RESOLVED, That the early, unsolicited and continued labours of Mr. THOMAS PAINE. in explaining and enforcing the principles of the late revolution, by ingenious and timely publications* upon the nature of liberty and civil government, have been well received by the citizens of these States, and merit the approbation of Congress▪ and that in consideration of these services, and the benefits produced thereby, MR. PAINE is entitled to a liberal gratification from the United States.

OCTOBER 3, 1785.

RESOLVED, That the board of treasury take order for paying to Mr. THOMAS PAINE, the sum of three thousand dollars, for the con­siderations mentioned in the resolution of the 26th of August last.

No. I.

Projicit ampullas. HOR.
On souls of slav'ry more than death afraid,
Gage wastes his pardons and his gasconade.

GENERAL GAGE's Proclamation lies before me, though it is not a subject for criticism, yet it deserves notice; we may overlook the style, but must detest the doctrine; with what judgment the General may command, with what spirit he may fight, with what prudence he may retreat, is yet unknown; but if his conduct in the field is equal to his composition in the closet, the success of his majesty's arms must be owing more to fate than judgment. This murderous proclamation opens with great solemnity, bold assertions, and notorious falsehoods; it proceeds with the perse­vering spirit of the times; but, alas! its imperious offers of clemency, and its conceited menaces, [Page 2] are vain alike. The one will make no converts for want of confidence; and the other can make no cowards for want of power. To subjugate America entirely, by means of our fleet and standing army, is impossible; the thought only proves that administration is as weak as it is wick­ed; should they be determined, like their mis­guided master, to persevere, they will, ere long, find it impracticable either to go forward, or to retreat; they will (let them mark the words of an unknown writer) oblige the people, throughout the empire of Great Britain, to take the power again into their own hands; even anarchy is pre­ferable to despotism, especially while the govern­ment is in the hands of fools, madmen, knaves, and tyrants; hard usage justifies hard names.—Let us now proceed to this alluring proclamation, this flimsy, political trap for antiquated Roman vir­tue.

The General thought fit to arraign the conduct of the Americans as incendiaries and traitors against the constitutional authority of the state; if the word incendiary has any meaning in the Eng­lish language, it can only be applied with propriety to one who is the first kindler of commotions in a state; according to our constitution, the very head that wears the crown may be an incendiary, by encouraging a faction, which may as well originate in the court as in the cottage, if the King and his [Page 3] Parliament, devoted to a vile administration, com­bine to persevere in carrying any one point against the constitution, they are from that moment a fac­tion (incendiaries) and not a government; they are traitors, traitors to the people. Let me now ask, whether faction first took rise in America, or the mother country? In that spot (wherever it may be) we must look for these incendiaries and traitors. I have put the question fairly; it is simple, plain, and determinative.—I pause for a reply— not from the mouth of a haughty pensioner, a Scotch placeman, or a fawning courtier; but by the decision of a true constitutionalist I am willing to abide. In the interim, I shall declare my own opinion—That the mother country, represented as she is by a corrupt majority, first formed a fac­tion herself against the laws and liberties of Ame­rica; nay, she has done more, she has artfully formed even a religious faction (the worst of all others) upon that great continent. Her govern­ment has of late been administered upon such mis­taken, narrow, rotten principles, that she did not think herself secure till she had established Popery by act of Parliament at Quebec, by way of fo­menting dissentions and enmity in those dominions she would enslave, or administration knew and feared the principles of the people upon that con­tinent. They had read that their ancestors were Puritans, and no friends to tyranny or popery; [Page 4] they knew their designs, and planted Papists in their rear to keep their rebellious subjects, as they call them, between two fires, and to deter them from taking refuge in the back settlements; but they have numbers and virtue sufficient to enable them to keep, or at least to recover their ground. Thus have a corrupt majority, falsely called the Great Council of the Nation, themselves departed, and encouraged Government to depart, in this as well as numberless other instances, from the line of right laid down at the Revolution, a period but little reverenced by our State-pilots, Bute and Mansfield; these two men, with their lacqueys in and out of Parliament, are the real and only incen­diaries of America. The wretched Americans, unjustly branded by every hireling with the name of traitors, are only busied, and justly busied, in extinguishing those flames, which such a govern­ment (if it deserves the name of one) has kindled; whether the Americans are traitors, or unhappy subjects making a lawful resistance to repeated tyrannies, must be determined, not by hirelings, who assassinate for pay, but by those who pay them with reluctance, by the collective body of the people, in whom all power virtually resides, from whom it originates, and to whom it must perhaps shortly dissolve again. What the General calls treason, this collective body (an awful tri­bunal) will pronounce constitutional resistance.

[Page 5] The Americans are next accused of a fatal pro­gression of crimes against the constitutional autho­rity of the state.—By the term constitutional, if the General means an authority constitutionally exer­cised, I deny his assertion; it is as little founded on truth, as our ministerial measures are upon sound policy, justice and humanity; when the principles of the constitution are abandoned (as they have lately been) the state may proceed au­thoritively, or rather despotically, but it cannot be said to act constitutionally.—That the Ameri­cans avow rebellion, I deny likewise; that they avow resistance (as their brave ancestors once did, and as all true Revolutionists will do) every Bri­ton, as an enemy to slavery, must rejoice.

For the patience and lenity of the King's (in truth of Lord Bute's and Lord Mansfield's) go­vernment, I appeal to facts. Those, who are masters of the disputes between England and Ame­rica, and stand unbiassed by corruption, will pass an impartial judgment between the oppressors and oppressed; we doubt not but the Sovereign's pa­tience is equal to his other godlike attributes; but we know that the patience of America has been severely tried; among other invasions she has been stripped of the most valuable privilege, the birth­right of a British subject, trial by juries. In many other instances government has attempted to en­slave them; and shall the aggressors presume to [Page 6] boast thus of their patience and lenity? At what time, in what particulars, were they exerted? Were the humble supplications and remonstrances of Ame­rica received by either, and by which of the three great estates of this kingdom? If so, a Norton and Apsley, or some ministerial paricide, can in­form us; but if they were (and they really were) rejected with contempt by all, what pretence, what effrontery have the tools and sycophants of power, to insult the understandings of mankind with sounds? What hopes (for such the General talks of) could America ever entertain of such an Ad­ministration, such a Parliament, and such a Sove­reign? She has, alas! been driven to despair by all; nay, her supplications have been finally an­swered by those divine effects of patience and lenity—Famine and the sword. Thus have those who are entrusted (as the General says) with su­preme rule, manifested to all the world, that they bear not the sword in vain. Could George the Third, that mirror of perseverance, that idol of an abandoned Ministry, present the sword of jus­tice, like the old heathen emperor, to the people, and bid them use it for him, or against him, ac­cording to his deserts? If he could, he then bears not the sword in vain, but in defiance of heaven and earth, in defiance of all laws human and divine; nor can he bear it long.

[Page 7] But the most sacred rights of the crown and people of Great Britain (says the General) have been infringed. It is a most audacious piece of military insolence, after the late act of tyranny assented to by the steady Sovereign, to join the names of crown and people together, as if their views and interest were still, as in truth they ought to be, the same. Blind to its own interest, to its honour, to its establishment, to its sacred engage­ments at the altar, has the crown, whose sole aim is plainly despotic power, consulted the interests of the people in its disputes with America? The rights of the crown and people were stipulated anew at the Revolution. But has the crown kept its com­pact with the people of America? If not, by whom have the rights of the people been infringed?—As to the rights of the crown, as stipulated at the Re­volution, they are well known, and have been reli­giously submitted to both at home and abroad, even in rebellious America; but when it begins to stretch out the arm of usurpation, it is time that its despotic sinews should be shrunk.

That the Americans have been guilty (and bravely guilty) of premeditation and conspiracy is most true. They have been provoked to action, and they were too wise to act without thinking. They have most virtuously conspired against ty­rants, and disdained to wear the chains of the most pious King, the wisest Administration, and most [Page 8] incorrupt Parliament that Great Britain ever knew.—For these demerits the fulness of chastise­ment is threatened. But suppose the chastisers should be chastised? I have always understood that true courage was ever accompanied by the greatest modesty. History is full of these exam­ples. But our Ministry (like their Sandwich and their Denbigh) have idly thought that America may be subdued by gasconade. Such corrupt wretches are strangers to the great effects of virtue. Sad experience will inform them soon that all human souls are not as abject as their own.

The Americans are next accused of an unna­tural revolt. If by this expression is meant a revolt against their natural allegiance, I answer, that when protection is first unjustly withdrawn on the Sovereign's part, all allegiance ceases on the sub­ject's. The subject must then recur to the rights of nature; resistance may ensue, but no revolt; for the Sovereign, by breaking his compact, has set the subject free. A politician would reason thus; but a soldier has no idea of any mode of government but by the sword.—We are then told that our colonists dared not trust their cause to the impartial judgment of the public, or even to the dispassionate reflection of their followers.—But with what truth? Were not the General Congresses throughout the continent of America so many open appeals to the judgment of an impartial public? [Page 9] Were not the flagitious prints, the popular ha­rangues, the declamation from the pulpits (which the General complains of) so many incitements to the cool, dispassionate reflection of their follow­ers? Indeed, General, you should always reason sword in hand. The pen is not your fort. You are lost upon paper, and must at last submit to be vanquished in the field. Putnam is in earnest.

The poor Americans are charged in the next place with a suppression of truth; with obstructing every appeal to the real interest of the people; with the grossest forgeries, calumnies, and absur­dities. To say that the Americans have been guilty of suppressing truth, forging falsehoods, venting calumnies, and imposing absurdities upon their party, is but a kind of petulant recrimination. These dishonourable proceedings, if true, are but the common stratagems of war. They are not pe­culiar to one side only, for the King's party has practised them; all the insidious spies of Go­vernment have practised them; General Carle­ton has practised them most basely; you your­self, General Gage, have practised them as dis­honourably; but after all, is this malicious splenetic recrimination a proof of treason and rebellion against these injured people? In spite of all this foul language, the world will think that there is as much veracity, virtue, candour, honour, and true courage on the part of free­men [Page 10] who defend, as on the part of tyrants who invade their liberties. I now wish to be in­formed of these appeals which have been made (if the General says true) to the real interest of America.

Through what channels have they passed? Have either of the three great estates of this kingdom, or has the Minister, or even a single tool or lac­quey of Administration, has a North, a Sandwich, or a Denbigh, once condescended to advise, ad­monish, or expostulate with America? Has the Secretary of State for that department ever had orders to write in such a strain? Have not all Lord Bute's servile clan endeavoured, on the con­trary, to carry every thing with a high hand, and a menacing audacious front? Have they not shut their eyes, ears and hearts, against every humble approach, every filial intercession of America? These insolent invaders of royal charters, human rights, and established laws, have been too much slushed with the hopes of conquest, to wish cor­dially for a reconciliation with America. They have industriously stopped up every opening to­wards it. The mouths of our patriots and our citizens have been stopped by corrupt votes and majestic insults; as to the proposal made by Lord North in his House of Commons, it was calcu­lated for the contempt it met with. His Lordship was not quite fool enough to think it could take [Page 11] place. By whom then has any appeal to the real interest of America been made by those who would exterminate the people?

The prostitution of the press makes the next item in the General's catalogue of complaints. If the American press has been prostituted, I pray that Doctor Johnson may be called upon to declare, upon the honour of a court-pensioner, how glori­ously the English press has been employed in the cause of truth by his brother Garreteers; even the eloquence of the laity and clergy has been exerted (says the General) to excite and justify devastation and massacre. Can a soldier, who should be a man of honour, assert so gross a falsehood? It is notorious that no one popular harangue, as the General calls them, has been made in America, with any other view than that of animating their gallant countrymen to a just defence of their liber­ties, properties, and lives; the noblest purpose of which the distinguished gift of the speech can serve. That the brave and virtuous Americans have animated each other in support of their national rights, will be recorded in history to their immor­tal honour; that our perfidious government has armed the Papists, whom they patronize at Que­bec, with a view of destroying their Protestant subjects, is a circumstance which will make a figure of a different cast in history, and will most assuredly bring the advisers of that measure to an [Page 12] ignominious death, in spite of the standing army employed and paid at present for no other purpose than that of protecting tyrants; whether popular harangues made in one case, or arms supplied in the other, is most characteristic of national honour and virtue, may easily be determined. And to this the base, the cowardly, the traiterous design of government, after all the parade and military blus­ter, of surrendering Canada to the French, a vast province acquired last war, at the expence of so much blood and treasure. This pusillanimous thought has been suggested to gratify a despairing tyrant. I now accompany the General to the ac­count he gives of the 19th of April last, respecting an attack upon the King's troops from behind walls, and lurking holes. Be it so; yet who can believe that the King's troops should have been unprepared for ambuscade, or any acts of hostile frenzy, as the General calls it? Have not the Americans been driven to this frenzy? Is it not common for an enemy to take every advantage? Is it not uncommon, nay impossible, that troops, charged with vengeance, should be unprepared to take it? They could not be unprepared for taking it, if they were armed; nor would they decline taking it, if they were Scotchmen. Their not taking it, therefore, must be owing either to a want of spirit or want of conduct, or a want of power. Since that period (of the 19th of April) says the [Page 13] General, the rebels have derived confidence from impunity.—Is it a matter of merit then, with a mer­cenary soldiery, that they did not execute what they were unable to effect? This is talking like a driveller, General! But these rebels, these traiter­ous Revolutionists in America, have dared to fire upon the King's ships and subjects—Granted—but have not these ships invaded them, have not these subjects (why did you not say soldiers and marines) threatened their destruction? Is the doctrine of passive obedience, and non-resistance to the divine will of tyrants, to be observed by the insulted and enslaved Americans, till they felt their Sovereign's bayonet in their bosoms?—These rebels have pro­ceeded even farther; they have affected (says our General) to hold the King's army besieged—Have they? May heavens prosper such a glorious piece of affectation! Every constitutionalist throughout the British empire hopes they will not only affect it, but effect it: every true born Briton longs to see the final triumph of America marked as an epocha in the future annals of his country; nor would their joy be checked by the appearance of another blessed martyrdom in the calendar. Ty­ranny and martyrdom, like representation and tax­ation, should go together.

The charge of invasion upon private property, and a wantonness of cruelty, is not only indecent, but imprudent, from that mouth which commands [Page 14] the King's banditti in America, who have so dar­ingly themselves invaded the liberties, the proper­ties, the laws and lives of a free people with the sword, merely because they claim, and will main­tain, the rights of Englishmen.

As to the actions of the nineteenth of April last, which so often haunt the General's mind, they ought to stand for ever recorded in the calendar, to the eternal honour of America, who that day not only totally disappointed, but bravely resisted no considerable party of the King's military assas­sins. If any improprieties were committed on that nineteenth of April by the American troops, which cannot easily be pardoned by so consummate a sol­dier as General Gage; yet their gallant behaviour on the seventeenth of June following must surely have deserved his admiration. They did not fire then from behind walls and lurking holes, but bravely faced, attacked and defeated the tyrant's forces. This appears sufficiently, even from the letter which has been artfully imposed on the pub­lic for General Gage's genuine account of that action; but let the Minister shew forth the Gene­ral's real letter, if he dares. His master lost his colour when he read it; and I verily believe that even Lord North (the ostensible Minister) is not himself entrusted with the true contents of it. His Lordship is but the drudge. He has the name without the confidence of a Minister, and meanly [Page 15] submits to be responsible for iniquities not his own The real genuine letter (so dreadful are its tidings) is a secret to all but the tyrant, and his gemini, the Castor and Pollux of his cabinet, Bute and Mansfield. They dare not publish it.

I am now come to the last effort within the bounds of the General's duty, to spare the effusion of blood, which he is strictly charged to shed with­out mercy or reluctance. The General, according to his orders, most dutifully dispatched his bluster­ing Colonel Smith to commence the intended car­nage. This bully failed; yet blood was unnatu­rally and unjustifiably drawn by our hireling cut­throats at Concord; and then the General, in commiseration of the calamities which his murder­ous army had occasioned, most humanely offers, two months afterwards (when he found himself un­equal to the task of conquest) his Majesty's most gracious pardon to these unhappy sufferers. Your treacherous offer is disdained—away with it!— and massacre (if you can) but without an insult, the bravest men in the British empire. Did not the ancestors of these brave spirits spurn the insi­dious proclamation of that tyrant Charles, and shall their sons fall a prey to the delusive orders of a weaker tyrant, and a more consummate hypo­crite? —Will not the gallant Adams, and the me­ritorious Hancock fall with their country, if it is her fate to fall? Or should they be unfortunately taken [Page 16] prisoners, will they not cast an indignant smile upon the wretch who should affect to pardon them, after he had enslaved their country? The pro­claiming all America (except the King's Roman Catholic subjects, and good allies at Quebec) traitors, is but a contemptible echo of that act of parliament which declared them so long since, for consulting and preparing only against an intended massacre by sword and famine.—America despises your threats, your clemency, and all naval and military terror and parade, thou impotent tyrant! This General concludes his gasconade with a most notorious falsehood, by asserting that the present unnatural rebellion of the Americans (as he calls it) has stopped the administration of justice in that country.—For shame, for shame, General! A soldier, and guilty of a lye (—Your master knows, you know, the whole world knows, that the rotten Parliament of this nation not only stopped the course, but extinguished every benefit of the com­mon law (the subjects great inheritance) when they dared take away the privilege of juries. The de­sign was base, atrocious, glaring, perfidious, and tyrannical; but why does this unthinking tool of military power call the royal charter of the pro­vince to his aid; that charter, which his master and his parliamentary junto has so grossly violated? Is that charter unfavourable to freedom, and can it now serve the cause of slavery? Has it hitherto [Page 17] been slighted, and is it now made use of to betray the people for whose protection it was granted? Has it been so often disallowed, with an indignant sneer, when America petitioned for redress, and is it now set up against her by the shallow tools of power, when she is defending those rights and liber­ties which it gives her? Is this royal charter now called in aid of despotic measures, through weak­ness, insolence, or inadvertency? Why, General! General! Your haughty unrelenting master tram­ples on the royal charters of his wiser predecessors.

I tell thee, Homicide, that the faith of Kings is now no more. Our very laws must shortly truckle to the sword. The law martial which you have just proclaimed, and of which you may shortly taste yourself, will, if you succeed in America, be at length the only law of England. Mansfield is an advocate for summary proceedings.

The die is cast in the great divan (the wise council of this nation) and those who would RISE AGAIN to the STATE and LIBERTIES of ENGLISHMEN must RISE through BLOOD. The parricides of this constitution, General, are to be found in England, NOT IN AMERICA, nor can HAPPINESS, PEACE, LIBERTY, and LAW, be now restored (unless Providence miraculously intervenes) but by ANOTHER REVOLUTION.

C. S.

No. II.

THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN'S SOULS. The summer soldier and the sun-shine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country: but he that stands it now, deserves the thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered: yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: 'tis dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to set a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange, indeed, if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right, not only to tax, but "to bind us in all cases whatsoever:" and if being bound in that manner is not slavery, there is not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is im­pious: for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

[Page 19] Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument: my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter; neither could we, while we were in a dependent situation. How­ever, the fault, if it were one, was all our own: we have none to blame but ourselves*. But no great deal is lost yet: all that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a con­quest, which the spirit of the Jerseys a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.

I have as little superstition in me as any man living: but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God will not give up a people to mili­tary destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who had so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every de­cent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that he has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils: and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king [Page 20] can look up to heaven for help against us. A com­mon murderer, a highwayman, or a housebreaker, has as good a pretence as he.

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trem­bled like an ague, at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats: and in the fourteenth cen­tury, the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back, like men petrified with fear: and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces, collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses: they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short: the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undisco­vered. In fact, they have the same effect upon secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would upon a private murderer. They sift out the pri­vate thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Many a disguised tory has lately shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize [Page 21] with curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware.

As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with many circumstances, which those, who lived at a distance, know but little or nothing of. Our situation there was exceed­ingly cramped, the place being on a narrow neck of land, between the North river and the Hackin­sack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not one fourth so great as Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up, and stood on the defence. Our ammunition, light artillery, and the best part of our stores, had been removed, upon the appre­hension that Howe would endeavour to penetrate the Jerseys, in which case Fort Lee could have been of no use to us: for it must occur to every think­ing man, whether in the army or not, that these kinds of field-forts are only fit for temporary purposes, and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force against the particular object which such forts were raised to defend. Such was our situ­ation and condition at Fort Lee, on the morning of the twentieth of November, when an officer arrived with information, that the enemy, with two hundred boats, had landed about seven or eight miles above. Major-general Green, who com­manded the garrison, immediately ordered them [Page 22] under arms, and sent express to his Excellency General Washington, at the town of Hackinsack, distant, by way of the ferry, six miles. Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackin­sack, which lay up the river, between the enemy and us, about six miles from us, and three from them. General Washington arrived in about three quarters of an hour, and marched at the head of the troops to the bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush for: however, they did not choose to dispute it with us: and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a mill, on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some marshy grounds, up to the town of Hackinsack, and there passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the waggons could contain: the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the garrison, and to march them on till they could be strengthened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, so as to be en­bled to make a stand. We staid four days at New­ark, collected in our out-posts, with some of the Jersey militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on information of their being advancing, though our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs. General Howe, in my opinion, committed a great error in generalship, in not throwing a body of sorces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by which [Page 23] means he might have seized all our stores at Bruns­wick, and intercepted our march into Pennsylva­nia. But if we believe the power of hell to be limited, we must likewise believe that their agents are under some providential controul.

I shall not now attempt to give all the particu­lars of our retreat to the Delaware. Suffice it for the present to say, that both officers and men, though greatly harrassed and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and a martial spirit. All their wishes were one; which was, that the country would turn out, and help them to drive the enemy back. Voltaire has remarked, that king William never appeared to full advantage, but in difficulties and in action. The same remark may be made on General Wash­ington, for the character fits him. There is a na­tural firmness in some minds, which cannot be un­locked by trifles; but which, when unlocked, dis­covers a cabinet of fortitude: and I reckon it among those kind of public blessings which we do not immediately see, that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon care.

I shall conclude this paper with some miscella­neous remarks on the state of our affairs; and shall begin with asking the following question: Why is it that the enemy hath left the New England pro­vinces, [Page 24] and made these middle ones the seat of war? The answer is easy: New England is not infested with Tories, and we are. I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger: but it will not do to sacrifice a world to either their folly or their baseness. The period is now arrived, in which either they or we must change our sen­timents, or one or both must fall. And what is a tory? Good God! what is he? I should not be afraid to go with an hundred Whigs against a thou­sand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for a servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave.

But before the line of irrecoverable separation may be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: your conduct is an invitation to the enemy; yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you, as the American cause is injured by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally; for it is soldiers, and not tories, that he wants.

I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are [Page 25] held by the Tories. A noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as most I ever saw; and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finish­ed with this unfatherly expression, "Well, give me peace in my days." Not a man lives on the continent, but fully believes that separation must some time or other finally take place, and a gene­rous parent would have said, "if there must be trouble, let it be in my days, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection, well ap­plied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as Ame­rica. Her situation is remote from all the wrang­ling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man may easily distinguish in him­self between temper and principle, and I am as confident as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must, in the end be conqueror; for, though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal never can expire.

America did not, nor does not want force; but she wanted a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the purchase of a day and it is no wonder we should on at first setting off. From an [Page 26] excess of tenderness, we were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause to the temporary defence of a well meaning militia. A summer's experience has now taught us better; yet with those troops, while they were collected, we were able to set bounds to the progress of the enemy; and, thank God! they are again assembling. I always considered a militia as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but they will not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is probable, will make an at­tempt on this city; should he fail on this side the Delaware, he is ruined; if he succeeds, our cause is not ruined. He stakes all on his side against a part on ours; admitting he succeeds, the conse­quence will be, that armies from both ends of the continent will march to assist their suffering friends in the middle states; for he cannot go every where: it is impossible. I consider Howe as the greatest enemy the tories have; he is bringing a war into their own country, which, had it not been for him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of. Should he now be expelled, I wish, with all the devotion of a christian, that the names of whig and tory may never more be mentioned; but should the tories give him encouragement to come, or assist­ance if he come, I as sincerely wish that our next year's arms may expel them from the continent, and the congress appropriate their possessions to the relief of those who have suffered in well-doing. [Page 27] A single successful battle next year will settle the whole. America will carry on a two-years war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected per­sons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge: call it rather the soft re­sentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness: eloquence may strike the car, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice.

Quitting this class of men, I turn, with the warm ardour of a friend, to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out. I call not upon a few, but upon all; not on this state, or that state, but on every state. Up and help us. Lay your shoulders to the wheel. Better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone: turn out your tens of thousands: throw not the burden of the day upon providence, but show your faith by your good works, that God may bless you. It matters not [Page 28] where you live, or what rank of life you hold; the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, shall suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now, is dead. The blood of his children shall curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble—that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflec­tion. It is the business of little minds to shrink; but he, whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to my­self, as strait and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war; for I think it murder: but if a thief break into my house—burn and destroy my property, and kill, or threaten to kill me and those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever," to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it, is a king or a com­mon man; my countryman, or not my country­man; whether it is done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned, why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call [Page 29] me rebel, and welcome; I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul, by swearing allegi­ance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I con­ceive likewise, a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day, shall be shriek­ing to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language; and this is one. There are persons too, who see not the full extent of the evil that threatens them. They solace themselves with hopes, that the enemy, if they succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice: and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war. The cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to be equally on our guard against both. Howe's first object is partly by threats, and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to give up thei arms, and receive mercy. The ministry recom­mended the same plan to Gage: and this is what the tories call making their peace—"a peace which passeth all understanding," indeed. A peace which would be the immediate forerunner o a worse ruin than any we have yet thought of. Ye [Page 30] men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon those things! Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who are all armed. This, perhaps, is what some tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties, who would then have it in their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe's army of Britons and Hessians, to preserve it from the anger of the rest. Mutual fear is a principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact. Howe is mer­cifully inviting you to a barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapours of imagination, I bring reason to your ears; and in language as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes.

I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was col­lected, Howe dared not risk a battle: and it is no credit to him, that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenceless Jerseys: but it is great credit to us▪ that, with an handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the [Page 31] greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say, that our retreat was precipi­tate▪ for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp: and had not some of the cow­ardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more, we are again collected and collecting. Our new army, at both ends of the continent, is recruiting fast; and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and cloathed. This is our situation— and who will, may know it. By perseverance and fortitude, we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils—a ravaged country—a depo­pulated city—habitations without safety—and slavery without hope—our homes turned into bar­racks and bawdy-houses for Hessians—and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of! Look on this picture, and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch, who be­lieves it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

C. S.

No. III.

What's in the name of lord that I should fear,
To bring my grievance to the public ear? CHURCHILL.

UNIVERSAL empire is the prerogative of a writer. His concerns are with all mankind, and though he cannot command their obedience, he can assign them their duty. The republic of let­ters is more ancient than monarchy, and of far higher character in the world than the vassal court of Britain; he that rebels against reason is a real rebel, but he that in defence of reason, rebels against tyranny, has a better title to "defender of the faith" than George the third.

As a military man, your lordship may hold out the sword of war, and call it the "ultima ratio re­gum;" the last reason of kings; we in return can shew you the sword of justice, and call it, "the best scourge of tyrants." The first of these two [Page 33] may threaten, or even frighten, for a while, and cast a sickly langour over an insulted people, but reason will soon recover the debauch, and restore them again to tranquil fortitude. Your Lordship, I find, has now commenced author, and published a Proclamation; I too have published a Crisis; as they stand, they are the antipodes of each other; both cannot rise at once, and one of them must descend: and so quick is the revolution of things, that your Lordship's performance, I see, has al­ready fallen many degrees from its first place, and is now just visible on the edge of the political ho­rizon.

It is surprising to what a pitch of infatuation blind folly and obstinacy will carry mankind, and your Lordship's drowsy Proclamation is a proof that it does not even quit them in their sleep. Perhaps you thought America too was taking a nap, and therefore chose, like Satan to Eve, to whisper the delusion softly, lest you should awaken her. This continent, Sir, is too extensive to sleep all at once, and too watchful, even in its slumbers, not to startle at the unhallowed foot of an invader. You may issue your proclamations, and welcome, for we have learned to "reverence ourselves," and scorn the insulting ruffian that employs you. America, for your deceased brother's sake, would gladly have shewn you respect, and it is a new aggravation to her seelings, that Howe should be [Page 34] forgetful, and raise his sword against those, who at their own charge raised a monument to his bro­ther. But your master has commanded, and you have not enough of nature left to refuse. Surely there must be something strangely degenerating in the love of monarchy, that can so completely wear a man down to an ingrate, and make him proud to lick the dust that kings have trode upon. A few more years, should you survive them, will bestow on you the title of an old man, and in some hour of future reflection you may probably find the fitness of Wolsey's despairing penitence, "Had I served my God as faithfully as I have served my king, he would not thus have forsaken me in my old age."

The character you appear to us in is truly ridi­culous. Your friends, the tories, announced your coming with high descriptions of your unlimited powers; but your Proclamation has given them the lie, by shewing you to be a commissioner with­out authority. Had your powers been ever so great, they were nothing to us, farther than we pleased; because we had the same right which other nations had, to do what we thought was best. "The United States of America," will found as pompously in the world, or in history, as "the Kingdom of Great Britain;" the character of General Washington will fill a page with as much lustre as that of Lord Howe; and the congress [Page 35] have as much right to command the king and par­liament of London to desist from legislation, as they or you have to command the congress. Only suppose how laughable such an edict would appear from us, and then, in that merry mood, do but turn the tables upon yourself, and you will see how your Proclamation is received here. Having thus placed you in a proper position, in which you may have a full view of folly, and learn to despise it, I hold up to you, for that purpose, the follow­ing quotation from your own lunarian Proclama­tion. "And we (Lord Howe and General Howe) do command (and in his Majesty's name for­sooth), all such persons as are assembled toge­ther under the name of general or provincial congresses, committees, conventions, or other associations, by whatever name or names known or distinguished, to desist and cease from all such treasonable actings and doings."

You introduce your Proclamation by referring to your declarations of the 14th of July and 19th of September. In the last of these, you sunk yourself below the character of a private gentle­man. That I may not seem to accuse you un­justly, I shall state the circumstance: By a verbal invitation of yours, communicated to congress by General Sullivan, then a prisoner on his parole, you signified your desire of conferring with some members of that body as private gentlemen. It [Page 36] was beneath the dignity of the American congress to pay any regard to a message that at best was but a genteel affront, and had too much of the ministerial complexion of tampering with private persons; and which might probably have been the case, had the gentlemen, who were deputed on that business, possessed that easy kind of virtue which an English courtier is so truly distinguished by. Your request, however, was complied with, for honest men are naturally more tender of their civil than their political fame. The interview ended as every sensible man thought it would; for your Lordship knows, as well as the writer of the Crisis, that it is impossible for the King of England to promise the repeal, or even the revisal, of any acts of parliament; wherefore, on your part you had nothing to say, more than to request, in the room of demanding the entire surrender of the continent; and then, if that was complied with, to promise the that the inhabitants should escape with their lives. This was the upshot of the conference. You informed the conferees that you were two months in soliciting these powers. We ask, what powers▪ for, as commissioner, you have none. If you mean the power of pardoning, it is an oblique proof, that your master was determined to sacri­fice all before him; and that you were two months in dissuading him from his purpose. Another evi­dence of his savage obstinacy! From your own [Page 37] account of the matter, we may justly draw these two conclusions: first, that you serve a monster; and secondly, that never was a commissioner sent on a more foolish errand than yourself. This plain language may perhaps sound uncoothly to an ear vitiated by courtly resinements; but words were made for use, and the fault lies in deserving them, or the abuse in applying them unfairly.

Soon after your return to New-York, you pub­lished a very illiberal and unmanly hand bill against the congress; for it was certainly stepping out of the line of common civility, first to screen your national pride by soliciting an interview with them as private gentlemen, and in the conclusion to en­deavour to deceive the multitude by making an hand-bill attack on the whole body of the congress; you got them together under one name, and abused them under another. But the king you serve, and the cause you support, afford you so few instances of acting the gentleman, that out of pity to your situation, the congress pardoned the insult by tak­ing no notice of it.

You say in that hand-bill, "that they, the con­gress, disavowed every purpose for reconcilia­tion not consonant with their extravagant and inadmissible claim of independence."

Why, God bless me! what have you to do with our independence? we asked no leave of yours to set it up; we ask no money of yours to support it; [Page 38] we can do better without your fleets and armies than with them; you may soon have enough to do to protect yourselves without being burthened with us. We are very willing to be at peace with you, to buy of you and sell to you, and, like young be­ginners in the world, to work for our own living; therefore, why do you put yourselves out of cash, when we know you cannot spare it, and we do not desire you to run into debt? I am willing, Sir, you should see your folly in every view I can place it, and for that reason descend sometimes to tell you in jest what I wish you to see in earnest. But to be more serious with you, why do you say "their" independence? To set you right, Sir, we tell you, that the independency is ours, not theirs. The congress were authorised, by every state on the continent, to publish it to all the world, and in so doing are not to be considered as the in­ventors, but only as the heralds that proclaimed it, or the office from which the sense of the peo­ple received a legal form; and it was as much as any or all their heads were worth, to have treated with you, on the subject of submission, under any name whatever. But we know the men in whom we have trusted;—can England say the same of her parliament?

I come now more particularly to your Procla­mation of the 30th of November last. Had you gained an entire conquest over all the armies of [Page 39] America, and then put forth a proclamation, of­fering (what you call) mercy, your conduct would have had some spacious shew of humanity; but to creep by surprise into a province, and there en­deavour to terrify and seduce the inhabitants from their just allegiance to the rest, by promises which you neither meant nor were able to fulfil, is both cruel and unmanly: cruel in its effects; because, unless you can keep all the ground you have marched over, how are you, in the words of your Proclamation, to secure to your proselytes "the enjoyment of their property?" What are to be­come either of your new-adopted subjects, or your old friends the tories, in Burlington, Bordentown, Trenton, Montholly, and many other places, where you proudly lorded it for a few days, and then fled with the precipitation of a pursued thief? What, I say, are to become of those wretches? What are to become of those who went over to you from this city and state? What more can you say to them than "shift for yourselves?" Or what more can they hope for than to wander like vagabonds over the face of the earth? You may now tell them to take their leave of America, and all that once was theirs. Recommend them, for consola­tion, to your master's court: there perhaps they may make a shift to live on the scraps of some dang­ling parasite, and chuse companions among thou­sands [Page 40] like themselves. A traitor is the foulest fiend on earth.

