&c. prior to the nineteenth of April, i. e. to the commencement of
hostilities, are like the almanacs of the last year; which, though
proper then are superseded and useless now.  Whatever was advanced by
the advocates on either side of the question then, terminated in one
and the same point. viz. a union with Great-Britain: the only
difference between the parties was the method of effecting it; the one
proposing force, the other friendship; but it hath so far happened that
the first hath failed, and the second hath withdrawn her influence.

As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation which, like
an agreeable dream, hath passed away and left us as we were, it is but
right, that we should examine the contrary side of the argument, and
inquire into some of the many material injuries which these colonies
sustain, and always will sustain, by being connected with, and
dependent on Great Britain: To examine that connection and dependence,
on the principles of nature and common sense, to see what we have to
trust to, if separated, and what we are to expect, if dependant.

I have heard it asserted by some, that as America hath flourished under
her former connection with Great Britain that the same connection is
necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same
effect.  Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument.  We
may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk that it
is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is
to become a precedent for the next twenty.  But even this is admitting
more than is true, for I answer roundly, that America would have
flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power had
any thing to do with her.  The commerce, by which she hath enriched
herself, are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market
while eating is the custom of Europe.

But she has protected us, say some.  That she has engrossed us is true,
and defended the continent at our expense as well as her own is
admitted, and she would have defended Turkey from the same motive, viz.
the sake of trade and dominion.

Alas, we have been long led away by ancient prejudices, and made large
sacrifices to superstition.  We have boasted the protection of Great
Britain, without considering, that her motive was INTEREST not
ATTACHMENT; that she did not protect us from OUR ENEMIES on OUR
ACCOUNT, but from HER ENEMIES on HER OWN ACCOUNT, from those who had no
quarrel with us on any OTHER ACCOUNT, and who will always be our
enemies on the SAME ACCOUNT.  Let Britain wave her pretensions to the
continent, or the continent throw off the dependence, and we should be
at peace with France and Spain were they at war with Britain.  The
miseries of Hanover last war ought to warn us against connections.

It has lately been asserted in parliament, that the colonies have no
relation to each other but through the parent country, i. e. that
Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and so on for the rest, are sister
colonies by the way of England; this is certainly a very round-about
way of proving relationship, but it is the nearest and only true way of
proving enemyship, if I may so call it.  France and Spain never were,
nor perhaps ever will be our enemies as AMERICANS, but as our being the
subjects of GREAT BRITAIN.

But Britain is the parent country, say some.  Then the more shame upon
her conduct.  Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make
war upon their families; wherefore the assertion, if true, turns to her
reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so and the
phrase PARENT or MOTHER COUNTRY hath been jesuitically adopted by the
king and his parasites, with a low papistical design of gaining an
unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds.  Europe, and not
England, is the parent country of America.  This new world hath been
the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty
from EVERY PART of Europe.  Hither have they fled, not from the tender
embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is
so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first
emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.

In this extensive quarter of the globe, we forget the narrow limits of
three hundred and sixty miles (the extent of England) and carry our
friendship on a larger scale; we claim brotherhood with every European
Christian, and triumph in the generosity of the sentiment.

It is pleasant to observe by what regular gradations we surmount the
force of local prejudice, as we enlarge our acquaintance with the
world.  A man born in any town in England divided into parishes, will
naturally associate most with his fellow-parishioners (because their
interests in many cases will be common) and distinguish him by the name
of NEIGHBOUR; if he meet him but a few miles from home, he drops the
narrow idea of a street, and salutes him by the name of TOWNSMAN; if he
travel out of the county, and meet him in any other, he forgets the
minor divisions of street and town, and calls him COUNTRYMAN, i. e.
COUNTRYMAN; but if in their foreign excursions they should associate in
France or any other part of EUROPE, their local remembrance would be
enlarged into that of ENGLISHMEN.  And by a just parity of reasoning,
all Europeans meeting in America, or any other quarter of the globe,
are COUNTRYMEN; for England, Holland, Germany, or Sweden, when compared
with the whole, stand in the same places on the larger scale, which the
divisions of street, town, and county do on the smaller ones;
distinctions too limited for continental minds.  Not one third of the
inhabitants, even of this province, are of English descent.  Wherefore
I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother country applied to England
only, as being false, selfish, narrow and ungenerous.

But admitting, that we were all of English descent, what does it amount
to?  Nothing.  Britain, being now an open enemy, extinguishes every
other name and title:  And to say that reconciliation is our duty, is
truly farcical.  The first king of England, of the present line
(William the Conqueror) was a Frenchman, and half the Peers of England
are descendants from the same country; therefore, by the same method of
reasoning, England ought to be governed by France.

Much hath been said of the united strength of Britain and the colonies,
that in conjunction they might bid defiance to the world.  But this is
mere presumption; the fate of war is uncertain, neither do the
expressions mean any thing; for this continent would never suffer
itself to be drained of inhabitants, to support the British arms in
either Asia, Africa, or Europe.

Besides what have we to do with setting the world at defiance?  Our
plan is commerce, and that, well attended to, will secure us the peace
and friendship of all Europe; because, it is the interest of all Europe
to have America a FREE PORT.  Her trade will always be a protection,
and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from invaders.

I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to shew, a single
advantage that this continent can reap, by being connected with Great
Britain.  I repeat the challenge, not a single advantage is derived.
Our corn will fetch its price in any market in Europe, and our imported
goods must be paid for, buy them where we will.

But the injuries and disadvantages we sustain by that connection, are
without number; and our duty to mankind at large, as well as to
ourselves, instruct us to renounce the alliance: Because, any
submission to, or dependence on Great Britain, tends directly to
involve this continent in European wars and quarrels; and sets us at
variance with nations, who would otherwise seek our friendship, and
against whom, we have neither anger nor complaint.  As Europe is our
market for trade, we ought to form no partial connection with any part
of it.  It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European
contentions, which she never can do, while by her dependence on
Britain, she is made the make-weight in the scale of British politics.

Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace, and
whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power, the
trade of America goes to ruin, BECAUSE OF HER CONNECTION WITH ENGLAND.
The next war may not turn out like the last, and should it not, the
advocates for reconciliation now, will be wishing for separation then,
because, neutrality in that case, would be a safer convoy than a man of
war.  Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation.  The
blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, 'TIS TIME TO
PART.  Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and
America, is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one,
over the other, was never the design of Heaven.  The time likewise at
which the continent was discovered, adds weight to the argument, and
the manner in which it was peopled increases the force of it.  The
reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the
Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the Persecuted in
future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety.

The authority of Great Britain over this continent, is a form of
government, which sooner or later must have an end: And a serious mind
can draw no true pleasure by looking forward under the painful and
positive conviction, that what he calls "the present constitution" is
merely temporary.  As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that THIS
GOVERNMENT is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may
bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are
running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it,
otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully.  In order to discover the
line of our duty rightly, we should take our children in our hand, and
fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will
present a prospect, which a few present fears and prejudices conceal
from our sight.

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offense, yet I am
inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of
reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions.
Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who CANNOT see;
prejudiced men, who WILL NOT see; and a certain set of moderate men,
who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last
class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more
calamities to this continent, than all the other three.

It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of
sorrow; the evil is not sufficient brought to their doors to make THEM
feel the precariousness with which all American property is possessed.
But let our imaginations transport us for a few moments to Boston, that
seat of wretchedness will teach us wisdom, and instruct us for ever to
renounce a power in whom we can have no trust.  The inhabitants of that
unfortunate city, who but a few months ago were in ease and affluence,
have now, no other alternative than to stay and starve, or turn and
beg.  Endangered by the fire of their friends if they continue within
the city, and plundered by the soldiery if they leave it.  In their
present condition they are prisoners without the hope of redemption,
and in a general attack for their relief, they would be exposed to the
fury of both armies.

Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offenses of
Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, "COME,
passions and feelings of mankind, Bring the doctrine of reconciliation
to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me, whether you can
hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried
fire and sword into your land?  If you cannot do all these, then are
you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon
posterity.  Your future connection with Britain, whom you can neither
love nor honor will be forced and unnatural, and being formed only on
the plan of present convenience, will in a little time fall into a
relapse more wretched than the first.  But if you say, you can still
pass the violations over, then I ask, Hath your house been burnt? Hath
your property been destroyed before your face! Are your wife and
children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you
lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and
wretched survivor!  If you have not, then are you not a judge of those
who have.  But if you have, and still can shake hands with the
murderers, then are you unworthy of the name of husband, father,
friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you
have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant.

This is not inflaming or exaggerating matters, but trying them by those
feelings and affections which nature justifies, and without which, we
should be incapable of discharging the social duties of life, or
enjoying the felicities of it.  I mean not to exhibit horror for the
purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly
slumbers, that we may pursue determinately some fixed object.  It is
not in the power of Britain or of Europe to conquer America, if she do
not conquer herself by DELAY and TIMIDITY.  The present winter is worth
an age if rightly employed, but if lost or neglected, the whole
continent will partake of the misfortune; and there is no punishment
which that man will not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will,
that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.

It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things, to all
examples from former ages, to suppose, that this continent can longer
remain subject to any external power.  The most sanguine in Britain
does not think so.  The utmost stretch of human wisdom cannot, at this
time, compass a plan short of separation, which can promise the
continent even a year's security.  Reconciliation is NOW a fallacious
dream.  Nature hath deserted the connection, and Art cannot supply her
place.  For, as Milton wisely expresses, "never can true reconcilement
grow, where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep."

Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual.  Our prayers have
been rejected with disdain; and only tended to convince us, that
nothing flatters vanity, or confirms obstinacy in Kings more than
repeated petitioning--and nothing hath contributed more than that very
measure to make the Kings of Europe absolute: Witness Denmark and
Sweden.  Wherefore, since nothing but blows will do, for God's sake,
let us come to a final separation, and not leave the next generation to
be cutting throats, under the violated unmeaning names of parent and

To say, they will never attempt it again is idle and visionary, we
thought so at the repeal of the stamp-act, yet a year or two undeceived
us; as well may we suppose that nations, which have been once defeated,
will never renew the quarrel.

As to government matters, it is not in the power of Britain to do this
continent justice:  The business of it will soon be too weighty, and
intricate, to be managed with any tolerable degree of convenience, by a
power so distant from us, and so very ignorant of us; for if they
cannot conquer us, they cannot govern us.  To be always running three
or four thousand miles with a tale or a petition, waiting four or five
months for an answer, which when obtained requires five or six more to
explain it in, will in a few years be looked upon as folly and
childishness--There was a time when it was proper, and there is a
proper time for it to cease.

Small islands not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper
objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something
very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an
island.  In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its
primary planet, and as England and America, with respect to each other,
reverses the common order of nature, it is evident they belong to
different systems; England to Europe, America to itself.

I am not induced by motives of pride, party, or resentment to espouse
the doctrine of separation and independance; I am clearly, positively,
and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this
continent to be so; that every thing short of THAT is mere patchwork,
that it can afford no lasting felicity, --that it is leaving the sword
to our children, and shrinking back at a time, when, a little more, a
little farther, would have rendered this continent the glory of the

As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination towards a
compromise, we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy the
acceptance of the continent, or any ways equal to the expense of blood
and treasure we have been already put to.

The object, contended for, ought always to bear some just proportion to
the expense.  The removal of North, or the whole detestable junto, is a
matter unworthy the millions we have expended.  A temporary stoppage of
trade, was an inconvenience, which would have sufficiently balanced the
repeal of all the acts complained of, had such repeals been obtained;
but if the whole continent must take up arms, if every man must be a
soldier, it is scarcely worth our while to fight against a contemptible
ministry only.  Dearly, dearly, do we pay for the repeal of the acts,
if that is all we fight for; for in a just estimation, it is as great a
folly to pay a Bunker-hill price for law, as for land.  As I have
always considered the independancy of this continent, as an event,
which sooner or later must arrive, so from the late rapid progress of
the continent to maturity, the event could not be far off.  Wherefore,
on the breaking out of hostilities, it was not worth while to have
disputed a matter, which time would have finally redressed, unless we
meant to be in earnest; otherwise, it is like wasting an estate on a
suit at law, to regulate the trespasses of a tenant, whose lease is
just expiring.  No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than
myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April 1775, but the moment the
event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen
tempered Pharaoh of England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with
the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE can unfeelingly hear of
their slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.

But admitting that matters were now made up, what would be the event?
I answer, the ruin of the continent.  And that for several reasons.

FIRST.  The powers of governing still remaining in the hands of the
king, he will have a negative over the whole legislation of this
continent.  And as he hath shewn himself such an inveterate enemy to
liberty, and discovered such a thirst for arbitrary power; is he, or is
he not, a proper man to say to these colonies, "YOU SHALL MAKE NO LAWS
BUT WHAT I PLEASE." And is there any inhabitant in America so ignorant
as not to know, that according to what is called the PRESENT
CONSTITUTION, that this continent can make no laws but what the king
gives leave to; and is there any man so unwise, as not to see, that
(considering what has happened) he will suffer no law to be made here,
but such as suit HIS purpose.  We may be as effectually enslaved by the
want of laws in America, as by submitting to laws made for us in
England.  After matters are made up (as it is called) can there be any
doubt, but the whole power of the crown will be exerted, to keep this
continent as low and humble as possible?  Instead of going forward we
shall go backward, or be perpetually quarrelling or ridiculously
petitioning.  --WE are already greater than the king wishes us to be,
and will he not hereafter endeavour to make us less?  To bring the
matter to one point.  Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a
proper power to govern us?  Whoever says No to this question, is an
INDEPENDANT, for independancy means no more, than, whether we shall
make our own laws, or whether the king, the greatest enemy this
continent hath, or can have, shall tell us "THERE SHALL BE NO LAWS BUT

But the king you will say has a negative in England; the people there
can make no laws without his consent.  In point of right and good
order, there is something very ridiculous, that a youth of twenty-one
(which hath often happened) shall say to several millions of people,
older and wiser than himself, I forbid this or that act of yours to be
law.  But in this place I decline this sort of reply, though I will
never cease to expose the absurdity of it, and only answer, that
England being the King's residence, and America not so, makes quite
another case.  The king's negative HERE is ten times more dangerous and
fatal than it can be in England, for THERE he will scarcely refuse his
consent to a bill for putting England into as strong a state of defense
as possible, and in America he would never suffer such a bill to be

America is only a secondary object in the system of British politics,
England consults the good of THIS country, no farther than it answers
her OWN purpose.  Wherefore, her own interest leads her to suppress the
growth of OURS in every case which doth not promote her advantage, or
in the least interferes with it.  A pretty state we should soon be in
under such a secondhand government, considering what has happened!  Men
do not change from enemies to friends by the alteration of a name: And
in order to shew that reconciliation now is a dangerous doctrine, I
Reconciliation and ruin are nearly related.

SECONDLY.  That as even the best terms, which we can expect to obtain,
can amount to no more than a temporary expedient, or a kind of
government by guardianship, which can last no longer than till the
colonies come of age, so the general face and state of things, in the
interim, will be unsettled and unpromising.  Emigrants of property will
not choose to come to a country whose form of government hangs but by a
thread, and who is every day tottering on the brink of commotion and
disturbance; and numbers of the present inhabitants would lay hold of
the interval, to dispense of their effects, and quit the continent.

