1774 - 1779









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PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not

YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long

habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial

appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry

in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more

converts than reason.


  As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the Means of

calling the right of it in question (and in Matters too which might

never have been thought of, had not the Sufferers been aggravated

into the inquiry) and as the King of England hath undertaken in his

OWN RIGHT, to support the Parliament in what he calls THEIRS, and

as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the

combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the

pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either.


  In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every

thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as

censure to individuals make no part thereof. The wise, and the

worthy, need not the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose

sentiments are injudicious, or unfriendly, will cease of themselves

unless too much pains are bestowed upon their conversion.


  The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all

mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not

local, but universal, and through which the principles of all Lovers

of Mankind are affected, and in the Event of which, their Affections

are interested. The laying of a Country desolate with Fire and Sword,

declaring War against the natural rights of all Mankind, and

extirpating the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earth, is the

Concern of every Man to whom Nature hath given the Power of feeling;

of which Class, regardless of Party Censure, is

                      THE AUTHOR




  P. S. The Publication of this new Edition hath been delayed, with a

View of taking notice (had it been necessary) of any Attempt to

refute the Doctrine of Independance: As no Answer hath yet appeared,

it is now presumed that none will, the Time needful for getting such

a Performance ready for the Public being considerably past.


  Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the

Public, as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELF, not the

MAN. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected

with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but

the influence of reason and principle.


   Philadelphia, February 14, 1776.





SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave

little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only

different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our

wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our

happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter

NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages

intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron,

the last a punisher.


  Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its

best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable

one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A

GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT,

our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by

which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost

innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers

of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and

irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not

being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his

property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he

is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case

advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE,

security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably

follows that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it

to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to

all others.


  In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of

government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some

sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will

then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In

this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A

thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is

so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual

solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of

another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would

be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness,

but ONE man might labour out the common period of life without

accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not

remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time

would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a

different way. Disease, nay even misfortune would be death, for

though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from

living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to

perish than to die.


  This necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly

arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessing of which,

would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government

unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as

nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably

happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of

emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will

begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this

remissness, will point out the necessity, of establishing some form

of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.


  Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the

branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on

public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will

have the title only of REGULATIONS, and be enforced by no other

penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by

natural right, will have a seat.


  But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase

likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated,

will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every

occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations

near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out

the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to

be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are

supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those have who

appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body

would act were they present. If the colony continues increasing, it

will become necessary to augment the number of the representatives,

and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to,

it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each

part sending its proper number; and that the ELECTED might never

form to themselves an interest separate from the ELECTORS, prudence

will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as

the ELECTED might by that means return and mix again with the

general body of the ELECTORS in a few months, their fidelity to the

public will be secured by the prudent reflexion of not making a rod

for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a

common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually

and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning




  Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode

rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the

world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and

security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with snow, or our ears

deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest

darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason

will say, it is right.


  I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in

nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any

thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier

repaired when disordered; and with this maxim in view, I offer a few

remarks on the so much boasted constitution of England. That it was

noble for the dark and slavish times in which it was erected, is

granted. When the world was over run with tyranny the least remove

therefrom was a glorious rescue. But that it is imperfect, subject to

convulsions, and incapable of producing what it seems to promise, is

easily demonstrated.


  Absolute governments (tho' the disgrace of human nature) have this

advantage with them, that they are simple; if the people suffer, they

know the head from which their suffering springs, know likewise the

remedy, and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures. But

the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex, that the

nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover

in which part the fault lies, some will say in one and some in

another, and every political physician will advise a different



  I know it is difficult to get over local or long standing

prejudices, yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the component

parts of the English constitution, we shall find them to be the base

remains of two ancient tyrannies, compounded with some new republican



  FIRST. The remains of monarchical tyranny in the person of the



  SECONDLY. The remains of aristocratical tyranny in the persons of

the peers.


  THIRDLY. The new republican materials, in the persons of the

commons, on whose virtue depends the freedom of England.


  The two first, by being hereditary, are independent of the people;

wherefore in a CONSTITUTIONAL SENSE they contribute nothing towards

the freedom of the state.


  To say that the constitution of England is a UNION of three

powers reciprocally CHECKING each other, is farcical, either the

words have no meaning, or they are flat contradictions.


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



  FIRST. That the king is not to be trusted without being looked

after, or in other words, that a thirst for absolute power is the

natural disease of monarchy.


  SECONDLY. That the commons, by being appointed for that purpose,

are either wiser or more worthy of confidence than the crown.