In a political sense we ought to thank you for thus bequeathing estates to the continent; we shall soon, at this rate, be able to carry on a war with­out expence, and grow rich by the ill policy of Lord Howe, and the generous defection of the tories. Had you set your foot into this city, you would have bestowed estates upon us which we ne­ver thought of, by bringing forth traitors we were unwilling to suspect. "But these men" you will say, "are his majesty's most faithful subjects;" let that honour then be all their fortune, and let his majesty take them to himself.

I am now thoroughly disgusted with them; they live in ungrateful case, and bend their whole minds to mischief. It seems as if God had given them over to a spirit of infidelity, and that they are open to conviction in no other line but that of punish­ment. It is time to have done with tarring, feather­ing, carting, and taking securities for their future good behaviour. Every sensible man must feel a conscious shame at seeing a poor fellow hawked for a shew about the streets, when it is known, that he is only the tool of some principal villian, blassed into his offence by the force of false reasoning, or bribed thereto through sad necessity. We dishonour our­selves by attacking such trifling characters, while greater ones are suffered to escape. 'Tis our duty [Page 41] to find them out, and their proper punishment would be to exile them from the continent for ever. The circle of them is not so great as some ima­gine. The influence of a sew has tainted many who are not naturally corrupt. A continual circu­lation of lies among those who are not much in the way of hearing them contradicted, will in time pass for truth: and the crime lies not in the believer, but the inventor. I am not for declaring war against every man that appears not so warm as my­self. Difference of constitution, temper, habit of speaking, and many other things, will go a great way in sixing the outward character of a man, yet simple honesty may remain at bottom. Some men have naturally a military turn, and can brave hard­ships and the risk of life, with a chearful face: others have not; no slavery appears to them so great as the fatigue of arms, and no terror so powerful as that of personal danger. What can we say; We cannot alter nature; neither ought we to punish the son because the father begot him in a cowardly mood. However, I believe most men have more courage than they know of, and that a little at first is enough to begin with. I knew the time when I thought that the whistling of a cannon ball would have frightened me almost to death: but I have since tried it, and find I can stand it with as little discomposure, and (I believe) with a much easier conscience than your Lordship. The same dread [Page 42] would return to me again, were I in your situation: for my solemn belief of your cause, is, that it is hellish and damnable: and under that conviction, every thinking man's heart must fail him.

From a concern, that a good cause should be dishonoured by the least disunion among us, I said in my former paper, No. II. that, "should the ene­my now be expelled, I wish, with all the since­rity of a christian, that the names of whig and tory might never more be mentioned:" but there is a knot of men among us, of such a venomous cast, that they will not admit even one's good wishes to act in their favour. Instead of rejoicing that heaven had, as it were, providentially preserved this city from plunder and destruction, by deli­vering so great a part of the enemy into our hands, with so little effusion of blood, they stubbornly affected to disbelieve it, until within an hour, nay half an hour of the prisoners arriving: and the quakers* put forth a testimony, dated the twentieth of December, signed John Pemberton, declaring their attachment to the British government. These [Page 43] men are continually harping on the great sin of our bearing arms: but the king of Briton may lay waste the world in blood and famine, and they, poor fallen souls, have nothing to say.

In some future paper, I intend to distinguish be­tween the different kinds of persons who have been denominated tories: for this I am clear in, that all are not so, who have been called so, nor all men whigs, who were once thought so: and as I mean not to conceal the name of any true friend, when there shall be occasion to mention him; neither will I that of an enemy, who ought to be known, let his rank, station, or religion be what it may.

Much pains have been taken by some to set your Lordship's private character in an amiable light: but as it has chiefly been done by men who know nothing about you, and who are no ways remark­able for their attachment to us, we have no just authority for believing it. George the Third was imposed upon us by the same arts: but time has at length done him justice: and the same fate may probably attend your Lordship. Your avowed purpose here, is, to kill, conquer, plunder, par­don, and enslave: and the ravages of your army, through the Jerseys, have been marked with as much barbarism, as if you had openly professed yourself the prince of ruffians. Not even the ap­pearance of humanity has been preserved either on the march or the retreat of your troops. No ge­neral [Page 44] order, that I could ever learn, has ever been issued to prevent or even forbid your troops from robbery, wherever they came: and the only in­stance of justice, if it can be called such, which has distinguished you for impartiality, is, that you treated and plundered all alike. What could not be carried away, have been destroyed: and maho­gany furniture has been deliberately laid on the fire for fuel, rather than the men should be fatigued with cutting wood*. There was a time, when the whigs confided much in your supposed candour, and the tories rested themselves on your favour. The experiments have now been made, and failed: and every town, nay every cottage, in the Jerseys where your arms have been, is a testimony against you. How you may rest under this sacrifice of character, I know not: but this I know, that you sleep and rise with the daily curses of thousands upon you. Perhaps, the misery which the tories have suffered by your proffered mercy, may give them some claim to their country's pity, and be in the end the best favour you could shew them.

In a folio general order book belonging to Co­lonel Rahl's battalion, taken at Trenton, and now [Page 45] now in the possession of the council of safety for this state, the following barbarous order is fre­quently repeated: "His excellency the commander in chief orders that all inhabitants which shall be found with arms, not having an officer with them, shall be immediately taken and hung up." How many you may thus have privately sacrificed, we know not; and the account can only be settled in another world. Your treatment of prisoners, in order to distress them to enlist into your infernal service, is not to be equalled by any instance in Europe. Yet this is the humane Lord Howe, and his brother, whom the tories, and their three-quarter kindred, the quakers, or some of them at least, have been holden up for patterns of justice and mercy!

A bad cause will ever be supported by bad means, and bad men: and whoever will be at the pains of examining strictly into things, will find that one and the same spirit of opposition and impiety, more or less, governs through your whole party in both countries. Not many days ago, I accidentally fell in company with a person of this city, noted for espousing your cause; and on my remarking to him, that it appeared clear to me, by the late providen­tial turn of affairs, that God Almighty was visibly on our side; he replied, we care nothing for that; you may have him, and welcome; if we have but enough of the devil on our side, we shall do. However carelessly this be spoken, matters not; [Page 46] 'tis still the insensible principle that directs all your conduct, and will at last most assuredly deceive and ruin you.

If ever a nation was mad and foolish, blind to its own interest, and bent on its own destruction, it is Britain. There are such things as national sins: and though the punishment of individuals may be reserved to another world, national punishment can only be inflicted in this world. Britain, as a na­tion, is, in my inmost belief, the greatest and most ungrateful offender against God, on the face of the whole earth. Blessed with all the commerce she could wish for, and furnished by a vast extent of dominion, with the means of civilizing both the eastern and western world, she has made no other use of both, than proudly to idolize her own "thunder," and rip up the bowels of whole coun­tries, for what she could get. Like Alexander, she has made war her sport, and inflicted misery for prodigality sake. The blood of India is not yet repaid, nor the wretchedness of Africa yet re­quited. Of late, she has enlarged her lift of na­tional cruelties, by her butcherly destruction of the Caribbs of St. Vincent's, and in returning an answer by the sword, to the meek prayer for "peace, liberty, and safety." These are serious things: and whatever a foolish tyrant, a debauched court, a trafficking legislature, or a blinded people, may think, the national account with heaven must some [Page 47] day or other be settled. All countries have sooner or later been called to their reckoning. The proudest empires have sunk, when the balance was struck: and Britain, like an individual penitent, must un­dergo her day of sorrow, and the sooner it hap­pens to her the better. As I wish it over, I wish it to come, but withal wish that it may be as light as possible.

Perhaps your Lordship has no taste for serious things. By your connexions in England, I should suppose not: therefore I shall drop this part of the subject, and take it up in a line in which you will better understand me.

By what means, may I ask, do you expect to conquer America? If you could not effect it in the summer when our army was less than yours, nor in the winter, when we had none, how are you to do it? In point of generalship, you have been outwitted; and in point of fortitude, outdone: your advantages turn out to your loss, and shew us that it is in our power to ruin you by gifts. Like a game of drafts, we can move out of one square, to let you come in, in order that we may after­wards take two or three for one; and as we can always keep a double corner for ourselves, we can always prevent a total defeat. You cannot be so insensible, as not to see that we have two to one the advantage of you, because we conquer by a drawn game, and you lose by it. Burgoyne might [Page 48] have taught your Lordship this knowledge; he has been long a student in the doctrine of chances.

I have no other idea of conquering countries than by subduing the armies which defend them: have you done this, or can you do this? If you have not, it would be civil in you to let your pro­clamations alone for the present; otherwise, you will ruin more tories by your grace and favour than you will whigs by your arms.

Were you to obtain possession of this city, you would not know what to do with it, more than to plunder it. To hold it, in the manner you hold New York, would be an additional dead weight upon your hands: and if a general conquest is your object, you had better be without the city than with it. When you have defeated all our armies, the cities will fall into your hands of them­selves; but to creep into them in the manner you got into Princetown, Trenton, &c. is like robbing an orchard in the night, before the fruit be ripe, and running away in the morning. Your experi­ment in the Jerseys is sufficient to teach you that you have something more to do than barely to get into other people's houses; and your new converts to whom you promised all manner of protection, and seduced into new guilt by pardoning them from their former virtues, must begin to have a very contemptible opinion both of your power and policy. Your authority in the Jerseys is now re­duced [Page 49] to the small circle which your army occu­pies, and your Proclamation is no where else seen, unless it be to be laughed at. The mighty sub­duers of the continent are retreated into a nutshell, and the proud forgivers of our sins are fled from those they came to pardon; and all this at a time when they were dispatching vessel after vessel to England, with the great news of every day. In short, you have managed your Jersey expedition so very dexterously, that the dead only are con­querors, because none will dispute the ground with them. In all the wars you have formerly been concerned in, you had only armies to contend with; in this case, you have both an army and a country to combat with. In former wars, the countries followed the fate of their capitals; Ca­nada fell with Quebec; and Minorca, with Port Mahon or St. Philips; by subduing those, the con­querors opened a way into, and became masters of the country: here it is otherwise: if you get possession of a city here, you are obliged to shut yourselves up in it, and can make no other use of it, than to spend your country's money in. This is all the advantage you have drawn from New-York; and you would draw less from Philadelphia, because it requires more force to keep it, and is much farther from the sea. A pretty figure you and the Tories would cut in this city, with a river full of ice, and a town full of fire; for the imme­diate [Page 50] consequence of your getting here would be, that you would be cannonaded out again, and the tories be obliged to make good the damage; and this, sooner or later, will be the fate of New York.

I wish to see the city saved, not so much from military, as from natural motives. It is the hiding-place of women and children, and Lord Howe's proper business is with our armies. When I put all the circumstances together which ought to be taken, I laugh at your notion of conquering Ame­rica. Because you lived in a little country, where an army might run over the whole in a few days, and where a single company of soldiers might put a multitude to the rout, you expected to find it the same here. It is plain that you brought over with you all the narrow notions you were bred up with, and imagined that a proclamation in the king's name was to do great things; but Englishmen always travel for knowledge, and your Lordship, I hope, will return, if you return at all, much wiser than you came.

We may be surprised by events we did not ex­pect, and in that interval of recollection you may gain some temporary advantage: such was the case a few weeks ago: but we soon ripen again into reason, collect our strength, and while you are preparing for a triumph, we come upon you with a defeat. Such it has been▪ and such it would be were you to try it an hundred times over. Were [Page 51] you to garrison the places you might march over, in order to secure their subjection (for remember you can do it by no other means), your army would be like a stream of water running to no­thing. By the time you reached from New York to Virginia, you would be reduced to a string of drops not capable of hanging together; while we by retreating from state to state, like a river turn­ing back upon itself, would acquire strength in the same proportion as you lost it, and in the end be capable of overwhelming you. The country in the mean time would suffer; but it is a day of suffering, and we ought to expect it. What we contend for is worthy the affliction we may go through. If we get but bread to eat, and any kind of raiment to put on, we ought, not only to be contented, but thankful: more than that we ought not to look for; and less than that, heaven has not yet suffered us to want. He that would fell his birth-right for a little salt, is as worthless as he who sold it for porrage without falt: and he that would part with it for a gay coat, or a plain coat, ought for ever to be a slave in buff. What are salt, sugar, and finery, to the inestimable bles­sings of "Liberty and Safety?" Or what are the inconveniences of a few months to the tributary bondage of ages? The meanest peasant in Ame­rica, blessed with these sentiments, is a happy man, compared with a New York tory; he can eat his [Page 52] morsel without repining, and when he has done, can sweeten it with a repast of wholesome air; he can take his child by the hand and bless it, with­out feeling the conscious shame of neglecting a parent's duty.

In publishing these remarks, I have several ob­jects in view. On your part they are, to expose the folly of your pretended authority, as a commis­sioner—the wickedness of your cause in general— and the impossibility of your conquering us at any rate. On the part of the public, my meaning is, to shew them their true and solid interest; to en­courage them to their own good; to remove the fears and falsities, which bad men had spread, and weak men had encouraged; and to excite in all men a love for union, and a chearfulness for duty.

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

Suppose our armies in every part of the conti­nent immediately to disperse, every man to his home, or where else he might be safe, and engage to re-assemble again on a certain future day. It is clear that you would then have no army to con­tend with; yet you would be as much at a loss as you are now: you would be afraid to send your troops in parties over the continent, either to dis­arm, or prevent us from assembling, lest they should not return: and while you kept them together, [Page 53] having no army of ours to dispute with, you could not call it a conquest. You might furnish out a pompous page in the London Gazette, or the New York paper: but when we returned at the appointed time, you would have the same work to do you had at first.

It has been the folly of Britain to suppose her­self more powerful than she really is, and by that means have arrogated to herself a rank in the world she is not entitled to: for more than this century past she has not been able to carry on a war without foreign assistance. In Marlborough's campaigns, and from that day to this, the number of German troops and officers assisting her, have been about equal with her own. Ten thousand Hessians were sent to England last war, to protect her from a French invasion: and she would have cut but a poor figure in her Canadian and West Indian expeditions, had not America been lavish of her men and money to help her along. The only instance, in which she was engaged singly, that I can recollect, was against the rebellion in Scotland in 1745 and 1746, and in that, out of three battles, she was twice beaten, till by thus re­ducing their numbers (as we shall yours), and tak­ing a supply ship, that was coming to Scotland, with clothes, arms, and money (as we have often done), she was at last enabled to defeat them.

England was never famous by land. Her of­ficers [Page 54] have generally been suspected of cowardice, have more of the air of a dancing master than a soldier; and by the sample we have taken prison­ers, we begin to give the preference to ourselves. Her strength of late has laid in her extravagance: but as her finances and her credit are now low, her sinews in that line begin to fail fast. As a nation, she is the poorest in Europe: for were the whole kingdom, and all that is in it, to be put up to sale, like the estate of a bankrupt, it would not fetch as much as she owes. Yet this thoughtless wretch must go to war, and with the avowed design, too, of making us beasts of burden, to support her in riot and debauchery, and to assist her afterwards in distressing those nations who are now our best friends. This ingratitude may suit a tory, or the unchristian peevishness of a fallen quaker, but none else.

It is the unhappy temper of the English, to be pleased with any war, right or wrong, be it but successful: but they soon grow discontented with ill fortune: and it is an even chance, that they are as clamourous for peace next summer, as the king and his ministers were for war last winter. In this natural view of things, your Lordship stands in a very ugly critical situation. Your whole charac­ter is staked upon your laurels: if they wither, you wither with them. If they flourish, you cannot live long to look at them: and at any rate, the [Page 55] black account hereafter is not far off. What lately appeared to us misfortunes, were only bles­sings in disguise: and the seeming advantages on your side have turned out to our profit. Even our loss of this city, as far as we can see, might be a principal gain to us. The more surface you spread over, the thinner you will be, and the easier wiped away: and our consolation, under that ap­parent disaster, would be, that the estates of the tories would be securities for the repairs. In short, there is no old ground we can fail upon, but some new foundation rises again to support us. "We have put, Sir, our hands to the plough—and cursed be he that looketh back."

Your king, in his speech to parliament, last spring, declared to them, that "he had no doubt but the great force they had enabled him to send to America would effectually reduce the rebellious colonies." It has not—neither can it. But it has done just enough to say the foundation of its own next year's ruin. You are sensible that you left England in a divided distracted state of politics, and, by the command you had here, you became a prin­cipal prop in the court party: their fortunes rest on yours: by a single express, you can fix their value with the public, and the degree to which their spirits shall rise or fall. They are in your hands as stock, and you have the secret of the al­ley with you. Thus situated, and connected, you [Page 56] become the unintentional, mechanical instrument of your own and their overthrow. The king and his ministers put conquest out of doubt, and the credit of both depended on the proof. To support them in the interim, it was necessary that you should make the most of every thing: and we can tell by Hugh Gaine's New York paper, what the com­plexion of the London Gazette is. With such a list of victories, the nation cannot expect you will ask new supplies; and to confess your want of them, would give the lie to your triumphs, and impeach the king and his ministers of treasonable decep­tion. If you make the necessary demand at home, your party sinks: if you make it not, you sink yourself. To ask it now, is too late, and to ask it before, was too soon, and unless it arrive quickly, will be of no use. In short, the part you have to act, cannot be acted: and I am fully persuaded, that all you have to trust to is, to do the best with what force you have got, or little more. Though we have greatly excelled you in point of general­ship, and bravery of men, yet, as a people, we have not entered into the full soul of enterprize: for I, who know England, and the disposition of the people well, am confident, that it is easier for us to effect a revolution there, than you a conquest here. A few thousand men, landed in England, with the declared design of deposing the present king▪ bringing his ministers to trial, and setting up the [Page 57] Duke of Gloucester in his stead, would assuredly carry their point, while you were grovelling here ignorant of the matter. As I send all my papers to England, this, like Common Sense, will find its way there: and though it may put one party on their guard, it will inform the other, and the nation in general, of our design to help them.

Thus far, Sir, I have endeavoured to give you a picture of present affairs: you may draw from it what conclusion you please. I wish as well to the true posterity of England as you can, but I consi­der independence as America's natural right and interest, and never could see any real disservice it would be to Britain. If an English merchant re­ceives an order, and is paid for it, it signifies no­thing to him who governs the country. This is my creed of politics. If I have any where ex­pressed myself over warmly, it is from a fixt im­moveable hatred I have, and ever had, to cruel men and cruel measures. I have likewise an aver­sion to monarchy, as being too debasing to the dignity of man; but I never troubled others with my notions till very lately, nor ever published a syllable in England in my life. What I write is pure nature, and my pen and my soul have ever gone together. My writings I have always given away, reserving only the expence of printing and paper, and sometimes not even that. I have ne­ver courted either fame or interest, and my man­ner [Page 58] of life, to those who know it, will justify what I say. My study is, to be useful, and if your Lordship love mankind as well as I do, you would, seeing you cannot conquer us, cast about and lend your hand towards accomplishing a peace. Our independence, with God's blessing, we will main­tain against all the world: but as we wish to avoid evil ourselves, we wish not to inflict it on others. I am never over inquisitive into the secrets of the cabinet, but I have some notion, if you neglect the present opportunity, that it will not be in our power to make a separate peace with you after­wards; for whatever treaties or alliances we form, we shall most faithfully abide by: wherefore you may be deceived, if you think you can make it with us at any time. A lasting independent peace is my wish, end, and aim; and to accomplish that, "I pray God the Americans may never be de­feated, and I trust while they have good officers, and are well commanded, and willing to be com­manded, that they never will."

C. S.

No. IV.

IN the progress of politics, as in the common occurrences of life, we are not only apt to forget the ground we have travelled over, but frequently neglect to gather up experience as we go. We expend, if I may so say, the knowledge of every day on the circumstances that produce it, and journey on in search of new matter and new re­finements: but as it is pleasant, and sometimes useful, to look back, even to the first periods of infancy, and trace the turns and windings through which we have passed, so we may likewise derive many advantages by halting a while in our politi­cal career, and taking a review of the wonderous complicated labyrinth of little more than yester­day.

Truly, may we say, that never did man grow old in so short a time! We have crowded the busi­ness of an age into the compass of a few months, and have been driven through such a rapid suc­cession of things, that, for the want of leisure to think, we unavoidably wasted knowledge as we [Page 60] came, and have left nearly as much behind us as we brought with us: but the road is yet rich with fragments, and, before we fully lose sight of them, will repay us for the trouble of stopping to pick them up.

Were a man to be totally deprived of memory, he would be incapable of forming any just opinion; every thing about him would seem a chaos; he would even have his own history to ask from every one; and by not knowing how the world went on in his absence, he would be at a loss to know how it OUGHT to go on when he recovered, or rather returned to it again. In like manner, though in a less degree, a too great inattention to past occur­rences retards and bewilders our judgment in every thing; while, on the contrary, by comparing what is past with what is present, we frequently hit on the true character of both, and become wise with very little trouble. It is a kind of counter­march, by which we get into the rear of Time, and mark the movements and meaning of things as we make our return. There are certain circumstances, which, at the time of their happening, are kind of riddles; and as every riddle is to be followed by its answer, so those kind of circumstances will be followed by their events, and those events are al­ways the true solution. A considerable space of time may lapse between, and unless we continue our observations from the one to the other, the [Page 61] harmony of them will pass away unnoticed: but the misfortune is, that partly from the pressing ne­cessity of some instant things, and partly from the impatience of our tempers, we are frequently in such a hurry to make out the meaning of every thing as fast as it happens, that we thereby never truly understand it; and not only start new diffi­culties to ourselves by so doing, but, as it were, embarrass Providence in her good designs.

I have been civil in stating this fault on a large scale; for, as it now stands, it does not appear to be levelled against any particular set of men; but were it to be refined a little further, it might after­wards be applied to the Tories with a degree of striking propriety: those men have been remark­able for drawing sudden conclusions from single facts. The least apparent mishap on our side, or the least seeming advantage on the part of the ene­my, have determined the fate of a whole cam­paign. By this hasty judgment they have con­verted a retreat into a defeat; mistook generalship for error: while every little advantage purposely given the enemy, either to weaken their strength by dividing it, embarrass their councils by multi­plying their objects, or to secure a greater post by the surrender of a less, has been instantly mag­nified into a conquest. Thus, by quartering ill policy upon ill principles, they have frequently [Page 62] promoted the cause they designed to injure, and injured that which they intended to promote.

It is probable the campaign may open before this number comes from the press. The enemy have long lain idle, and amused themselves with carrying on the war by proclamations only. While they continue their delay, our strength increases: and were they to move to action now, it is a cir­cumstantial proof they have no reinforcement com­ing; wherefore, in either case, the comparative advantage will be ours. Like a wounded disa­bled whale they want only time and room to die in; and though in the agony of their exit, it may be unsafe to live within the flapping of their tail, yet every hour shortens their date, and lessens their power of mischief. If any thing happens while this Number is in the press, it will afford me a subject for the last pages of it. At present I am tired of waiting; and as neither the enemy, nor the state of politics, have YET produced any thing new, I am thereby left in the field of general matter undirected by any striking or particular object. This Crisis, therefore, will be made up rather of variety than novelty, and consist more of things useful than things wonderful.

The success of the cause, the union of the peo­ple, and the means of supporting and securing both, are points which cannot be too much attended to. He who doubts of the former is a desponding cow­ard, [Page 63] and he who wilfully disturbs the latter is a traitor. Their characters are easily fixed, and under these short descriptions I leave them for the present.

One of the greatest degrees of sentimental uni­on which America ever knew, was in denying the right of the British Parliament "TO BIND THE COLONIES IN ALL CASES WHATSOEVER." The declaration is in its form an almighty one, and is the loftiest stretch of arbitrary power that ever one set of men, or one country claimed over ano­ther. Taxation was nothing more than putting the declared right into practice; and this failing, re­course was had to arms, as a means to establish both the right and the practice, or to answer a worse purpose, which will be mentioned in the course of this Number. And in order to repay themselves the expence of an army, and to profit by their own injustice, the Colonies were, by ano­ther law, declared to be in a state of actual rebel­lion, and of consequence all property therein would fall to the conquerors.

The Colonies, on their part, first, denied the right; secondly, they suspended the use of taxable articles, and petitioned against the practice of tax­ation: and these failing, they, thirdly, defended their property by force, as soon as it was forcibly invaded; and in answer to the declaration of re­bellion and non-protection, published their decla­ration [Page 64] of Independence, and right to self-protec­tion.

These, in a few words, are the different stages of the quarrel; and the parts are so intimately and necessarily connected with each other, as to admit of no separation. A person, to use a trite phrase, must be a Whig or a Tory in the lump. His feel­ings, as a man, may be wounded; his charity, as a Christian, may be moved: but his political prin­ciples must go through all the cases on one side or the other. He cannot be a Whig in this stage, and a Tory in that. If he says he is against the United Independence of the Continent, he is, to all in­tents and purposes against her in all the rest; be­cause THIS LAST comprehends the whole. And he may just as well say, that Britain was right in declaring us rebels; right in taxing us; and right in declaring her "RIGHT TO BIND THE COLO­NIES IN ALL CASES WHATSOEVER." It signifies nothing what neutral ground, of his own creation, he may skulk upon for shelter; for the quarrel in no stage of it hath afforded any such ground; and either we or Britain are absolutely right or abso­lutely wrong through the whole.

Britain, like a gamester nearly ruined, hath now put all her losses into one bet, and is playing a desperate game for the total. If she win it, she wins from me MY life; she wins the Continent as the forfeited property of rebels; the right of tax­ing [Page 65] those that are left as reduced subjects; and the power of binding them as slaves: And the single die which determines this unparalleled event is, whether we support our independence or she overturn it. This is coming to the point at once. Here is the touch-stone to try men by. He that is not a sup­porter of the independent states of America; in the same degree that his religious and political principles would suffer him to support the government of any other country, of which he called himself a subject, is, in the American sense of the word, A TORY; and theinstant that he endeavors to bring his toryism into practice, he becomes A TRAITOR. The first man can only be detected by a general test, and the law hath already provided for the latter.

It is unnatural and impolitic to admit men who would root up our independence to have any share in our legislation, either as electors or representa­tives; because the support of our independence rests in a great measure on the vigour and purity of our public bodies. Would Britain, even in time of peace, much less in war, suffer an election to be carried by men who professed themselves not to be her subjects, or allow such to sit in parliament? Cer­tainly not.

But there are a certain species of tories with whom conscience or principle hath nothing to do, and who are so from avarice only. Some of the first fortunes in the continent, on the part of the [Page 66] whigs, are staked on the issue of our present mea­sures. And shall disaffection only be rewarded with security? Can any thing be a greater inducement to a miserly man, than the hope of making his mammon safe? And though the scheme be fraught with every character of folly, yet, so long as he supposes, that by doing nothing materially crimi­nal against America on one part, and by expressing his private disapprobation against independence, as a palliative with the enemy on the other part, he stands thereby in a safe line between both, while, I say, this ground be suffered to remain, craft and the spirit of avarice will point it out, and men will not be wanting to fill up this most contemptible of all characters.

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

In the second number of the Crisis I endeavoured to shew the impossibility of the enemy making any [Page 67] conquest of America that nothing was wanting on our part but patience and perseverance, and that, with these virtues, our success, as far as human spe­culation could discern, seemed as certain as fate. But as there are many among us, who, influenced by others, have regularly gone back from the prin­ciples they once held, in proportion as we have gone forward; and as it is the unfortunate lot of many a good man to live within the neighbourhood of dis­affected ones; I shall therefore, for the sake of confirming the one and recovering the other, en­deavour, in the space of a page or two, to go over some of the leading principles in support of inde­pendence. It is a much pleasanter task to pre­vent vice than to punish it; and however our tem­pers may be gratified by resentment, or our nati­onal expences eased by forfeited estates, harmony and friendship is nevertheless the happiest condition a country can be blest with.

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

  • First,—The natural right of the continent to independence.
  • Secondly,—Her interest in being independent.
  • Thirdly—The necessity,—and
  • Fourthly,—The moral advantages arising therefrom.

[Page 68] I. The natural right of the continent to indepen­dence, is a point which never yet was called in question. It will not even admit of a debate. To deny such a right, would be a kind of atheism against nature: And the best answer to fuch an ob­jection would be, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."

II. The interest of the continent in being inde­pendent is a point as clearly right as the former. America, by her own internal industty, and un­known to all the powers of Europe, was at the be­ginning of the dispute, arrived at a pitch of great­ness, trade and population, beyond which it was the interest of Britain not to suffer her to pass, lest she should grow too powerful to be kept subordinate. She began to view this country with the same un­easy malicious eye, with which a covetous guardian would view his ward whose estate he had been en­riching himself by for twenty years, and saw him just arriving to manhood. And America owes no more to Britain for her present maturity, than the ward would to his guardian for being twenty-one years of age. That America hath flourished at the time she was under the government of Britain, is true; but there is every natural reason to believe, that had she been an independent country from the first settlement thereof, uncontrouled by any foreign power, free to make her own laws, regulate and encourage her own commerce, she had by his [Page 69] time been of much greater worth than now. The case is simply this, The first settlers in the different colonies were left to shift for themselves, unnoticed and unsupported by any European government; but as the tyranny and persecution of the old world daily drove numbers to the new, and, as by the fa­vor of Heaven on their industry and perseverance, they grew into importance, so, in a like degree, they became an object of profit to the greedy eyes of Europe. It was impossible in this state of in­fancy, however thriving and promising, that they could resist the power of any armed invader that should seek to bring them under his authority. In this situation Britain thought it worth her while to claim them, and the continent received and ac­knowledged the claimer. It was, in reality, of no very great importance who was her master, seeing that from the force and ambition of the different powers of Europe she must, till she acquired strength enough to assert her own right, acknow­ledge some one. As well, perhaps, Britain as ano­ther; and it might have been as well to have been under the states of Holland as any. The same hopes of engrossing and profiting by her trade, by not oppressing it too much, would have operated alike with any master, and produced to the colo­nies the same effects. The clamour of protection likewise, was all a farce; because, in order to make that protection necessary, she must first, by her own [Page 70] quarrels create us enemies. Hard terms indeed!

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

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

The freedom of trade, likewise, is, to a trading [Page 71] country, an article of such vast importance, that the principal source of wealth depends upon it; and it is impossible that any country can flourish, as it otherwise might do, whose commerce is engrossed cramped and fettered by the laws and mandates of another—yet these evils, and more than I can here enumerate, the continent has suffered by being un­der the government of Great Britain. By an inde­pendence we clear the whole at once—put an end to the business of unanswered petitions and fruitless remonstrances—exchange Britain for Europe— shake hands with the world—live at peace with mankind—and trade to any market where we best can buy and sell.

III. The necessity, likewise, of being independ­ent, even before it was declared, became so evident and important, that the continent ran the risk of be­ing ruined every day she delayed it. There were reasons to believe that Britain would endeavour to make an European matter of it, and rather than lose the whole, would dismember it like Poland, and dispose of her several claims to the highest bidder. Genoa, failing in her attempts to reduce Corsica, made a sale of it to the French, and such traffics have been common in the old world. We had at that time no Ambassador in any part of Europe, to counteract her negociations, and by that means she had the range of every foreign court uncontradicted on our part. We even knew nothing of the treaty [Page 72] for the Hessians till it was concluded, and the troops ready to embark. Had we been independent be­fore, we had probably prevented her obtaining them. We had no credit abroad, because of our rebellious dependency. Our ships could claim no protection in foreign ports, because we afforded them no justi­fiable reason for granting it to us. The calling ourselves subjects, and at the same time fighting against the power we acknowledged, was a danger­ous precedent to all Europe. If the grievances justified our taking up arms, they justified our se­paration; if they did not justify our separation, neither could they justify our taking up arms. All Europe was interested in reducing us as rebels, and all Europe (or the greatest part at least) is interested in supporting us as independent states. At home our condition was still worse: Our currency had no foundation. and the fall of it would have ruined whig and tory alike. We had no other law than a kind of moderated passion; no other civil power than an honest mob; and no other protection than the temporary attachment of one man to another. Had independence been delayed a few months lon­ger, this continent would have been plunged into irrecoverable confusion: Some violent for it, some against it, till in the general cabal the rich would have been ruined, and the poor destroyed. It is to independence that every tory owes the present safety he lives in; for by that, and that only, we [Page 73] emerged from a state of dangerous suspense, and became a regular people.

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

IV. But, what weigh most with all men of se­rious reflection are the MORAL ADVANTA­GES arising from independence: War and desola­tion are become the trades of the old world; and America neither could nor can be under the go­vernment of Britain without becoming a sharer of her guilt, and a partner in all the dismal commerce of death. The spirit of duelling, extended on a national scale, is a proper character for European wars. They have seldom any other motive than pride, or any other object than fame. The con­querors and the conquered are generally ruined alike, and the chief difference at last is, that the one marches home with his honours, and the other without them. 'Tis the natural temper of the [Page 74] English to fight for a feather, if they suppose that feather to be an affront; and America, without the right of asking why, must have abetted in every quarrel and abided by its fate. It is a shocking situation to live in, that one country must be brought into all the wars of another, whether the measure be right or wrong, or whether she will or not; yet this, in the fullest extent, was, and ever would be, the unavoidable consequence of the connection. Surely! the Quakers forgot their own principles, when in their late testimony they called this connection with these military and miserable appendages hanging to it, "The happy constitution."

Britain, for centuries past has been nearly fifty years out of every hundred at war with some power or other. It certainly ought to be a conscientious as well as political consideration with America, not to dip her hands in the bloody work of Europe. Our situation affords us a retreat from their cabals, and the present happy union of the states bids fair for extirpating the future use of arms from one quarter of the world; yet such have been the irre­ligious politics of the present leaders of the Quakers, that, for the sake of they scarce knew what, they would cut off every hope of such a blessing by ty­ing this continent to Britain, like Hector to the chariot-wheel of Achilles, to be dragged through all the miseries of endless European wars.

[Page 75] The connection, viewed from this ground, is dis­tressing to every man who has the feelings of hu­manity. By having Britain for our master, we be­came enemies to the greatest part of Europe, and they to us; and the consequence was war inevitable. By being our own masters, independent of any fo­reign one, we have Europe for our friends, and the prospect of an endless peace among ourselves. Those who were advocates for the British govern­ment over these colonies, were obliged to limit both their arguments and their ideas to the period of an European peace only: The moment Britain be­came plunged in war, every supposed convenience to us vanished away, and all we could hope for was not to be ruined. Could this be a desirable condi­tion for a young country to be in?