But the most powerful of all arguments, is, that nothing but
independence, i.e.  a continental form of government, can keep the
peace of the continent and preserve it inviolate from civil wars.  I
dread the event of a reconciliation with Britain now, as it is more
than probable, that it will be followed by a revolt somewhere or other,
the consequences of which may be far more fatal than all the malice of

Thousands are already ruined by British barbarity; (thousands more will
probably suffer the same fate.) Those men have other feelings than us
who have nothing suffered.  All they NOW possess is liberty, what they
before enjoyed is sacrificed to its service, and having nothing more to
lose, they disdain submission.  Besides, the general temper of the
colonies, towards a British government, will be like that of a youth,
who is nearly out of his time; they will care very little about her.
And a government which cannot preserve the peace, is no government at
all, and in that case we pay our money for nothing; and pray what is it
that Britain can do, whose power will be wholly on paper, should a
civil tumult break out the very day after reconciliation!  I have heard
some men say, many of whom I believe spoke without thinking, that they
dreaded an independence, fearing that it would produce civil wars.  It
is but seldom that our first thoughts are truly correct, and that is
the case here; for there are ten times more to dread from a patched up
connection than from independence.  I make the sufferers case my own,
and I protest, that were I driven from house and home, my property
destroyed, and my circumstances ruined, that as man, sensible of
injuries, I could never relish the doctrine of reconciliation, or
consider myself bound thereby.

The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and obedience
to continental government, as is sufficient to make every reasonable
person easy and happy on that head.  No man can assign the least
pretence for his fears, on any other grounds, than such as are truly
childish and ridiculous, viz. that one colony will be striving for
superiority over another.

Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority, perfect
equality affords no temptation.  The republics of Europe are all (and
we may say always) in peace.  Holland and Switzerland are without wars,
foreign or domestic:  Monarchical governments, it is true, are never
long at rest; the crown itself is a temptation to enterprising ruffians
at HOME; and that degree of pride and insolence ever attendant on regal
authority, swells into a rupture with foreign powers, in instances,
where a republican government, by being formed on more natural
principles, would negotiate the mistake.

If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence, it is
because no plan is yet laid down.  Men do not see their way out--
Wherefore, as an opening into that business, I offer the following
hints; at the same time modestly affirming, that I have no other
opinion of them myself, than that they may be the means of giving rise
to something better.  Could the straggling thoughts of individuals be
collected, they would frequently form materials for wise and able men
to improve into useful matter.

LET the assemblies be annual, with a President only.  The
representation more equal.  Their business wholly domestic, and subject
to the authority of a Continental Congress.

Let each colony be divided into six, eight, or ten, convenient
districts, each district to send a proper number of delegates to
Congress, so that each colony send at least thirty.  The whole number
in Congress will be at least 390.  Each Congress to sit and to choose a
president by the following method.  When the delegates are met, let a
colony be taken from the whole thirteen colonies by lot, after which,
let the whole Congress choose (by ballot) a president from out of the
delegates of that province.  In the next Congress, let a colony be
taken by lot from twelve only, omitting that colony from which the
president was taken in the former Congress, and so proceeding on till
the whole thirteen shall have had their proper rotation.  And in order
that nothing may pass into a law but what is satisfactorily just not
less than three fifths of the Congress to be called a majority-- He
that will promote discord, under a government so equally formed as
this, would have joined Lucifer in his revolt.

But as there is a peculiar delicacy, from whom, or in what manner, this
business must first arise, and as it seems most agreeable and
consistent, that it should come from some intermediate body between the
governed and the governors, that is, between the Congress and the
people.  Let a CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE be held, in the following manner,
and for the following purpose.

A committee of twenty-six members of Congress, viz. two for each
colony.  Two Members from each House of Assembly, or Provincial
Convention; and five representatives of the people at large, to be
chosen in the capital city or town of each province, for and in behalf
of the whole province, by as many qualified voters as shall think
proper to attend from all parts of the province for that purpose; or,
if more convenient, the representatives may be chosen in two or three
of the most populous parts thereof.  In this conference, thus
assembled, will be united, the two grand principles of business
KNOWLEDGE and POWER.  The members of Congress, Assemblies, or
Conventions, by having had experience in national concerns, will be
able and useful counsellors, and the whole, being empowered by the
people, will have a truly legal authority.

The conferring members being met, let their business be to frame a
CONTINENTAL CHARTER, or Charter of the United Colonies; (answering to
what is called the Magna Carta of England) fixing the number and manner
of choosing members of Congress, members of Assembly, with their date
of sitting, and drawing the line of business and jurisdiction between
them:  (Always remembering, that our strength is continental, not
provincial:)  Securing freedom and property to all men, and above all
things, the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of
conscience; with such other matter as is necessary for a charter to
contain.  Immediately after which, the said Conference to dissolve, and
the bodies which shall be chosen comformable to the said charter, to be
the legislators and governors of this continent for the time being:
Whose peace and happiness may God preserve, Amen.

Should any body of men be hereafter delegated for this or some similar
purpose, I offer them the following extracts from that wise observer on
governments DRAGONETTI.  "The science" says he "of the politician
consists in fixing the true point of happiness and freedom.  Those men
would deserve the gratitude of ages, who should discover a mode of
government that contained the greatest sum of individual happiness,
with the least national expense."[1]

But where, says some, is the King of America? I'll tell you.  Friend,
he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal
Brute of Britain.  Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in
earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the
charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of
God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that
so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING.  For
as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the
law OUGHT to be King; and there ought to be no other.  But lest any ill
use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the
ceremony, be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it

A government of our own is our natural right:  And when a man seriously
reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become
convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a
constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it
in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and
chance.  If we omit it now, some[2]  Massanello may hereafter arise,
who laying hold of popular disquietudes, may collect together the
desperate and the discontented, and by assuming to themselves the
powers of government, may sweep away the liberties of the continent
like a deluge.  Should the government of America return again into the
hands of Britain, the tottering situation of things will be a
temptation for some desperate adventurer to try his fortune; and in
such a case, that relief can Britain give?  Ere she could hear the
news, the fatal business might be done; and ourselves suffering like
the wretched Britons under the oppression of the Conqueror.  Ye that
oppose independence now, ye know not what ye do; ye are opening a door
to eternal tyranny, by keeping vacant the seat of government.  There
are thousands, and tens of thousands, who would think it glorious to
expel from the continent that barbarous and hellish power, which hath
stirred up the Indians and Negroes to destroy us; the cruelty hath a
double guilt, it is dealing brutally by us, and treacherously by them.

To talk of friendship with those in whom our reason forbids us to have
faith, and our affections wounded through a thousand pores instruct us
to detest, is madness and folly.  Every day wears out the little
remains of kindred between us and them, and can there be any reason to
hope, that as the relationship expires, the affection will increase, or
that we shall agree better, when we have ten times more and greater
concerns to quarrel over than ever?

Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliation, can ye restore to us the
time that is past?  Can ye give to prostitution its former innocence?
Neither can ye reconcile Britain and America.  The last cord now is
broken, the people of England are presenting addresses against us.
There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be
nature if she did.  As well can the lover forgive the ravisher of his
mistress, as the continent forgive the murders of Britain.  The
Almighty hath implanted in us these unextinguishable feelings for good
and wise purposes.  They are the guardians of his image in our hearts.
They distinguish us from the herd of common animals.  The social
compact would dissolve, and justice be extirpated the earth, or have
only a casual existence were we callous to the touches of affection.
The robber, and the murderer, would often escape unpunished, did not
the injuries which our tempers sustain, provoke us into justice.

O ye that love mankind!  Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but
the tyrant, stand forth!  Every spot of the old world is overrun with
oppression.  Freedom hath been hunted round the globe.  Asia, and
Africa, have long expelled her--Europe regards her like a stranger, and
England hath given her warning to depart.  O! receive the fugitive, and
prepare in time an asylum for mankind.


I have never met with a man, either in England or America, who hath not
confessed his opinion that a separation between the countries, would
take place one time or other:  And there is no instance, in which we
have shewn less judgement, than in endeavouring to describe, what we
call the ripeness or fitness of the Continent for independence.

As all men allow the measure, and vary only in their opinion of the
time, let us, in order to remove mistakes, take a general survey of
things, and endeavour, if possible, to find out the VERY time.  But we
need not go far, the inquiry ceases at once, for, the TIME HATH FOUND
US.  The general concurrence, the glorious union of all things prove
the fact.