  But as the same constitution which gives the commons a power to

check the king by withholding the supplies, gives afterwards the king

a power to check the commons, by empowering him to reject their other

bills; it again supposes that the king is wiser than those whom it

has already supposed to be wiser than him. A mere absurdity!


  There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of

monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet

empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required.

The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a

king requires him to know it thoroughly; wherefore the different

parts, by unnaturally opposing and destroying each other, prove the

whole character to be absurd and useless.


  Some writers have explained the English constitution thus; the

king, say they, is one, the people another; the peers are an house in

behalf of the king; the commons in behalf of the people; but this

hath all the distinctions of an house divided against itself; and

though the expressions be pleasantly arranged, yet when examined they

appear idle and ambiguous; and it will always happen, that the nicest

construction that words are capable of, when applied to the

description of some thing which either cannot exist, or is too

incomprehensible to be within the compass of description, will be

words of sound only, and though they may amuse the ear, they cannot

inform the mind, for this explanation includes a previous question,


TRUST, AND ALWAYS OBLIGED TO CHECK? Such a power could not be the

gift of a wise people, neither can any power, WHICH NEEDS CHECKING,

be from God; yet the provision, which the constitution makes,

supposes such a power to exist.


  But the provision is unequal to the task; the means either cannot

or will not accomplish the end, and the whole affair is a felo de se;

for as the greater weight will always carry up the less, and as all

the wheels of a machine are put in motion by one, it only remains to

know which power in the constitution has the most weight, for that

will govern; and though the others, or a part of them, may clog, or,

as the phrase is, check the rapidity of its motion, yet so long as

they cannot stop it, their endeavors will be ineffectual; the first

moving power will at last have its way, and what it wants in speed is

supplied by time.


  That the crown is this overbearing part in the English constitution

needs not be mentioned, and that it derives its whole consequence

merely from being the giver of places and pensions is self-evident;

wherefore, though we have been wise enough to shut and lock a door

against absolute monarchy, we at the same time have been foolish

enough to put the crown in possession of the key.


  The prejudice of Englishmen, in favour of their own government by

king, lords and commons, arises as much or more from national pride

than reason. Individuals are undoubtedly safer in England than in

some other countries, but the WILL of the king is as much the LAW

of the land in Britain as in France, with this difference, that

instead of proceeding directly from his mouth, it is handed to the

people under the more formidable shape of an act of parliament. For

the fate of Charles the first, hath only made kings more subtle--not

more just.


  Wherefore, laying aside all national pride and prejudice in favour

of modes and forms, the plain truth is, that IT IS WHOLLY OWING TO


GOVERNMENT that the crown is not as oppressive in England as in



  An inquiry into the CONSTITUTIONAL ERRORS in the English form of

government is at this time highly necessary; for as we are never in a

proper condition of doing justice to others, while we continue under

the influence of some leading partiality, so neither are we capable

of doing it to ourselves while we remain fettered by any obstinate

prejudice. And as a man, who is attached to a prostitute, is unfitted

to choose or judge of a wife, so any prepossession in favour of a

rotten constitution of government will disable us from discerning a

good one.




MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation, the

equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance; the

distinctions of rich, and poor, may in a great measure be accounted

for, and that without having recourse to the harsh ill sounding names

of oppression and avarice. Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCE, but

seldom or never the MEANS of riches; and though avarice will

preserve a man from being necessitously poor, it generally makes him

too timorous to be wealthy.


  But there is another and greater distinction for which no truly

natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is, the

distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male and female are the

distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but

how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and

distinguished like some new species, is worth enquiring into, and

whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.


  In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture

chronology, there were no kings; the consequence of which was there

were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throw mankind into

confusion. Holland without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this

last century than any of the monarchical governments in Europe.

Antiquity favors the same remark; for the quiet and rural lives of

the first patriarchs hath a happy something in them, which vanishes

away when we come to the history of Jewish royalty.


  Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the

Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was

the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the

promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honors to their

deceased kings, and the christian world hath improved on the plan by

doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of

sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is

crumbling into dust!


  As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be

justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be

defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty,

as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves

of government by kings. All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have

been very smoothly glossed over in monarchical governments, but they

undoubtedly merit the attention of countries which have their


CAESAR'S" is the scripture doctrine of courts, yet it is no support

of monarchical government, for the Jews at that time were without a

king, and in a state of vassalage to the Romans.


  Near three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic account of

the creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a

king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary

cases, where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic

administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had

none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that

title but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the

idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of Kings, he need not

wonder, that the Almighty ever jealous of his honor, should

disapprove of a form of government which so impiously invades the

prerogative of heaven.


  Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for

which a curse in reserve is denounced against them. The history of

that transaction is worth attending to.