Had the French pursued their fortune immedi­ately after the defeat of Braddock, last war this city and province had then experienced the woeful ca­lamities of being a British subject. A scene of the same kind might happen again; for America, con­sidered as a subject to the crown of Britain, would ever have been the seat of war and the bone of con­tention between the two powers.

On the whole, if the future expulsion of arms from one quarter of the world be a desirable object to a peaceable man;—if the freedom of trade to every part of it can engage the attention of a man of business;—if the support or fall of millions of [Page 76] currency can affect our interest;—if the entire pos­session of estates, by cutting off the lordly claims of Britain over the soil, deserves the regard of landed property;—and if the right of making our own laws, uncontrouled by royal or ministerial spies or man­dates, be worthy our care as freemen;—then are all men interested in the support of independence; and may he that supports it not, be driven from the blessing, and live unpitied beneath the servile suf­ferings of scandalous subjection!

We have been amused with the tales of ancient wonders; we have read, and wept over, the his­tories of other nations; applauded, censured or pi­tied, as their cases affected us.—The fortitude and patience of the sufferers—the justness of their cause —the weight of their oppressions and oppressors— the object to be saved or lost—with all the conse­quences of a defeat or a conquest—have, in the hour of sympathy, bewitched our hearts and chained it to their fate: But where is the power that ever made war upon petitioners? Or where is the war on which a world was staked till now?

We may not, perhaps, be wise enough to make all the advantages we ought of our independence; but they are, nevertheless, marked and presented to us with every character of GREAT and GOOD and worthy the hand of Him who sent them. I look through the present trouble to a time of tran­quility, when we shall have it in our power to set [Page 77] an example of peace to all the world. Were the Quakers really impressed and influenced by the quiet principles they profess to hold, they would, how­ever they might disapprove the means, be the first of all men to approve of INDEPENDENCE, because, by separating from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, it affords an opportunity, never given to man before, of carrying their favourite principle of peace into general practice, by establishing go­vernments that shall hereafter exist without wars. Oh ye fallen, cringing priest and Pemberton-rid­den people! what more can we say of ye than that a religious Quaker is a valuable character, and a political Quaker a real Jesuit.

Having thus gone over some of the principal points in support of independence, I must now re­quest the reader to return back with me to the pe­riod when it first began to be a public doctrine, and to examine the progress it has made among the various classes of men. The aera I mean to begin at, is the breaking out of hostilities, April 19th, 1775. Until this event happened, the continent seemed to view the dispute as a kind of law-suit for a matter of right, litigating between the old coun­try and the new; and she felt the same kind and degree of horror, as if she had seen an oppressive plantiff, at the head of a band of ruffians, enter the court, while the cause was before it, and put the judge, the jury, the defendant and his council to the [Page 78] sword. Perhaps a more heart-felt convulsion ne­ver reached a country with the same degree of pow­er and rapidity before, and never may again. Pi­ty for the sufferers, mixed with indignation at the violence, and heightened with apprehensions of un­dergoing the same fate, made the affair of Lex­ington the affair of the continent. Every part of it felt the shock and all vibrated together. A gener­al promotion of sentiment took place: Those who had drank deeply into whiggish principles, that is, the right and necessity not only of opposing, but wholly setting aside the power of the crown as soon as it became practically dangerous (for in theory it was always so) stept into the first stage of indepen­dence; while another class of whigs, equally sound in principle, but not so sanguine in enterprize, at­tached themselves the stronger to the cause and fell close in with the rear of the former; their partition was a mere point. Numbers of the moderate men whose chief fault, at that time, arose from their en­tertaining a better opinion of Britain than she de­served, convinced now of their mistake, gave her up and publicly declared themselves good whigs. While the tories, seeing it was no longer a laughing matter, either sunk into silent obscurity, or con­tented themselves with coming forth and abusing General Gage: Not a single advocate appeared to justify the action of that day; it seemed to appear to every one with the same magnitude, struck every [Page 79] one with the same force, and created in every one the same abhorrence. From this period we may date the growth of independence.

If the many circumstances, which happened at this memorable time, be taken in one view, and compared with each other, they will justify a con­clusion which seems not to be attended to, I mean a fixt design in the king and ministry of driving America into arms, in order that they might be furnished with a pretence for seizing the whole con­tinent, as the immediate property of the crown. A noble plunder for hungry courtiers!

It ought to be remembered, that the first peti­tion from the congress was at this time unanswered on the part of the British king. That the motion called Lord North's motion, of the 20th of Fe­bruary, 1775, arrived in America the latter end of March. This motion was to be laid by the several governors, then in being, before the assembly of each province; and the first assembly before which it was laid, was the assembly of Pennsylvania in May following. This being a just state of the case, I then ask, why were hostilities commenced be­tween the time of passing the resolve in the house of commons, of the 20th of February, and the time of the assemblies meeting to deliberate upon it? Degrading and infamous as that motion was, there is, nevertheless, reason to believe that the king and his adherents were afraid the colonies would [Page 80] agree to it, and lest they should, took effectual care they should not, by provoking them with hostilities in the interim. They had not the least doubt at that time of conquering America at one blow; and what they expected to get by a conquest being infinitely greater than any thing they could hope to get either by taxation or accommodation, they seemed determined to prevent even the possibility of hearing each other, lest America should disad­point their greedy hopes of the whole, by listening even to their own terms. On the one hand they refufed to hear the petition of the continent, and on the other hand took effectual care the continent should not hear them.

That the motion of the 20th of February and the orders for commencing hostilities were both con­certed by the same person or persons, and not the latter by General Gage, as was falsely imagined at first, is evident from an extract of a letter of his to administration, read among other papers in the house of commons; in which he informs his masters, That though their idea of his disarming certain coun­ties was a right one, yet it required him to be master of the country, in order to enable him to execute it. This was prior to the commencement of hostilities and consequently before the motion of the 20th of February could be deliberated on by the several assemblies.

[Page 81] Perhaps it may be asked, why was the motion past, if there was at the same time a plan to aggra­vate the Americans not to listen to it? Lord North assigned one reason himself, which was, a hope of dividing them. This was publicly tempting them to reject it; that if, in case, the injury of arms should fail of provoking them sufficiently, the in­sult of such a declaration might fill it up. But by passing the motion and getting it afterwards rejected in America, it enabled them, in their wretched idea of politics, among other things, to hold up the colonies to foreign powers with every possible mark of disobedience and rebellion. They had applied to those powers not to supply the continent with arms, ammunition, &c. and it was necessary they should incense them against us by assigning on their own part some seeming reputable reason why. By dividing, it had a tendency to weaken the states, and likewise to perplex the adherents of America in England. But the principal scheme, and that which has marked their character in every part of their conduct, was a design of precipitating the colonies into a state which they might after­wards deem rebellion, and under that pretence put an end to all future complaints, petitions or re­monstrances, by seizing the whole at once. They had ravaged one part of the globe, till it could glut them no longer; their prodigality required new plunder, and through the East-India article TEA, [Page 82] they hoped to transfer their rapine from that quar­ter of the world to this.—Every designed quarrel has its pretence; and the same barbarian avarice accompanied the plant to America, which ruined the country which produced it.

That men never turn rogues without turning fools, is a maxim, sooner or later, universally true. The commencement of hostilities, being in the be­ginning of April, was, of all times the worst cho­sen: The congress were to meet the tenth of May following, and the distress the continent felt at this unparalleled outrage gave a stability to that body, which no other circumstance could have done. It suppressed too, all inferior debates, and bound them together by a necessitous affection, without giving them time to differ upon trifles. The suffering likewise, softened the whole body of the people in­to a degree of pliability, which laid the principal foundation-stone of union, order and government; and which, at any other time, might only have fretted and then faded away unnoticed and unim­proved: But providence, who best knows how to time her misfortunes as well as her immediate favors, chose this to be the time. And who dares dis­pute it?

It did not seem the disposition of the people at this crisis to heap petition upon petition, while the former remained unanswered: The measure, how­ever, was carried in congress, and a second petition [Page 83] was sent; of which I shall only remark, that it was submissive even to a dangerous fault, because the prayer of it appealed solely to, what it called, the prerogative of the crown, while the matter in dis­pute was confessed to be constitutional. But even this petition, flattering as it was, was still not so harmonious as the chink of cash, and consequently not sufficiently grateful to the tyrant and his minis­try. From every circumstance it is evident, that it was the determination of the British court to have nothing to do with America but to conquer it fully and absolutely. They were certain of success, and the field of battle was to be the only place of treaty. I am confident there are thousands and tens of thou­sands in America who wonder now they should ever think otherwise; but the sin of that day was the sin of civility, yet it operated against our pre­sent good in the same manner that a civil opinion of the devil would against our future peace.

Independence was a doctrine scarce and rare even towards the conclusion of the year seventy-five: All our politics had been founded on the hope or expectation of making the matter up—a hope, which, though general on the side of America, had never entered the head or heart of the British court. Their hope was conquest and confiscation. Good Heavens! what volumes of thanks does America owe to Britain! What infinite obligations to the [Page 84] tool, that fills, with paradoxical vacancy, the throne! Nothing but the sharpest effence of vil­lainy, compounded with the strongest distillation of folly, could have produced a menstruum that would have effected a separation. The congress in seventy-four administered an abortive medicine to independence, by prohibiting the importation of goods, and the succeeding congress rendered the dose still more dangerous by continuing it. Had independence been a settled system with America (as Britain has advanced) she ought to have dou­bled her importation, and prohibited in some degree her exportation. And this single circumstance is sufficient to acquit America, before any jury of na­tions, of having a continental plan of independence in view: A charge, which had it been true, would have been honourable, but is so grossly false, that either the amazing ignorance, or the wilful dishon­esty of the British court, is effectually proved by it.

The second petition, like the first, produced no answer: it was scarcely acknowledged to be recei­ved; the British court were too determined in their villany even to act it artfully, and in their rage for conquest, neglected the necessary subtilties for ob­taining it. They might have divided, distracted, and played a thousand tricks with us, had they been as cunning as they were cruel.

[Page 85] This last indignity gave a new spring to indepen­dence. Those who knew the savage obstinacy of the king and the jobbing gambling spirit of the court predicted the fate of the petition, as soon as it was sent from America; for the men being known, their measures were easily foreseen. As politicians, we ought not so much to ground our hope on the rea­sonableness of the thing we ask, as on the reason­ableness of the person of whom we ask it; Who would expect discretion from a fool, candor from a tyrant, or justice from a villain?

As every prospect of accommodation seemed now to fail fast, men began to think seriously on the matter; and their reason being thus stript of the false hope which had long encompassed it, became approachable by fair debate; yet still the bulk of the people hesitated; they startled at the novelty of independence, without once considering that our getting into arms at first was a more extraordinary novelty, and that all other nations had gone through the work of independence before us. They doubted, likewise, the ability of the continent to support it, without reflecting, that it required the same force to obtain an accommodation by arms as an inde­pendence. If the one was acquirable, the other was the same; because to accomplish either, it was ne­cessary that our strength should be too great for Britain to subdue; and it was too unreasonable to suppose, that with the power of being masters, we [Page 86] should submit to be servants*. Their caution at this time, was exceedingly misplaced; for if they were able to defend their property and maintain their rights by arms, they consequently were able to de­fend and support their independence; and in pro­portion as these men saw the necessity and righteness of the measure, they honestly and openly declared and adopted it, and the part they have acted since, has done them honour, and fully established their characters. Error in opinion has this peculiar ad­vantage with it, that the foremost point of the con­trary ground may at any time be reached by the [Page 87] sudden exertion of a thought; and it frequently happens in sentimental differences that some striking circumstance, or some forcible reason, quickly conceived, will effect in an instant what neither ar­gument nor example could produce in an age.

I find it impossible in the small compass I am limited to, to trace out the progress which inde­pendence has made on the minds of the different classes of men, and the several reasons by which they were moved. With some, it was a passionate abhorrence against the king of England and his mi­nistry, as a set of savages and brutes; and these men governed by the agony of a wounded mind, were for trusting every thing to hope and heaven, and bidding defiance at once. With others, it was a growing conviction that the scheme of the British court was to create, ferment and drive on a quar­rel for the sake of confiscated plunder: Men of this cast ripened into independence in proportion as the evidence increased. While a third class concei­ved it was the true interest of America, internally and externally, to be her own master, gave their support to independence, step by step, as they saw her abilities to maintain it enlarge. With many, it was a compound of all these reasons; while those who were too callous to be reached by either, re­mained, and still remain tories.

The legal necessity of being independent, with several collateral reasons, is pointed out in an ele­gant, [Page 88] masterly manner, in a charge to the grand jury for the district of Charlestown, by the Hon. William Henry Drayton, Esq. chief justice of South-Carolina. This performance, and the ad­dress of the convention of New-York, are pieces, in my humble opinion, of the first rank in Ame­rica.

The principal causes why independence has not been so universally supported as it ought, are fear and indolence, and the causes why it has been op­posed, are, avarice, downright villainy, and lust of personal power. There is not such a being in Ame­rica, as a tory from conscience; some secret defect or other is interwoven in the character of all those, be they men or women, who can look with pa­tience on the brutality, luxury and debauchery of the British court, and the violations of their army here. A woman's virtue must sit very lightly on her, who can even hint a favourable sentiment in their behalf. It is remarkable that the whole race of prostitutes in New-York were tories; and the schemes for supporting the tory cause, in this city, for which several are now in gaol, and one hanged were concerted and carried on in common baudy­houses, assisted by those who kept them.

The connection between vice and meanness is a fit object for satire, but when the satire is a fact, it cuts with the irresistible power of a diamond. If a Quaker, in defence of his just rights, his property, [Page 89] and the chastity of his house, takes up a musket, he is expelled the meeting; but the present king of England, who seduced and took into keeping a sister of their society, is reverenced and supported with repeated testimonies, while the friendly noo­dle from whom she was taken (and who is now in this city) continues a drudge in the service of his ri­vals, as if proud of being cuckolded by a creature called a king.

Our support and success depend on such a varie­ty of men and circumstances, that every one, who does but wish well, is of some use: There are men who have a strange auk wardness to arms, yet have hearts to risk every shilling in the cause, or in sup­port of those who have better talents for defending it. Nature in the arrangement of mankind, has fitted some for every service in life: Were all sol­diers, all would starve and go naked, and were none soldiers, all would be slaves. As disaffection to independence is the badge of a tory, so affection to it is the mark of a whig; and the different ser­vices of the whigs down from those who nobly con­tribute every thing, to those who have nothing to render but their wishes, tend all to the same centre, though with different degrees of merit and ability. The larger we make the circle, the more we shall harmonize, and the stronger we shall be. All we want to shut out, is disaffection, and, that excluded, we must accept from each other such duties as we [Page 90] are best fitted to bestow. A narrow system of po­litics, like a narrow system of religion is calculated only to sour the temper, and live at variance with mankind.

All we want to know in America is simply this, who is for independence, and who is not? Those who are for it will support it, and the remainder will undoubtedly see the reasonableness of their pay­ing the charges; while those who oppose or seek to betray it must expect the more rigid fate of the gaol and the gibbet. There is a bastard kind of generosity, which, by being extended to all men, is as fatal to society, on one hand, as the want of true generosity is on the other. A lax manner of administering justice, falsely termed moderation, has a tendency both to dispirit public virtue, and promote the growth of public evils. Had the late committee of safety taken cognizance of the last tes­timony of the Quakers, and proceeded against such delinquents as were concerned therein, they had, probably prevented the treasonable plans which have been concerted since. When one villain is suffered to escape, it encourages another to proceed, either from a hope of escaping likewise, or an apprehen­sion that we dare not punish. It has been a matter of general surprise, that no notice was taken of the incendiary publication of the Quakers, of the 20th of November last; a publication evidently intended to promote sedition and treason, and encourage the [Page 91] enemy, who were then within a day's march of this city, to proceed on and possess it. I here present the reader with a memorial, which was laid before the board of safety a few days after the testimony appeared. Not a member of that board, that I conversed with, but expressed the highest detesta­tion of the perverted principles and conduct of the Quaker junto, and that the board would take the matter up; notwithstanding which, it was suffered to pass away unnoticed, to the encouragement of new acts of treason, the general danger of the cause, and the disgrace of the state.

To the honourable the council of safety of the state of Pennsylvania.

At a meeting of a reputable number of the inhabi­tants of the city of Philadelphia, impressed with a proper sense of the justice of the cause which this continent is engaged in, and animated with a generous fervor for supporting the same, it was resolved, that the following be laid before the board of safety:

"We profess liberality of sentiment to all men; with this distinction only, that those who do not de­serve it, would become wise and seek to deserve it. We hold the pure doctrine of universal liberty of conscience, and conceive it our duty to endeavour [Page 92] to secure that sacred right to others, as well as to defend it for ourselves; for we undertake not to judge of the religious rectitude of tenets, but leave the whole matter to Him who made us.

"We persecute no man, neither will we abet in the persecution of any man for religion sake; our common relation to others, being that of fellow citizens and fellow-subjects of one civil community; and in this line of connection we hold out the right hand of fellowship to all men. But we should con­ceive ourselves to be unworthy members of the FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA, were we unconcernedly to see or suffer any treasonable wound, public or private, directly or indirectly, to be given against the peace and safety of the same. We enquire not into the rank of the of­fenders, nor their religious persuasion; we have no business with either, our part being only to find them out, and exhibit them to justice.

"A printed paper, dated the 20th of November, and signed "John Pemberton," whom we suppose to be an inhabitant of this city, has lately been dis­persed abroad, a copy of which accompanies this. Had the framers and publishers of that paper con­ceived it their duty, to exhort the youth, and others, of their society, to a patient submission under the present trying visitations, and humbly to wait the event of heaven towards them, they had therein shewn a Christian temper, and we had been silent; [Page 93] but the anger and political virulence with which their instructions are given, and the abuse with which they stigmatize all ranks of men, not think­ing like themselves, leave no doubt on our minds from what spirit their publication proceeded: And it is disgraceful to the pure cause of truth, that men can dally with words of the most sacred import, and play them as mechanically off, as if religion con­sisted only in contrivance. We know of no instance in which the Quakers have been compelled to bear arms, or do any thing which might strain their conscience; wherefore their advice, "to withstand and refuse to admit to the arbitrary instructions and ordinances of men," appear to us a false alarm, and could only be treasonably calculated to gain fa­vour with our enemies, when they were seemingly on the brink of invading this state, or what is still worse, to weaken the hands of our defence, that their entrance into this city might be made practi­cal and easy.

"We disclaim all tumult and disorder in the punishment of offenders; and wish to be governed not by temper but by reason, in the manner of treat­ing them. We are sensible that our cause has suf­fered by the two following errors; first, by ill­judged lenity to traiterous persons in some cases; and secondly, by only a passionate treatment of them in others. For the future we disown both, [Page 94] and wish to be steady in our proceedings, and serious in our punishments.

"Every state in America has by the repeated voice of its inhabitants, directed and authorized the continental congress to publish a formal declaration of independence of, and separation from, the op­pressive king and parliament of great Britain; and we look on every man an enemy who does not in some line or other give his assistance towards sup­porting the same; at the same time we consider the offence to be heightened to a degree of unpar­donable guilt, when such persons, under the shew of religion, endeavour, either by writing, speaking, or otherwise, to subvert, overturn, or bring re­proach upon the independence of this continent, as declared by congress.

"The publishers of the paper, signed "John Pemberton," have called in a loud and passionate manner on their friends and connections, "to with­stand and refuse" obedience to whatever "instruc­tions or ordinances" may be published, not war­ranted by (what they call) "that happy con­stitution under which they and others long enjoyed tranquillity and peace." If this be not treason, we know, not what may properly be called by that name.

"To us it is a matter of surprise and astonish­ment, that men with the word "peace, peace" continually on their lips, should be so fond of living [Page 95] under, and supporting a government, and at the same time calling it "happy," which is never bet­ter pleased than when at war—that hath filled In­dia with carnage and famine—Africa with slavery— and tampered with Indians and Negroes to cut the throats of the freemen of America. We conceive it a disgrace to this state, to harbour or wink at such palpable hypocrisy. But as we seek not to hurt the hair of any man's head, when we can make our­selves safe without, we wish such persons to restore peace to themselves and us, by removing themselves to some part of the king of Great Britain's domi­nions, as by that means they may live unmolested by us, or we by them; for our fixed opinion is, that those who do not deserve a place among us, ought not to have one.

"We conclude, with requesting the council of safety to take into their consideration the paper signed "John Pemberton; and if it shall appear to them to be of a dangerous tendency, or of a trea­sonable nature, that they would commit the signer, together with such other persons as they can disco­ver were concerned therein, into custody, until such time as some mode of trial shall ascertain the full degree of their guilt and punishment; in the doing of which, we wish their judges, whoever they may be, to disregard the man, his connections, interest, riches, poverty, or principles of religion, and to attend to the nature of his offence only."

[Page 96] THE most cavilling sectarian cannot accuse the foregoing with containing the least ingredient of persecution. The free spirit on which the Ameri­can cause is founded, disdains to mix with such an impurity, and leave it a rubbish fit only for narrow and suspicious minds to grovel in: Suspicion and persecution are weeds of the same dunghill, and flourish best together. Had the Quakers minded their religion and their business, they might have lived through this dispute in enviable ease, and none would have molested them. The common phrase with these people is, "Our principles are peace." To which may be replied, and your prac­tices are the reverse; for never did the conduct of men oppose their own doctrine more notoriously than the present race of the Quakers. They have artfully changed themselves into a different sort of people to what they used to be, and yet have the address to persuade each other they are not altered; like antiquated virgins they see not the havoc de­formity hath made upon them, but pleasantly mis­taking wrinkles for dimples, conceit themselves yet lovely, and wonder at the stupid world for not ad­miring them.

Did no injury arise to the public by this apostacy of the Quakers from themselves, the public would have nothing to do with it: but as both the design and consequences are pointed against a cause in which the whole community are interested, it is [Page 97] therefore no longer a subject confined to the cogni­zance of the meeting only, but comes as a matter of criminality before either the authority of the parti­cular state in which it is acted, or of the continent against which it operates. Every attempt now to support the authority of the king and parliament of Great Britain over America, is treason against every state; therefore it is impossible that any one can pardon or screen from punishment, an offender against all.

But to proceed: While the infatuated tories of this and other states were last spring talking of com­missioners, accommodation, making the matter up, and the Lord knows what stuff and nonsense, their good king and ministry were glutting themselves with the revenge of reducing America to uncondi­tional submission, and solacing each other with the certainty of conquering it in one campaign. The following quotations are from the parliamentary re­gister of the debates of the house of lords, March 5th, 1776.

"The Americans," says Lord Talbot * "have been obstinate, undutiful and ungovernable from the very beginning, from their first early and infant settlements; and I am every day more and more convinced that this people will never be brought back to their duty, and the subordinate relation they [Page 98] stand in to this country, till reduced to an uncondi­tional effectual submission; no concession on our part, no lenity, no endurance, will have any other effect but that of increasing their insolence."

"The struggle," says Lord Townsend "is now a struggle for power; the die is cast, and the ONLY POINT which now remains to be determined, is, in what manner the war can be most effectually prosecuted and speedily finished, in order to pro­cure that unconditional submission, which has been so able stated by the noble Earl with the white staff (meaning lord Talbot); and I have no reason to doubt that the measures now pursuing will put an end to the war in the course of a SINGLE CAM­PAIGN. Should it linger longer, we shall then have reason to expect that some foreign power will interfere, and take advantage of our domestic trou­bles and civil distractions."

Lord Littleton. "My sentiments are pretty well known. I shall only observe now, that le­nient measures have had no other effect than to produce insult after insult; that the more we con­ceded, the higher America rose in her demands, and the more insolent she has grown. It is for this reason that I am now for the most effective and decisive measures; and am of opinion, that no al­ternative [Page 99] is left us, but to relinquish America for ever, or finally determine to compel her to ac­knowledge the legislative authority of this country; and it is the principle of an unconditional submission I would be for maintaining."

Can words be more expressive than these. Surely the tories will believe the tory lords! The truth is, they do believe them, and know as fully as any whig on the continent knows, that the king and ministry never had the least design of an accommo­dation with America, but an absolute unconditional conquest. And the part which the tories were to act, was, by downright lying, to endeavour to put the continent off its guard, and to divide and sow discontent in the minds of such whigs as they might gain an influence over. In short, to keep up a distraction here, that the force sent from England might be able to conquer in "one campaign." They and the ministry were, by a dsifferent game, playing into each others hands. The cry of the tories in England was, "No reconciliation, no ac­commodation," in order to obtain the greater military force; while those in America were crying nothing but "reconciliation and accommodation," that the force sent might conquer with the less resistance.

But this "single campaign" is over, and America not conquered. The whole work is yet to do, and the force much less to do it with. Their condition [Page 100] is both despicable and deplorable: Out of cash—out of heart, and out of hope. A country furnished with arms and ammunition, as America now is, with three millions of inhabitants, and three thou­sand miles distant from the nearest enemy that can approach her, is able to look and laugh them in the face.

Howe appears to have two objects in view, either to go up the North-river, or come to Phila­delphia. By going up the North-river, he secures a retreat for his army through Canada, but the ships must return if they return at all, the same way they went; and as our army would be in the rear, the safety of their passage down is a doubtful matter. By such a motion, he shuts himself from all supplies from Europe, but through Canada, and exposes his army and navy to the danger of perishing. The idea of his cutting off the communication between the eastern and southern states, by means of the North-river, is merely visionary. He cannot do it by his shipping; because no ship can lay long at anchor in any river within reach of the shore; a single gun would drive a first rate from such a sta­tion. This was fully proved last October, at fort Washington and Lee, where one gun only, on each side the river, obliged two frigates to cut and be towed off in an hour's time. Neither can he cut it off by his army; because the several posts they [Page 101] must occupy, would divide them almost to nothing, and expose them to be picked up by ours like peb­bles on a river's bank; but admitting he could, where is the injury? Because while his whole force is cantoned out, as centries over the water, they will be very innocently employed, and the moment they march into the country, the commu­nication opens.

The most probable object is Philadelphia, and the reasons are many. Howe's business in Ame­rica is to conquer it, and in proportion as he finds himself unable to the task, he will employ his strength to distress women and weak minds, in or­der to accomplish through their fears, what he cannot effect by his own force. His coming, or attempting to come to Philadelphia, is a circum­stance that proves his weakness: For no general, that felt himself able to take the field and attack his antagonist, would think of bringing his army into a city in the summer time; and this mere shifting the scene from place to place, without effecting any thing, has feebleness and cowardice on the face of it, and holds him up in a contemptible light to any one who can reason justly and firmly. By several informations from New York, it appears that their army in general, both officers and men, have given up the expectation of conquering America; their eye now is fixt upon the spoil. They suppose Phi­ladelphia [Page 102] to be rich with stores, and as they think to get more by robbing a town, than by attacking an army, their movement towards this city is pro­bable We are not now contending against an army of soldiers, but against a band of thieves, who had rather plunder than fight, and have no other hope of conquest than by cruelty.

They expect to get a mighty booty and strike another general panic by making a sudden move­ment and getting possession of this city, but un­less they can march out as well as in, or get the entire command of the river, to remove off their plunder, they may probably be stopt with the stolen goods upon them. They have never yet suc­ceeded wherever they have been opposed but at fort Washington. At Charleston their defeat was effectual. At Ticonderoga they ran away. In every skirmish at Kingsbridge and the White-Plains they were obliged to retreat, and the instant our arms were turned upon them in the Jerseys, they turned likewise, and those that turned not were taken.

The necessity of always fitting our internal police to the circumstances of the times we live in, is something so strikingly obvious, that no sufficient objection can be made against it. The safety of all societies depend upon it; and where this point is not attended to, the consequences will either be a [Page 103] general languor or a tumult. The encourage­ment and protection of the good subjects of any state, and the suppression and punishment of bad ones, are the principal objects for which all au­thority is instituted, and the line in which it ought to operate. We have in this city a strange variety of men and characters, and the circumstances of the times require they should be publicly known; it is not the number of tories that hurt us, so much as the not finding out who they are; men must now take one side or the other, and abide by the consequences: The quakers, trusting to their short­sighted sagacity, have, most unluckily for them, made their declaration in their last testimony, and we ought now to take them at their word. They have voluntarily read themselves out of the con­tinental meeting, and cannot hope to be restored to it again, but by payment and penitence. Men whose political principles are founded on avarice, are beyond the reach of reason, and the only cure of toryism of this cast, is to tax it. A substantial good drawn from a real evil, is of the same benefit to society, as if drawn from a virtue; and where men have not public spirit to render themselves ser­viceable, it ought to be the study of government to draw the best use possible from their vices. When the governing passion of any man or set of men is once known, the method of managing them is [Page 104] easy; for even misers, whom no public virtue can impress, would become generous, could a heavy tax be laid upon covetousness.

The tories have endeavoured to insure their pro­perty with the enemy, by forfeiting their reputa­tion with us; from which may be justly inferred, that their governing passion is avarice. Make them as much afraid of losing on one side as the other, and you stagger their toryism; make them more so, and you reclaim them; for their principle is to worship any power they are most afraid of.

This method of considering men and things toge­ther, opens into a large field for speculation, and affords me opportunity of offering some observa­tions on the state of our currency, so as to make the support of it go hand in hand with the suppression of disaffection, and the encouragement of public spirit.

The thing which first presents itself in inspecting the state of the currency is, that we have too much of it, and that there is a necessity of reducing the quantity, in order to increase the value. Men are daily growing poor by the very means they take to get rich, for in the same proportion that the prices of all goods on hand are raised, the value of all mo­ney laid by, is reduced. A simple case will make this clear: Let a man have one hundred pounds cash, and as many goods on hand as will to-day sell [Page 105] for 20l. but not content with the present market price, he raises them to 40, and by so doing, obli­ges others in their own defence to raise cent per cent likewise; in this case, it is evident that his hun­dred pounds laid by is reduced fifty pounds in va­lue; whereas, had the markets dropt cent per cent, his goods would have sold but for ten, but his hun­dren pounds would have risen in value to two hun­dred; because it would then purchase as many goods again, or support his family as long again as before. And strange as it may seem, he is one hundred and fifty pounds the poorer for raising his goods, to what he would have been had he lowered them; because the forty pounds his goods sold for, is by the general rise of the markets, cent per cent, ren­dered of no more value than the ten pounds would be, had the market fallen in the same proportion: and consequently the whole difference of gain or loss is on the different values of the hundred pounds laid by, viz. from fifty to two hundred. This rage for raising goods is, for several reasons, much more the fault of the tories than the whigs; and yet the tories (to their shame and confusion ought they to be told of it) are by far the most noisy and discon­tented. The greatest part of the whigs, by being now either in the army, or employed in some pub­lic service, are buyers only, and not sellers; and as [Page 106] this evil has its origin in trade, it cannot be charged on those who are out of it.

But the grievance is now become too general to be remedied by partial methods, and the only effec­tual cure is to reduce the quantity of money; with half the quantity we should be richer than we are now, because the value of it would be doubled, and consequently our attachment to it increased; for it is not the number of dollars a man has, but how far they will go, that makes him either rich or poor.

These two points being admitted, viz. that the quantity of money is too great, and that the prices of goods can be only effectually reduced by redu­cing the quantity of the money; the next point to be considered is, the method how to reduce it?

The circumstances of the times, as before ob­served, require that the public characters of all men should now be fully understood, and the only gene­ral method of ascertaining it, is by an oath or affir­mation, renouncing all allegiance to the king of Great Britain, and to support the independency of the United States, as declared by Congress. Let, at the same time, a tax of ten, fifteen or twenty per cent per annum, to be collected quarterly, be levied on all property. These alternatives, by being per­fectly voluntary, will take in all sorts of people. Here is the test; here is the tax. He who takes the former, conscientiously proves his affection to [Page 107] the cause, and binds himself to pay his quota by the best services in his power, and is thereby justly exempt from the latter; and those who chuse the latter, pay their quota in money, to be excused from taking the former, or rather 'tis the price paid to us for their supposed, though mistaken insurance with the enemy.

But this is only a part of the advantage which would arise by knowing the different characters of men. The whigs stake every thing on the issue of their arms, while the tories, by their disaffection, are sapping and undermining their strength, and, of consequence, the property of the whigs is the more exposed thereby; and whatever injury their estates may sustain by the movements of the enemy, must either be borne by themselves, who have done every thing which has yet been done, or by the to­ries, who have not only done nothing, but have, by their disaffection, invited the enemy on.

In the present crisis, we ought to know square by square, and house by house, who are in real allegi­ance with the United Independent States, and who are not. Let but the line be made clear and dis­tinct, and all men will then know what they are to trust to. It would not only be good policy, but strict justice, to raise fifty or a hundred thousand pounds, or more, if it is necessary, out of the estates and property of the king of England's votaries, resi­dent [Page 108] in Philadelphia, to be distributed, as a reward to those inhabitants of the city and state, who should turn out and repulse the enemy, should they at­tempt their march this way; and likewise, to bind the property of all such persons to make good the damages which that of the whigs might sustain. In the undistinguishable mode of conducting a war, we frequently make reprisals at sea, on the vessels of persons in England who are friends to our cause, compared with the residentary tories among us.

In every former publication of mine, from Com­mon sense down to the last Crisis, I have generally gone on the charitable supposition, that the tories were rather a mistaken than a criminal people, and have applied argument after argument with all the candor and temper I was capable of, in order to set every part of the case clearly and fairly before them, and if possible, to reclaim them from ruin to rea­son. I have done my duty by them, and have now done with that doctrine, taking it for granted, that those who yet hold their disaffection, are either a set of avaricious miscreants, who would sacrifice the continent to save themselves, or a banditti of hungry traitors, who are hoping for a division of the spoil. To which may be added, a list of crown or proprietary dependants, who, rather than go without a portion of power, would be content to share it with the devil. Of such men there is no [Page 109] hope; and their obedience will only be according to the danger that is set before them, and the power that is exercised over them.

A time will shortly arrive, in which by ascertain­ing the characters of persons now, we shall be guarded against their mischiefs then; so in pro­portion as the enemy despair of conquest, they will be trying the arts of seduction and the force of fear, by all the mischiefs they can inflict. But in war we may be certain of these two things, viz. that cruelty in an enemy, and motions made with more than usual parade, are always signs of weak­ness. He that can conquer, finds his mind too free and pleasant to be brutish; and he that intends to conquer, never makes too much show of his strength.