It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet
our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world.
The Continent hath, at this time, the largest body of armed and
disciplined men of any power under Heaven; and is just arrived at that
pitch of strength, in which no single colony is able to support itself,
and the whole, when united, can accomplish the matter, and either more,
or, less than this, might be fatal in its effects.  Our land force is
already sufficient, and as to naval affairs, we cannot be insensible,
that Britain would never suffer an American man of war to be built,
while the continent remained in her hands.  Wherefore, we should be no
forwarder an hundred years hence in that branch, than we are now; but
the truth is, we should be less so, because the timber of the country
is every day diminishing, and that, which will remain at last, will be
far off and difficult to procure.

Were the continent crowded with inhabitants, her sufferings under the
present circumstances would be intolerable.  The more seaport towns we
had, the more should we have both to defend and to lose.  Our present
numbers are so happily proportioned to our wants, that no man need be
idle.  The diminution of trade affords an army, and the necessities of
an army create a new trade.

Debts we have none; and whatever we may contract on this account will
serve as a glorious memento of our virtue.  Can we but leave posterity
with a settled form of government, an independent constitution of its
own, the purchase at any price will be cheap.  But to expend millions
for the sake of getting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the
present ministry only, is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity
with the utmost cruelty; because it is leaving them the great work to
do, and a debt upon their backs, from which they derive no advantage.
Such a thought is unworthy of a man of honor, and is the true
characteristic of a narrow heart and a peddling politician.

The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard, if the work be
but accomplished.  No nation ought to be without a debt.  A national
debt is a national bond; and when it bears no interest, is in no case a
grievance.  Britain is oppressed with a debt of upwards of one hundred
and forty millions sterling, for which she pays upwards of four
millions interest.  And as a compensation for her debt, she has a large
navy; America is without a debt, and without a navy; yet for the
twentieth part of the English national debt, could have a navy as large
again.  The navy of England is not worth, at this time, more than three
millions and an half sterling.

The first and second editions of this pamphlet were published without
the following calculations, which are now given as a proof that the
above estimation of the navy is just.[3]

The charge of building a ship of each rate, and furnishing her with
masts, yards, sails and rigging, together with a proportion of eight
months boatswain's and carpenter's seastores, as calculated by Mr.
Burchett, Secretary to the navy.

                              pounds Sterling
  For a ship of a 100 guns    -   35,553
            90   -            -   29,886
            80   -            -   23,638
            70   -            -   17,795
            60   -            -   14,197
            50   -            -   10,606
            40   -            -    7,558
            30   -            -    5,846
            20   -            -    3,710

And from hence it is easy to sum up the value, or cost rather, of the
whole British navy, which in the year 1757, when it was at its greatest
glory consisted of the following ships and guns:

  Ships.     Guns.     Cost of one.        Cost of all
    6     -   100   -    35,553    -         213,318
   12     -    90   -    29,886    -         358,632
   12     -    80   -    23,638    -         283,656
   43     -    70   -    17,785    -         764,755
   35     -    60   -    14,197    -         496,895
   40     -    50   -    10,606    -         424,240
   45     -    40   -     7,558    -         340,110
   58     -    20   -     3,710    -         215,180

   85 Sloops, bombs,
     and fireships, one     2,000            170,000
     with another,                         _________
                                     Cost  3,266,786
     Remains for guns,    _________          233,214

No country on the globe is so happily situated, or so internally
capable of raising a fleet as America.  Tar, timber, iron, and cordage
are her natural produce.  We need go abroad for nothing.  Whereas the
Dutch, who make large profits by hiring out their ships of war to the
Spaniards and Portuguese, are obliged to import most of their materials
they use.  We ought to view the building a fleet as an article of
commerce, it being the natural manufactory of this country.  It is the
best money we can lay out.  A navy when finished is worth more than it
cost.  And is that nice point in national policy, in which commerce and
protection are united.  Let us build; if we want them not, we can sell;
and by that means replace our paper currency with ready gold and silver.

In point of manning a fleet, people in general run into great errors;
it is not necessary that one fourth part should he sailors.  The
Terrible privateer, Captain Death, stood the hottest engagement of any
ship last war, yet had not twenty sailors on board, though her
complement of men was upwards of two hundred.  A few able and social
sailors will soon instruct a sufficient number of active landmen in the
common work of a ship.  Wherefore, we never can be more capable to
begin on maritime matters than now, while our timber is standing, our
fisheries blocked up, and our sailors and shipwrights out of employ.
Men of war of seventy and eighty guns were built forty years ago in
New-England, and why not the same now?  Ship-building is America's
greatest pride, and in which she will in time excel the whole world.
The great empires of the east are mostly inland, and consequently
excluded from the possibility of rivalling her.  Africa is in a state
of barbarism; and no power in Europe hath either such an extent of
coast, or such an internal supply of materials.  Where nature hath
given the one, she has withheld the other; to America only hath she
been liberal of both.  The vast empire of Russia is almost shut out
from the sea: wherefore, her boundless forests, her tar, iron, and
cordage are only articles of commerce.

In point of safety, ought we to be without a fleet?  We are not the
little people now, which we were sixty years ago; at that time we might
have trusted our property in the streets, or fields rather; and slept
securely without locks or bolts to our doors or windows.  The case now
is altered, and our methods of defense ought to improve with our
increase of property.  A common pirate, twelve months ago, might have
come up the Delaware, and laid the city of Philadelphia under instant
contribution, for what sum he pleased; and the same might have happened
to other places.  Nay, any daring fellow, in a brig of fourteen or
sixteen guns might have robbed the whole continent, and carried off
half a million of money.  These are circumstances which demand our
attention, and point out the necessity of naval protection.

Some, perhaps, will say, that after we have made it up with Britain,
she will protect us.  Can we be so unwise as to mean, that she shall
keep a navy in our harbours for that purpose?  Common sense will tell
us, that the power which hath endeavoured to subdue us, is of all
others the most improper to defend us.  Conquest may be effected under
the pretence of friendship; and ourselves after a long and brave
resistance, be at last cheated into slavery.  And if her ships are not
to be admitted into our harbours, I would ask, how is she to protect
us?  A navy three or four thousand miles off can be of little use, and
on sudden emergencies, none at all.  Wherefore, if we must hereafter
protect ourselves, why not do it for ourselves?

The English list of ships of war, is long and formidable, but not a
tenth part of them are at any one time fit for service, numbers of them
not in being; yet their names are pompously continued in the list, if
only a plank be left of the ship: and not a fifth part of such as are
fit for service, can be spared on any one station at one time.  The
East and West Indies, Mediterranean, Africa, and other parts over which
Britain extends her claim, make large demands upon her navy.  From a
mixture of prejudice and inattention, we have contracted a false notion
respecting the navy of England, and have talked as if we should have
the whole of it to encounter at once, and for that reason, supposed,
that we must have one as large; which not being instantly practicable,
have been made use of by a set of disguised Tories to discourage our
beginning thereon.  Nothing can be farther from truth than this; for if
America had only a twentieth part of the naval force of Britain, she
would be by far an overmatch for her; because, as we neither have, nor
claim any foreign dominion, our whole force would be employed on our
own coast, where we should, in the long run, have two to one the
advantage of those who had three or four thousand miles to sail over,
before they could attack us, and the same distance to return in order
to refit and recruit.  And although Britain, by her fleet, hath a check
over our trade to Europe, we have as large a one over her trade to the
West Indies, which, by laying in the neighbourhood of the continent, is
entirely at its mercy.

Some method might be fallen on to keep up a naval force in time of
peace, if we should not judge it necessary to support a constant navy.
If premiums were to be given to merchants, to build and employ in their
service ships mounted with twenty, thirty, forty or fifty guns, (the
premiums to be in proportion to the loss of bulk to the merchants)
fifty or sixty of those ships, with a few guardships on constant duty,
would keep up a sufficient navy, and that without burdening ourselves
with the evil so loudly complained of in England, of suffering their
fleet, in time of peace to lie rotting in the docks.  To unite the
sinews of commerce and defense is sound policy; for when our strength
and our riches play into each other's hand, we need fear no external

In almost every article of defense we abound.  Hemp flourishes even to
rankness, so that we need not want cordage.  Our iron is superior to
that of other countries.  Our small arms equal to any in the world.
Cannon we can cast at pleasure.  Saltpetre and gunpowder we are every
day producing.  Our knowledge is hourly improving.  Resolution is our
inherent character, and courage hath never yet forsaken us.  Wherefore,
what is it that we want?  Why is it that we hesitate?  From Britain we
can expect nothing but ruin.  If she is once admitted to the government
of America again, this Continent will not be worth living in.
Jealousies will be always arising; insurrections will be constantly
happening; and who will go forth to quell them?  Who will venture his
life to reduce his own countrymen to a foreign obedience?  The
difference between Pennsylvania and Connecticut, respecting some
unlocated lands, shews the insignificance of a British government, and
fully proves, that nothing but Continental authority can regulate
Continental matters.