  The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites, Gideon

marched against them with a small army, and victory, thro' the divine

interposition, decided in his favour. The Jews elate with success,

and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon, proposed making him


SON. Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only,

but an hereditary one, but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied,


LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU. Words need not be more explicit; Gideon

doth not DECLINE the honor, but denieth their right to give it;

neither doth he compliment them with invented declarations of his

thanks, but in the positive stile of a prophet charges them with

disaffection to their proper Sovereign, the King of heaven.


  About one hundred and thirty years after this, they fell again into

the same error. The hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous

customs of the Heathens, is something exceedingly unaccountable; but

so it was, that laying hold of the misconduct of Samuel's two sons,

who were entrusted with some secular concerns, they came in an abrupt

and clamorous manner to Samuel, saying, BEHOLD THOU ART OLD, AND THY


THE OTHER NATIONS. And here we cannot but observe that their motives

were bad, viz. that they might be LIKE unto other nations, i. e.

the Heathens, whereas their true glory laid in being as much UNLIKE











not of any particular king, but the general manner of the kings of

the earth, whom Israel was so eagerly copying after. And

notwithstanding the great distance of time and difference of manners,

the character is still in fashion. AND SAMUEL TOLD ALL THE WORDS OF





description agrees with the present mode of impressing men) AND HE





TO BE BAKERS (this describes the expence and luxury as well as the





bribery, corruption, and favoritism are the standing vices of kings)






THAT DAY. This accounts for the continuation of monarchy; neither do

the characters of the few good kings which have lived since, either

sanctify the title, or blot out the sinfulness of the origin; the

high encomium given of David takes no notice of him OFFICIALLY AS A

KING, but only as a MAN after God's own heart. NEVERTHELESS THE




BATTLES. Samuel continued to reason with them, but to no purpose; he

set before them their ingratitude, but all would not avail; and

seeing them fully bent on their folly, he cried out, I WILL CALL


punishment, being in the time of wheat harvest) THAT YE MAY PERCEIVE







portions of scripture are direct and positive. They admit of no

equivocal construction. That the Almighty hath here entered his

protest against monarchical government is true, or the scripture is

false. And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much of

king-craft, as priest-craft, in withholding the scripture from the

public in Popish countries. For monarchy in every instance is the

Popery of government.


  To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary

succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of

ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult

and an imposition on posterity. For all men being originally equals,

no ONE by BIRTH could have a right to set up his own family in

perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might

deserve SOME decent degree of honors of his cotemporaries, yet his

descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. One of the

strongest NATURAL proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings,

is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so

frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ASS FOR A



  Secondly, as no man at first could possess any other public honors

than were bestowed upon him, so the givers of those honors could have

no power to give away the right of posterity, and though they might

say "We choose you for OUR head," they could not, without manifest

injustice to their children, say "that your children and your

children's children shall reign over OURS for ever." Because such

an unwise, unjust, unnatural compact might (perhaps) in the next

succession put them under the government of a rogue or a fool. Most

wise men, in their private sentiments, have ever treated hereditary

right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils, which when once

established is not easily removed; many submit from fear, others from

superstition, and the more powerful part shares with the king the

plunder of the rest.


  This is supposing the present race of kings in the world to have

had an honorable origin; whereas it is more than probable, that could

we take off the dark covering of antiquity, and trace them to their

first rise, that we should find the first of them nothing better than

the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners or

pre-eminence in subtility obtained him the title of chief among

plunderers; and who by increasing in power, and extending his

depredations, over-awed the quiet and defenceless to purchase their

safety by frequent contributions. Yet his electors could have no idea

of giving hereditary right to his descendants, because such a

perpetual exclusion of themselves was incompatible with the free and

unrestrained principles they professed to live by. Wherefore,

hereditary succession in the early ages of monarchy could not take

place as a matter of claim, but as something casual or complimental;

but as few or no records were extant in those days, and traditionary

history stuffed with fables, it was very easy, after the lapse of a

few generations, to trump up some superstitious tale, conveniently

timed, Mahomet like, to cram hereditary right down the throats of the

vulgar. Perhaps the disorders which threatened, or seemed to

threaten, on the decease of a leader and the choice of a new one (for

elections among ruffians could not be very orderly) induced many at

first to favor hereditary pretensions; by which means it happened, as

it hath happened since, that what at first was submitted to as a

convenience, was afterwards claimed as a right.


  England, since the conquest, hath known some few good monarchs, but

groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones; yet no man in his

senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very

honorable one. A French bastard landing with an armed banditti, and

establishing himself king of England against the consent of the

natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original. It

certainly hath no divinity in it. However, it is needless to spend

much time in exposing the folly of hereditary right, if there are any

so weak as to believe it, let them promiscuously worship the ass and

lion, and welcome. I shall neither copy their humility, nor disturb

their devotion.