We now know the enemy we have to do with. While drunk with the certainty of victory, they disdained to be civil; and in proportion as disap­pointment makes them sober, and their apprehen­sions of an European war alarm them, they will be­come cringing and artful; honest they cannot be.

But our answer to them, in either condition they may be in, is short and full, "As free and inde­pendent states, we are willing to make peace with you to-morrow, but we can neither hear nor reply in any other character."

[Page 110] If Britain cannot conquer us, it proves, that she is neither able to govern or protect us, and our par­ticular situation now is such, that any connexion with her would be unwisely exchanging a half de­feated enemy for two powerful ones. Europe, by every appearance and information, is now on the eve, nay, on the morning twilight of a war, and any alliance with George the Third, brings France and Spain upon our backs; a separation from him at­tach them to our side; therefore, the only road to peace, honour, and commerce, is INDEPEND­ENCE.

Written this fourth year of the UNION, which GOD preserve!

No. IV.
Philadelphia, Sept. 12, 1777.

THOSE who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. The event of Yesterday is one of those kind of alarms which is just sufficient to rouse us to duty, without being of consequence enough to depress our fortitude. It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the consequence will be the same.

Look back at the events of last winter and the present year; there you will find that the enemy's successes have always contributed to reduce them. What they have gained in ground, they paid so dearly for in numbers, that their victories have in the end amounted to defeats. We have always been masters at the last push, and always shall, while we do our duty. Howe has been once on the banks of the Delaware, and from thence driven back with loss and disgrace; and why not be again driven from the Schuylkill? His condition and [Page 112] ours are very different. He has every body to fight, we have only his one army to cope with, and which wastes away at every engagement; we can not only reinforce, but can redouble our num­bers; he is cut off from all supplies, and must sooner or later inevitably fall into our hands.

Shall a band of ten or twelve thousand robbers, who are this day fifteen hundred or two thousand men less in strength than they were yesterday, con­quer America, or subdue even a single state? The thing cannot be, unless we sit down and suffer them to do it. Another such a brush, notwithstanding we lost the ground, would, by still reducing the enemy, put them in a condition to be afterwards totally defeated.

Could our whole army have come up to the at­tack at one time, the consequences had probably been otherwise; but our having different parts of the Brandywine-creek to guard, and the uncertainty which road to Philadelphia the enemy would at­tempt to take, naturally afforded them an opportu­nity of passing with their main body at a place where only a part of ours could be posted; for it must strike every thinking man with conviction, that it requires a much greater force to oppose an enemy in several places, than is sufficient to defeat in any one place.

[Page 113] Men who are sincere in defending their freedom, will always feel concern at every circumstance which seems to make against them; it is the natural and honest consequence of all affectionate attach­ments, and the want of it is a vice. But the de­jection lasts only for a moment; they soon rise out of it with additional vigour; the glow of hope, courage and fortitude, will, in a little time supply the place of every inferior passion, and kindle the whole heart into heroism.

There is a mystery in the countenance of some causes, which we have not always present judg­ment enough to explain. It is distressing to see an enemy advancing into a country, but it is the only place in which we can beat them, and in which we have always beaten them, whenever they made the attempt. The nearer any disease approaches to a crisis, the nearer it is to a cure. Danger and de­liverance make their advances together, and it is only the last push, that one or the other takes the lead.

There are many men who will do their duty when it is not wanted; but a genuine public spirit always appear most, when there is most occasion for it. Thank God! our army, though fatigued, is yet entire. The attack made by us yesterday, was un­der many disadvantages, naturally arising from the uncertainty of knowing which route the enemy would take; and from that circumstance, the whole of our force could not be brought up together [Page 114] time enough to engage all at once. Our strength is yet reserved; and it is evident that Howe does not think himself a gainer by the affair, otherwise he would this morning have moved down and at­tacked General Washington.

Gentlemen of the city and country, it is in your power, by a spirited improvement of the present circumstance, to turn it to a real advantage. Howe is now weaker than before, and every shot will con­tribute to reduce him. You are more immediately interested than any other part of the continent; your all is at a stake; it is not so with the general cause; you are devoted by the enemy to plunder and destruction: It is the encouragement which Howe, the chief of plunderers, has promised his army. Thus circumstanced, you may save your­selves by a manly resistance, but you can have no hope in any other conduct. I never yet knew our brave general, or any part of the army, officers or men, out of heart, and I have seen them in circum­stances a thousand times more trying than the pre­sent. It is only those that are not in action, that feel languor and heaviness, and the best way to rub it off, is to turn out, and make sure work of it.

Our army must undoubtedly feel fatigue, and want a reinforcement of rest, though not of valour. Our own interest and happiness call upon us to give them every support in our power, and make the [Page 115] burden of the day, on which the safety of this city depends, light as possible. Remember, gentle­men, that we have forces both to the northward and southward of Philadelphia, and if the enemy be but stopt till those can arrive, this city will be saved, and the enemy finally routed. You have too much at stake to hesitate. You ought not to think an hour on the matter, but to spring to action at once. Other states have been invaded, have like­wise driven off the invaders. Now our time and turn is come, and perhaps the finishing stroke is reserved for us. When we look back on the dangers we have been saved from, and reflect on the success we have been blessed with, it would be sinful either to be idle or despair.

I close this paper with a short address to General Howe. You, sir, are only lingering out the period that shall bring with it your defeat. You have yet scarce began upon the war, and the farther you enter, the faster will your troubles thicken. What you now enjoy is only a respite from ruin; an in­vitation to destruction: something that will lead on to our deliverance at your expence. We know the cause we are engaged in, and though a passion­ate fondness for it may make us grieve at every injury that threatens it, yet, when the moment of concern is over, the determination to duty returns. We are not moved by the gloomy smile of a worth­less [Page 116] king, but by the ardent glow of generous patriotism. We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in. In such a cause, we are sure we are right; and we leave to you, the de­spairing reflection of being the tool of a miserable tyrant.

No. VI.

To General Sir William Howe.

TO argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicines to the dead, or endeavour­ing to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals. And no man will en­vy you those honours, in which a savage only can be your rival, and a bear your master.

As the generosity of this country, rewarded your brother's services last war with an elegant monu­ment in Westminster Abbey, it is consistent that she should bestow some mark of distinction upon you. You certainly deserve her notice, and a con­spicuous place in the catalogue of extraordinary persons. Yet it would be a pity to pass you from the world in state, and consign you to magnificent oblivion among the tombs, without telling the fu­ture [Page 118] beholder why. Judas is as much known as John, yet history ascribes their fame to very differ­ent actions.

Sir William hath undoubtedly merited a monu­ment: But of what kind? or of what inscription? where placed? or how embellished? is a question that would puzzle all the heralds of St. James's, in the profoundest mood of historical deliberation. We are at no loss, sir, to ascertain your real charac­ter, but somewhat perplexed how to perpetuate its identity, and preserve it uninjured from the trans­formations of time or mistake. A statuary may give a false expression to your bust, or decorate it with some equivocal emblems, by which you may happen to steal into reputation, and impose upon the hereafter traditionary world. Ill nature, or ridicule may conspire, or a variety of accidents com­bine to lessen, enlarge or change Sir William's fame; and no doubt, but he who has taken so much pains to be singular in his conduct, would choose to be as singular in his exit, his monument and his epitaph.

The usual honours of the dead, to be sure, are not sufficiently sublime to escort a character like you to the republic of dust and ashes; for however men may differ in their ideas of grandeur or government here, the grave is nevertheless a per­fect republic. Death is not the monarch of the [Page 119] dead, but of the dying. The moment he obtains a conquest, he loses a subject, and, like the foolish king you serve, will, in the end, war himself out of all dominion.

As a proper preliminary towards the arrange­ment of your funeral honours, we readily admit your new rank of knighthood. The title is perfectly in character, and is your own, more by merit than creation. There are knights of various orders from the knight of the windmill, to the knight of the post. The former is your patron for exploits, and the latter will assist you in settling your accounts. No honourary title could be more happily applied! The ingenuity is sublime! And your royal master hath discovered more genius in fitting you there­with, than in generating the most finished figure for a button, or descanting on the properties of a button mould.

But how, sir, shall we dispose of you? The invention of a statuary is exhausted, and Sir Wil­liam is yet unprovided with a monument. America is anxious to bestow her funeral favours upon you, and wishes to do it in a manner that shall distinguish you from all the deceased heroes of the last war. The Egyptian method of embalming is not known to the present age, and hieroglyphical pageantry hath out lived the science of decyphering it. Some other method, therefore, must be thought of to [Page 120] immortalize the new knight of the windmill and post. Sir William, thanks to his stars, is not op­pressed with very delicate ideas. He has no am­bition of being wrapt up and handed about in myrrh, aloes, and cassia. Less chargeable odours will suffice; and it fortunately happens, that the simple genius of America, hath discovered the art of preserving bodies, and embellishing them too, with much greater frugality than the ancients. In a balmage, sir, of humble tar, you will be as secure as Pharoah, and in a hieroglyphic of feathers, rival in finery all the mummies of Egypt.

As you have already made your exit from the moral world, and by numberless acts both of pas­sionate and deliberate injustice engraved an "Here Lyeth" on your deceased honour, it must be mere affectation in you to pretend concern at the hu­mours or opinions of mankind respecting you. What remains of you may expire at any time. The sooner the better. For he who survives his reputation, lives out of spite to himself like a man listening to his own reproach.

Thus entombed and ornamented I leave you to the inspection of the curious, and return to the history of your yet surviving actions.—The character of Sir William hath undergone some ex­traordinary revolutions since his arrival in America. It is now fixed and known; and we have nothing [Page 121] to hope from your candour or to fear from your capacity. Indolence and inability have too large a share in your composition ever to suffer you to be any thing more than the hero of little villanies and unfinished adventures. That, which to some persons appeared moderation in you at first, was not produced by any real virtue of your own, but by a contrast of passions dividing and holding you in perpetual irresolution. One vice will frequent­ly expel another without the least merit in the man, as powers in contrary directions reduce each other to rest.

It became you to have supported a dignified solemnity of character; to have shewn a superior liberality of soul; to have won respect by an ob­stinate perseverance in maintaining order, and to have exhibited on all occasions, such an unchange­able graciousness of conduct, that while we beheld in you the resolution of an enemy, we might ad­mire in you the sincerity of a man. You came to America under the high sounding titles of com­mander and commissioner; not only to suppress what you called rebellion by arms, but to shame it out of countenance by the excellence of your ex­ample. Instead of which, you have been the pa­tron of low and vulgar frauds, the encourager of Indian cruelties, and have imported a cargo of vices blacker than those you pretend to suppress.

[Page 122] Mankind are not universally agreed in their de­termination of right and wrong; but there are cer­tain actions which the consent of all nations and in­dividuals hath branded with the unchangeable name of MEANNESS. In the list of human vices we find some of such a refined constitution, that they cannot be carried into practice without seducing some virtue to their assistance; but meanness hath neither alliance nor apology. It is generated in the dust and sweepings of other vices, and is of such a hateful figure that all the rest conspire to disown it. Sir William, the commissioner of George the Third, hath at last vouchsafed to give it rank and pedigree. He has placed the fugitive at the council board, and dubbed it companion of the order of knighthood.

The particular act of meanness which I allude to in this description, is forgery. You, sir, have abet­ted and patronized the forging and uttering counter­feit continental bills. In the same New-York newspapers in which your own proclamation under your master's authority was published, offering, or pretending to offer, pardon and protection to the inhabitants of these states, there were repeated ad­vertisements of counterfeit money for sale, and persons who have come officially from you and under sanction of your flag, have been taken up in attempting to put them off.

[Page 123] A conduct so basely mean in a public character is without precedent or pretence. Every nation on earth, whether friends or enemies, will unite in despising you. 'Tis an incendiary war upon so­ciety which nothing can excuse or palliate—An improvement upon beggarly villany—and shews an inbred wretchedness of heart made up between the venomous malignity of a serpent and the spiteful imbecility of an inferior reptile.

The laws of any civilized country would con­demn you to the gibbet without regard to your rank or titles, because it is an action foreign to the usage and custom of war; and should you fall into our hands, which pray God you may, it will be a doubtful matter whether we are to consider you as a military prisoner or a prisoner for felony.

Besides, it is exceedingly unwise and impolitic in you, or any persons in the English service, to pro­mote, or even encourage, or wink, at the crime of forgery in any case whatever. Because, as the riches of England, as a nation, are chiefly in paper, and the far greater part of trade among individuals is carried on by the same medium, that is, by notes and drafts on one another, they, therefore, of all people in the world ought to endeavour to keep forgery out of sight, and, if possible, not to re­vive the idea of it. It is dangerous to make men familiar with a crime which they may afterwards [Page 124] practise to much greater advantage against those who first taught them. Several officers in the English army have made their exit at the gallows for forgery on their agents; for we all know, who know any thing of England, that there is not a more necessitous body of men, taking them ge­nerally, than what the English officers are. They contrive to make a shew at the expence of the taylor, and appear clean at the charge of the washer-woman.

England hath at this time nearly two hundred million pounds sterling of public money in paper, for which she hath no real property, besides a large circulation of bank notes, bank post bills, and promissory notes and drafts of private bankers, merchants, and tradesmen. She hath the greatest quantity of paper currency and the least quantity of gold and silver of any nation in Europe; the real specie, which is about sixteen millions sterling, serve only as change in large sums, which are al­ways made in paper, or for payment in small ones. Thus circumstanced, the nation is put to its wit's end, and obliged to be severe almost to criminality, to prevent the practice and growth of forgery. Scarcely a session passes at the Old Bailey, or an execution at Tyburn, but witnesseth this truth. Yet you, sir, regardless of the policy which her neces­sity obliges her to adopt, have made your whole [Page 125] army intimate with the crime. And as all armies, at the conclusion of a war, are too apt to carry into practice the vices of the campaign, it will probably happen, that England will hereafter abound in for­geries, to which art, the practitioners were first initiated under your authority in America. You, sir, have the honour of adding a new vice to the military catalogue; and the reason, perhaps, why the invention was reserved for you is, because no general before was mean enough even to think of it.

That a man whose soul is absorbed in the low traffic of vulgar vice, is incapable of moving in any superior region, is clearly shewn in you by the event of every campaign. Your military exploits have been without plan, object or decision. Can it be possible that you or your employers can sup­pose the possession of Philadelphia to be any ways equal to the expence or expectation of the nation which supports you? What advantages does En­gland derive from any achievements of yours? To her it is perfectly indifferent what place you are in, so long as the business of conquest is unperformed, and the charge of maintaining you remains the same.

If the principal events of the three campaigns be attended to, the balance will appear strongly against you at the close of each; but the last, in point of importance to us, hath exceeded the former two. [Page 126] It is pleasant to look back on dangers past, and equally as pleasant to meditate on present ones, when the way out begins to appear. That period is now arrived, and the long doubtful winter of war is changing to the sweeter prospects of victory and joy. At the close of the campaign in seventy-five, you were obliged to retreat from Boston. In the summer of seventy-six, you appeared with a numer­ous fleet and army in the harbour of New York. By what miracle the Continent was preserved in that season of danger is a subject of admiration! If instead of wasting your time against Long Island, you had run up the North River, and landed any where above New York, the consequence must have been, that either you would have compelled General Washington to fight you with very un­equal numbers, or he must have suddenly evacuated the city, with the loss of nearly all the stores of the army, or have surrendered for the want of provi­sions, the situation of the place naturally producing one or other of these events.

The preparations made to defend New York, were, nevertheless, wise and military; because your forces were then at sea, their numbers uncer­tain; storms, sickness, or variety of accidents might have disabled their coming, or so diminished them on their passage, that those which survived, would have been incapable of opening the campaign with [Page 127] any prospect of success; in which case, the defence would have been sufficient, and the place preserved; for cities that have been raised from nothing with an infinitude of labour and expence, are not to be thrown away on the bear probability of their be­ing taken. On these grounds, the preparations made to maintain New York were as judicious as the retreat afterwards. While you, in the interim, let slip the very opportunity, which seemed to put conquest in your power.

Through the whole of that campaign you had nearly double the forces which General Washing­ton immediately commanded. The principal plan, at that time, on our part, was to wear away the season with as little loss as possible, and to raise the army for the next year. Long-Island, New-York, Forts Washington and Lee, were not de­fended, after your superior force was known, under any expectation of their being finally main­tained, but as a range of out works, in the attack­ing of which, your time might be wasted, your num­bers reduced, and your vanity amused by possessing them on our retreat. It was intended to have withdrawn the garrison from Fort Washington, after it had answered the former of those purposes, but the fate of that day put a prize into your hands without much honour to yourselves.

[Page 128] Your progress through the Jersesy, was accidental; you had it not even in contemplation, or you would not have sent so principal a part of your force to Rhode Island before hand. The utmost hope of America in the year seventy six reached no higher than that she might not then be conquered. She had no expectation of defeating you in that campaign. Even the most cowardly tory allowed, that, could she withstand the shock of that sum­mer, her independence would be past a doubt. You had then greatly the advantage of her. You were formidable. Your military knowledge was sup­posed to be complete. Your fleets and forces arrived without an accident. You had neither ex­perience nor reinforcements to wait for. You had nothing to do but to begin, and your chance lay in the first vigorous onset,

America was young and unskilled. She was obliged to trust her defence to time and practice; and hath, by mere dint of perseverance, maintained her cause, and brought her enemy to a condition, in which, she is now capable of meeting him on any grounds.

It is remarkable in the campaign of seventy-six, you gained no more notwithstanding your great force, than what was given you by consent of evacuation, except Fort Washington: while every advantage obtained by us, was by fair and hard fighting. The defeat of Sir Peter Parker was [Page 129] complete. The conquest of the Hessians at Tren­ton by the remains of a retreating army, which but a few days before, you affected to despise, is an instance of heroic perseverance, very seldom to be met with. And the victory over the British troops at Princetown, by a harrassed and wearied party, who had been engaged the day before, and marched all night without refreshment, is attended with such a scene of circumstances and superiority of general­ship, as will ever give it a place on the first line in the history of great actions.

When I look back on the gloomy days of last winter, and see America suspended by a thread, I feel a triumph of joy at the recollection of her de­livery, and a reverence for the characters which snatched her from destruction. To doubt now, would be a species of infidelity, and to forget the instruments which saved us then, would be ingrati­tude.

The close of that campaign, left us with the spi­rits of conquerors. The northern districts were relieved by the retreat of General Carleton over the lakes. The army under your command were hunted back, and had their bounds prescribed. The Continent began to feel its military importance, and the winter passed pleasantly away in prepara­tions for the next campaign.

However confident you might be on your first arrival, the course of the year seventy six, gave [Page 130] you some idea of the difficulty, if not impossibility of conquest. To this reason, I ascribe your delay in opening the campaign in seventy seven. The face of matters, on the close of the sormer year, gave you no encouragement to pursue a discre­tionary war as soon as the spring admitted the ta­king the field: for, though conquest in that case, would have given you a double portion of fame, yet the experiment was too hazardous. The mi­nistry, had you sailed, would have shifted the whole blame upon you, charged you with having acted without orders, and condemned at once, both your plan and execution.

To avoid those misfortunes, which might have involved you, and your money accounts in per­plexity, and suspicion, you prudently waited the arrival of a plan of operations from England, which was, that you should proceed to Philadel­phia by the way of Chesapeak, and that Burgoyne, after reducing Ticonderoga, should take his route by Albany, and, if necessary, join you.

The splendid laurels of last campaign have flou­rished in the north. In that quarter America hath surprized the world, and laid the foundation of her this year's glory. The conquest of Ticonderoga (if it may be called a conquest) has, like all your other victories, led on to ruin. Even the provi­sions taken in that fortress, (which by General Bur­goyne's [Page 131] return was sufficent in bread and flour for nearly 5000 men, for ten weeks, and in beef and pork for the same number of men for one month) served only to hasten his overthrow, by enabling him to proceed for Saratoga, the place of his de­struction. A short review of the operations of the last campaign, will shew the condition of affairs on both sides.

You have taken Ticonderoga, and marched into Philadelphia. These are all the events which the year hath produced on your part. A trifling cam­paign indeed, compared with the expences of Eng­land, and the conquest of the continent. On the other side, a considerable part of your northern force has been routed by the New York militia, under General Herkemer. Fort Stanwix hath bravely survived a compounded attack of soldiers and savages, and the besiegers have fled. The battle of Bennington has put a thousand prisoners into our hands, with all their arms, stores, artillery and baggage. General Burgoyne in two engage­ments has been defeated; himself, his army, and all that were his and theirs are now ours. Ticonde­roga and Independence are retaken, and not the shadow of an enemy remains in all the northern districts. At this instant, we have upwards of eleven thousand prisoners, between sixty and se­venty pieces of brass ordnance, besides small arms, tents, stores, &c. &c.

[Page 132] In order to know the real value of those advan­tages▪ we must reverse the scene, and suppose General Gates and the force he commanded, to be at your mercy as prisoners, and General Burgoyne with his army of soldiers and savages to be already joined to you in Pensylvania. So dismal a picture, can scarcely be looked at. It hath all the traces and colourings of horror and despair, and excites the most swelling emotions of gratitude, by exhibiting the miseries we are so graciously preserved from.

I admire this distribution of laurels around the continent. It is the earnest of future union. South Carolina has had her day of suffering and of fame; and the other southern states have exerted them­selves in proportion to the force that invaded or in­sulted them. Towards the close of the campaign in seventy six, these middle states were called upon, and did their duty nobly. They were witnesses to the almost expiring flame of human freedom. It was the close struggle of life and death. The line of invisible division, and on which, the unabated fortitude of a Washington prevailed, and saved the spark, that has since blazed in the north with unri­valled lustre.

Let me ask, sir, what great exploits have you performed? Through all the variety of changes and opporunities which this war hath produced, I know no one action of yours, that can be stiled mas­terly. [Page 133] You have moved in and out▪ backward and forward, round and round, as if valour consisted in a military jig. The history and figure of your movements would be truly ridiculous could they be justly delineated. They resemble the labours of a puppy pursuing his tail, the end is still at the same distance, and all the turnings round must be done over again.

The first appearance of affairs at Ticonderoga wore such an unpromising aspect, that it was neces­sary, in July, to detach a part of the forces to the support of that quarter, which were otherwise des­tined or intended to act against you, and this, per­haps, has been the means of postponing your down­fal to another campaign. The destruction of one army at a time is work enough. We know, sir, what we are about, what we have to do, and how to do it.

Your progress from Chesapeak, was marked by no capital stroke of policy or heroism. Your prin­cipal aim was to get General Washington between the Delaware and Schuylkill, and between Philadel­phia and your army. In that situation, with a river on each of his flanks, which united about five miles below the city, and your army above him, you could have intercepted his reinforcements and supplies, cut off all his communication with the country, and, if necessary, have dispatched assistance to open a passage for General Burgoyne. This [Page 134] scheme was too visible to succeed, for had General Washington suffered you to command the open country above him, I think it a very reasonable conjecture that the conquest of Burgoyne would not have taken place, because you could, in that case, have relieved him. It was therefore necessary, while that important victory was in suspence, to trepan you into a situation, in which you could only be on the defensive, without the power of affording him assistance. The manoeuvre had its effect, and Burgoyne was conquered.

There has been something unmilitarily passive in you from the time of your passing the Schuylkill, and getting possession of Philadelphia, to the close of the campaign, You mistook a trap for a conquest, the probability of which had been made known to Eu­rope, and the edge of your triumph taken off by our own information long before.

Having got you into this situation, a scheme for a general attack upon you at Germantown, was car­ried into execution on the fourth of October, and though the success was not equal to the excellence of the plan, yet the attempting it, proved the genius of America to be on the rise, and her power ap­proaching to superiority. The obscurity of the morning was your best friend, for a fog is always favourable to an hunted enemy. Some weeks after this, you, likewise, planned an attack on Ge­neral [Page 135] Washington while at Whitemarsh. Marched out with infinite paracle, but on finding him pre­paring to attack you the next morning, you pru­dently cut about, and retreated to Philadelphia, with all the precipitation of a man conquered in imagination.

Immediately after the battle of German town, the probability of Burgoyne's defeat gave a new policy to affairs in Pensylvania, and it was judged most consistent with the general safety of America, to wait the issue of the northern campaign. Slow and sure is sound work. The news of that victory arrived in our camp on the 18th of October, and no sooner did the shout of joy, and the report of the thirteen cannon reach your ears, than you re­solved upon a retreat, and the next day, that is, on the 19th, withdrew your drooping army into Philadelphia. This movement was evidently dic­tated by fear; and carried with it a positive confes­sion that you dreaded a second attack. It was hiding yourself among women and children, and sleeping away the choicest part of a campaign in expensive inactivity. An army in a city can never be a conquering army. The situation ad­mits only of defence. It is a mere shelter; and every military power in Europe will conclude you to be eventually defeated.

[Page 136] The time when you made this retreat, was the very time you ought to have fought a battle, in order to put yourself in a condition of recovering in Pensylvania, what you had lost at Saratoga. And the reason why you did not, must be either prudence or cowardice; the former supposes your inability, and the latter needs no explanation. I draw no conclusions, sir, but such as are naturally deduced from known and visible facts, and such as will always have a being while the facts which pro­duced them remain unaltered.

After this retreat, a new difficulty arose, which exhibited the power of Britain in a very contemp­tible light, which was the attack and defence of Mud Island. For several weeks did that little unfinished fortress stand out against all the attempts of Admiral and General Howe. It was the fable of Bendar realized on the Delaware. Scheme after scheme, and force upon force were tried and defeated. The garrison, with scarce any thing to cover them but their bravery, survived in the midst of mud, shot and shells, and were at last obliged to give it up more to the powers of time and gunpowder, than to the military superiority of the besiegers.

It is my sincere opinion, that matters are in much werse condition with you, than what is generally known. Your master's speech at the opening of par­liament is like a soliloquy on ill luck. It shews him to [Page 137] be coming a little to his reason, for sense of pain is the first symptom of recovery in profound stupefac­tions. His condition is deplorable. He is obliged to submit to all the insults of France and Spain, with­out daring to know or resent them, and thankful for the most trivial evasions, to the most humble re­monstrances. The time was when he could not deign an answer to a petition from America, and the time now is when he dare not give an answer to an affront from France. The capture of Burgoyne's army will sink his consequence as much in Europe as in America. In his speech, he expresses his sus­picions at the warlike preparations of France and Spain, and he has only the one army which you command to support his character in the world with; it remains very uncertain when, or in what quarter it will be most wanted, or can be best em­ployed; and this will partly account for the great care you take to keep it from action and attacks, for should Burgoyne's fate be yours, which it pro­bably will, England may take her endless farewel, not only of all America, but of all the West Indies.

Never did a nation invite destruction upon itself with the eagerness and ignorance with which Britain has done. Bent upon the ruin of a young and un­offending country, she hath drawn the sword that hath wounded herself to the heart, and in the agony of her resentment, hath applied a poison for a cure. [Page 138] Her conduct towards America is a compound of rage and lunacy; she aims at the government of it, yet preserves neither dignity nor character in her methods to obtain it. Were government a mere manufacture, or article of commerce immaterial by whom it should be made or sold, we might as well employ her, as another, but when we consider it as the fountain from whence the general manners and morality of a country take their rise, that the per­sons entrusted with the execution thereof, are by their serious example, and authority to support these principles, how abominably absurd is the idea of being hereafter governed by a set of men who have been guilty of forgery, perjury, treachery, theft, and every species of villainy, which the lowest wretches on earth could practise or invent. What greater public curse can befal any country, than to be under such authority, and what greater blessing, than to be delivered therefrom. The soul of any man of sentiment, would rise in brave rebellion against them, and spurn them from the earth.

The malignant and venomous tempered General Vaughan has amused his savage fancy in burning the whole town of Kingston, in York government, and the late governor of that state, Mr. Tryon, in his letter to General Parsons, has endeavoured to justify it, and declared his with to justify it, and de­clared his wish to burn the houses of every com­mittee-man [Page 139] in the country. Such a confession from one who was once entrusted with the powers of civil government, is a reproach to the character. But it is the wish and the declaration of a man whom anguish and disappointment have driven to despair, and who is daily decaying into the grave with constitutional rottenness.

There is not in the compass of language a suffi­ciency of words to express the baseness of your king, his ministry, and his army. They have refined upon villainy till it wants a name. To the fiercer vices of former ages, they have added the dregs and scummings of the most finished rascallity, and are so completely sunk in serpentine deceit, that there is not left among them one generous enemy.

From such men, and such masters, may the gra­cious hand of Heaven, preserve America! And though her sufferings are heavy and severe, they are like straws in the wind, compared to the weight of evils she would feel under the government of your king, and his pensioned parliament.

There is something in meanness which excites a species of resentment that never subsides, and some­thing in cruelty which stirs up the heart to the highest agony of human hatred. Britain hath filled up both these characters till no addition can be made, and hath not reputation left with us to ob­tain credit for the slightest promise. The will of [Page 140] God hath parted us, and the deed is registered for eternity. When she shall be a spot scarcely visible among the nations, America shall flourish, the fa­vourite of Heaven, and the friend of mankind.

For the domestic happiness of Britain, and the peace of the world, I wish she had not a foot of land but what is circumscribed within her own island. Extent of dominion hath been her ruin, and instead of civilizing others, hath brutalized herself. Her late reduction of India, under Clive and his successors, was not so properly a conquest, as an extermination of mankind. She is the only power who could practise the prodigal barbarity of tying men to the mouths of loaded cannon and blowing them away. It happens that General Burgoyne, who made the report of that horrid transaction in the House of Commons, is now a prisoner with us, and though an enemy, I can ap­peal to him for the truth of it, being confident that he neither can nor will deny it. Yet Clive received the approbation of the last parliament.

When we take a survey of mankind, we cannot help cursing the wretch, who, to the unavoidable misfortunes of nature, shall wilfully add the calami­ties of war. One would think there were evils enough in the world without studying to increase them, and that life is sufficiently short, without thanking the sand that measures it. The histories of [Page 141] Alexander, and Charles of Sweden, are the histo­ries of human devils; a good man cannot think of their actions without abhorrence, nor of their deaths without rejoicings. To see the bounties of Hea­ven destroyed, the beautiful face of nature laid waste, and the choicest works of creation and art tumbled into ruin, would fetch a curse from the soul of piety itself. But in this country the aggra­vation is heightened by a new combination of affect­ing circumstances. America was young, and, compared with other countries, was virtuous. None, but a Herod of uncommon malice would have made war upon infancy and innocence; and none but a people of the most finished fortitude dared, under those circumstances, have resisted tyranny. The natives, or their ancestors had fled from the former oppressions of England, and, with the in­dustry of bees, had changed a wilderness into a habitable world. To Britain, they were indebted for nothing. The country was the gift of Heaven, and God alone is their Lord and sovereign.

The time, sir, will come, when you, in a melan­choly hour, shall reckon up your miseries by your murders in America. Life, with you, begins to wear a clouded aspect. The vision of pleasurable delusion is wearing away, and changing to the bar­ren wild of age and sorrow. The poor reflection of having served your king, will yield you no con­solation [Page 142] in your parting moments. He will crum­ble to the same undistinguished ashes with yourself, and have sins enough of his own to answer for. It is not the farcical benedictions of a bishop, nor the cringing hypocrisy of a court of chaplains, nor the formality of an act of parliament, that can change guilt into innocence, or make the punishment of one pang the less. You may, perhaps, be unwil­ling to be serious, but this destruction of the goods of Providence, this havock of the human race, and this sowing the world with mischief, must be ac­counted for to him who made and governs it. To us they are only present sufferings, but to him they are deep rebellions.

If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of wilful and offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits, that is, the power of one man cannot give them a very general tension, and many kind of sins have only a mental existence, from which no infection arises; but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole con­tagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death. We leave it to England and Indians to boast of these honours; we feel no thirst for such sa­vage glory; a nobler flame, a purer spirit animates America. She hath taken up the sword of virtuous defence; she hath bravely put herself between ty­ranny and freedom, between a curse and a blessing, [Page 143] determined to expel the one, and protect the other.

It is the object only of war that makes it ho­nourable. And if ever there were a just war since the world began, it is this which America is now engaged in. She invaded no land of yours. She hired no mercenaries to burn your towns, nor Indians to massacre their inhabitants. She wanted nothing from you, and was indebted nothing to you; and thus circumstanced, her defence is ho­nourable, and her prosperity certain.

Yet it is not on the justice only, but likewise on the importance of this cause, that I ground my seem­ing enthusiastical confidence of our success. The vast extension of America, makes her of too much va­lue in the scale of Providence, to be cast like a pearl before swine, at the feet of an European island; and of much less consequence would it be that Britain were sunk in the sea, than that America should miscarry. There has been such a chain of extraordinary events in the discovery of this country at first, in the peopling and planting it, and afterwards, in the rearing and nursing it to its pre­sent state, and in the protection of it through the present war, that no man can doubt, but Provi­dence hath some nobler end to accomplish than the gratification of the petty Elector of Hanover, or the ignorant and insignificant King of Britain.

[Page 144] As the blood of the martyrs hath been the seed of the christian church, so the political persecutions of England, will, and hath already enriched America with industry, experience, union and importance. Before the present aera she was a mere chaos of un­cemented colonies, individually exposed to the ra­vages of the Indians, and the invasion of any power that Britain should be at war with. She had no­thing she could call her own. Her felicity de­pended upon accident. The convulsions of Eu­rope might have thrown her from one con­queror to another, till she had been the slave of all, and ruined by every one; for until she had spirit enough to become her own master, there was no knowing to which master she should belong. That period, thank God, is past, and she is no longer the dependant, disunited colonies of Britain, but the Independent and United States of America, knowing no master but Heaven and herself. You or your king, may call this "Delusion," "Re­bellion," or what name you please. To us it is perfectly indifferent. The issue will determine the character, and time will give it a name as last­ing as his own.

You have now, sir, tried the fate of three cam­paigns, and can fully declare to England, that no­thing is to be got on your part, but blows and bro­ken bones; and nothing on hers, but waste of [Page 145] trade and credit, and an encrease of poverty and tax­es. You are now only where you might have been two years ago without the loss of a single ship, and yet not a step the forwarder towards the conquest of the continent; because, as I have already hinted, "An army in a city can never be a conquering ar­my." The full amount of your losses since the begin­ning of the war, exceeds twenty thousand men, be­sides millions of treasure, for which you have no­thing in exchange. Our expences, though great, are circulated within ourselves. Yours is a direct sinking of money, and that from both ends at once, first, in hiring troops out of the nation, and in paying them afterwards, because the money in nei­ther case can return again to Britain. We are already in possession of the prize, you only in suit for it. To us it is a real treasure, to you it would be only an empty triumph. Our expences will repay themselves with tenfold interest, while yours en­tail upon you everlasting poverty.