Another reason why the present time is preferable to all others, is,
that the fewer our numbers are, the more land there is yet unoccupied,
which instead of being lavished by the king on his worthless
dependants, may be hereafter applied, not only to the discharge of the
present debt, but to the constant support of government.  No nation
under heaven hath such an advantage at this.

The infant state of the Colonies, as it is called, so far from being
against, is an argument in favour of independance.  We are sufficiently
numerous, and were we more so, we might be less united.  It is a matter
worthy of observation, that the more a country is peopled, the smaller
their armies are.  In military numbers, the ancients far exceeded the
modems: and the reason is evident.  For trade being the consequence of
population, men become too much absorbed thereby to attend to anything
else.  Commerce diminishes the spirit, both of patriotism and military
defence.  And history sufficiently informs us, that the bravest
achievements were always accomplished in the non-age of a nation.  With
the increase of commerce, England hath lost its spirit.  The city of
London, notwithstanding its numbers, submits to continued insults with
the patience of a coward.  The more men have to lose, the less willing
are they to venture.  The rich are in general slaves to fear, and
submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a Spaniel.

Youth is the seed time of good habits, as well in nations as in
individuals.  It might be difficult, if not impossible, to form the
Continent into one government half a century hence.  The vast variety
of interests, occasioned by an increase of trade and population, would
create confusion.  Colony would be against colony.  Each being able
might scorn each other's assistance: and while the proud and foolish
gloried in their little distinctions, the wise would lament, that the
union had not been formed before.  Wherefore, the PRESENT TIME is the
TRUE TIME for establishing it.  The intimacy which is contracted in
infancy, and the friendship which is formed in misfortune, are, of all
others, the most lasting and unalterable.  Our present union is marked
with both these characters: we are young and we have been distressed;
but our concord hath withstood our troubles, and fixes a memorable area
for posterity to glory in.

The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time, which never happens
to a nation but once, viz. the time of forming itself into a
government.  Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that
means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors,
instead of making laws for themselves.  First, they had a king, and
then a form of government; whereas, the articles or charter of
government, should be formed first, and men delegated to execute them
afterward but from the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom,
and lay hold of the present opportunity --TO BEGIN GOVERNMENT AT THE

When William the Conqueror subdued England, he gave them law at the
point of the sword; and until we consent, that the seat of government,
in America, be legally and authoritatively occupied, we shall be in
danger of having it filled by some fortunate ruffian, who may treat us
in the same manner, and then, where will be our freedom? where our
property?  As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of
all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I
know of no other business which government hath to do therewith, Let a
man throw aside that narrowness of soul, that selfishness of principle,
which the niggards of all professions are so unwilling to part with,
and he will be at delivered of his fears on that head.  Suspicion is
the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society.  For
myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the will of the
Almighty, that there should be diversity of religious opinions among
us: It affords a larger field for our Christian kindness.  Were we all
of one way of thinking, our religious dispositions would want matter
for probation; and on this liberal principle, I look on the various
denominations among us, to be like children of the same family,
differing only, in what is called, their Christian names.

In page forty, I threw out a few thoughts on the propriety of a
Continental Charter, (for I only presume to offer hints, not plans) and
in this place, I take the liberty of rementioning the subject, by
observing, that a charter is to be understood as a bond of solemn
obligation, which the whole enters into, to support the right of every
separate part, whether of religion, personal freedom, or property.  A
firm bargain and a right reckoning make long friends.

In a former page I likewise mentioned the necessity of a large and
equal representation; and there is no political matter which more
deserves our attention.  A small number of electors, or a small number
of representatives, are equally dangerous.  But if the number of the
representatives be not only small, but unequal, the danger is
increased.  As an instance of this, I mention the following; when the
Associators petition was before the House of Assembly of Pennsylvania;
twenty-eight members only were present, all the Bucks county members,
being eight, voted against it, and had seven of the Chester members
done the same, this whole province had been governed by two counties
only, and this danger it is always exposed to.  The unwarrantable
stretch likewise, which that house made in their last sitting, to gain
an undue authority over the delegates of that province, ought to warn
the people at large, how they trust power out of their own hands.  A
set of instructions for the Delegates were put together, which in point
of sense and business would have dishonoured a schoolboy, and after
being approved by a FEW, a VERY FEW without doors, were carried into
the House, and there passed IN BEHALF OF THE WHOLE COLONY; whereas, did
the whole colony know, with what ill-will that House hath entered on
some necessary public measures, they would not hesitate a moment to
think them unworthy of such a trust.

Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued
would grow into oppressions.  Expedience and right are different
things.  When the calamities of America required a consultation, there
was no method so ready, or at that time so proper, as to appoint
persons from the several Houses of Assembly for that purpose; and the
wisdom with which they have proceeded hath preserved this continent
from ruin.  But as it is more than probable that we shall never be
without a CONGRESS, every well wisher to good order, must own, that the
mode for choosing members of that body, deserves consideration.  And I
put it as a question to those, who make a study of mankind, whether
representation and election is not too great a power for one and the
same body of men to possess?  When we are planning for posterity, we
ought to remember, that virtue is not hereditary.

It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent maxims, and are
frequently surprised into reason by their mistakes, Mr. Cornwall (one
of the Lords of the Treasury) treated the petition of the New-York
Assembly with contempt, because THAT House, he said, consisted but of
twenty-six members, which trifling number, he argued, could not with
decency be put for the whole.  We thank him for his involuntary

TO CONCLUDE, however strange it may appear to some, or however
unwilling they may be to think so, matters not, but many strong and
striking reasons may be given, to shew, that nothing can settle our
affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for
independance. Some of which are,

FIRST. - It is the custom of nations, when any two are at war, for some
other powers, not engaged in the quarrel, to step in as mediators, and
bring about the preliminaries of a peace: but while America calls
herself the Subject of Great Britain, no power, however well disposed
she may be, can offer her mediation.  Wherefore, in our present state
we may quarrel on for ever.

SECONDLY. - It is unreasonable to suppose, that France or Spain will
give us any kind of assistance, if we mean only, to make use of that
assistance for the purpose of repairing the breach, and strengthening
the connection between Britain and America; because, those powers would
be sufferers by the consequences.

THIRDLY. - While we profess ourselves the subjects of Britain, we must,
in the eye of foreign nations, be considered as rebels.  The precedent
is somewhat dangerous to THEIR PEACE, for men to be in arms under the
name of subjects; we, on the spot, can solve the paradox: but to unite
resistance and subjection, requires an idea much too refined for common

FOURTHLY. - Were a manifesto to be published, and despatched to foreign
courts, setting forth the miseries we have endured, and the peaceable
methods we have ineffectually used for redress; declaring, at the same
time, that not being able, any longer, to live happily or safely under
the cruel disposition of the British court, we had been driven to the
necessity of breaking off all connections with her; at the same time,
assuring all such courts of our peaceable disposition towards them, and
of our desire of entering into trade with them: Such a memorial would
produce more good effects to this Continent, than if a ship were
freighted with petitions to Britain.

Under our present denomination of British subjects, we can neither be
received nor heard abroad: The custom of all courts is against us, and
will be so, until, by an independance, we take rank with other nations.

These proceedings may at first appear strange and difficult; but, like
all other steps which we have already passed over, will in a little
time become familiar and agreeable; and, until an independance is
declared, the Continent will feel itself like a man who continues
putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it must
be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually
haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.