Take a review, sir, of the ground you have gone over, and let it teach you policy, if it cannot ho­nesty. You stand upon a very tottering foundation. A change of the ministry in England, may proba­bly bring your measures into question, and your head to the block. Clive, with all his successes, had some difficulty in escaping, and yours, being all a war of losses, will afford you less pretensions, and your enemies more ground for impeachment.

[Page 146] Go home, sir, and endeavour to save the remains of your ruined country by a just representation of the madness of her measures. A few moments well applied, may yet preserve her from political de­struction. I am not one of those who wish to see Europe in a flame, because I am persuaded such an event will not shorten the war. The rupture, at pre­sent, is confined between the two powers of Ame­rica and England. England finds she cannot con­quer America, and America has no wish to con­quer England. You are fighting for what you can never obtain, and we defending what we mean never to part with. A few words, therefore, settle the bargain. Let England, mind her own business, and we will mind ours. Govern yourselves and we will govern ourselves. You may then trade where you please unmolested by us, and we will trade where we please unmolested by you; and such articles as we can purchase of each other better than elsewhere, may be mutually done. If it were possible that you could carry on the war for twenty years, you must still come to this point at last, or worse, and the sooner you think of it the better it will be for you.

My official situation enables me to know the re­peated insults which Britain is obliged to put up with from foreign powers, and the wretched shifts she is driven to, to gloss them over. Her reduced [Page 147] strength, and exhausted coffers in a three years war with America, have given a powerful superiority to France and Spain. She is now a match for them. —But, if neither counsels can prevail on her to think, nor sufferings awaken her to reason, she must e'en go on, till the honour of England becomes a proverb of contempt, and Europe dub her the land of fools.

I am, Sir, With every Wish for an honourable Peace,
Your Friend, Enemy, and Countryman, COMMON SENSE.

To the Inhabitants of America.

WITH all the pleasure with which a man ex­changes bad company for good, I take my leave of Sir William and return to you. It is now nearly three years since the tyranny of Britain received its first repulse by the arms of America. A period, which has given birth to the New World, and erected a monument of folly to the old.

I cannot help being sometimes surprised at the complimentary references, which I have seen and heard made to ancient histories and transactions. The wisdom of civil governments, and sense of ho­nour of the States of Greece and Rome, are fre­quently held up as objects of excellence and imita­tion. Mankind have lived for very little purpose, if, at this period of the world, they must go two or three thousand years back for lessons and examples. We do dishonourary injustice to ourselves by pla­cing them in such a superior line. We have no just authority for it, neither can we tell why it is that we should suppose ourselves inferior.

Could the mist of antiquity be taken away, and men and things viewed as they then really were, it is more than probable that they would admire us, rather than we them. America has surmounted a [Page 149] greater variety and combination of difficulties, than, I believe, ever fell to the share of any one peo­ple in the same space of time, and has replenished the world with more useful knowledge, and sounder maxims of civil government than were ever pro­duced in any age before. Had it not been for America, there had been no such thing as freedom left throughout the whole universe. England hath lost hers, in a long chain of right reasoning from wrong principles, and it is from this now she must learn the resolution to redress herself, and the wis­dom how.

The Grecians and Romans were strongly pos­sessed of the spirit of liberty, but not the principle, for at the time they were determined not to be slaves themselves, they employed their power to enslave the rest of mankind. But this distinguished aera is blotted by no one misanthropical vice. In short, if the principle on which the cause is founded, the universal blessings that are to arise from it, the difficulties that accompanied it; the wis­dom with which it has been debated, the sortitude by which it has been supported, the strength of the power we had to oppose, and the condition in which we undertook it, be all taken in one view, we may justly stile it, the most virtuous and illustrious revolution that ever graced the his­tory of mankind.

A good opinion of ourselves is exceedingly necessary in private life, but absolutely necessary in [Page 150] public life; and of the utmost importance in sup­porting national character. I have no notion of yielding the palm of the United States to any Gre­cians or Romans that were ever born. We have equalled the bravest in times of danger, and ex­celled the wisest in the construction of civil go­vernments, no one in America excepted.

From this agreeable eminence, let us take a re­view of present affairs. The spirit of corruption is so inseparably interwoven with British politics, that their ministry suppose all mankind are go­verned by the same motive. They have no idea of people submitting even to a temporary inconveni­ence, from an attachment to rights and privileges. Their plans of business are calculated by the hour, and for the hour, and are uniform in nothing but in the corruption which give them birth. They never had, neither have they at this time, any re­gular plan for the conquest of America by arms. They know not how to go about it, neither have they the power to effect it, if they could know. The thing is not within the compass of human practicabi­lity, for America is too extensive either to be fully conquered, or passively defended. But she may be actively defended, by defeating or making prisoners of the army that invades her. And this is the only system of defence that can be effectual in a large country.

[Page 151] There is something in a war carried on by in­vasion, which makes it differ in circumstances from any other mode of war, because, he who conducts it cannot tell whether the ground he gains, be for him, or against him, when he first makes it. In the winter of seventy six, General Howe, marched with an air of victory through the Jer­seys, the consequence of which, was his defeat, and General Burgoyne, at Saratoga experienced the same fate from the same cause. The Spaniards, about two years ago, were defeated by the Alge­rines in the same manner, that is, their first tri­umphs became a trap, in which they were totally routed. And, whoever will attend to the circum­stances, and events of a war carried on by invasion, will find, that any invader, in order to be finally conquered, must begin first to conquer.

I confefs myself one of those who believe the loss of Philadelphia to be attended with more ad­vantages than injuries. The case stood thus. The enemy imagined Philadelphia to be of more im­portance to us, than it really was; for we all know that it had long ceased to be a port, not a cargo of goods had been brought into it for near a twelvemonth, nor any fixed manufactories, nor even ship-building carried on in it; yet, as the enemy believed the conquest of it to be prac­ticable, and, to that belief, added the absurd idea, that the soul of all America was centered there, and would be conquered there, it naturally follows, [Page 152] that their possession of it, by not answering the end proposed, must break up the plans they had fool­ishly gone upon, and either oblige them to form a new one, for which their present strength is not sufficient, or to give over the attempt.

We never had so small an army to fight against, nor so fair an opportunity of final success as now. The death wound is already given. The day is our own, if we follow it up. The enemy by his situation is within our reach, and by his reduced strength is within our power. The ministers of Britain may rage as they please, but our part is to conquer their armies. Let them wrangle and welcome, but let it not draw our attention from the one thing needful. Here, in this spot is our business to be accomplished; our felicity secured. What we have now to do, is as clear as light, and the way to do it is as strait as a line. It needs not to be commented upon, yet, in order to be per­fectly understood, I will put a case that cannot ad­mit of a mistake.

Had the armies under Generals Howe and Bur­goyne been united and taken post at Germantown, and had the northern army, under General Gates, been joined to that under General Washington, at Whitemarsh, the consequence would have been a general action; and, if in that action, we had killed and taken the same number of officers and men, that is, between nine and ten thousand, with the [Page 153] same quantity of artillery, arms, stores, &c. as have been taken at the northward, and obliged General Howe with the remains of his army, that is, with the same number he now commands, to take shelter in Philadelphia, we should certainly have thought ourselves the greatest heroes in the world; and should as soon as the season permitted, have col­lected together all the force of the continent, and laid siege to the city, for it requires a much greater force to besiege an enemy in a town, than to defeat them in the field. The case now is just the same, as if it had been produced by the means I have here supposed. Between nine and ten thousand have been killed and taken, all their stores are in our possession, and General Howe in consequence of that victory, has thrown himself for shelter into Philadelphia. He, or his trifling friend Galloway, may form what pretences they please, yet no just reason can be given for their going into winter quarters so early as the 19th of October, but their apprehension of a defeat if they continued out, or their conscious inability to keep the field with safety. I see no advantage which can arise to America, by hunting the enemy from State to State. It is a triumph without a prize, and wholly unworthy the attention of a people determined to conquer. Neither can any State promise to itself security, while the enemy remains in a condition to transport themselves from one part of the continent [Page 154] to another. Howe, likewise, cannot conquer where we have no army to oppose, therefore any such re­movals in him are mean and cowardly, and reduces Britain to a common pilferer. If he retreats from Philadelphia, he will be despised; if he stays, he may be shut up and starved out, and the country, if he advances into, may become his Saratoga. He has his choice of evils, and we of opportunities. If he moves early, it is not only a sign, but a proof that he expects no reinforcement, and his delays will prove that he either waits for the arrival of a plan to go upon, or force to execute it, or both: in which case, our strength will encrease more than his, therefore, in any case, we cannot be wrong, if we do but proceed.

The particular condition of Pensylvania, deserves the attention of all the other States. Her military strength must not be estimated by the number of inhabitants. Here are men of all nations, charac­ters, professions, and interests. Here are the firmest whigs, surviving, like sparks in the ocean, un­quenched and uncooled, in the midst of discourage­ment and disaffection. Here are men losing their all with cheerfulness, and collecting fire and forti­tude, from the flames of their own estates. Here are others skulking in secret; many making a mar­ket of the times; and numbers, who are changing whig and tory with the circumstances of every day.

[Page 155] It is by mere dint of fortitude and perseverance, that the whigs of this state, have been able to main­tain so good a countenance, and do even what they have done. We want help, and the sooner it can arrive, the more effectual it will be. The invaded state, be it which it may, will always feel an ad­ditional burthen upon its back, and be hard set to support its civil power with sufficient authority: and this difficulty will always rise or fall in proportion as the other states throw in their assistance to the common cause.

The enemy will most probably make many ma­noeuvres at the opening of this campaign, to amuse and draw off the attention of the several states from the one thing needful. We may expect to hear of alarms, and pretended expeditions to this place, and that place; to the southward, the eastward, and the northward, all intended to prevent our forming into one formidable body. The less the enemy's strength is, the more subtleties of this kind will they make use of. Their existence depends upon it, because the force of America, when collected, is sufficient to swallow their present army up. It is therefore our business to make short work of it, by bending our whole attention to this one principal point, for the instant that the main body, under Ge­neral Howe is defeated, all the inferior alarms throughout the continent, like so many shadows, will follow his downfal.

[Page 156] The only way to finish a war with the least pos­sible bloodshed, or perhaps without any, is to col­lect an army, against the power of which, the enemy shall have no chance. By not doing this, we pro­long the war, and double both the calamities and the expences of it. What a rich and happy coun­try would America be, were she, by a vigourous exertion, to reduce Howe, as she hath reduced Burgoyne. Her currency would rise to millions beyond its present value. Every man would be rich, and every man would have it in his power to be happy. And why not do these things? What is there to hinder? America is her own mistress, and can do what she pleases.

If we had not at this time a man in the field, we could, nevertheless, raise an army in a few weeks, sufficient to overwhelm all the force which General Howe at present commands. Vigour and determi­nation will do any thing and every thing. We be­gan the war with this kind of spirit, why not end it with the same? Here, gentlemen, is the enemy. Here is the army. The interest, the happiness of all America is centered in this half ruined spot. Come on and help us. Here are laurels, come and share them. Here are tories, come and help us to expel them. Here are whigs that will make you wel­come, and enemies that dread your coming,

The worst of all policy, is that of doing things by halves. Penny wise and pound foolish, has been [Page 157] the ruin of thousands. The present spring, if rightly improved, will free us from all our troubles, and save us the expence of millions. We have now only one army to cope with. No opportu­nity can be fairer; no prospect more promising. I shall conclude this paper, with a few outlines of a plan, either for filling up the battalions with expe­dition, or for raising an additional force, for any limited time, on any sudden emergency.

That in which every man is interested, is every man's duty to support. And any burthen which falls equally on all men, and, from which every man is to receive an equal benefit, is consistent with the most perfect ideas of liberty. I would wish to revive something of that virtuous ambition which first called America into the field. Then every man was eager to do his part, and perhaps the principal reason why we have in any degree fallen therefrom, is, because we did not set a sufficient value by it at first, but left it to blaze out by itself, instead of regulating and preserving it by just pro­portions of rest and service.

Suppose any state, whose number of effective inhabitants was 80,000, should be required to fur­nish 3,200 men towards the defence of the conti­nent on any sudden emergency.

First, Let the whole number of effective inhabi­tants be divided into hundreds; then if each of those [Page 158] hundreds turn out four men, the whole number of 3,200 will be had.

Secondly, Let the names of each hundred men be entered in a book, and let four dollars be collected from each man, with as much more as any of the gentlemen whose abilities can afford it, shall please to throw in, which gifts shall likewise be entered against the donors names.

Thirdly, Let the sums so collected be offered as a present, over and above the bounty of twenty dollars, to any four who may be inclined to pro­pose themselves as volunteers; if more than four offer, the majority of the subscribers present shall determine which; if none offer, then four out of the hundred shall be taken by lot, who shall be en­titled to the said sums, and shall either go, or pro­vide others that will, in the space of six days.

Fourthly, As it will always happen, that in the space of ground on which an hundred men shall live, there will be always a number of persons, who, by age and infirmity, are incapable of doing per­sonal service, and as such persons are generally pos­sessed of the greatest part of the property in any county, their portion of service, therefore, will be to furnish each man with a blanket, which will make a regimental coat, jacket and breeches, or cloaths in lieu thereof, and another for a watch cloak, and two pair of shoes—for however choice people may be of these things, matters not in cases of this [Page 159] kind—Those who live always in houses, can find many ways to keep themselves warm, but it is a shame and a sin to suffer a soldier in the field to want a blanket while there is one in the country.

Should the cloathing not be wanted, the superan­nuated or infirm persons possessing property, may, in lieu thereof, throw in their money subscriptions, towards encreasing the bounty; for though age will naturally exempt a personal service, it cannot ex­empt him from his share of the charge, because the men are raised for the defence of property and li­berty jointly.

There never was a scheme against which objec­tions might not be raised. But this alone is not a sufficient reason for rejection. The only line to judge truly upon, is, to draw out and admit all the objections which can fairly be made, and place against them all the contrary qualities, con­veniences, and advantages, then by striking a ba­lance, you come at the true character of any scheme, principle or position.

The most material advantages of the plan here proposed, are ease, expedition, and cheapness; yet the men so raised, get a much larger bounty, than is, any where, at present given; because all the ex­pences, extravagance, and consequent idleness of recruiting are saved or prevented. The country incurs no new debt, nor interest thereon; the whole matter being all settled at once, and entirely done [Page 160] with. It is a subscription answering all the purposes of a tax, without either the charge or trouble of collecting. The men are ready for the field with the greatest possible expedition, because, it becomes the duty of the inhabitants themselves, in every part of the country, to find up their propor­tion of men, instead of leaving it to a recruiting serjeant, who, be he ever so industrious, cannot know always where to apply.

I do not propose this as a regular digested plan, neither will the limits of this paper admit any fur­ther remarks upon it. I believe it to be a hint ca­pable of much improvement, and as such submit it to the public.

No. VII.
To the Earl of Carlisle, General Clinton, and William Eden, Esq. British Commissioners, at New York.

THERE is a dignity in the warm passions of a whig, which is never to be found in the cold ma­lice of a tory. In the one, nature is only heated —in the other she is poisoned. The instant the former has it in his power to punish, he feels a disposition to forgive; but the canine venom of the latter knows no relief but revenge. This ge­neral distinction, will, I believe, apply in all cases, and suit as well the meridian of England as America.

As I presume your last proclamation will un­dergo the strictures of other pens, I shall confine my remarks to only a few parts thereof. All that you have said, might have been comprised in half the compass. It is tedious and unmeaning, and only a repetition of your former follies, with here and there an offensive aggravation. Your cargo of pardons will have no market—It is unfashionable [Page 162] to look at them Even speculation is at an end. They are become a perfect drug, and no way cal­culated for the climate.

In the course of your proclamation, you say, "The policy, as well as the BENEVOLENCE OF GREAT BRITAIN, have thus far checked the extremes of war, when they tended to distress a people, still considered as their fellow subjects, and to desolate a country shortly to become again a source of mutual advantage." What you mean by "the BENEVOLENCE of Great Britain," is to me, inconceivable. To put a plain question: Do you consider yourselves men or devils? For until this point is settled, no determinate sense can be put upon the expression. You have already equalled, and in many places excelled the savages of either Indies; and if you have yet a cruelty in store, you must have imported it unmixed with every human material from the original warehouse of hell.

To the interposition of Providence, and her blessings on our endeavours, and not to BRITISH BENEVOLENCE, are we indebted for the short chain that limits your ravages. Remember, you do not at this time, command a foot of land on the continent of America. Staten Island, York Island, a small part of Long Island and Rhode Island, circumscribe your power; and even those you hold at the expence of the West Indies. To avoid a [Page 163] defeat, and prevent a desertion of your troops, you have taken up your quarters in holes and corners of inaccessible security; and in order to conceal what every one can conceive, you now endeavour to impose your weakness upon us for an act of mercy. If you think to succeed by such shadowy devices, you are but infants in the political world; you have the A, B, C, of stratagem yet to learn, and are wholly ignorant of the people you have to contend with. Like men in a state of intoxica­tion, you forget that the rest of the world have eyes, and that the same stupidity which conceals you from yourselves, exposes you to their satire and contempt.

The paragraph I have quoted, stands as an in­troduction to the following: "But when that coun­try (America) professes the unnatural design, not only of estranging herself from us, but of mortga­ging herself and her resources to our enemies, the whole contest is changed; and the question is, how far Great Britain may, by every means in her power, destroy or render useless, a connection con­trived for her ruin, and the aggrandizement of France. Under such circumstances, the laws of self-preservation must direct the conduct of Britain, and if the British Colonies are to become an ac­cession to France, will direct her, to render that accession of as little avail as possible to her enemy.

[Page 164] I consider you, in this declaration, like madmen biting in the hour of death. It contains, likewise, a fraudulent meanness; for, in order to justify a barbarous conclusion, you have advanced a false position. The treaty we have formed with France is open, noble and generous. It is the true policy, founded on sound philosophy, and neither a surren­der or mortgage, as you would scandalously insinu­ate. I have seen every article, and speak from positive knowledge. In France, we have found an affectionate friend, a faithful ally; from Britain nothing but tyranny, cruelty, and infidelity.

But the happiness is, that the mischief you threaten, is not in your power to execute; and if it were, the punishment would return upon you, in a tenfold degree. The humanity of America, hath hitherto, restrained her from acts of retaliation, and the affection she retains for many individuals in England, who have fed, clothed, and comforted her prisoners, has, to the present day, warded off her resentment, and operated as a screen to the whole. But even these considerations must cease, when na­tional objects interfere and oppose them. Re­peated aggravations will provoke a retort, and po­licy justify the measure. We mean now to take you seriously up upon your own ground and principles, and as you do, so shall you be done by.

You ought to know, gentlemen, that England and Scotland, are far more exposed to incendiary [Page 165] desolation than America in her present state, can possibly be. We occupy a country, with but few towns, and whose riches consist in land and annual produce. The two last can susser but little, and that only within a very limited compass. In Bri­tain, it is otherwise. Her wealth lies chiefly in cities and large towns, the repositories of manufac­tures, and fleets of merchantmen.—There is not a nobleman's country seat but may be laid in ashes by a single person. Your own, may probably con­tribute to the proof: In short, there is no evil which cannot be returned, when you come to incen­diary mischief.—The ships in the Thames, may cer­tainly be easily set on fire, as the temporary bridge was a few years ago; yet of that affair, no discovery was ever made; and the loss you would sustain by such an event, executed at a proper sea­son, is infinitely greater than any you can inflict. The East India house, and the bank, neither, are, nor can be secure from this sort of destruction, and, as Dr. Price justly observes, a fire at the latter would bankrupt the nation. It has never been the custom of France and England, when at war, to make those havocs on each other, because the ease with which they could retaliate, rendered it as impolitic, as if each had destroyed his own.

But think not, gentlemen, that our distance se­cures you, or our invention fails us. We can much easier accomplish such a point than any nation in Eu­rope. [Page 166] We talk the same language, dress in the same habit, and appear with the same manners as yourselves. We can pass from one part of Eng­land to another unsuspected; many of us are as well acquainted with the country as you are, and should you impoliticly provoke our will, you will most assuredly lament the effects of it. Mischiefs of this kind, requires no army to execute them. The means are obvious, and the opportunities un­guardable. I hold up a warning piece to your senses, if you have any left, and "to the unhappy people likewise, whose affairs are committed to you*." I call not with the rancour of an enemy, but with the earnestness of a friend, on the deluded people of England, lest, between your blunders and theirs, they sink beneath the evils contrived for us.

"He who lives in a glass-house, says the Spa­nish proverb, should never begin throwing stones." This, gentlemen, is exactly your case, and you must be the most ignorant of mankind, or suppose us so, not to see on which side the balance of ac­counts will fall. There are many other modes of retaliation, which for several reasons, I choose not to mention. But, be assured of this, that the in­stant you put a threat in execution, a counter blow will follow it. If you openly profess yourselves savages, it is high time we should treat you as such, [Page 167] and if nothing but distress can recover you to rea­son, to punish, will become an office of charity.

While your fleet lay last winter in the Delaware, I offered my service to the Pensylvanian navy-board, then at Trenton, as one who would make a party with them, or any four or five gentlemen, on an expedi­tion down the river, to set fire to it, and though it was not then accepted, nor the thing personally attempted, it is more than probable, that your own folly will provoke a much more vulnerable part. Say not, when the mischief is done, that you had warning, and remember that we did not begin it, but mean to repay it. Thus much for your savage and impolitic threat.

In another part of your proclamation you say, "But if the honours of a military life, are become the object of the Americans, let them seek those honours, under the banners of their rightful sove­reign, and in fighting the battles of the united Bri­tish empire, against our late mutual and natural enemies." Surely! The union of absurdity with madness, was never marked with more distinguish­able lines than these. Your rightful sovereign as you call him, may do well enough for you, who dare not enquire into the humble capacities of the man; but we, who estimate persons and things by their real worth, cannot suffer our judgments to be so imposed upon; and, unless it is your wish to see him exposed, it ought to be your endeavour to [Page 168] keep him out of sight. The less you have to say about him the better. We have done with him, and that ought to be answer enough. You have often been told so. Strange! that the answer must be so often repeated. You go a begging with your king as with a brat, or with some unsaleable com­modity you were tired of; and though every body tells, no, no, still you keep hawking him about. But there is one who will have him in a little time, and as we have no inclination to disappoint you of a customer, we bid you nothing for him.

The impertinent folly of the paragraph I have just quoted, deserve no other notice than to be laughed at, and thrown by, but the principle on which it is founded, is detestable. We are invited to submit to a man who has attempted by every cruelty to destroy us, and to join him in making war against France, who is already at war against him for our support.

Can Bedlam, in concert with Lucifer, form a more mad and devilish request; Were it possible a people could sink into such apostacy, they would deserve to be swept from the earth, like the inhabi­tants of Sodom and Gomorrah. The proposition is an universal affront to the rank which man holds in the creation, and an indignity to him who placed him there. It supposes him made up with­out a spark of honour, and under no obligation to God or man.

[Page 169] What sort of men or Christians must you suppose the Americans to be, who, after seeing their most humble petitions insultingly rejected, the most griev­ous laws passed to distress them in every quarter, an undeclared war let loose upon them, and Indians and negroes invited to the slaughter; who after seeing their kindred murdered, their fellow citizens starved to death in prisons, and their houses and property destroyed and buried; who after the most serious appeals to heaven, the most solemn abjura­tion by oath of all government connected with you, and the most heart-felt pledges and protestations of faith to each other; and who, after soliciting the friendship, and entering into alliances with other nations, should at last break through all these obli­gations, civil and divine, by complying with your horrid and infernal proposal. Ought we ever after to be considered as a part of the human race? Or, ought we not rather to be blotted from the society of mankind, and become a spectacle of misery to the world? But there is something in corruption, which, like a jaundiced eye, transfers the colour of of itself to the object it looks upon, and sees every thing stained and impure; for unless you were capable of such conduct yourselves, you could never have supposed such a character in us. The offer fixes your infamy. It exhibits you as a nation without faith, with whom oaths and treaties are considered as trifles, and the breaking them, as the [Page 170] breaking of a bubble. Regard to decency or to rank, might have taught you better, or pride in­spired you, though virtue could not. There is not left a step in the degradation of character to which you can now descend; you have put your foot on the ground floor, and the key of the dungeon is turned upon you.

That the invitation may want nothing of being a complete monster, you have thought proper to finish it with an assertion which has no foundation, either in fact or philosophy; and as Mr. Ferguson, your secretary, is a man of letters, and has made civil society his study, and published a treatise on that subject, I address this part to him.

In the close of the paragraph which I last quoted, France is stiled the "natural enemy" of England, and by way of lugging us into some strange idea, she is stiled the "late mutual and natural enemy" of both countries. I deny that she ever was the na­tural enemy of either, and that there does not exist in nature such a principle. The expression is an unmeaning barbarism, and wholly unphilosophical, when applied to beings of the same species, let their station in the creation be what it may. We have a perfect idea of a natural enemy when we think of the devil, because the enmity is perpetual, unalter­able, and unabateable. It admits neither of peace, truce, or treaty; consequently the warfare is eternal, and therefore it is natural. But man with man [Page 171] cannot arrange in the same opposition. Their quarrels are accidental and equivocally created. They become friends or enemies at the change of temper, as the cast of interest inclines them. The Creator of man did not constitute them the natural enemy of each other. He has not made any one order of beings so. Even wolves may quarrel, still they herd together. If any two nations are so, then must all nations be so, otherwise it is not nature, but custom, and the offence frequently originates with the accuser. England is as truly the natural enemy of France, as France is of England, and, perhaps, more so. Separated from the rest of Eu­rope, she has contracted an unsocial habit of man­ners, and imagines in others the jealousy she creates in herself. Never long satisfied with peace, she supposes the discontent universal, and buoyed up with her own importance, conceives herself the only object pointed at. The expression has been often used, and always with a fraudulent design; for when the idea of a natural enemy is conceived, it prevents all other enquiries, and the real cause of the quarrel is hidden in the universality of the con­ceit. Men start at the notion of a natural enemy, and ask no other question. The cry obtains credi like the alarm of a mad dog, and is one of those kind of tricks, which, by operating on the com­mon passions, secures their interest through their folly.

[Page 172] But we, sir, are not to be thus imposed upon. We live in a large world, and have extended our ideas beyond the limits and prejudices of an island. We hold out the right hand of friendship to all the universe, and we conceive there to be a sociality in the manners of France, which is much better dis­posed to peace and negociation than that of Eng­land, and until the latter becomes more civilized, she cannot expect to live long at peace with any power. Her common language is vulgar and of­fensive, and children, with their milk, suck in the rudiments of insult.—"The arm of Britain! The mighty arm of Britain! Britain that shakes the earth to its center and its poles! The scourge of France! The terror of the world! That governs with a nod, and pours down vengeance like a God." This language neither makes a nation great or little; but it shews a savageness of manners, and has a tendency to keep national animosity alive. The entertainments of the stage are calculated to the same end, and almost every public exhibition is tinctured with insult. Yet England is always in dread of France. Terrified at the apprehension of an invasion. Suspicious of being outwitted in a treaty and privately cringing, though she is publicly of­fending. Let her therefore, reform her manners, and do justice, and she will find the idea of a natural enemy, to be only a phantom of her own ima­gination.

[Page 173] Little did I think, at this period of the war, to see a proclamation which could promise you no one useful purpose whatever, and tend only to expose you. One would think you were just awakened from a four years dream, and knew nothing of what had passed in the interval. Is this a time to be offering pardons, or renewing the long forgot­ten subjects of charters and taxation? Is it worth your while, after every force has failed you, to re­treat under the shelter of argument and persuasion? Or can you think that we, with nearly half your army prisoners, and in alliance with France, are to be begged or threatened into a submission by a piece of paper? But as commissioners, at a hun­dred pounds sterling a week each, you conceive yourselves bound to do something, and the genius of ill-fortune told you, you must write.

For my own part I have not put pen to paper these several months. Convinced of your superio­rity by the issue of every campaign, I was inclined to hope, that that which all the rest of the world now see, would become visible to you, and there­fore felt unwilling to ruffle your temper by fretting you with repetitions and discoveries. There have been intervals of hesitation in your conduct, from which it seemed a pity to disturb you, and a cha­rity to leave you to yourselves. You have often stopt, as if you intended to think, but your thoughts have ever been too early or too late.

[Page 174] There was a time when Britain disdained to an­swer, and even to hear a petition from America. That time is past, and she, in her turn, is petitioning our acceptance. We now stand on higher ground, and offer her peace; and the time will come, when she, perhaps in vain, will ask it from us. The latter case is as probable as the former ever was. She cannot refuse to acknowledge our independence with greater obstinacy than she before refused to repeal her laws; and if America alone could bring her to the one, united with France she will re­duce her to the other. There is something in obstinacy which differs from every other passion, whenever it fails it never recovers, but either breaks like iron, or crumbles sulkily away like a fractured arch. Most other passions have their periods of fatigue and rest; their sufferings and their cure; but obstinacy has no resource, and the first wound is mortal. You have already begun to give it up, and you will, from the natural construction of the vice, find yourselves both obliged and inclined to do so.

If you look back you see nothing but loss and disgrace. If you look forward, the same scene continues, and the close is an impenetrable gloom. You may plan and execute little mis­chiefs, but are they worth the expence they cost you, or will such partial evils have any effect [Page 175] on the general cause? Your expedition to Egg-Harbour, will be felt at a distance like an at­tack upon a hen-roost, and expose you in Eu­rope with a sort of childish phrensy. It is well worth while to keep an army to protect you in writing proclamations, or to get once a year into winter quarters? Possessing yourselves of towns is not conquest, but convenience, and in which you will, one day or the other, be tre­panned. Your retreat from Philadelphia was only a timely escape, and your next expedition may be less fortunate.

It would puzzle all the politicians in the universe to conceive what you stay for, or why you should have staid so long. You are prosecuting a war in which you confess you have neither object nor hope, and that conquest, could it be ef­fected, would not repay the charges: In the mean while, the rest of your affairs are running into ruin, and a European war kindled against you. In such a situation, there is neither doubt or difficulty; the first rudiments of reason will de­termine the choice, for if peace can be pro­cured with more advantages than even a con­quest can be obtained, he must be an ideot indeed that hesitates.

But you are probably buoyed up by a set of wretched mortals, who, having deceived them­selves, are cringing with the duplicity of a spaniel [Page 176] for a little temporary bread. Those men will tell you just what you please. It is their in­terest to amuse, in order to lengthen out their protection. They study to keep you amongst them for that very purpose; and in proportion as you disregard their advice, and grow callous to their complaints, they will stretch into improba­bility, and pepper off their flattery the higher. Characters like these are to be found in every country, and every country will despise them.

To the People of England.

THERE are stages in the business of serious life in which to amuse is cruel, but to deceive is to destroy; and it is of little consequence in the conclusion, whether men deceive themselves or sub­mit by a kind of mutual consent, to the impositions of each other. That England has been long under the influence of delusion or mistake, needs no other proof than the unexpected and wretched situation she is now involved in: And so powerful has been the influence, that no provision was ever made or thought of against the misfortune, because the pos­sibility of its happening was never conceived.

The general and successful resistance of Ame­rica, the conquest of Burgoyne, and a war with France, were treated in parliament as the dreams of a discontented opposition, or a distempered ima­gination. They were beheld as objects unworthy of a serious thought, and the bare intimation of [Page 178] them afforded the ministry a triumph of laughter. Short triumph indeed! For every thing which has been predicted has happened, and all that was pro­mised have failed. A long series of politics so re­markably distinguished by a succession of misfor­tunes, without one alleviating turn, must certainly have something in it systematically wrong. It is sufficient to awaken the most credulous into suspi­cion, and most obstinate into thought. Either the means in your power are insufficient, or the mea­sures ill-planned; either the execution has been bad, or the thing attempted impracticable; or to speak more emphatically, either you are not able, or Heaven is not willing. For, why is it that you have not conquered us? Who, or what has pre­vented you? You have had every opportunity you could desire, and succceded to your utmost wish in every preparatory means. Your fleets and armies have arrived in America without an acci­dent. No uncommon misfortune hath intervened. No foreign nation hath interfered until the time you had allotted for victory was past. The oppo­sition either in or out of parliament, neither discon­certed your measures, retarded or diminished your force. They only foretold your sate. Every mi­nisterial scheme was carried with as high a hand as if the whole nation had been unanimous. Every thing wanted was asked for, and every thing asked [Page 179] for was granted. A greater force was not within the compass of your abilities to send, and the time you sent it was, of all others, the most favourable. You were then at rest with the whole world beside. You had the range of every court in Europe uncon­tradicted by us. You amused us with a tale of commissioners of peace, and under that disguise collected a numerous army and came almost unex­pectedly upon us. The force was much greater than we looked for; and that which we had to op­pose it with was unequal in numbers, badly armed and poorly disciplined; besides which, it was em­bodied only for a short time, and expired within a few months after your arrival. We had govern­ments to form; measures to concert; an army to raise and train, and every necessary article to im­port or to create. Our non-importation scheme had exhausted our stores, and your command by sea, intercepted our supplies. We were a people un­known, and unconnected with the political world, and strangers to the disposition of foreign powers. Could you possibly wish for a more favorable con­junction of circumstances? Yet all these have hap­pened and passed away, and, as it were, left you with a laugh. They are likewise events of such an original nativity as can never happen again, unless a new world should arise from the ocean.

If any thing can be a lesson to presumption, surely the circumstances of this war will have their [Page 180] effect. Had Britain been defeated by any Euro­pean power, her pride would have drawn consola­tion from the importance of her conquerors; but in the present case, she is excelled by those she affected to despise, and her own opinion retorting on herself, become an aggravation of her disgrace. Misfor­tune and experience are lost upon mankind, when they produce neither reflection nor reformation. Evils, like poisons, have their uses, and there are diseases which no other remedy can reach. It has been the crime and folly of England to suppose herself invincible, and that, without acknowledging or perceiving that a full third of her strength was drawn from the country she is now at war with. The arm of Britain has been spoken of as the arm of the Almighty, and she has lived of late, as if she thought the whole world created for her diversion. Her politics, instead of civilizing, has tended to brutalize mankind, and under the vain unmeaning title of "Defender of the Faith," she has made war, like an Indian, against the religion of huma­nity. Her cruelties in the East Indies, will NEVER, NEVER be forgotten; and, it is somewhat re­markable, that the produce of that ruined country, transported to America, should there kindle up a war, to punish the destroyer. The chain is conti­nued, though with a kind of mysterious uniformity, both in the crime and the punishment. The latter [Page 181] runs parallel with the former; and time and fate will give it a perfect illustration.

Where information is withheld, ignorance be­comes a reasonable excuse; and one would charita­bly hope, that the people of England do not encou­rage cruelty from choice, but from mistake. Their recluse situation, surrounded by the sea, preserves them from the calamities of war, and keeps them in the dark as to the conduct of their own armies. They see not, therefore they feel not. They tell the tale that is told them, and believe it, and ac­customed to no other news than their own, they re­ceive it, stript of its horrors, and prepared for the palate of the nation, through the channel of the London Gazette. They are made to believe that their generals and armies differ from those of other nations, and have nothing of rudeness or bar­barity in them. They suppose them what they wish them to be. They feel a disgrace in thinking otherwise, and naturally encourage the belief from a partiality to themselves. There was a time when I felt the same prejudices, and reasoned from the same errors; but experience, sad and painful expe­rience, has taught me better. What the conduct of former armies was, I know not, but what the conduct of the present is, I well know. It is low, cruel, indolent, and prossigate: and had the people of America no other cause for separation than what [Page 182] the army has occasioned, that alone is cause enough.

The field of politics in England is far more ex­tensive than that of news. Men have a right to rea­son for themselves, and though they cannot contra­dict the intelligence in the London Gazette, they can frame upon it what sentiments they please. But the misfortune is, that a general ignorance has prevailed over the whole nation respecting Ameri­ca. The ministry and the minority have both been wrong. The former was always so; the latter, only lately so. Politics to be executively right, must have a unity of means and time, and a defect in either overthrows the whole. The ministry re­jected the plans of the minority while they were practicable, and joined in them, when they became impracticable. From wrong measures, they got into wrong time, and have now completed the circle of absurdity by closing it upon themselves.

It was my fate to come to America a few months before the breaking out of hostilities. I found the disposition of the people such, that they might have been led by a thread, and governed by a reed. Their suspicion was quick and penetrating, but their attachment to Britain was obstinate, and it was, at that time, a kind of treason to speak against it. They disliked the ministry, but they esteemed the nation. Their idea of grievance operated without resentment, and their single object was re­conciliation, [Page 183] Bad as I believed the ministry to be, I never conceived them capable of a measure so rash and wicked as the commencing of hostilities; much less did I imagine the nation would en­courage it. I viewed the dispute as a kind of law­suit, in which I supposed the parties would find a way either to decide or settle it. I had no thoughts of independence, or of arms. The world could not then have persuaded me, that I should be ei­ther a soldier or an author. If I had any talents for either, they were buried in me, and might ever have continued so, had not the necessity of the times dragged and driven them into action. I had formed my plan of life, and conceiving myself hap­py, wished every body else so. But when the country into which I had just put my foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir. Those who had been long settled and had something to defend; those who had just come had something to pursue; and the call, and the concern was equal and univer­sal. For in a country where all men were once ad­venturers, the difference of a few years in their arri­val, could make none in their right.

The breaking out of hostilities, opened a new suspicion in the politics of America, which, though at that time very rare, has been since proved to be very right. What I allude to, is, "A secret and fixt determination in the British cabinet to annex [Page 184] America to the crown of England as a conquered country." If this be taken as the object, then the whole line of conduct pursued by the ministry, though rash in its origin, and ruinous in its conse­quences, is nevertheless uniform and consistent in its parts. It applies to every case, and resolves every difficulty. But if taxation, or any thing else taken in its room, then there is no proportion be­tween the object and the charge. Nothing but the whole soil and property of the country can be placed as a possible equivalent against the millions which the ministry expended. No taxes raised in America could possibly repay it. A revenue of two millions sterling a year, would not discharge the sum and interest accumulated thereon, in twenty years.

Reconciliation never appears to have been the wish or the object of administration, they looked on conquest as certain and infallible, and under that persuasion, sought to drive the Americans into what they might stile, a general rebellion, and then crushing them with arms in their hands, reap the rich harvest of a general confiscation, and silence them for ever. The dependants at court were too numerous to be provided for in England. The market for plunder in the East Indies were over; and the profligacy of government required that a a new mine should be opened, and that mine, could be no other than America conquered and [Page 185] forfeited. They had no where else to go. Every other channel was drained; and extravagance with the thirst of a drunkard, was gaping for supplies.

If the ministry deny this to have been their plan, it becomes them to explain what was their plan. For either they have abused us in coveting pro­perty they never laboured for, or they have abused you in expending an amazing sum upon an incom­petent object. Taxation, as I mentioned before, could never be worth the charge of obtaining it by arms; and any kind of formal obedience which America could have made, would have weighed with the lightness of a laugh against such a load of expence. It is, therefore, most probable, that the ministry will at last justify their policy by their dis­honesty, and openly declare, that their original de­sign was conquest: And in this case, it well becomes the people of England, to consider how far the na­tion would have been benefited by the success.

In a general view, there are few conquests that repay the charge of making them, and mankind are pretty well convinced, that it can never be worth their while to go to war for profit sake. If they are made war upon, their country invaded, or their existence at stake, it is their duty to defend and preserve themselves, but in every other light, and from every other cause, is war inglorious and detestable. But to return to the case in question—

When conquests are made of foreign countries, it is supposed that the COMMERCE and DO­MINION [Page 186] of the country which made them are extended. But this could neither be the object nor the consequence of the present war. You en­joyed the whole commerce before. It could re­ceive no possible addition by a conquest, but on the contrary, must diminish as the inhabitants were reduced in numbers and wealth. You had the DOMINION over the country which you used to have, and had no complaint to make against her for breach of any part of the compact between you and her, or contending against any established cus­tom, commercial, political or territorial. The country and commerce were both your own when you BEGAN to conquer, in the same manner and form as they had been your own an hundred years before. Nations have sometimes been in­duced to make conquests for the sake only of re­ducing the power of their enemies, or bringing it to a balance with their own. But this could be no part of your plan. No foreign authority was claimed here, neither was any such authority sus­pected by you, or acknowledged, or imagined by us. What then, in the name of heaven, could you go to war for? or what chance could you possibly have in the event, but either to hold the same country which you held before, and that in a much worse condition, or to lose with an amazing expence, what you might have retained without a farthing charges.

[Page 187] War never can be the interest of a trading nation, any more than quarrelling can be profitable to a man in business. But to make war with those who trade with us, is like setting a bull-dog upon a customer at the shop door. The least degree of common sense shews the madness of the latter, and it will apply with the same force of conviction to the former. Piratical nations, having neither commerce or commodities of their own to lose, may make war upon all the world, and lucratively find their account in it. But it is quite otherwise with Britain. For, besides the stoppage of trade in time of war, she exposes more of her own property to be lost, than she has the chance of taking from others. Some ministerial gentlemen in parliament have mentioned the greatness of her trade, as an apology for the greatness of her loss. This is mise­rable politics indeed! because, it ought to have been given as a reason for her not engaging in a war at first. The coast of America commands the West India trade, almost as effectually as the coast of Africa does that of the Streights, and England can no more carry to the former, without the consent of America, than she can the latter without a Me­diterranean pass.

In whatever light the war with America is con­sidered upon commercial principles, it is evidently the interest of the people of England not to sup­port it; and why it has been supported so long [Page 188] against the clearest demonstrations of truth and na­tional advantage, is to me, and must be to all the reasonable world, a matter of actonishment. Per­haps, it may be said, that I live in America, and write this from interest. To this I reply, that my principles are universal. My attachment is to all the world, and not to any particular part, and if what I advance is right, no matter where, or who it comes from. We have given the proclamation of your commissioners a currency in our newspa­pers, and I have no doubt but you will give this a place in yours. To oblige and be obliged is fair.

Before I dismiss this part of my address, I shall mention one more circumstance in which I think the people of England have been equally mistaken; and then proceed to other matter.

There is such an idea existing in the world, as that of NATIONAL HONOUR, and this falsely understood, is oftentimes the cause of war. In a christian and philosophical sense, mankind seem to have stood still at individual civilization, and to retain as nations, all the original rudeness of nature. Peace by treaty, is only a cessation of vio­lence, for a reformation of sentiment. It is a sub­stitute for a principle that is wanting, and ever will be wanting till the idea of NATIONAL HO­NOUR be rightly understood. As individuals, we profess ourselves christians, but as nations, we are heathens, Romans, and what not. I remember the [Page 189] late Admiral Saunders declaring in the House of Commons, and that in the time of peace, "That the city of Madrid laid in ashes, was not a sufficient atonement for the Spaniards taking off the rudder of an English sloop of war." I do not ask whether this is christianity or morality, I ask whether it is decency? whether it is proper language for a na­tion to use? In private life we should call it by the plain name of bullying, and the elevation of rank cannot alter its character. It is, I think, exceed­ingly easy to define, what ought to be understood by national honour, for that which is the best character for an individual, is the best character for a nation; and wherever the latter exceeds or falls beneath the former, there is a departure from the line of true greatness.

I have thrown out this observation with a design of applying it to Great Britain. Her idea of na­tional honour seems devoid of that benevolence of heart, that universal expansion of philanthropy, and that triumph over the rage of vulgar prejudice, without which, man is inferior to himself, and a companion of common animals. To know whom she shall regard or dislike, she asks what country they are of, what religion they profefs, and what property they enjoy. Her idea of national honour seems to consist in national insult, and that to be a great people, is to be neither a christian, a philoso­pher, or a gentleman, but to threaten with the rude­ness [Page 190] of a bear, and to devour with the ferocity of a lion. This, perhaps, may found harsh and un­courtly, but it is too true, and the more is the pity.

I mention this only as her general character. But towards America she has observed no character at all, and destroyed by her conduct what she as­sumed in her title. She set out with the title of Pa­rent or Mother Country. The association of ideas which naturally accompany this expression, are filled with every thing that is fond, tender, and forbearing. They have an energy particular to themselves, and overlooking the accidental attach­ment of common affections, apply with peculiar softness to the first feelings of the heart. It is a po­litical term which every mother can feel the force of, and every child can judge of. It needs no painting of mine to set it off, for nature only can do it justice.

But has any part of your conduct to America corresponded with the title you set up? If in your general national character you are unpolished and severe, in this you are inconsistent and unnatural, and you must have exceeding false notions of na­tional honour, to suppose that the world can admire a want of humanity, or that national honour de­pends on the violence of resentment, the inflexibi­lity of temper, or the vengeance of execution.

I would willingly convince you, and that with as much temper as the times will suffer me to do, [Page 191] that as you opposed your own interest by quarrelling with us, so likewise your national honour, rightly conceived and understood, was no ways called upon to enter into a war with America; had you studied true greatness of heart, the first and fairest ornament of mankind, you would have acted directly con­trary to all that you have done, and the world would have ascribed it to a generous cause; besides which, you had (though with the assistance of this country) secured a powerful name by the last war. You were known and dreaded abroad; and it would have been wise in you to have suffered the world to have slept undisturbed under that idea. It was to you a force existing without expence. It produced to you all the advantages of real power, and you were stronger through the universality of that charm than any future fleets and armies may probably make you. Your greatness was so secured and inter­woven with your silence, that you ought never to have awakened mankind, and had nothing to do but to be quiet. Had you been true politicians you would have seen all this, and continued to draw from the magic of a name, the force and authority, of a nation.

Unwise as you were in breaking the charm, you were still more unwise in the manner of doing of it. Samson only told the secret, but you have per­formed the operation; you have shaven your own head, and wantonly thrown away the locks. Ame­rica [Page 192] was the hair from which the charm was drawn that infatuated the world. You ought to have quarrelled with no power; but with her upon no account. You had nothing to fear from any condescension you might make. You might have humoured her, even if there had been no justice in her claims, without any risk to your reputation; for Europe fascinated by your same, would have ascribed it to your benovolence, and America, in­toxicated by the great, would have slumbered in her fetters.

But this method of studying the progress of the passions, in order to ascertain the probable conduct of mankind, is a philosophy in politics, which those who preside at St. James's have no conception of. They know no other influence than corruption, and reckon all their probabilities from precedent. A new case, is to them a new world, and while they are seeking for a parallel, they get lost. The talents of Lord Mansfield can be estimated, at best, no higher than those of a sophist. He understands the subtleties, but not the elegance of nature? and by continually viewing mankind through the cold medium of the law, never thinks of penetrating into the warmer region of the mind. As for Lord North, it is his happiness to have in him more phi­losophy than sentiment, for he bears flogging like a top, and sleeps the better for it. His punishment be­comes his support, for while he suffers the lash for his sins, he keeps himself up by twirling about. In [Page 193] politics, he is a good arithmetician, and in every thing else, nothing at all.

There is one circumstance which comes so much within Lord North's province as a financier, that I am surprised it should escape him, which is the dif­ferent abilities of the two countries in supporting the expence; for, strange as it may seem, England is not a match for America in this particular. By a curious kind of revolution in accounts, the people of England seem to mistake their poverty for their riches, that is, they reckon their national debt as part of their national wealth. They make the same kind of error which a man would do, who, after mortgaging his estate, should add the money bor­rowed, to the full value on the estate, in order to count up his worth, and in this case, he would con­ceit that he got rich by running into debt. Just thus it is with England. The government owed at the beginning of this war, one hundred and thirty five millions sterling, and though the individuals to whom it was due, had a right to reckon their shares as so much private property, yet to the na­tion collectively, it was so much poverty. There is as effectual limits to public debts as to private ones, for when once the money borrowed is so great as to require the whole yearly revenue to discharge the interest thereon, there is an end to a farther bor­rowing; in the same manner as when the interest of a man's debts amounts to the yearly income of [Page 194] his estate, there is an end to his credit, This is nearly the case with England; the interest of her present debt being at least equal to one half of her yearly revenue, so that out of ten millions annually collected by taxes, she has but five she can call her own.

The very reverse of this was the case with Ame­rica; she began the war without any debt upon her, and in order to carry it on, she neither raised mo­ney by taxes, nor borrowed it upon interest, but created it; and her situation at this time, continues so much the reverse of yours, that taxing would make her rich, whereas it would make you poor. When we shall have sunk the sum which we have created, we shall then be out of debt, be just as rich as when we began, and all the while we are doing it, shall feel no difference, because the value will rise, as the quantity decreases.

There was not a country in the world, so capa­ble of bearing the expence of a war, as America; not only, because, she was not in debt when she be­gan, but because the country is young, and capa­ble of infinite improvement, and has an almost boundless tract of new lands in store, whereas, Eng­land has got to her extent of age and growth, and has no unoccupied land, or property in reserve. The one is like a young heir, coming to a large im­proveable estate, the other like an old man whose [Page 195] chances are over, and his estate mortgaged for half its worth.

In the second number of the Crisis, which I find has been re-published in England, I endeavoured to to set forth the impracticability of conquering America. I stated every case, that I conceived could possibly happen, and ventured to predict its consequence. As my conclusions were drawn not artfully, but naturally, they have all proved to be true. I was upon the spot; knew the politics of America, her strength, and resources; and, by a train of services, the best in my power to render, was honoured with the friendship of the congress▪ the ar­my, and the people. I considered the cause a just one. I know and feel it a just one, and under that confi­dence never made my own profit or loss an object. My endeavour was to have the matter well under­stood on both sides, and I conceived myself tender­ing a general service, by setting forth to the one the impossibility of being conquered, and to the other, the impossibility of conquering. Most of the arguments made use of by the ministry for sup­porting the war, are the very arguments that ought to have been used against supporting it; and the plans, by which they thought to conquer, are the very plans, in which they were sure to be defeated. They have taken every thing up at the wrong end. Their ignorance is astonishing, and were you in my [Page 196] situation you would see it. They may, perhaps, have your confidence, but I am persuaded, they would make very indifferent members of congress. I know what England is, and what America is, and from the compound of knowledge, am better enabled to judge of the issue, than what the king or any of his ministers can be.

In this number, I have endeavoured to shew the ill policy and disadvantages of the war. I believe many of my remarks are new. Those which are not so, I have studied to improve, and place in a manner that may be clear and striking, Your fail­ure, is, I am persuaded, as certain as fate. America is above your reach. She is, at least, your equal in the world, and her independance, neither rests upon your consent, or can be prevented by your arms. In short, you spend your substance in vain, and impoverish yourself without a hope.

But suppose you had conquered America, what advantage collectively or individually, as mer­chants, manufacturers, or conquerors, could you have looked for. This is an object you seem never to have attended to. Listening for the sound of victory, and led away by the phrenzy of arms, you neglected to reckon either the cost or the consequences. You must all pay towards the expence; the poorest among you must bear his share, and it is both your right and duty to weigh seriously the matter. Had America been [Page 197] conquered, she might have been parcelled out in grants to the favourites at court, but no share of it would have fallen to you. Your taxes would not have been lessened, because, she would have been in no condition to have paid any towards your relief. We are rich by a contrivance of our own, which would have ceased, as soon as you became masters. Our Paper money will be of no use in England, and silver and gold we have none. In the last war you made many conquests, but were any of your taxes lessened thereby? On the contrary, were you not taxed to pay for the charge of making them, and have not the same been the case in every war?

To the parliament, I beg to address myself in a particular manner They appear to have supposed themselves partners in the chace, and to have hunted with the lion from an expectation of a right in the booty; but in this, it is most probably they would, as legislators, have been disappointed. The case is quite a new one, and many unfore­seen difficulties would have arisen thereon. The parliament claimed a legislative right over America, and the war originated from that pretence. But the army is supposed to belong to the crown, and if America had been conquered through their means, the claims of the legislature would have been suffocated in the conquest. Ceded, or con­quered countries, are supposed to be out of the au­thority [Page 198] of parliament. Taxation is exercised over them by prerogative and not by law. It was attempted to be done in the Grenades a few years ago, and the only reason why it was not done, was, because, the crown had made a prior relinquishment of its claim. Therefore, parliament have been all this while sup­porting measures for the establishment of their au­thority, in the issue of which, they would have been triumphed over by prerogative. This might have opened a new and interesting opposition between the parliament and the crown. The crown would have said that it conquered for itself, and that to conquer for parliament was an unknown case. The parliament might have replied, that America not being a foreign country, but a country in rebel­lion, could not be said to be conquered, but reduced; and thus continued their claim, by disowning the term. The crown might have rejoined, that how­ever America might be considered at first, she be­came foreign at last, by a declaration of indepen­dence, and a treaty with France; and that her case being by that treaty, put within the law of nations, was out of the law of parliament. The parlia­ment might have maintained, that as their claim over America had never been surrendered, so neither could it be taken away. The crown might have insisted, that though the claim of parliament could not be taken away yet being an inferior, might be [Page 199] superceded; and that, whether the claim was with­drawn from the object, or the object taken from the claim, the same separation ensued; and that America being subdued after a treaty with France, was to all intents and purposes a regal conquest, and of course the sole property of the king. The parliament, as the legal delegates of the people, might have con­tended against the term "inferior," and rested the case upon the antiquity of power; and this would have brought on a set of very interesting and ration­al questions.

  • First, What is the original fountain of power and honor in any country?
  • Secondly, Whether the prerogative does not be­long to the people?
  • Thirdly, Whether there is any such thing as the English constitution?
  • Fourthly, Of what use is the crown to the people?
  • Fifthly, Whether he who invented a crown was not an enemy to mankind?
  • Sixthly, Whether it is not a shame for a man to spend a million a year, and do no good for it, and whether the money might not be better applied?
  • Seventhly, Whether such a man is not better dead than alive?
  • Eighthly, Whether a congress constituted like that of America, is not the most happy and consist­ent [Page 200] form of government in the world?
  • —With a number of others of the same import.

In short, the contention about the dividend might have distracted the nation; for nothing is more common than to agree in the conquest and quarrel for the prize; therefore it is, perhaps, a happy circumstance, that our successes have pre­vented the dispute.

If the parliament had been thrown out in their claim, which it is most probable they would, the nation likewise would have been thrown out in their expectation; for as the taxes would have been laid by the crown, without the parliament, the revenue arising therefrom, if any could have arose, would not have gone into the exchequer, but into the privy purse, and so far from lessening the taxes, would not even have been added to them, but served only as pocket money to the crown. The more I reflect on this matter, the more I am aston­ished at the blindness and ill-policy of my coun­trymen, whose wisdom seems to operate without discernment, and their strength without an object.

To the great bulwark of the nation, I mean the mercantile and manufacturing part thereof, I like­wise present my address. It is your interest to see America an independent country, and not a con­quered one. If conquered, she is ruined; and if ruined, poor; consequently the trade will be a trifle, and her credit doubtful. If independent, [Page 201] she flourishes, and from her flourishing, must your profits arise. It matters nothing to you, who go­verns America, if your manufactures find a con­sumption there. Some articles will consequently be obtained from other places, and right they should; but the demand of others, will increase by the great influx of inhabitants which a state of independence and peace will occasion, and on the final event you may be enriched. The commerce of America is perfectly free, and ever will be so. She will consign away no part of it to any nation. She has not to her friends, and certainly will not to her enemies, though it is probable that your narrow-minded poli­ticians, thinking to please you thereby, may some time or other make such an unnecessary proposal. Trade flourishes best when it is free, and it is weak policy to attempt to fetter it. Her treaty with France is on the most liberal and generous princi­ples, and the French in their conduct towards her, have proved themselves to be philosophers, politi­cians, and gentlemen.

To the ministry I likewise address myself. You, gentlemen, have studied the ruin of your country, from which it is not within your abilities to rescue her. Your attempts to recover are as ridiculous as your plans, which involved her, are detestable. The commissioners being about to depart, will pro­bably bring you this, and with it my sixth number to them; and in so doing they carry back more [Page 202] COMMON SENSE than they brought, and you will likewise have more than when you sent them.

Having thus addressed you severally, I conclude by addressing you collectively. It is a long lane that has no turning. A period of sixteen years of misconduct and misfortune, is certainly long enough for any one nation to suffer under; and upon a sup­position that war is not declared between France and you, I beg to place a line of conduct before you that will easily lead you out of all your trou­bles. It has been hinted before, and cannot be too much attended to.

Suppose America had remained unknown to Europe till the present year, and that Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, in another voyage round the world, had made the first discovery of her in the self same condition she is now in, of arts, arms, numbers, and civilization. What, I ask, in that case, would have been your conduct towards her, for THAT will point out what it ought to be now? The problems and their solutions are equal, and the right line of the one is the parallel of the other. The question takes in every circum­stance that can possibly arise. It reduces politics to a simple thought, and is moreover a mode of in­vestigation, in which, while you are studying your interest, the simplicity of the case will cheat you into good temper. You have nothing to do but to sup­pose you have found America, and she appears [Page 203] found to your hand, and, while in the joy of your heart you stand still to admire her, the path of politics rises straight before you.

Were I disposed to paint a contrast, I could easily set off what you have done in the present case against what you would have done in THAT case, and, by justly opposing them, conclude a picture that would make you blush. But, as when any of the prouder passions are hurt, it is much better phi­losophy to let a man slip into a good temper, than to attack him in a bad one; for that reason, there­fore, I only state the case, and leave yourselves to reflect upon it.

To go a little back into politics, it will be found that the true interests of Britain lay in proposing and promoting the independence of America immedi­ately after the last peace; for the expence which Britain had then incurred by defending America, as her own dominions, ought to have shewn her the policy and necessity of changing the STILE of the country, as the best probable method of preventing future wars and expence, and the only method by which she could hold the commerce without the charge of sovereignty. Besides which, the title she assumed of parent country, led to, and pointed out, the propriety, wisdom and advantage of a sepa­ration; for as in private life, children grow into men, and, by setting up for themselves, extend and secure the interest of the whole family, so in the [Page 204] settlement of colonies large enough to admit of maturity, the same policy should be pursued, and the same consequences would follow. Nothing hurts the affections both of parents and children so much, as living too closely connected, and keep­ing up the distinction too long. Domineering will not do over those, who by a progress in life are become equal in rank to their parents, that is, when they have families of their own; and though they may conceive themselves the subjects of their ad­vice, will not suppose them the objects of their government. I do not, by drawing this parallel, mean to admit the title of PARENT COUN­TRY, because, if due any where, it is due to Eu­rope collectively, and the first settlers from Eng­land were driven here by prosecution. I mean only to introduce the term for the sake of policy, and to show from your title, the line of your interest.

When you saw the state of strength and opu­lence, and that by her own industry, which America had arrived at, you ought to have advised her to have set up for herself, and proposed an alliance of interest with her, and, in so doing, you would have drawn, and that at her own expence, more real ad­vantage, and more military supplies and assistance, both of ships and men, than from any weak and wrangling government you could exercise over her. In short, had you studied only the domestic poli­tics [Page 205] of a family, you would have learned how to govern the state; but, instead of this easy and na­tural line, you flew out into every thing which was wild and outrageous, till by following the passion and stupidity of the pilot, you wrecked the vessel within sight of the shore.

Having shown what you ought to have done, I now proceed to shew the reason why it was not done. The caterpillar circle of the court, had an interest to pursue distinct from, and opposed to yours, for though by the independence of America, and an alliance therewith, the trade would have continued, if not increased, as in many articles neither country can go to a better market, and, though by defend­ing and protecting herself, she would have been no expence to you, and consequently your national charges would have decreased, and your taxes might have been proportionally lessened thereby; yet the striking off so many places from the court calendar was put in opposition to the interest of the nation. The loss of thirteen government ships, with their appendages here and in England, is a shocking sound in the ear of a hungry courtier. Your pre­sent king and minister will be the ruin of you; and you had better risk a revolution and call a congress, than be thus led on from madness to despair, and from despair to ruin. America has set you the ex­ample, and may you follow it and be sree.

[Page 206] I now come to the last part—a war with France. This is what no man in his senses will advise you to, and all good men would wish to prevent. Whether France will declare war against you, is not for me in this place to mention, or to hint even if I knew it, but it must be madness in you to do it first. The matter is now come to a full crisis, and peace is easy, if willingly set about. Whatever you may think, France has behaved handsomely to you. She would have been unjust to herself to have acted otherwise than she did; and having accepted our offer of alliance, she gave you genteel notice of it. There was nothing in her conduct reserved or in­delicate; and, while she announced her determina­tion to support her treaty, she left you to give the first offence. America, on her part, has exhibited a character of firmness to the world. Unprepared and unarmed, without form or government, she singly opposed a nation that domineered over half the globe. The greatness of the deed demands respect; and, though you may feel resentment, you are compelled both to WONDER and AD­MIRE.

Here I rest my arguments, and finish my ad­dress, such as it is: it is a gift, and you are welcome. It was always my design to dedicate a CRISIS to you, when the time should come that would pro­perly MAKE IT A CRISIS; and when, likewise, I should catch myself in a temper to write it, and [Page 207] suppose you in a condition to read it. THAT time is now arrived, and with it the opportunity of conveyance. For the commissioners—POOR COMMISSIONERS! having proclaimed, that "YET FORTY DAYS AND NINEVEH SHALL BE OVERTHROWN" have waited out the date, and, discontented with their God, are returning to their gourd. And all the harm I wish them, is, that it may not WITHER about their cars, and that they may not make their exit in the belly of a whale.


P.S. Though, in the tranquility of my mind, I have concluded with a laugh, yet I have something to mention to the COMMISSIONERS, which to them is serious, and worthy their attention. Their authority is derived from an act of parliament, which likewise describes and LIMITS their OF­FICIAL powers. Their commission, therefore, is only a recital, and personal investiture, of those powers, or a nomination and description of the per­sons who are to execute them. Had it contained any thing contrary to, or gone beyond the line of, the written law from which it is derived and by which it is bound, it would, by the English consti­tution, have been treason in the crown, and the king been subject to an impeachment. He dared not, therefore, put in his commission what you [Page 208] have put in your proclamation, that is, he dared not have authorised you, in that commission, to burn and destroy, or to threaten to burn and destroy, any thing in America. You are both in the ACT, and in the COMMISSION, stiled COMMISSION­ERS FOR RESTORING PEACE, and the methods for doing it are there pointed out. Your last proclamation is signed by you, as commission­ers UNDER THAT ACT. You make parlia­ment the patron of its contents. Yet in the body of it, you insert matters contrary both to the spirit and letter of the act, and what likewise your king dared not have put in his commission to you. The state of things in England, gentlemen, is too tick­lish for you to run hazards. You are ACCOUNT­ABLE TO PARLIAMENT FOR THE EX­ECUTION OF THAT ACT ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF IT. Your heads may pay for breaking it, for you certainly have broke it by exceeding it. And as a friend, who would wish you to escape the paw of the lion as well as the belly of the whale, I civilly hint to you, TO KEEP WITHIN COMPASS.

Sir Harry Clinton, strictly speaking, is as ac­countable as the rest; though a general, he is like­wise a commissioner, acting under a superior autho­rity. His first obedience is to the act; and his plea of being a general, will not and cannot clear him as a commissioner, for that would suppose the crown, [Page 209] in its single capacity, to have the power of dispen­sing with a single act of parliament. Your situa­tions, gentlemen, are nice and critical, and the more so, because England is unsettled. Take heed! Remember the times of Charles the First! For Laud and Stafford fell by trusting to a hope like yours.

Having thus shewn you the danger of your pro­clamation, I now shew you the folly of it. The means contradict the design. You threaten to lay waste, in order to render America a useless ac­quisition of alliance to France. I reply, that the more destruction you commit, (if you could do it,) the more valuable to France you make that alli­ance. You can destroy only houses and goods; and by so doing you encrease our demand upon her for materials and merchandize; for the wants of one nation, provided it has FREEDOM and CREDIT, naturally produces riches to the other; and as you can neither ruin the land, nor prevent the vegetation, you would encrease the exportation of our produce in payment, which, to her, would be a new fund of wealth. In short, had you cast about for a plan on purpose to enrich your enemies, you could not have hit upon a better.

C. S.

No. IX.
Addressed to the People of England.

"TRUSTING, (says the king of England in his speech of November last) in the Divine Providence, and in the justice of my cause, I am firmly resolved to prosecute the war with vigour, and to make every exertion in order to compel our enemies to equitable terms of peace and ac­commodation." To this declaration the United States of America, and the confederated powers of Europe, will reply, if Britain will have war, she shall have enough of it.

Five years have nearly elapsed since the com­mencement of hostilities, and every campaign, by a gradual decay, has lessened your ability to conquer, without producing a serious thought on your con­dition or your fate. Like a prodigal lingering in an habitual consumption, you feel the relics of life, and mistake them for recovery. New schemes, like [Page 211] new medicines, have administered fresh hopes, and prolonged the disease instead of curing it. A change of generals, like a change of physicians, served only to keep the flattery alive, and furnish new pretences for new extravagance.

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

Fire, sword and want, as far as the arms of Bri­tain could extend them, have been spread with wanton cruelty along the coast of America; and while you, remote from the scene of suffering, had nothing to lose, and as little to dread, the informa­tion reached you like a tale of antiquity, in which the distance of time defaces the conception, and [Page 212] changes the severest sorrows into conversable amuse­ment.

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

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

Hitherto, you have experienced the expences, but nothing of the miseries of war. Your disap­pointments have been accompanied with no im­mediate suffering, and your losses came to you only by intelligence. Like fire at a distance, you heard [Page 213] not even the cry; you felt not the danger, you saw not the confusion. To you, every thing has been foreign, but the taxes to support it. You knew not what it was to be alarmed at midnight with an armed enemy in the streets. You were strangers to the distressing scene of a family in flight, and the thousand restless cares, and tender sorrows that incessantly arose. To see women and children wandering in the severity of winter with the broken remains of a well furnished house, and seeking shelter in every crib and hut, were matters you had no con­ception of. You knew not what it was to stand by and see your goods chopt up for fuel, and your beds ript to pieces to make packages for plunder. The misery of others, like a tempestuous night, ad­ded to the pleasures of your own security. You even enjoyed the storm, by contemplating the dif­ference of conditions, and that which carried sor­row into the breast of thousands, served but to heighten in you a species of tranquil pride.—Yet these are but the fainter sufferings of war, when compared with carnage and slaughter, the miseries of a military hospital, or a town in flames.

The people of America by anticipating distress, had fortified their minds against every species you could inflict. They had resolved to abandon their homes, to resign them to destruction, and to seek new settlements, rather than submit. Thus fa­miliarized to misfortune, before it arrived, they [Page 214] bore their portion with less regret: The justness of their cause, was a continual source of consola­tion, and the hope of final victory, which never left them, served to lighten the load, and sweeten the cup allotted them to drink.

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

But your condition is the reverse of theirs. Every thing you suffer you have sought; nay, had you created mischiefs on purpose to inherit them, you could not have secured your title by a firmer deed. The world awakens with no pity at your complaints. You felt none for others; you de­serve [Page 215] none for yourselves. Nature doth not inter­est herself in cases like yours, but, on the contrary, turns from them with dislike, and abandons them to punishment. You may now present memorials to what court you please, but so far as America is the object, none will listen. The policy of Europe, and the propensity there isin every mind to curb insulting ambition, and bring cruelty to judgment, are unitedly against you; and where nature and in­terest reinforces each other, the compact is too in­timate to be dissolved.

Make but the case of others your own, and your own theirs, and you will then have a clear idea of the whole. Had France acted towards her colo­nies as you have done, you would have branded her with every epithet of abhorrence; and had you like her, stept in to succour a struggling people, all Europe must have echoed with your own applauses. But entangled in the passion of dispute, you see it not as you ought, and form opinions thereon which suit with no interest but your own. You wonder America does not rise in union with you to im­pose on herself a portion of your taxes, and reduce herself to unconditional submission. You are amazed that the southern powers of Europe do not assist you in conquering a country, which is afterwards to be turned against themselves; and that the northern ones do not contribute to reinstate you in America, who already enjoy the market for [Page 216] naval stores by the separation. You seem surprized that Holland does not pour in her succours, to maintain you mistress of the seas, when her own commerce is suffering by your act of navigation, or that any country should study her own interests while yours is on the carpet.