Since the publication of the first edition of this pamphlet, or rather,
on the same day on which it came out, the King's Speech made its
appearance in this city.  Had the spirit of prophecy directed the birth
of this production, it could not have brought it forth, at a more
seasonable juncture, or a more necessary time.  The bloody mindedness
of the one, shew the necessity of pursuing the doctrine of the other.
Men read by way of revenge.  And the Speech, instead of terrifying,
prepared a way for the manly principles of Independance.

Ceremony, and even, silence, from whatever motive they may arise, have
a hurtful tendency, when they give the least degree of countenance to
base and wicked performances; wherefore, if this maxim be admitted, it
naturally follows, that the King's Speech, as being a piece of finished
villany, deserved, and still deserves, a general execration both by the
Congress and the people.  Yet, as the domestic tranquillity of a
nation, depends greatly, on the CHASTITY of what may properly be called
NATIONAL MANNERS, it is often better, to pass some things over in
silent disdain, than to make use of such new methods of dislike, as
might introduce the least innovation, on that guardian of our peace and
safety.  And, perhaps, it is chiefly owing to this prudent delicacy,
that the King's Speech, hath not, before now, suffered a public
execution.  The Speech if it may be called one, is nothing better than
a wilful audacious libel against the truth, the common good, and the
existence of mankind; and is a formal and pompous method of offering up
human sacrifices to the pride of tyrants.  But this general massacre of
mankind is one of the privileges, and the certain consequence of Kings;
for as nature knows them NOT, they know NOT HER, and although they are
beings of our OWN creating, they know not US, and are become the gods
of their creators.  The Speech hath one good quality, which is, that it
is not calculated to deceive, neither can we, even if we would, be
deceived by it.  Brutality and tyranny appear on the face of it.  It
leaves us at no loss: And every line convinces, even in the moment of
reading, that He, who hunts the woods for prey, the naked and untutored
Indian, is less a Savage than the King of Britain.

Sir John Dalrymple, the putative father of a whining jesuitical piece,
INHABITANTS OF _AMERICA_," hath, perhaps, from a vain supposition, that
the people here were to be frightened at the pomp and description of a
king, given, (though very unwisely on his part) the real character of
the present one:  "But" says this writer, "if you are inclined to pay
compliments to an administration, which we do not complain of,"
(meaning the Marquis of Rockingham's at the repeal of the Stamp Act)
"it is very unfair in you to withhold them from that prince by WHOSE
a witness!  Here is idolatry even without a mask: And he who can calmly
hear, and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality
an apostate from the order of manhood; and ought to be considered as
one, who hath not only given up the proper dignity of man, but sunk
himself beneath the rank of animals, and contemptibly crawl through the
world like a worm.

However, it matters very little now, what the king of England either
says or does; he hath wickedly broken through every moral and human
obligation, trampled nature and conscience beneath his feet; and by a
steady and constitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty, procured for
himself an universal hatred.  It is NOW the interest of America to
provide for herself.  She hath already a large and young family, whom
it is more her duty to take care of, than to be granting away her
property, to support a power who is become a reproach to the names of
men and christians--YE, whose office it is to watch over the morals of
a nation, of whatsoever sect or denomination ye are of, as well as ye,
who, are more immediately the guardians of the public liberty, if ye
wish to preserve your native country uncontaminated by European
corruption, ye must in secret wish a separation--But leaving the moral
part to private reflection, I shall chiefly confine my farther remarks
to the following heads.

First.  That it is the interest of America to be separated from Britain.

Secondly.  Which is the easiest and most practicable plan,
RECONCILIATION OR INDEPENDANCE? With some occasional remarks.

In support of the first, I could, if I judged it proper, produce the
opinion of some of the ablest and most experienced men on this
continent; and whose sentiments, on that head, are not yet publicly
known.  It is in reality a self-evident position: For no nation in a
state of foreign dependance, limited in its commerce, and cramped and
fettered in its legislative powers, can ever arrive at any material
eminence.  America doth not yet know what opulence is; and although the
progress which she hath made stands unparalleled in the history of
other nations, it is but childhood, compared with what she would be
capable of arriving at, had she, as she ought to have, the legislative
powers in her own hands.  England is, at this time, proudly coveting
what would do her no good, were she to accomplish it; and the Continent
hesitating on a matter, which will be her final ruin if neglected.  It
is the commerce and not the conquest of America, by which England is to
be benefited, and that would in a great measure continue, were the
countries as independant of each other as France and Spain; because in
many articles, neither can go to a better market.  But it is the
independance of this country of Britain or any other, which is now the
main and only object worthy of contention, and which, like all other
truths discovered by necessity, will appear clearer and stronger every

First.  Because it will come to that one time or other.

Secondly.  Because, the longer it is delayed the harder it will be to

I have frequently amused myself both in public and private companies,
with silently remarking, the specious errors of those who speak without
reflecting.  And among the many which I have heard, the following seems
the most general, viz.  that had this rupture happened forty or fifty
years hence, instead of NOW, the Continent would have been more able to
have shaken off the dependance.  To which I reply, that our military
ability, AT THIS TIME, arises from the experience gained in the last
war, and which in forty or fifty years time, would have been totally
extinct.  The Continent, would not, by that time, have had a General,
or even a military officer left; and we, or those who may succeed us,
would have been as ignorant of martial matters as the ancient Indians:
And this single position, closely attended to, will unanswerably prove,
that the present time is preferable to all others.  The argument turns
thus--at the conclusion of the last war, we had experience, but wanted
numbers; and forty or fifty years hence, we should have numbers,
without experience; wherefore, the proper point of time, must be some
particular point between the two extremes, in which a sufficiency of
the former remains, and a proper increase of the latter is obtained:
And that point of time is the present time.

The reader will pardon this digression, as it does not properly come
under the head I first set out with, and to which I again return by the
following position, viz.

Should affairs be patched up with Britain, and she to remain the
governing and sovereign power of America, (which, as matters are now
circumstanced, is giving up the point entirely) we shall deprive
ourselves of the very means of sinking the debt we have, or may
contract.  The value of the back lands which some of the provinces are
clandestinely deprived of, by the unjust extension of the limits of
Canada, valued only at five pounds sterling per hundred acres, amount
to upwards of twenty-five millions, Pennsylvania currency; and the
quit-rents at one penny sterling per acre, to two millions yearly.

It is by the sale of those lands that the debt may be sunk, without
burthen to any, and the quit-rent reserved thereon, will always lessen,
and in time, will wholly support the yearly expence of government.  It
matters not how long the debt is in paying, so that the lands when sold
be applied to the discharge of it, and for the execution of which, the
Congress for the time being, will be the continental trustees.

I proceed now to the second head, viz. Which is the easiest and most
practicable plan, RECONCILIATION or INDEPENDANCE; With some occasional

He who takes nature for his guide is not easily beaten out of his
argument, and on that ground, I answer GENERALLY--THAT _INDEPENDANCE_

The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is
capable of reflexion.  Without law, without government, without any
other mode of power than what is founded on, and granted by courtesy.
Held together by an unexampled concurrence of sentiment, which, is
nevertheless subject to change, and which, every secret enemy is
endeavouring to dissolve.  Our present condition, is, Legislation
without law; wisdom without a plan; a constitution without a name; and,
what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independance contending for
dependance.  The instance is without a precedent; the case never
existed before; and who can tell what may be the event?  The property
of no man is secure in the present unbraced system of things.  The mind
of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before
them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts.  Nothing is
criminal; there is no such thing as treason; wherefore, every one
thinks himself at liberty to act as he pleases.  The Tories dared not
have assembled offensively, had they known that their lives, by that
act, were forfeited to the laws of the state.  A line of distinction
should be drawn, between, English soldiers taken in battle, and
inhabitants of America taken in arms.  The first are prisoners, but the
latter traitors.  The one forfeits his liberty, the other his head.

Notwithstanding our wisdom, there is a visible feebleness in some of
our proceedings which gives encouragement to dissensions.  The
Continental Belt is too loosely buckled.  And if something is not done
in time, it will be too late to do any thing, and we shall fall into a
state, in which, neither RECONCILIATION nor INDEPENDANCE will be
practicable.  The king and his worthless adherents are got at their old
game of dividing the Continent, and there are not wanting among us,
Printers, who will be busy in spreading specious falsehoods.  The
artful and hypocritical letter which appeared a few months ago in two
of the New York papers, and likewise in two others, is an evidence that
there are men who want either judgment or honesty.