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

At the thoughts of a war at home, every man amongst you ought to tremble. The prospect is far more dreadful there than in America. Here the party that was against the measures of the continent, were, in general, a kind of neutrals, who added strength to neither army. There does not exist a being so devoid of sense and sentiment as to covet "UNCONDITIONAL SUBMISSION," and therefore no man in America could be with you in [Page 217] principle. Several, might, from a cowardice of mind, PREFER it to the hardships and dangers of OPPOSING it; but the same disposition that gave them such a choice, unfitted them to act either for or against. But England is rent into parties, with equal shares of resolution. The principle which produced the war, divides the nation. Their ani­mosities are in the highest state of fermentation, and both sides by a call of the militia are in arms. No human foresight can discern, no conclusion can be formed, what turn a war might take, if once set on by an invasion. She is not now in a fit disposition to make a common cause of her own affairs, and having no conquests to hope for abroad, and nothing but expences arising at home, her every thing is staked upon a defensive combat, and the further she goes, the worse she is off.

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

That America is beyond the reach of conquest, is a fact which experience has shewn, and time con­firmed; and this admitted, what, I ask, is now the [Page 218] object of contention; If there be any honour in pursuing self-destruction with inflexible passion: if national suicide be the perfection of national glory, you may, with all the pride of criminal happiness, expire unenvied, and unrivalled.—But when the tumult of war shall cease, and the tempest of pre­sent passions be succeeded by calm reflection, or when those, who surviving its fury, shall inherit from you, a legacy of debts and misfortunes, when the yearly revenue shall scarcely be able to discharge the interest of the one, and no possible remedy be left for the other: Ideas, far different to the pre­sent, will arise, and embitter the remembrance of former follies. A mind disarmed of its rage, feels no pleasure in contemplating a frantic quarrel. Sickness of thought, the sure consequence of con­duct like yours, leaves no ability for enjoyment, no relish for resentment; and though, like a man in a fit, you feel not the injury of the struggle, nor dis­tinguish between strength and disease, the weakness, will, nevertheless, be proportioned to the violence and the sense of pain, encrease with the recovery.

To what persons, or to whose system of politics you owe your present state of wretchedness, is a matter of total indifference to America. They have contributed, however unwillingly, to set her above themselves; and she, in the tranquillity of conquest, resigns the enquiry. The case now, is not so properly, who began the war, as who conti­nues it. That there are men in all countries to [Page 219] whom a state of war is a mine of wealth, is a fact ne­ver to be doubted. Characters like these, naturally breed in the putrefaction of distempered times, and after fattening on the disease, they perish with it, or impregnated with the stench, retreat into obscu­rity.

But there are several erroneous notions, to which you likewise owe a share of your misfortunes, and which, if continued, will only increase your trouble and your losses. An opinion hangs about the gentlemen of the minority, that America would relish measures under THEIR administration, which she would not from the present cabinet. On this rock lord Chatham would have split had he gained the helm, and several of his survivors are steering the same course. Such distinctions in the infancy of the argument, had some degree of foun­dation, but they now serve no other purpose than to lengthen out a war, in which the limits of the dispute, being fixt by the fate of arms, and guaran­tied by treaties, are not to be changed, or altered by trivial circumstances.

The ministry and many of the minority sacrifice their time in disputing on a question, with which, they have nothing to do, namely, whether America shall be independent or not? Whereas, the only question that can come under their determination, is, whether they will accede to it or not? They confound a military question with a political one, [Page 220] and undertake to supply by a vote, what they lost by a battle. Say, she shall not be independent, and it will signify as much, as if they voted against a decree of fate, or say that she shall, and she will be no more independent than before. Questions, which when determined, cannot be executed, serve only to shew the folly of dispute, and the weakness of the disputants.

From a long habit of calling America your own, you suppose her governed by the same prejudices and conceits which govern yourselves. Because you have set up a particular denomination of reli­gion to the exclusion of all others, you imagine she must do the same; and, because you, with an unsociable narrowness of mind, have cherished against France and Spain, you suppose her alliance must be defective in friendship. Copying her no­tions of the world from you, she formerly thought as you instructed, but now feeling herself free, and the prejudice removed, she thinks, and acts upon a different system. It frequently happens, that in proportion as we are taught to dislike persons and countries, not knowing why, we feel an ardour of esteem upon a removal of the mistake: It seems as if something was to be made amends for, and we eagerly give into every office of friendship, to atone for the injury of the error.

[Page 221] But, perhaps, there is something in the extent of countries, which, among the generality of peo­ple, insensibly communicates extension of the mind. The soul of an islander in its native state, seems bounded by the foggy confines of the water's edge, and all beyond, affords to him matters only for profit or curiosity—not for friendship. His island is to him, his world, and fixt to that, his every thing centers in it; while those, who are inhabi­tants of a continent, by casting their eye over a larger field, take in likewise a larger intellectual circuit, and thus approaching nearer to an ac­quaintance with the universe, their atmosphere of thought is extended, and their liberality fills a wider space. In short, our minds seem to be measured by countries when we are men, as they are by places, when we are children, and until something happens to disentangle us from the prejudice, we serve under it without perceiving it.

In addition to this, it may be remarked, that men who study any universal science, the principles of which are universally known or admitted, and applied without distinction to the common benefit of all countries, obtain thereby a larger share of philanthropy than those who only study national arts and improvements. Natural philosophy, mathematics and astronomy, carry the mind from the country to the creation, and give it a fitness [Page 222] suited to the extent. It was not Newton's honour, neither could it be his pride, that he was an En­glishman, but that he was a philosopher: The Heavens had liberated him from the prejudices of an island, and science had expanded his soul as boundless as his studies.

No. X.

HAD America pursued her advantages with half the spirit she resisted her misfortunes, she would, before now, have been a conquering, and a peaceful people; but lulled in the lap of soft tranquillity, she rested on her hopes, and ad­versity only has convulsed her into action. Whe­ther subtlety or sincerity, at the close of the last year, induced the enemy to an appearance for peace, is a point not material to know; it suffi­cient that we see the effects it has had on our politics, and that we sternly rise to resent the delusion.

The war, on the part of America, has been a war of natural feelings. Brave in distress; serene in conquest; drowsy while at rest; and in every situation generously disposed to peace. A danger­ous calm, and a most heightened zeal, have, as cir­cumstances varied, succeeded each other. Every passion, but that of despair, has been called to a tour of duty; and so mistaken has been the enemy, [Page 224] of our abilities and disposition, that when she sup­posed us conquered, we rose the conquerors. The extensiveness of the United States, and the variety of their resources; the universality of their cause, the quick operation of their feelings, and the simi­larity of their sentiments, have, in every trying situ­ation, produced a something, which favoured by Providence, and pursued with ardour, has accom­plished in an instant the business of a campaign. We have never deliberately sought victory, but snatched it; and bravely undone in an hour, the plotted operations of a season,

The reported fate of Charlestown, like the mis­fortunes of seventy-six, has at last called forth a spirit, and kindled up a flame, which, perhaps, no other event could have produced. If the enemy has circulated a falshood, they have unwisely ag­gravated us into life, and if they have told us a truth, they have unintentionally done us a service. We were returning with folded arms from the fa­tigues of war, and thinking and setting leisurely down to enjoy repose. The dependance that has been put upon Charlestown, threw a drowsiness over America. We looked on the business done— The conflict over—the matter settled—or that all which remained unfinished would follow of it­self. In this state of dangerous relax, exposed to the poisonous insusions of the enemy, and having [Page 225] no common danger to attract our attention, we were extinguishing by stages the ardour we began with, and surrendering by piece meals the virtue that defended us.

Afflicting as the loss of Charlestown may be, yet if it universally rouze us from the slumber of a twelvemonths past, and renew in us the spirit of former days, it will produce an advantage more important than its loss. America ever is what she thinks herself to be. Governed by sentiment, and acting her own mind, she becomes, as she pleases, the victor or the victim.

It is not the conquest of towns, nor the acci­dental capture of garrisons, that can reduce a coun­try so extensive as this. The sufferings of one part can ever be relieved by the exertions of another, and there is no situation the enemy can be in, that does not afford to us the same advantages she seeks herself. By dividing her force, she leaves every post attackable. It is a mode of war that carries with it a confession of weakness, and goes on the principle of distress, rather than conquest.

The decline of the enemy is visible, not only in their operations, but in their plans; Charlestown originally made but a secondary object in the sys­tem of attack, and it is now become their princi­pal one, because they have not been able to succeed elsewhere. It would have carried a cowardly ap­pearance [Page 226] in Europe, had they formed their grand expedition in seventy-six, against a part of the con­tinent, where there was no army, or not a sufficient one to oppose them; but failing year after year in their impressions here, and to the eastward and northward, they deserted their first capital design, and prudently contenting themselves with what they can get, give a flourish of honour to conceal disgrace.

But this piecemeal work is not conquering the continent. It is a discredit in them to attempt it, and in us to suffer it. It is now full time to put an end to a war of aggravations, which, on one side, has no possible object, and on the other, has every inducement which honour, interest, safety and hap­piness can inspire. If we suffer them much longer to remain among us, we shall become as bad as themselves. An association of vices will reduce us more than the sword. A nation hardened in the practice of iniquity knows better how to profit by it, than a young country newly corrupted. We are not a match for them in the line of advantage­ous guilt, nor they to us on the principles we bravely set out with. Our first days were our days of honour. They have marked the character of America wherever the story of her wars are told; and con­vinced of this, we have nothing to do, but wisely and unitedly to tread the well known track.

[Page 227] The progress of a war is often as ruinous to indi­viduals, as the issue of it is to a nation; and it is not only necessary that our forces be such, that we be conquerors in the end, but that by timely ex­ertions we be secure in the interim. The present campaign will afford an opportunity which has never presented itself before, and the preparations for it are equally necessary, whether Charlstown stand or fall. Suppose the first, it is in that case only a failure of the enemy, not a defeat. All the conquest a besieged town can hope for, is, not to be conquered; and compelling an enemy to raise the siege, is to the besieged a victory. But there must be a probability, amounting almost to certainty, that would justify a garrison marching out to attack a retreat. Therefore, should Charlestown not be taken, and the enemy abandon the siege, every other part of the continent should prepare to meet them; and on the contrary, should it be taken, the same preparations are necessary to balance the loss, and put ourselves in a condition to co-operate with our allies, immediately on their arrival.

We are not now fighting our battles alone, as we were in seventy six. England, from a malici­ous disposition to America, has not only not declared war against France and Spain, but the better to prosecute her passions here, has afforded those two powers no military object, and avoids them, to distress us. She will suffer her West India islands [Page 228] to be over-run by France, and her southern settle­ments taken by Spain, rather than quit the object that gratifies revenge. This conduct, on the part of Britain, has pointed out the propriety of France sending a naval and land force to co - operate with America on the spot. Their arrival cannot be very distant, nor the ravages of the enemy long. In the mean time the part necessary to us needs no illustration. The recruiting the army, and procu­ring the supplies, are the two things needful, and a capture of either of the enemy's divisions, will re­store to America peace and plenty.

At a crisis, big, like the present, with expectation and events, the whole country is called to unani­mity and exertion. Not an ability ought now to sleep, that can produce but a mite to the general good, nor even a whisper to pass that militates against it. The necessity of the case, and the importance of the consequences, admit no delay from a friend, no apology from an enemy. To spare now, would be the height of extravagance, and to con­sult present ease, would be to sacrifice it, perhaps, for ever.

America, rich in patriotism and produce, can want neither men nor supplies, when a serious necessity call them forth. The slow operation of taxes, owing to the extensiveness of collection, and their depreciated value before they arrived in the trea­sury, have in many instances, thrown a burthen [Page 229] upon government, which has been artfully inter­preted by the enemy into a general decline through­out the country. Yet this, inconvenient as it may at first appear, is not only remediable, but may be turned to an immediate advantage; for it makes no real difference, whether a certain number of men, or company of militia (and in this country, every man is a militia man) are directed by law to send a recruit at their own expence, or whether a tax is laid on them for that purpose, and the man hired by government afterwards. The first, if there is any difference, is both cheapest and best, because it saves the expence which would attend collecting it as a tax, and brings the man sooner into the field, than the modes of recruiting formerly used. And on this principle, a law has been passed in this state, for recruiting two men from each com­pany of militia, which will add upwards of a thou­sand to the force of the country.

But the flame, which has broke forth in this city since the report from New York, of the loss of Charlestown, not only does honour to the place, but, like the blaze of seventy-six, will kindle into action the scattered sparks throughout America.— The valour of a country, may be learned by the bravery of its soldiery, and the general cast of its in­habitants, but confidence of success is best discovered by the active measures pursued by men of property; and when the spirit of enterprize becomes so uni­versal [Page 230] as to act at once on all ranks of men, a war may then, and not till then, be stiled truly popular.

In seventy-six, the ardour of the enterprising part was considerably checked, by the real revolt of some, and the coolness of others. But in the pre­sent case, there is a firmness in the substance and pro­perty of the country to the public cause. An asso­ciation has been entered into by the merchants, tradesmen, and the principal inhabitants of this city, to receive and support the new state money at the value of gold and silver; a measure, which, while it does them honour, will likewise contribute to their interest, by rendering the operations of the campaign convenient and effectual.

Neither has the spirit of exertion stopt here. A voluntary subscription is likewise began, to raise a fund of hard money to be given as bounties to fill up the full quota of the Pennsylvania line. It has been the remark of the enemy, that every thing in America has been done by the force of govern­ment; but when she sees individuals throwing in their voluntary aids, and facilitating the public mea­sures in concert with the established powers of the country, it will convince her that the cause of America stands not on the will of a few, but on the broad foundation of property and popularity.

Thus aided, and thus supported, disaffection will decline, and the withered head of tyranny ex­pire [Page 231] in America. The ravages of the enemy will be short and limited, and like all their former ones, will produce a victory over themselves.


☞ At the time of writing this number of the Crisis, the loss of Charlestown, though believed by some, was more confidently disbelieved by others. But there ought to be no longer a doubt on the matter. Charlestown is gone, and I believe, for the want of a sufficient supply of provisions. The man that does not now feel for the honour of the best and noblest cause that ever a country engaged in, and exert himself accordingly, is no longer worthy a peaceable residence among a people de­termined to be free.

C. S.

(On the Subject of Taxation.)

IT is impossible to sit down and think seriously on the affairs of America, but the original principles on which she resisted, and the glow and ardour they inspired, will occur like the undefaced remem­brance of a lovely scene. To trace over in imagi­nation the purity of the cause, the voluntary sacri­fices made to support it, and all the various turnings of the war in its defence, is at once both paying and receiving respect. The principles deserve to be remembered, and to remember them rightly, is repossessing them. In this indulgence of gene­rous recollection, we become gainers by what we seem to give, and the more we bestow the richer we become.

So extensively right was the ground on which America proceeded, that it not only took in every just and liberal sentiment which could impress the heart, but made it the direct interest of every class and order of men to defend the country. The war, [Page 233] on the part of Britain, was originally a war of covet­ousness. The sordid, and not the splendid passions gave it being. The fertile fields, and prosperous infancy of America, appeared to her as mines for tributary wealth. She viewed the hive, and disre­garding the industry that had enriched it, thirsted for the honey. But in the present stage of her affairs, the violence of temper is added to the rage of ava­rice; and therefore, that, which at the first setting out proceeded from purity of principle and public interest, is now heightened by all the obligations of necessity; for it requires but little knowledge of hu­man nature, to discern what would be the conse­quence, were America again reduced to the subjec­tion of Britain. Uncontrouled power, in the hands of an incensed, imperious, and rapacious conqueror, is an engine of dreadful execution, and woe be to that country over which it can be exercised. The names of whig and tory would then be sunk in the general term of rebel, and the oppression, whatever it might be, would, with very few instances of ex­ception, light equally on all.

Britain did not go to war with America for the sake of dominion, because she was then in possession; neither was it for the extension of trade and com­merce, because she had monopolized the whole and the country had yielded to it; neither was it to extinguish what she might call rebellion, because, before she began, no resistance existed. It could [Page 234] then be from no other motive than avarice, or a design of establishing, in the first instance, the same taxes in America as are paid in England (which, as I shall presently shew, are above eleven times heavier than the taxes we now pay for the present year, 1780), or in the second instance, to confiscate the whole property of America, in case of resistance and conquest of the latter, of which she had then no doubt.

I shall now proceed to shew what the taxes in England are, and what the yearly expence of the present war is to her,—What the taxes of this country amount to, and what the annual expence of defending it effectually will be to us; and shall en­deavour concisely, to point out the cause of our difficulties, and the advantages on one side, and the consequences on the other, in case we do, or do not put ourselves in an effectual state of defence. I mean to be open, candid and sincere. I see a uni­versal wish to expel the enemy from the country, a murmuring because the war is not carried on with more vigour, and my intention is, to shew, as shortly as possible, both the reason and the remedy.

The number of souls in England (exclusive of Scotland and Ireland) is seven millions*, and the number of souls in America is three millions.

[Page 235] The amount of the taxes in England (exclusive of Scotland and Ireland) was, before the present war commenced, eleven millions six hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred and fifty-three pounds sterling, which on an average is no less a sum than one pound thirteen shillings and three pence sterling per head, per annum, men, women and children; besides county taxes, taxes for the support of the poor, and a tenth of all the produce of the earth for the support of the bishops and the clergy*. Nearly five millions of this sum went [Page 236] annually to pay the interest of the national debt contracted by former wars, and the remaining sum of six millions six hundred and forty two thousand six hundred pounds was applied to defray the yearly expence of government, the peace establish­ment of the army and navy, placemen and pension­ers, &c. consequently the whole of her enormous taxes being thus appropriated, she had nothing to spare out of them towards defraying the expences of the present war, or any other. Yet had she not been in debt at the beginning of the war, as we were not, and like us had only a land, and not a na­val war to carry on, her then revenue of eleven millions and a half pounds sterling would then defray all her annual expences of war and government within each year.

But this not being the case with her, she is ob­liged to borrow about ten million pounds sterling [Page 237] yearly, to prosecute the war she is now engaged in (this year she borrowed twelve), and lay on new taxes to discharge the interest: and allowing that the present war has cost her only fifty millions ster­ling, the interest thereon at five per cent, will be two millions and an half, therefore the amount of her taxes now must be fourteen millions, which, on an average, is not less than forty shillings sterling per head, men, women and children throughout the nation. Now as this expence of fifty millions was borrowed on the hopes of conquering America, and as it was Avarice which first induced her to commence the war, how truly wretched and deplo­rable would the condition of this country be, were she, by her own remissness, to suffer an enemy of such a disposition, and so circumstanced, to reduce her to subjection.

I now proceed to the revenues of America.

I have already stated the number of souls in Ameri­ca to be three millions, and by a calculation I have made, which I have every reason to believe is suf­ficiently right, the whole expence of the war and the support of the several governments, may be defray­ed for two million pounds sterling, annually; which, on an average, is thirteen shillings and four pence per head, men, women, and children, and the peace establishment at the end of the war, will be but three quarters of a million, or five shillings sterling per [Page 238] head. Now, throwing out of the question every thing of honour, principle, happiness, freedom and reputation in the world, and taking it up on the simple ground of interest, I put the following case.

Suppose Britain was to conquer America, and as conquerors, was to lay her under no other con­ditions than to pay the same proportions towards her annual revenue which the people of England, pay; our share in that case, would be six mil­lion pounds sterling yearly; can it then be a ques­tion, whether it is best to raise two millions to de­fend the country and govern it ourselves, and only three quarters of a million afterwards, or pay six millions to have it conquered, and let the enemy govern it.

Can it be supposed that conquerors would chuse to put themselves in a worse condition than what they granted to the conquered. In England, the tax on rum is five shillings and one penny sterling per gallon, which is one silver dollar and fourteen coppers. Now would it not be laughable to ima­gine, that after the expence they have been at, they would let either whig or tory in America drink it cheaper than themselves. Coffee, which is so con­siderable an article of consumption and support here, is there loaded with a duty, which makes the price between five and six shillings sterling a pound, and a penalty of fifty pounds sterling on any person de­tected [Page 239] in roasting it in his own house. There is scarce an article of life you can eat, drink, wear, or enjoy, that is not there loaded with a tax; even the light from heaven is only permited to shine into their dwellings by paying eighteen pence ster­ling per window annually; and the humblest drink of life, small beer, cannot there be purchased with­out a tax of nearly two coppers a gallon, besides a heavy tax upon the malt, and another on the hops before it is brewed, exclusive of a land tax on the earth which produces them. In short, the condi­tion of that country in point of taxation is so op­pressive, the number of her poor so great, and the extravagance and rapaciousness of the court so enor­mous, that were they to effect a conquest of Ame­rica, it is then only that the distresses of America would begin. Neither would it signify any thing to a man whether he be whig or tory. The peo­ple of England, and the ministry of that country know us by no such distinctions. What they want is clear solid revenue, and the modes they would take to procure it, would operate alike on all. Their manner of reasoning would be short, because they would naturally infer, that if we were able to carry on a war of five or six years against them, we were able to pay the same taxes which they do.

I have already stated that the expence of conduct­ing the present war, and the government of the se­veral states, may be done for two millions sterling, [Page 240] and the establishment in time of peace, for three quarters of a million*.

As to navy matters, they flourish so well, and are so well attended in the hands of individuals, that I think it consistent on every principle of real use and oeconomy, to turn the navy into hard mo­ney, (keeping only three or four packets) and ap­ply it to promote the service of the army. We shall not have a ship the less; the use of them, and the benefit from them, will be greatly increased, and their expence saved. We are now allied to a for­midable naval power, from whom we derive the assistance of a navy. And the line in which we can prosecute the war, so as to reduce the common enemy, and benefit the alliance most effectually, will be, by attending closely to the land service.

I estimate the charge of keeping up, and main­taining an army, officering them, and all expences included, sufficient for the defence of the country, to be equal to the expence of forty thousand men at thirty pounds sterling per head, which is one million two hundred thousand pounds.

[Page 241] I likewise allow four hundred thousand pounds for continental expences at home and abroad.

And four hundred thousand pounds for the sup­port of the several state governments, the amount will then be,

For the army,1,200,000
Continental expences at home and abroad,400,000
Government of the several states,400,000

I take the proportion of this state, Pennsylvania, to be an eighth part of the thirteen United States, the quota then for us to raise will be two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling; two hundred thousand of which, will be our share for the sup­port and pay of the army and continental expences at home and abroad, and fifty thousand pounds for the support of state government.

In order to gain an idea of the proportion in which the raising such a sum will fall, I make the following calculation:

Pennsylvania contains three hundred and seventy five thousand inhabitants, men, women, and chil­dren, which is likewise an eighth of the whole in­habitants of the whole United States: therefore two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling to be raised among three hundred and seventy five thousand persons, is, on an average, thirteen shil­lings [Page 242] and four pence sterling, per head, per annum, or something more than one shilling sterling per month. And our proportion of three quarters of a million, for the government of the country, in time of peace, will be ninety three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds sterling, fifty thousand of which will be for the government expences of the state, and forty three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds for continental expences at home and abroad.

The peace establishment then, will, on an ave­rage, be five shillings sterling per head. Whereas, was England now to stop, and the war to cease, her peace establishment would continue the same as it is now, viz. forty shillings per head; therefore, was our taxes necessary for carrying on the war as much per head, as her's now is, and the difference to be only whether we should, at the end of the war, pay at the rate of five shillings per head, or forty shillings per head, the case needs no thinking of. But as we can securely defend and keep the coun­try for one third less than what our burthen would be if it was conquered, and support the govern­ments afterwards for one eighth of what Britain would levy on us, and, could I find a miser whose heart never felt the emotion of a spark of princi­ciple, even that man, uninfluenced by every love, but the love of money, and capable of no attach­ment but to his interest, would, and must, from the frugality which governs him, contribute to the de­fence [Page 243] of the country, or he ceases to be a miser, and becomes an ideot. But when we take in with it, every thing that can ornament mankind; when the line of our interest becomes the line of our happiness; when all that can cheer and animate the heart? when sense of honour, fame, character at home and abroad, are interwoven, not only with the security, but the increase of property; there exists not a man in America, unless he be a hired emissary, who does not see that his good is connected with keeping up a sufficient defence.

I do not imagine that an instance can be pro­duced in the world, of a country putting herself to such an amazing charge to conquer and enslave another, as Britain has done. The sum is too great for her to think of with any tolerable degree of temper; and when we consider the burthen she sustains, as well as the disposition she has shewn, it would be the height of folly in us, to suppose that she would not reimburse herself by the most rapid means, had she once more America within her power. With such an oppression of expence, what would an empty conquest be to her? what relief under such circumstances could she derive from a victory without a prize! It was money, it was revenue she first went to war for, and nothing but that would satisfy her. It is not the nature of avarice to be satisfied with any thing else. Every passion that acts upon mankind has a peculiar mode of operation. Many of them are temporary and [Page 244] fluctuating; they admit of cessation and variety. But avarice is a fixed uniform passion. It neither abates of its vigour, nor changes its object; and the reason why it does not, is founded on the nature of things, for wealth has not a rival, where avarice is a ruling passion. One beauty may excel another, and extinguish from the mind of a man the pictured remembrance of a former one: But wealth is the phoenix of avarice, and therefore cannot seek a new object, because there is not another in the world.

I now pass on to shew the value of the present taxes, and compare them with the annual expence; but this I shall preface with a few explanatory re­marks.

There are two distinct things which make the payment of taxes difficult; the one is the large and real value of the sum to be paid, and the other is, the scarcity of the thing in which the payment is to be made; and, although these appear to be one and the same, they are in several instances, not only different, but the difficulty springs from differ­ent causes.

Suppose a tax was to be laid, equal to one half of what a man's yearly income is, such a tax could not be paid, because the property could not be spared; and on the other hand, suppose a very trifling tax was laid to be collected in pearls, such a tax likewise could not be paid, because it could not be had. Now any person may see that these [Page 245] are distinct cases, and the latter of them is a repre­sentation of ours.

That the difficulty cannot proceed from the former, that is, from the real value or weight of the tax is evident at first view, to any person who will consider it.

The amount of the quota of taxes for this state, for the present year, 1780, (and so on in proportion for every other state) is twenty millions of dollars, which at seventy for one, is but sixty four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds three shillings ster­ling, and on an average, is no more than three shil­lings and five pence sterling, per head, per annum, per man, woman, and child, or 3⅖ pence per head, per month. Now here is a clear positive fact, that cannot be contradicted, and which proves that the difficulty cannot be in the weight of the tax, for in itself it is a trifle, and far from being adequate to our quota of the expence of the war. The quit-rents of one penny sterling per acre, on only one half the state, come to upwards of fifty thousand pounds, which is almost as much as all the taxes of the present year, and as those quit-rents made no part of the taxes then paid, and are now disconti­nued, the quantity of money drawn for public ser­vice this year, exclusive of the militia fines, which I shall take notice of in the process of this work, is less than what was paid, and payable in any year preceding the revolution, and since the last war; [Page 246] what I mean, is, that the quit-rents and taxes taken together, came to a larger sum then, than the present taxes without the quit-rents do now.

My intention by these arguments and calcula­tions is, to place the difficulty to the right cause, and shew that it does not proceed from the weight or worth of the tax, but from the scarcity of the medium in which it is paid: and to illustrate this point still farther, I shall now shew, that if the tax of twenty millions of dollars, was of four times the real value it now is, or nearly so, which would be about two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, and would be our full quota, that this sum would have been raised with more ease, and less felt, than the present sum of only sixty four thousand two hun­dred and eighty pounds.

The convenience or inconvenience of paying a tax in money arises from the quantity of money that can be spared out of trade.

When the emissions stopt, the continent was left in possession of two hundred millions of dollars, perhaps as equally dispersed as it was possible for trade to do it. And as no more was to be issued, the rise or fall of prices could neither increase nor diminish the quantity. It therefore remained the same through all the fluctuations of trade and exchange.

[Page 247] Now had the exchange stood at twenty for one, which was the rate Congress calculated upon when they quoted the states the latter end of last year, trade would have been carried on for nearly four times less money than it is now, and consequently the twenty millions would have been spared with much greater ease, and when collected would have been of almost four times the value they now are. And on the other hand, was the depreciation to be ninety or one hundred for one, the quantity required for trade would be more than at sixty or seventy for one, and though the value of them would be less, the difficulty of sparing the money out of trade would be greater. And on these facts and ar­guments I rest the matter, to prove that it is not the want of property, but the scarcity of the me­dium, by which the proportion of property for tax­ation is to be measured out, that makes the embar­rassment we lie under. There is not money enough, and what is equally as true, the people will not let there be money enough.

While I am on the subject of the currency, I shall offer one remark, which will appear true to every body, and can be accounted for by nobody, which is, that the better the times were, the worse the money grew; and the worse the times were, the better the money stood. It never depreciated by any advantage obtained by the enemy. The trou­bles [Page 248] of seventy-six, and the loss of Philadelphia, in seventy-seven, made no sensible impression on it, and every one knows, that the surrender of Charlestown did not produce the least alteration in the rate of exchange, which, for long before, and for more than three months after, stood at sixty for one. It seems, as if the certainty of its being our own, made us careless of its value, and that the most distant thoughts of losing it, made us hug it the closer, like something we were loth to part with; or that we depreciate it for our pastime, which, when called to seriousness by the enemy, we leave off to renew again at our leisure. In short, our good luck seems to break us, andour bad make us whole.

Passing on from this digression, I shall now en­deavour to bring into one view, the several parts I have already stated, and form thereon some propo­sitions, and conclude.

I have placed before the reader, the average tax per head, paid by the people in England; which is forty shillings sterling.

And I have shewn the rate on an average per head, which will defray all the expence of the war to us, and support the several governments, without running the country into debt, which is thirteen shillings and four pence.

I have shewn what the peace establishment may be conducted for, viz: an eighth part of what it would be if under the government of Britain.

[Page 249] And I have likewise shewn what the average per head of the present taxes are, namely, three shillings and five pence sterling, or 3⅖ per month; and that their whole yearly value, in sterling, is only sixty four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds. Whereas, our quota, to keep the payments equal with the expences, is two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Consequently, there is a deficiency of one hundred and eighty-five thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds, and the same proportion of defect, according to the several quotas, happens in every other state. And this defect is the cause why the army has been so indifferently fed, cloathed and paid. It is the cause, likewise, of the nerveless state of the campaign, and the insecurity of the country. Now, if a tax equal to thir­teen and four pence per head, will remove all these difficuties, make people secure in their homes, leave them to follow the business of their stores and farms unmolested, and not only keep out, but drive out the enemy from the country; and if the neglect of raising this sum will let them in, and produce the evils which might be prevented—on which side, I ask, does the wisdom, interest and policy lie; Or, rather, would it not be an insult to reason to put the question? The sum, when proportioned out according to the several abilities of the people, can [Page 250] hurt no one, but an inroad from the enemy ruins hundreds of families.

Look at the destruction done in this city. The many houses totally destroyed, and others damaged; the waste of fences in the country round it, besides the plunder of furniture, forage and provision. I do not suppose that half a million sterling would reinstate the sufferers; and does this, I ask, bear any proportion to the expence that would make us se­cure. The damage, in an average, is at least ten pounds sterling per head, which is as much as thir­teen shillings and four pence per head comes to for fifteen years. The same has happened on the fron­tiers, and in the Jerseys, New York, and other places where the enemy has been—Carolina and Georgia are likewise suffering the same fate.

That the people generally do not understand the insufficiency of the taxes to carry on the war, is evi­dent, not only from common observation, but from the construction of several petitions, which were presented to the assembly of this state, against the recommendation of Congress of the 18th of March last, for taking up and funding the present currency at forty for one, and issuing new money in its stead. The prayer of the petition was, That the currency might be appreciated by taxes (meaning the present taxes) and that part of the taxes be applied to the support of the army, if the army could not be [Page 251] otherwise supported. Now it could not have been possible for such a petition to have been pre­sented, had the petitioners known, that so far from part of the taxes being sufficient for the support of the army, the whole of them falls three fourihs short of the year's expences.

Before I proceed to propose methods by which a sufficiency of money may be raised, I shall take a short view of the general state of the country.

Notwithstanding the weight of the war, the ra­vages of the enemy, and the obstructions she has thrown in the way of trade and commerce, so soon does a young country outgrow misfortune, that America has already surmounted many that once heavily oppressed her. For the first year or two of the war, we were shut up within our ports, scarce venturing to look towards the ocean. Now our rivers are beautified with large and valuable vessels, our stores filled with merchandize, and the produce of the country has a ready market, and an advanta­geous price. Gold and silver, that for a while seemed to have retreated again within the bowels of the earth, is once more risen into circulation, and every day adds new strength to trade com­merce, and agriculture. In a pamphlet written by Sir John Dalrymple, and dispersed in America in the year 1775, he asserted, that, two twenty gun ships, nay, says he, tenders of those ships, stationed between Albemarle sound, and Chesapeak bay would [Page 252] shut up the trade of America for 600 miles. How little did Sir John Dalrymple know of the abilities of America!

While under the government of Britain, the trade of this country was loaded with restrictions. It was only a few foreign ports we were allowed to sail to. Now it is otherwise; and allowing that the quantity of trade is but half what it was before the war, the case must shew the vast advantage of an open trade, because the present quantity under her restrictions, could not support itself; from which I infer, that if half the quantity without the restrictions can bear itself up nearly, if not quite, as well as the whole when subject to them, how pros­perous must the condition of America be when the whole shall return open with all the world. By trade, I do not mean the employment of a mer­chant only, but the whole interest and business of the country taken collectively.

It is not so much my intention, by this publica­cation, to propose particular plans for raising mo­ney, as it is to shew the necessity and the advanta­ges to be derived from it. My principle design is to form the disposition of the people to such mea­sures which I am fully persuaded is their interest and duty to adopt, and which needs no other force to accomplish them than the force of being felt. But as every hint may be useful, I shall throw out [Page 253] a sketch, and leave others to make such improve­ments upon it as to them may appear reasonable.

The annual sum wanted is two millions, and the average rate in which it falls is thirteen shillings and four pence per head.

Suppose then, that we raise half the sum, and sixty thousand pounds over. The average rate thereof, will be seven shillings per head.

In this case, we shall have half the supply we want, and an annual fund of sixty thousand pounds, whereon to borrow the other million; be­cause sixty thousand pounds is the interest of a million at six per cent. and if at the end of another year, we should be obliged by the continuance of the war, to borrow another million, the taxes will be increased to seven shillings and sixpence, and thus for every million borrowed, and an additional tax equal to sixpence per head must be levied.

The sum then to be raised next year, will be one million and sixty thousand pounds; one half of which I would propose should be raised by duties on imported goods and prize goods, and the other half by a tax on landed property and houses, or such other means as each state may devise,

But as the duties on imports and prize goods must be the same in all the states, therefore the rate per cent, or what other form the duty shall be laid, must be ascertained and regulated by Congress, and ingrafted in that form into the law of each state; and the monies arising therefrom carried into the [Page 254] treasury of each state. The duties to be paid in gold or silver.

There are many reasons why a duty on imports is the most convenient duty or tax that can be col­lected; one of which is, because the whole is pay­able in a few places in a country, and it likewise ope­rates with the greatest ease and equality, because as every one pays in proportion to what he consumes, so people, in general, consume in proportion to what they can afford, and therefore the tax is regu­lated by the abilities which every man supposes himself to have, or in other words every man be­comes his own assessor, and pays by a little at a time, when it suits him to buy. Besides, it is a tax which people may pay or let alone, by not consu­ming the articles; and though the alternative may have no influence on their conduct, the power of choosing is an agreeable thing to the mind. For my own part, it would be a satisfaction to me, was there a duty on all sorts of liquors during the war, as in my idea of things, it would be an addition to the pleasure of society, to know, that when the health of the army goes round, a few drops from every glass become theirs. How often have I heard an emphatical wish, almost accompanied with a tear, "Oh, that our poor fellows in the field had some of this!" Why then need we suffer under [Page 255] a fruitless sympathy, when there is a way to enjoy both the wish and the entertainment at once?

But the great national policy of putting a duty upon imports is, that it either keeps the foreign trade in our own hands, or draws something for the defence of the country from every foreigner who participates it with us.

Thus much for the first half of the taxes, and as each state will best devise means to raise the other half, I shall confine my remarks to the resources of this state:

The quota then of this state, of one million and and sixty thousand pounds, will be one hundred and thirty three thousand two hundred and fifty pounds, the half of which, is sixty six thousand six hundred and twenty five pounds; and supposing one fourth part of Pennsylvania inhabited, then a tax of one bushel of wheat on every twenty acres of land, one with another, would produce the sum, and all the present taxes to cease. Whereas the tythes of the bishops and clergy in England, ex­clusive of the taxes, are upwards of half a bushel of wheat on every single acre of land, good and bad, throughout the nation.

In the former part of this paper, I mentioned the militia fines, but reserved speaking to the mat­ter, which I shall now do: The ground I shall put it upon is, that two millions sterling a year, will [Page 256] support a sufficient army, and all the expences of war and government, without having recourse to the inconvenient method of continually calling men from their employments, which of all others is the most expensive and the least substantial. I consi­der the revenues created by taxes as the first and principal thing, and fines only as secondary and ac­cidental things. It was not the intention of the militia law to apply the miltia fines to any thing else but the support of the militia, neither do they pro­duce any revenue to the state, yet these fines amount to more than all the taxes; for taking the muster-roll to be sixty thousand men, the fine on forty thou­sand who may not attend, will be sixty thousand pounds sterling, and those who muster, will give up a portion of time equal to half that sum, and if the the eight classes should be called within the year, and one third turn out, the fine on the remaining forty thousand, would amount to seventy two mil­lions of dollars, besides the fifteen shillings on every hundred pounds property, and the charge of seven and a half per cent for collecting, in certain in­stances, which on the whole, would be upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling.

Now if those very fines disable the country from raising a sufficient revenue, without producing an equivalent advantage, would it not be to the case and interest of all parties, to encrease the reve­nue [Page 257] in the manner I have proposed, or any better, if a better can be devised, and cease the operation of the fines? I would still keep the militia as an or­ganized body of men, and, should there be a real necessity to call them forth, pay them out of the proper revenues of the state, and encrease the taxes a third or fourth per cent. on those who do not at­tend. My limits will not allow me to go farther into this matter, which I shall therefore close with this remark, that fines are, of all modes of revenue, the most unsuited to the mind of a free country. When a man pays a tax, he knows the public ne­cessity requires it, and therefore feels a pride in discharging his duty; but a fine seems an atone­ment for neglect of duty, and of consequence, is paid with discredit, and frequently levied with with severity.

I have now only one subject more to speak to, with which I shall conclude, which is, the resolve of Congress of the 18th of March last, for taking up and funding the present currency at forty for one, and issuing new money in its stead.

Every one knows that I am not the flatterer of Congress but in this instance they are right; and if that measure is supported, the currency will acquire a value, which, without it, it will not. But this is not all: It will give relief to the finances until such time as they can be properly arranged, and save the [Page 258] country from being immediately double taxed un­der the present mode. In short, support that mea­sure, and it will support you.

I have now waded through a tedious course of difficult business, and over an untrodden path. The subject on every point it could be viewed, was en­tangled with perplexities, and enveloped in obsurity, yet such are the resources of America, that she wants nothing but system to insure success.


No. XII*.

On the present State of News.

SINCE the arrival of two, if not three packets, in quick succession, at New York from England, a variety of unconnected news has circulated through the country, and afforded as great a variety of spe­culation.

That something is the matter in the cabinet and councils of our enemies, on the other side of the water is certain—that they have run their length of madness, and are under the necessity of changing their measures may easily be seen into; but to what this change of measure may amount, or how far it may correspond with our interest, happiness and duty, is yet uncertain; and from what we have hi­therto [Page 260] experienced, we have too much reason to suspect them in every thing.

I do not address this publication so much to the people of America as to the British ministry, who­ever they may be, for if it is their intention to pro­mote any kind of negociation, it is proper they should know before hand, that the United States have as much honour as bravery; that they are no more to be seduced from their alliance, than their allegiance; that their line of politics is formed, and not dependant, like that of their enemy, on chance, and accident.

On our part, in order to know, at any time, what the British government will do, we have only to find out what they ought not to do, and this last will be their conduct. For ever changing, and for ever wrong; too distant from America to im­prove circumstances, and too unwise to foresee them; scheming without principle, and executing without probability; their whole line of manage­ment has hitherto been blunder and baseness. Every campaign has added to their loss, and every year to their disgrace; till unable to go on, and ashamed to go back, their politics have come to a halt, and all their fine prospects to the halter.

Could our affections forgive, or humanity for­get the wounds of an infant country—we might, under the influence of a momentary oblivion, stand [Page 261] still and laugh. But they are engraven where no amusement can conceal them, and of a kind for which there is no recompence. Can ye restore to us the beloved dead? Can ye say to the grave, give up the murdered; Can ye obliterate from our memories those who are no more? Think not then to tamper with our feelings by insidious contrivance, nor suffocate our humanity by sedu­cing us to dishonour.

In March 1780, I published part of the Crisis, No. IX, in the newspapers, but did not conclude it in the following papers, and the remainder has lain by me till the present day.

There appeared about that time some disposition in the British cabinet to cease the further prosecu­tion of the war, and, as I had formed my opinion, that whenever such a design should take place, it would be accompanied with a dishonourable pro­position to America, respecting France, I had sup­pressed the remainder of that number, not to ex­pose the baseness of any such proposition. But the arrival of the next news from England, declared her determination to go on with the war, and con­sequently as the political object I had then in view was not become a subject, it is unnecessary in me to bring it forward, which is the reason it was never published.

The matter which I allude to in the unpublished part, I shall now make a quotation of, and apply it [Page 262] as the more enlarged state of things, at this day, shall make convenient or necessary.

It was as follows:

"By the speeches which have appeared from the British Parliament, it is easy to perceive to what impolitic and imprudent excesses their passions and prejudices, have, in every instance, carried them during the present war. Provoked at the upright and honourable treaty between America and France, they imagined nothing more was necessary to be done to prevent its final ratification, than to pro­mise through the agency of their commissioners, (Carlisle, Eden, and Johnston) a repeal of their once offensive acts of parliament. The vanity of the conceit was as unpardonable, as the experiment was impolitic. And so convinced am I, of their wrong ideas of America, that I shall not wonder, if in their last stage of political phrenzy, they propose to her, to break her alliance with France, and en­ter into one with them. Such a proposition, should it ever be made, and it has already been more than once hinted in parliament, would discover such a disposition to perfidiousness, and such disregard of honour and morals, as would add the finishing vice to national corruption.—I do not mention this to put America on the watch, but to put England on her guard, that she do not, in the looseness of her [Page 263] heart, envelope in disgrace, every fragment of re­putation."—Thus far the quotation.

By the complexion of some part of the news, which has transpired through the New York pa­pers, it seems probable that this insidious aera in the British politics, is beginning to make its appear­ance. I wish it may not; for that which is a dis­grace to human nature, throws something of a shade over all the human character, and the individual feels his share of the wound, that is given to the whole.

The policy of Britain has ever been to divide America in some way or other. In the beginning of the dispute, she practised every art to prevent or destroy the union of the states, well knowing, that could she once get them to stand singly, she could conquer them unconditionally. Failing in this project in America, she renewed it in Europe; and after the alliance had taken place, she made se­cret offers to France to induce her to give up Ame­rica, and what is still more extraordinary, she at the same time, made propositions to doctor Frank­lin, then in Paris, the very court to which she was secretly applying, to draw off America from France. But this is not all.

On the 14th of September, 1778, the British court, through their secretary, lord Weymouth, made application to the Marquis D'Almadovar the [Page 264] Spanish Ambassador, at London, to "ask the MEDIATION," for these were the words of the court of Spain, for the purpose of negociation a peace with France, leaving America (as I shall hereafter shew) out of the question. Spain readily offered her Mediation, and likewise the city of Ma­drid as the place of conference, but withal, proposed that the united States of America should be invited to the treaty, and considered as independent during the time the business was negociating. But this was not the view of England. She wanted to draw France from the war, that she might uninterruptedly pour out all her force and fury upon America: and being disappointed in this plan as well through the open and generous conduct of Spain, as the deter­mination of France, she refused the mediation she had solicited.

I shall now give some extracts from the justifying memorial of the Spanish court, in which she has set the conduct and character of Britain with respect to America, in a clear and striking point of light.

The memorial speaking of the refusal of the Bri­tish court to meet in conference, with commis­sioners from the United States, who were to be considered as independent during the time of the conference, says,

[Page 265]"It is a thing very extraordinary and even ridicu­culous, that the court of London, who treats the colonies as independent, not only in acting, but of right, during the war, should have a repugnance to treat them as such only in acting during a truce of suspension of hostilities. The convention of Sara­toga; the reputing general Burgoyne as a lawful prisoner, in order to suspend his trial; the exchange and liberating other prisoners made from the colonies; they having named Commissioners to go and suppli­cate the Americans, at their own doors, request peace of them, and treat with them and the Congress, and finally by a thousand other acts of this sort, au­thorised by the court of London, which have been, and are true signs of the acknowledgement of of their independence.

"In aggravation to all the foregoing, at the same time the British cabinet answered the king of Spain in the terms already mentioned; they were insinua­ting themselves at the court of France by means of secret emissaries, and making very great offers to her to abandon the colonies and make peace with England. But there is yet more; for at this same time the English ministry were treating by means of another certain emissary, with doctor Franklin, minister plenipotentiary from the colonies, residing at Paris, to whom they made various pro­posals [Page 266] to disunite them from France, and accommo­date matters with England."

"From what has been observed it evidently fol­lows, that the whole of the British politics was to disunite the two courts of Paris and Madrid, by means of the suggestions and offers she separately made to them; and also to separate the colonies from their treaties and engagements entered into with France, and induce them to arm against the house of Bourbon or MORE PROBABLY TO OPPRESS THEM WHEN THEY FOUND FROM BREAKING THEIR ENGAGE­MENTS, THEY STOOD ALONE AND WITHOUT PROTECTORS."

"This therefore is the net they laid for the Ame­rican states; that is to say, to tempt them with flat­tering and very magnificent promises to come to an accommodation with them, exclusive of any in­tervention of Spain or France, that the British mi­nistry might always remain the arbiters of the fate of the colonies.

"But the Catholic king, (the king of Spain) faithful on the one part to the engagements which bind him to the most Christian king (the king of France) his nephew; just and upright on the other, to his own subjects whom he ought to protect and guard against so many insults, and finally, full of humanity and compassion for the Americans and [Page 267] other individuals who suffer in the present war, he is determined to pursue and prosecute it, and to make all the efforts in his power, until he can ob­tain a solid and permanent peace, with full and sa­tisfactory securities that it shall be observed."

Thus far the memorial; a translation of which into English, may be seen in full, under the head of STATE PAPERS, in the Annual Register for 1779, page 367.

The extracts I have here given, serve to shew the various endeavours and contrivances of the ene­my to draw France from her connection with Ame­rica, and to prevail on her to make a separate peace with England, leaving America totally out of the question, and at the mercy of a merciless unprin­cipled enemy. The opinion, likewise, which Spain has formed of the British cabinet character, for meanness and perfidiousness, is so exactly the opinion of America, respecting it, that the memo­rial in this instance, contains our own sentiments and language; for people, however remote, who think alike, will unavoidably speak alike.

Thus we see the insidious use which Britain en­deavoured to make of the propositions for peace, under the mediation of Spain.—I shall now proceed to the second proposition under the mediation of the emperor of Germany and the empress of Russia; the general outline of which was, that a [Page 268] congress of the several powers at war, should meet at Vienna, in 1781, to settle preliminaries of peace.

I could wish myself at liberty to make use of all the information I am possessed of on this sub­ject; but as there is a delicacy in the manner, I do not conceive it prudent, at least at present, to make references and quotations in the same manner as I have done with respect to the mediation of Spain, who published the whole proceedings her­self; and, therefore, what comes from me on this part of the business, must rest on my own credit with the public, assuring them, that when the whole proceedings, relative to the proposed con­gress at Vienna, shall appear, they shall find my account not only true but studiously moderate.

We know that at the time this mediation was on the carpet, the expectations of the British king and ministry ran high with respect to the conquest of America. The English packet which was taken with the mail on board, and carried into l'Orient, in France, contained letters from lord G. Germaine to sir Henry Clinton, which ex­pressed, in the fullest terms, the ministerial idea of a total conquest. Copies of those letters were sent to Congress, and published in the newspapers of last year. Colonel Laurens brought over the ori­ginals, some of which, signed in the hand writing [Page 269] of the then secretary Germaine, are now in my possession.

Filled with these high ideas, nothing could be more insolent towards America than the language of the British court on the proposed meditation. A peace with France and Spain she anxiously so­licited; but America, as before, should be left to her mercy; neither would she hear any propo­sitions for admitting an agent from the United States into the congress of Vienna.

On the other hand, France with an open, no­ble, and manly determination, and the fidelity of a good ally, would hear no proposition for a se­parate peace, nor even meet in congress at Vi­enna, without an agent from America: and like­wise, that the independant character of the United States, represented by the agent, should be fully and unequivocally defined and settled before any conference should be entered on. The reasoning of the court of France on the several proposi­tions of the two Imperial courts, which relate to us, is rather in the style of an American, than an ally; and she advocated the cause of America, as if she had been America herself. Thus the second mediation, like the first, proved ineffectual.

But since that time a reverse of fortune has over­taken the British arms, and all their high expecta­tions are dashed to the ground. The noble exer­tions [Page 270] to the southward, under general Green; the successful operations of the allied armies in the Chesepeake; the loss of most of their islands in the West-Indies, and Minorca in the Mediterranean; the persevering spirit of Spain against Gibraltar; the expected capture of Jamaica; the failure of making a separate peace with Holland, and the ex­pence of one hundred millions sterling, by which all these fine losses were obtained, have read them a loud lesson of disgraceful misfortune, and ne­cessity has called on them to change their ground. in this situation of confusion and despair their pre­sent councils have no fixed character. It is now the hurricane months of British politics. Every day seems to have a storm of its own, and they are scudding under the bare poles of hope. Beaten, but not humble; condemned, but not penitent; they act like men trembling at fate, and catching at a straw.—From this convulsion in the intrails of their politics, it is more than probable that the mountain groaning in labor, will bring forth a mouse as to its size, and a monster in its make. They will try on America the same insidious arts they tried on France and Spain.

We sometimes experience sensations to which language is not equal. The conception is too bulky to be born alive, and in the torture of thinking we stand dumb. Our feelings, imprisoned by their [Page 271] magnitude, find no way out—and, in the struggle of expression every finger tries to be a tongue. The machinery of the body seems too little for the mind, and we look about for helps to shew our thoughts by.—Such must be the sensation of America, whenever Britain, teeming with cor­ruption, shall propose to her to sacrifice her faith.

But, exclusive of the wickedness, there is a per­sonal offence contained in every such attempt. It is calling us villains; for no man asks another to act the villain unless he believes him inclined to be one. No man attempts to seduce a truly honest woman. It is the supposed looseness of her mind that starts the thoughts of seduction, and he who offers it calls her a prostitute. Our pride is always hurt by the same propositions, which offend our principles; for when we are shocked at the crime, we are wounded by the suspicion of our compliance.

Could I convey a thought that might serve to re­gulate the public mind, I would not make the in­terest of the alliance the basis of defending it. All the world are moved by interest, and it affords them nothing to boast of. But I would go a step higher, and defend it on the ground of honour and principle. That our public affairs have flourished under the alliance—that it was [Page 272] wisely made, and has been nobly executed—that by its assistance we are enabled to preserve our country from conquest, and expel those who sought our destruction—that it is our true interest to maintain it unimpaired, and that while we do so no enemy can conquer us;—are matters which ex­perience has taught us, and the common good of ourselves, abstracted from principles of faith and honor, would lead us to maintain the con­nection.

But over and above the mere letter of the al­liance, we have been nobly and generously treated, and have had the same respect and attention paid us, as if we had been an old established country. To oblige, and be obliged, is fair work among mankind, and we want an oppor­tunity of shewing to the world that we are a people sensible of kindness, and worthy of con­fidence. —Character is to us, in our present circumstances, of more importance than interest. We are a young nation, just stepping upon the stage of public life, and the eye of the world is upon us to see how we act. We have an ene­my that is watching to destroy our reputation, and who will go any length to gain some evi­dence against us, that may serve to render our conduct suspected, and our character odious; because, could she accomplish this, wicked as it [Page 273] is, the world would withdraw from us, as from a people not to be trusted, and our task would then become difficult.

There is nothing sets the character of a nation in a higher or lower light with others, than the faith­fully sulfilling, or perfidiously breaking of treaties. They are things not to be tampered with; and should Britain, which seems very probable, propose to seduce America into such an act of baseness, it would merit from her some mark of unusual detes­tation. It is one of those extraordinary instances in which we ought not to be contented with the bare negative of congress, because it is an affront on the multitude as well as on the government. It goes on the supposition that the public are not honest men, and that they may be managed by contrivance though they cannot be conquered by arms. But, let the world and Britain know, that we are neither to be bought nor sold. That our mind is great and fixt, our prospect clear, and that we will support our character as firmly as our independence.

But I will go still farther, general Conway, who made the motion in the British parliament, for dis­continuing offensive war in America, is a gentleman of an amiable character. We have no personal quarrel with him. But he feels not as we feel; he is not in our situation, and that alone, with out any other explanation, is enough.

[Page 274] The British parliament supposes they have many friends in America, and that when all chance of conquest is over, they will be able to draw her from her alliance with France. Now, if I have any conception of the human heart, they will fail in this, more than in any thing they have yet tried.

This part of the business is not a question of poli­cy only but of honour and honesty; and the propo­sition will have in it something so visibly low and base that their partizans, if they have any, will be ashamed of it. Men are often hurt by a mean ac­tion who are not started at a wicked one, and this will be such a confession of their inability, such a declaration of servile thinking, that the scandal of it will ruin all their hopes.

In short, we have nothing to do but to go on with vigour and determination. The enemy is yet in our country. They hold New-york, Charles­ton and Savannah, and the very being in those pla­ces is an offence, and a part of offensive war, and until they can be driven from, or captured in them, it would be folly in us to listen to an idle tale. I take it for granted that the British ministry are sink­ing under the impossibility of carrying on the war. Let them come to a fair and open peace with France, Spain, Holland and America in the manner she ought to do; but until then we can have nothing to say to them.


To Sir Guy Carlton.

IT is the nature of compassion to associate with misfortune; and I address this to you in behalf even of an enemy, a captain in the British service, now on his way to the head quarters of the American army, and unfortunately doomed to death for a crime not his own.—A sentence so extraordinary, an execution so repugnant to every human sensation, ought never to be told without the circumstances which produced it; and as the destined victim is yet in existence, and in your hands rest his life or death, I shall briefly state the case and the melancholy con­sequence.

Captain Huddy of the Jersey militia, was attacked in a small fort on Tom's river, by a party of refu­gees in the British pay and service, was made prisoner together with his company, carried to New-York and lodged in the provost of that city: about three weeks after which, he was taken out of the Provost down to the water-side, put into a boat and brought again upon the Jersey shore, and there, contrary to the practice of all nations but savages, was hung up on a tree, and left hanging until found by our peo­ple, who took him down and buried him.

[Page 276] The inhabitants of that part of the country where the murder was committed, sent a deputation to General Washington with a full and certified state­ment of the fact. Struck, as every human breast must be, with such brutish outrage, and determined both to punish and prevent it for the future, the ge­neral represented the case to General Clinton, who then commanded, and demanded that the refugee officer, who ordered and attended the execution, and whose name is Lippincut, should be delivered up as a murderer; and in case of refusal, that the person of some British officer should suffer in his stead. The demand, though not refused, has not been complied with; and the melancholy lot, (not by selection, but by casting lots) has fallen upon Captain Asgill of the guards, who, as I have already mentioned, is on his way from Lancaster to camp, a martyr to the general wickedness of the cause he engaged in, and the ingratitude of those he has served.

The first reflection that arises on this black busi­ness, is, what sort of men must Englishmen be, and what sort of order and discipline do they pre­serve in their army, when, in the immediate place of their head quarters, and under the eye and nose of their commander in chief, a prisoner can be ta­ken at pleasure from his confinement, and his death made a matter of sport.

[Page 277] The history of the most savage Indians does not produce instances exactly of this kind. They, at least, have a formality in their punishments. With them it is the horridness of revenge, but with your army it is the still greater crime, the horridness of diversion.

The British generals who have succeeded each other, from the time of General Gage to yourself, have all affected to speak in language they have no right to. In their proclamations, their addresses, their letters to General Washington, and their sup­plications to Congress (for they deserve no other name), they talk of British honour, British genero­sity, and British clemency, as if those things were matters of fact; whereas, we, whose eyes are open, who speak the same language with yourselves, many of whom were born on the same spot with you, and who can no more be mistaken in your words, than in your actions, can declare to all the world, that so far as our knowledge goes, there is not a more detestable character, nor a meaner, or more barbarous enemy than the present British one. With us, you have forfeited all pre­tentions of reputation, and it is only holding you like a wild beast, afraid of your keepers, that you can be made manageable—But to return to the point in question:

[Page 278] Though I can think no man innocent who has lent his hand to destroy the country which he did not plant, and to ruin those he could not enslave, yet abstracted from all ideas of right or wrong on the original question, Captain Asgyli, in the present case, is not the guilty man. The villain and the victim are here separated characters. You hold the one and we the other. You disown or affect to disown and reprobate the conduct of Lippencut, yet you give him sanctuary, and by so doing, you as effectually become the executioner of Asgill, as if you put the rope round his neck, and dismissed him from the world. Whatever your feelings on this extraordinary occasion may be, are best known to yourself. Within the grave of our own mind lies buried the fate of Asgill. He becomes the corpse of your will, or the survivor of your justice. Deliver up the one, and you save the other; with­hold the one, and the other dies by your choice.

On our part the case is exceeding plain; AN OFFICER HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM HIS CONFINEMENT AND MURDERED AND THE MURDERER IS WITHIN YOUR LINES. Your army have been guilty of a thousand instances of equal cruelty, but they have been rendered equivocal, and sheltered from personal detection. Here the crime is fixt; and is one of those extraordinary cases, which can nei­ther [Page 279] be denied nor palliated, and to which the custom os war does not apply; for it never could be supposed, that such a brutal outrage would ever be committed. It is an original in the history of civilized barbarians, and is truly British.

On your part, you are accountable to us for the personal safety of the prisoners within your walls. Here can be no mistake: they can neither be spies nor suspected as such; your security is not endan­gered, nor your operations subjected to miscarriage, by men immured within a dungeon. They differ in every cirumstance from men in the field, and leave no pretence for severity of punishment. But if to the dismal condition of captivity with you, must be added the constant apprehensions of death; if to be imprisoned is so nearly to be entombed, and, if after all, the murderers are to be protected, and thereby the crime encouraged, wherein do you differ from Indians, either in conduct or character.

We can have no idea of your honour, or your justice in any future transaction, of what nature it may be, while you shelter within your lines an out­rageous murderer, and sacrifice in his stead, an officer of your own. If you have no regard to us at least spare the blood which it is your duty to save. Whether the puishment will be greater on him, whom in this case innocently dies, or on him whom sad necessity forces to retaliate, is, in the [Page 280] nicety of sensation, an undecided Question? It rests with you to prevent the sufferings of both. You have nothing to do but to give up the murder­er, and the matter ends.

But to protect him, be he who he may, is to pa­tronize his crime, and to trifle it off by frivolous and and unmeaning enquiries is to promote it. There is no declaration you can make, no promise you can give that will obtain credit. It is the man and not the apology that is demanded.

You see yourself pressed on all sides to spare the life of your own officer, for die he will if you with­hold justice. The murder of captain Huddy is an offence not to be borne with, and there is no security we can have that such actions, or similar ones shall not be repeated, but by making the punishment fall upon yourselves. To destroy the last security of captivity, and to take the unarmed, the unresisting prisoner to private and sportive execution, is carry­ing barbarity too high for silence. The evil must be put an end to, and the choice of persons rests with you. But if your attachment to the guilty is stronger than to the innocent, you invent a crime that must destroy your character, and if the cause of your King needs to be supported, for ever cease, sir, to torture our remembrance with the wretched phrases of British honour, British generosity, and British clemency.

[Page 281] From this melancholy circumstance, learn, sir, a lesson of morality. The refugees are men whom your predecessors have instructed in wickedness, the better to fit them to their master's purpose. To make them useful they have made them vile, and the consequence of their tortured villainy is now descen­ding on the heads of their encouragers. They have been trained like hounds to the scent of blood, and cherished in every species of dissolute barbarity. Their ideas of right and wrong are worn away in the constant habitude of repeated infamy, till like men practised in executions, they feel not the value of another's life,

The task before you though painful is not diffi­cult; give up the murderer, and save your officer, as the first outset of a necessary reformation.


No. XIV*.

"THE times that tried mens souls," are over and the greatest and completest revolution the world ever knew, gloriously and happily accom­plished.

But to pass from the extremes of danger to safety, from the tumult of war to the tranquility of peace, though sweet in contemplation, re­quires a gradual composure of the senses to re­ceive it. Even calmness has the power of stunning when it opens too instantly upon us. The long and raging hurricane that should cease in a mo­ment, would leave us in a state rather of won­der than enjoyment; and some moments of recol­lection must pass, before we could be capable of tasting the full felicity of repose. There are but [Page 283] few instances, in which the mind is fitted for sudden transitions: It takes in its pleasures by re­flection and comparison, and those must have time to act before the relish for new scenes is complete.

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

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

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

Never, I say, had a country so many openings to happiness as this. Her setting out into life, like the rising of a fair morning, was unclouded and promising. Her cause was good. Her princi­pals [Page 284] just and liberal. Her temper serene and firm. Her conduct regulated by the nicest steps, and every thing about her wore the mark of honour.

It is not every country (perhaps there is not ano­ther in the world) that can boast so fair an origin. Even the first settlement of America corresponds with the character of the revolution. Rome, once the proud mistress of the universe, was originally a band of ruffians. Plunder and rapine made her rich, and her oppression of millions made her great. But America needs never be ashamed to tell her birth, nor relate the stages by which she rose to empire.

The remembrance then of what is past, if it operates rightly, must inspire her with the most laudable of all ambition, that of adding to the fair fame she began with. The world has seen her great in adversity. Struggling without a thought of yielding beneath accumulated difficulties. Bravely, nay proudly, encountering distress, and rising in resolution as the storm encreased. All this is justly due to her, for her fortitude has merited the character. Let then the world see that she can bear prosperity: and that her honest virtue in time of peace, is equal to the bravest virtue in time of war.

She is now descending to the scenes of quiet and domestic life. Not beneath the cypress shade of [Page 285] disappointment, but to enjoy in her own land, and under her own vine, the sweet of her labors, and the reward of her toil. In this situation, may she never forget that a fair national reputation is of as much importance as independence. That it possesses a charm which wins upon the world, and makes even enemies civil. That it gives a dignity which is often superior to power, and commands a reverence where pomp and splendor fail.

It would be a circumstance ever to be lamented and never to be forgotten, were a single blot, from any cause whatever, suffered to fall on a revolution, which to the end of time must be an honor to the age that accomplished it: and which has contributed more to enlighten the world, and diffuse a spirit of freedom and liberality among mankind, than any human event (if this may be called one) that ever preceded it.

It is not among the least of the calamities of a long continued war, that it unhinges the mind from those nice sensations which at other times appear so amiable. The continual spectacle of woe, blunts the finer feelings, and the necessity of bearing with the sight, renders it familiar. In like manner, are many of the moral obligations of society weakened, till the custom of acting by necessity, becomes an apology, where it is truly a crime. Yet let but a nation conceive rightly of its character, and it will [Page 286] be chastly just in protecting it. None ever began with a fairer than America, and none can be under a greater obligation to preserve it.

The debt which America has contracted, com­pared with the cause she has gained, and the ad­vantages to flow from it, ought scarcely to be men­tioned. She has it in her choice to do, and to live as happily as she pleases. The world is in her hands. She has no foreign power to monopolize her commerce, perplex her legislation, or con­troul her prosperity. The struggle is over, which must one day have happened, and perhaps, never could have happended at a better time*. And [Page 287] instead of a domineering master, she has gained an ally, whose exemplary greatness, and universal li­berality, have extorted a confession even from her enemies.

[Page 288] With the blessings of peace, independence, and an universal commerce, the states individually, and collectively, will have leisure and opportunity to re­gulate and establish their domestic concerns, and to put it beyond the power of calumny to throw the least reflection on their honor. Character is much easier kept than recovered, and that man, if any such there be, who, from any sinister views, or littleness of soul, lends unseen his hand to injure it, contrives a wound it will never be in his power to heal.

As we have established an inheritance for pos­terity, let that inheritance descend, with every mark of an honourable conveyance. The little it will cost, compared with the worth of the states, the greatness of the object, and the value of national character, will be a profitable exchange.

But that which must more forcibly strike a thoughtful penetrating mind, and which includes and renders easy all inferior concerns, is the [Page 289] UNION OF THE STATES. On this, our great national character depends. It is this which must give▪ us importance abroad and security at home. It is through this only that we are, or can be nationally known in the world. It is the flag of the United States which renders our ships and commerce safe on the seas, or in a foreign port. Our Mediterranean passes must be ob­tained under the same stile. All our treaties, whether of alliance, peace or commerce, are formed under the sovereignty of the United States, and Europe knows us by no other name or title.

The division of the empire into states is for our own convenience, but abroad this distinction ceases. The affairs of each state are local. They can go no farther than to itself. And were the whole worth of even the richest of them expended in revenue, it would not be suf­ficient to support sovereignty against a foreign attack. In short, we have no other national so­vereignty than as United States. It would even be fatal for us if we had—too expensive to be maintained, and impossible to be supported. In­dividuals or individual states may call themselves what they please; but the world, and especially the world of enemies, is not to be held in awe by the whistling of a name. Sovereignty must have [Page 290] power to protect all the parts that compose and constitute it: and as UNITED STATES we are equal to the importance of the title, but otherwise we are not. Our union well and wisely regulated and cemented, is the cheapest way of being great, the easiest way of being powerful, and the hap­piest invention in government, which the cir­cumstances of America can admit of—Because it collects from each state, that, which, by being in­adequate, can be of no use to it, and forms an ag­gregate that serves for all.

The states of Holland are an unfortunate instance of the effects of individual sovereignty. Their disjointed condition exposes them to numerous in­trigues, losses, calamities and enemies; and the almost impossibility of bringing their measures to a decision, and that decision into execution, is to them, and would be to us, a source of endless mis­fortune.

It is with confederated states, as with individuals in society; something must be yielded up to make the whole secure. In this view of things, we gain by what we give, and draw an annual interest greater than the capital.—I ever feel myself hurt when I hear the union, that great palladium of our liberty and safety, the least irreverently spoken of. It is the most sacred thing in the constitution of America, and that, which every man should be [Page 291] most proud and tender of. Our citizenship in the United states is our national character. Our citi­zenship in any particular state, is only our local dis­tinction. By the latter, we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is, AMERICANS—our inferior one varies with the place.

So far as my endeavours could go, they have all been directed to conciliate the affections, unite the interests, and draw and keep the mind of the coun­try together; and the better to assist in this founda­tion work of the revolution, I have avoided all places of profit or office, either in the state I live in, or in the United States; kept myself at a dis­tance from all parties and party connections, and even disregarded all private and inferior concerns: and when we take into view the great work we have gone through, and feel as we ought to feel, the just importance of it, we shall then see, that the little wranglings, and indecent contentions of personal party, are as dishonourable to our characters, as they are injurious to our repose.

It was the cause of America that made me an author. The force with which it struck my mind, and the dangerous condition of the coun­try appeared to me in, by courting an impossi­ble and unnatural reconciliation with those who were determined to reduce her, instead of striking [Page 292] out into the only line that could cement and save her, A DECLARATION OF INDE­PENDENCE, made it impossible for me, feeling as I did, to be silent: and if, in the course of more than seven years, I have rendered her any service, I have likewise added something to the reputation of literature, by freely and disinterestedly employing it in the great cause of mankind, and shewing there may be genius without pros­titution.

Independence always appeared to me practi­cable and probable; provided the sentiment of the country could be formed, and held to the object; and there is no instance in the world, where a people so extended, and wedded to for­mer habits of thinking, and under such a variety of circumstances, were so instantly and ineffectu­ally pervaded, by a turn in politics, as in the case of independence, and who supported their opinon, undiminished, through such a succession of good and ill-fortune, till they crowned it with success.

But as the scenes of war are closed, and every man preparing for home and happier times, I therefore take my leave of the subject. I have most sincerely followed it from beginning to end, and through all its turns and windings: and what­ever [Page 293] country I may hereafter be in, I shall always feel an honest pride at the part I have taken and acted, and a gratitude to Nature and Providence for putting it in my power to be of some use to mankind.


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