It is easy getting into holes and corners and talking of
reconciliation: But do such men seriously consider, how difficult the
task is, and how dangerous it may prove, should the Continent divide
thereon.  Do they take within their view, all the various orders of men
whose situation and circumstances, as well as their own, are to be
considered therein.  Do they put themselves in the place of the
sufferer whose ALL is ALREADY gone, and of the soldier, who hath
quitted ALL for the defence of his country.  If their ill judged
moderation be suited to their own private situations only, regardless
of others, the event will convince them, that "they are reckoning
without their Host."

Put us, says some, on the footing we were on in sixty-three: To which I
answer, the request is not now in the power of Britain to comply with,
neither will she propose it; but if it were, and even should be
granted, I ask, as a reasonable question, By what means is such a
corrupt and faithless court to be kept to its engagements?  Another
parliament, nay, even the present, may hereafter repeal the obligation,
on the pretense, of its being violently obtained, or unwisely granted;
and in that case, Where is our redress?--No going to law with nations;
cannon are the barristers of Crowns; and the sword, not of justice, but
of war, decides the suit.  To be on the footing of sixty-three, it is
not sufficient, that the laws only be put on the same state, but, that
our circumstances, likewise, be put on the same state; Our burnt and
destroyed towns repaired or built up, our private losses made good, our
public debts (contracted for defence) discharged; otherwise, we shall
be millions worse than we were at that enviable period.  Such a
request, had it been complied with a year ago, would have won the heart
and soul of the Continent--but now it is too late, "The Rubicon is

Besides, the taking up arms, merely to enforce the repeal of a
pecuniary law, seems as unwarrantable by the divine law, and as
repugnant to human feelings, as the taking up arms to enforce obedience
thereto.  The object, on either side, doth not justify the means; for
the lives of men are too valuable to be cast away on such trifles.  It
is the violence which is done and threatened to our persons; the
destruction of our property by an armed force; the invasion of our
country by fire and sword, which conscientiously qualifies the use of
arms: And the instant, in which such a mode of defence became
necessary, all subjection to Britain ought to have ceased; and the
independancy of America, should have been considered, as dating its
aera from, and published by, THE FIRST MUSKET THAT WAS FIRED AGAINST
HER.  This line is a line of consistency; neither drawn by caprice, nor
extended by ambition; but produced by a chain of events, of which the
colonies were not the authors.

I shall conclude these remarks with the following timely and well
intended hints.  We ought to reflect, that there are three different
ways by which an independancy may hereafter be effected; and that ONE
of those THREE, will one day or other, be the fate of America, viz. By
the legal voice of the people in Congress; by a military power; or by a
mob--It may not always happen that OUR soldiers are citizens, and the
multitude a body of reasonable men; virtue, as I have already remarked,
is not hereditary, neither is it perpetual.  Should an independancy be
brought about by the first of those means, we have every opportunity
and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest
constitution on the face of the earth.  We have it in our power to
begin the world over again.  A situation, similar to the present, hath
not happened since the days of Noah until now.  The birthday of a new
world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe
contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a
few months.  The Reflexion is awful--and in this point of view, How
trifling, how ridiculous, do the little, paltry cavillings, of a few
weak or interested men appear, when weighed against the business of a

Should we neglect the present favourable and inviting period, and an
Independance be hereafter effected by any other means, we must charge
the consequence to ourselves, or to those rather, whose narrow and
prejudiced souls, are habitually opposing the measure, without either
inquiring or reflecting.  There are reasons to be given in support of
Independance, which men should rather privately think of, than be
publicly told of.  We ought not now to be debating whether we shall be
independant or not, but, anxious to accomplish it on a firm, secure,
and honorable basis, and uneasy rather that it is not yet began upon.
Every day convinces us of its necessity.  Even the Tories (if such
beings yet remain among us) should, of all men, be the most solicitous
to promote it; for, as the appointment of committees at first,
protected them from popular rage, so, a wise and well established form
of government, will be the only certain means of continuing it securely
to them.  WHEREFORE, if they have not virtue enough to be WHIGS, they
ought to have prudence enough to wish for Independance.

In short, Independance is the only BOND that can tye and keep us
together.  We shall then see our object, and our ears will be legally
shut against the schemes of an intriguing, as well, as a cruel enemy.
We shall then too, be on a proper footing, to treat with Britain; for
there is reason to conclude, that the pride of that court, will be less
hurt by treating with the American states for terms of peace, than with
those, whom she denominates, "rebellious subjects," for terms of
accommodation.  It is our delaying it that encourages her to hope for
conquest, and our backwardness tends only to prolong the war.  As we
have, without any good effect therefrom, withheld our trade to obtain a
redress of our grievances, let us now try the alternative, by
independantly redressing them ourselves, and then offering to open the
trade.  The mercantile and reasonable part in England, will be still
with us; because, peace with trade, is preferable to war without it.
And if this offer be not accepted, other courts may be applied to.

On these grounds I rest the matter.  And as no offer hath yet been made
to refute the doctrine contained in the former editions of this
pamphlet, it is a negative proof, that either the doctrine cannot be
refuted, or, that the party in favour of it are too numerous to be
opposed.  WHEREFORE, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or
doubtful curiosity; let each of us, hold out to his neighbour the
hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an
act of oblivion shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension.
Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard

To the Representatives of the Religious Society of the People called
Quakers, or to so many of them as were concerned in publishing the late
piece, entitled "THE ANCIENT TESTIMONY and PRINCIPLES of the People
called QUAKERS renewed, with Respect to the KING and GOVERNMENT, and
touching the COMMOTIONS now prevailing in these and other parts of
AMERICA addressed to the PEOPLE IN GENERAL."

The Writer of this, is one of those few, who never dishonours religion
either by ridiculing, or cavilling at any denomination whatsoever.  To
God, and not to man, are all men accountable on the score of religion.
Wherefore, this epistle is not so properly addressed to you as a
religious, but as a political body, dabbling in matters, which the
professed Quietude of your Principles instruct you not to meddle with.
As you have, without a proper authority for so doing, put yourselves in
the place of the whole body of the Quakers, so, the writer of this, in
order to be on an equal rank with yourselves, is under the necessity,
of putting himself in the place of all those, who, approve the very
writings and principles, against which, your testimony is directed:
And he hath chosen this singular situation, in order, that you might
discover in him that presumption of character which you cannot see in
yourselves.  For neither he nor you can have any claim or title to

When men have departed from the right way, it is no wonder that they
stumble and fall.  And it is evident from the manner in which ye have
managed your testimony, that politics, (as a religious body of men) is
not your proper Walk; for however well adapted it might appear to you,
it is, nevertheless, a jumble of good and bad put unwisely together,
and the conclusion drawn therefrom, both unnatural and unjust.

The two first pages, (and the whole doth not make four) we give you
credit for, and expect the same civility from you, because the love and
desire of peace is not confined to Quakerism, it is the natural, as
well the religious wish of all denominations of men.  And on this
ground, as men labouring to establish an Independant Constitution of
our own, do we exceed all others in our hope, end, and aim.  OUR PLAN
IS PEACE FOR EVER.  We are tired of contention with Britain, and can
see no real end to it but in a final separation.  We act consistently,
because for the sake of introducing an endless and uninterrupted peace,
do we bear the evils and burthens of the present day.  We are
endeavoring, and will steadily continue to endeavour, to separate and
dissolve a connexion which hath already filled our land with blood; and
which, while the name of it remains, will be the fatal cause of future
mischiefs to both countries.

We fight neither for revenge nor conquest; neither from pride nor
passion; we are not insulting the world with our fleets and armies, nor
ravaging the globe for plunder.  Beneath the shade of our own vines are
we attacked; in our own houses, and on our own lands, is the violence
committed against us.  We view our enemies in the character of
Highwaymen and Housebreakers, and having no defence for ourselves in
the civil law, are obliged to punish them by the military one, and
apply the sword, in the very case, where you have before now, applied
the halter-- Perhaps we feel for the ruined and insulted sufferers in
all and every part of the continent, with a degree of tenderness which
hath not yet made its way into some of your bosoms.  But be ye sure
that ye mistake not the cause and ground of your Testimony.  Call not
coldness of soul, religion; nor put the BIGOT in the place of the

O ye partial ministers of your own acknowledged principles.  If the
bearing arms be sinful, the first going to war must be more so, by all
the difference between wilful attack, and unavoidable defence.
Wherefore, if ye really preach from conscience, and mean not to make a
political hobbyhorse of your  religion convince the world thereof, by
proclaiming your doctrine to our enemies, FOR THEY LIKEWISE BEAR
_ARMS_.  Give us proof of your sincerity by publishing it at St.
James's, to the commanders in chief at Boston, to the Admirals and
Captains who are piratically ravaging our coasts, and to all the
murdering miscreants who are acting in authority under HIM whom ye
profess to serve.  Had ye the honest soul of BARCLAY ye would preach
repentance to YOUR king; Ye would tell the Royal Wretch his sins, and
warn him of eternal ruin.[5] Ye would not spend your partial invectives
against the injured and the insulted only, but, like faithful
ministers, would cry aloud and SPARE NONE.  Say not that ye are
persecuted, neither endeavour to make us the authors of that reproach,
which, ye are bringing upon yourselves; for we testify unto all men,
that we do not complain against you because ye are Quakers, but because
ye pretend to be and are NOT Quakers.

Alas! it seems by the particular tendency of some part of your
testimony, and other parts of your conduct, as if, all sin was reduced
to, and comprehended in, THE ACT OF BEARING ARMS, and that by the
people only.  Ye appear to us, to have mistaken party for conscience;
because, the general tenor of your actions wants uniformity--And it is
exceedingly difficult to us to give credit to many of your pretended
scruples; because, we see them made by the same men, who, in the very
instant that they are exclaiming against the mammon of this world, are
nevertheless, hunting after it with a step as steady as Time, and an
appetite as keen as Death.

The quotation which ye have made from Proverbs, in the third page of
your testimony, that, "when a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh
even his enemies to be at peace with him"; is very unwisely chosen on
your part; because, it amounts to a proof, that the king's ways (whom
ye are desirous of supporting) do NOT please the Lord, otherwise, his
reign would be in peace.

I now proceed to the latter part of your testimony, and that, for which
all the foregoing seems only an introduction viz.

"It hath ever been our judgment and principle, since we were called to
profess the light of Christ Jesus, manifested in our consciences unto
this day, that the setting up and putting down kings and governments,
is God's peculiar prerogative; for causes best known to himself: And
that it is not our business to have any hand or contrivance therein;
nor to be busy bodies above our station, much less to plot and contrive
the ruin, or overturn of any of them, but to pray for the king, and
safety of our nation, and good of all men--That we may live a peaceable
and quiet life, in all godliness and honesty; UNDER THE GOVERNMENT
principles why do ye not abide by them?  Why do ye not leave that,
which ye call God's Work, to be managed by himself?  These very
principles instruct you to wait with patience and humility, for the
event of all public measures, and to receive that event as the divine
will towards you.  Wherefore, what occasion is there for your POLITICAL
TESTIMONY if you fully believe what it contains?  And the very
publishing it proves, that either, ye do not believe what ye profess,
or have not virtue enough to practise what ye believe.

The principles of Quakerism have a direct tendency to make a man the
quiet and inoffensive subject of any, and every government WHICH IS SET
OVER HIM.  And if the setting up and putting down of kings and
governments is God's peculiar prerogative, he most certainly will not
be robbed thereof by us: wherefore, the principle itself leads you to
approve of every thing, which ever happened, or may happen to kings as
being his work.  OLIVER CROMWELL thanks you.  CHARLES, then, died not
by the hands of man; and should the present Proud Imitator of him, come
to the same untimely end, the writers and publishers of the Testimony,
are bound, by the doctrine it contains, to applaud the fact.  Kings are
not taken away by miracles, neither are changes in governments brought
about by any other means than such as are common and human; and such as
we are now using.  Even the dispersion of the Jews, though foretold by
our Saviour, was effected by arms.  Wherefore, as ye refuse to be the
means on one side, ye ought not to be meddlers on the other; but to
wait the issue in silence; and unless ye can produce divine authority,
to prove, that the Almighty who hath created and placed this new world,
at the greatest distance it could possibly stand, east and west, from
every part of the old, doth, nevertheless, disapprove of its being
independent of the corrupt and abandoned court of Britain, unless I
say, ye can shew this, how can ye on the ground of your principles,
justify the exciting and stirring up the people "firmly to unite in the
abhorrence of all such writings, and measures, as evidence a desire and
design to break off the happy connexion we have hitherto enjoyed, with
the kingdom of Great-Britain, and our just and necessary subordination
to the king, and those who are lawfully placed in authority under him."
What a slap of the face is here! the men, who in the very paragraph
before, have quietly and passively resigned up the ordering, altering,
and disposal of kings and governments, into the hands of God, are now,
recalling their principles, and putting in for a share of the business.
Is it possible, that the conclusion, which is here justly quoted, can
any ways follow from the doctrine laid down?  The inconsistency is too
glaring not to be seen; the absurdity too great not to be laughed at;
and such as could only have been made by those, whose understandings
were darkened by the narrow and crabby spirit of a despairing political
party; for ye are not to be considered as the whole body of the Quakers
but only as a factional and fractional part thereof.

Here ends the examination of your testimony; (which I call upon no man
to abhor, as ye have done, but only to read and judge of fairly;) to
which I subjoin the following remark; "That the setting up and putting
down of kings," most certainly mean, the making him a king, who is yet
not so, and the making him no king who is already one.  And pray what
hath this to do in the present case?  We neither mean to set up nor to
pull down, neither to make nor to unmake, but to have nothing to do
with them.  Wherefore, your testimony in whatever light it is viewed
serves only to dishonor your judgement, and for many other reasons had
better have been let alone than published.

First, Because it tends to the decrease and reproach of all religion
whatever, and is of the utmost danger to society to make it a party in
political disputes.

Secondly, Because it exhibits a body of men, numbers of whom disavow
the publishing political testimonies, as being concerned therein and
approvers thereof.

Thirdly, because it hath a tendency to undo that continental harmony
and friendship which yourselves by your late liberal and charitable
donations hath lent a hand to establish; and the preservation of which,
is of the utmost consequence to us all.

And here without anger or resentment I bid you farewell.  Sincerely
wishing, that as men and christians, ye may always fully and
uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right; and be, in your
turn, the means of securing it to others; but that the example which ye
have unwisely set, of mingling religion with politics, MAY BE DISAVOWED

[1] Dragonetti on virtue and rewards.

[2] Thomas Anello otherwise Massanello a fisherman of Naples, who after
spiriting up his countrymen in the public marketplace, against the
oppressions of the Spaniards, to whom the place was then subject
prompted them to revolt, and in the space of a day became king.

[3] See Entic's naval history, intro. page 56.

[4] Those who would fully understand of what great consequence a large
and equal representation is to a state, should read Burgh's political

[5] "Thou hast tasted of prosperity and adversity; thou knowest what it
is to be banished thy native country, to be over-ruled as well as to
rule, and set upon the throne; and being oppressed thou hast reason to
know how hateful the oppressor is both to God and man:  If after all
these warnings and advertisements, thou dost not turn unto the Lord
with all thy heart, but forget him who remembered thee in thy distress,
and give up thyself to fallow lust and vanity, surely great will be thy
condemnation.-- Against which snare, as well as the temptation of those
who may or do feed thee, and prompt thee to evil, the most excellent
and prevalent remedy will be, to apply thyself to that light of Christ
which shineth in thy conscience, and which neither can, nor will
flatter thee, nor suffer thee to be at ease in thy sins."--Barclay's
address to Charles II.

F I N I S.

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