  Yet I should be glad to ask how they suppose kings came at first?

The question admits but of three answers, viz. either by lot, by

election, or by usurpation. If the first king was taken by lot, it

establishes a precedent for the next, which excludes hereditary

succession. Saul was by lot, yet the succession was not hereditary,

neither does it appear from that transaction there was any intention

it ever should. If the first king of any country was by election,

that likewise establishes a precedent for the next; for to say, that

the RIGHT of all future generations is taken away, by the act of

the first electors, in their choice not only of a king, but of a

family of kings for ever, hath no parrallel in or out of scripture

but the doctrine of original sin, which supposes the free will of all

men lost in Adam; and from such comparison, and it will admit of no

other, hereditary succession can derive no glory. For as in Adam all

sinned, and as in the first electors all men obeyed; as in the one

all mankind were subjected to Satan, and in the other to Sovereignty;

as our innocence was lost in the first, and our authority in the

last; and as both disable us from reassuming some former state and

privilege, it unanswerably follows that original sin and hereditary

succession are parallels. Dishonorable rank! Inglorious connexion!

Yet the most subtile sophist cannot produce a juster simile.


  As to usurpation, no man will be so hardy as to defend it; and that

William the Conqueror was an usurper is a fact not to be

contradicted. The plain truth is, that the antiquity of English

monarchy will not bear looking into.


  But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary

succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and

wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens

a door to the FOOLISH, the WICKED, and the IMPROPER, it hath in

it the nature of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to

reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest

of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the

world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that

they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and

when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant

and unfit of any throughout the dominions.


  Another evil which attends hereditary succession is, that the

throne is subject to be possessed by a minor at any age; all which

time the regency, acting under the cover of a king, have every

opportunity and inducement to betray their trust. The same national

misfortune happens, when a king worn out with age and infirmity,

enters the last stage of human weakness. In both these cases the

public becomes a prey to every miscreant, who can tamper successfully

with the follies either of age or infancy.


  The most plausible plea, which hath ever been offered in favour of

hereditary succession, is, that it preserves a nation from civil

wars; and were this true, it would be weighty; whereas, it is the

most barefaced falsity ever imposed upon mankind. The whole history

of England disowns the fact. Thirty kings and two minors have reigned

in that distracted kingdom since the conquest, in which time there

have been (including the Revolution) no less than eight civil wars

and nineteen rebellions. Wherefore instead of making for peace, it

makes against it, and destroys the very foundation it seems to stand



  The contest for monarchy and succession, between the houses of York

and Lancaster, laid England in a scene of blood for many years.

Twelve pitched battles, besides skirmishes and sieges, were fought

between Henry and Edward. Twice was Henry prisoner to Edward, who in

his turn was prisoner to Henry. And so uncertain is the fate of war

and the temper of a nation, when nothing but personal matters are the

ground of a quarrel, that Henry was taken in triumph from a prison to

a palace, and Edward obliged to fly from a palace to a foreign land;

yet, as sudden transitions of temper are seldom lasting, Henry in his

turn was driven from the throne, and Edward recalled to succeed him.

The parliament always following the strongest side.


  This contest began in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and was not

entirely extinguished till Henry the Seventh, in whom the families

were united. Including a period of 67 years, viz. from 1422 to 1489.


  In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that

kingdom only) but the world in blood and ashes. 'Tis a form of

government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood

will attend it.


  If we inquire into the business of a king, we shall find that in

some countries they have none; and after sauntering away their lives

without pleasure to themselves or advantage to the nation, withdraw

from the scene, and leave their successors to tread the same idle

round. In absolute monarchies the whole weight of business, civil and

military, lies on the king; the children of Israel in their request

for a king, urged this plea "that he may judge us, and go out before

us and fight our battles." But in countries where he is neither a

judge nor a general, as in England, a man would be puzzled to know

what IS his business.


  The nearer any government approaches to a republic the less

business there is for a king. It is somewhat difficult to find a

proper name for the government of England. Sir William Meredith calls

it a republic; but in its present state it is unworthy of the name,

because the corrupt influence of the crown, by having all the places

in its disposal, hath so effectually swallowed up the power, and

eaten out the virtue of the house of commons (the republican part in

the constitution) that the government of England is nearly as

monarchical as that of France or Spain. Men fall out with names

without understanding them. For it is the republican and not the

monarchical part of the constitution of England which Englishmen

glory in, viz. the liberty of choosing an house of commons from out

of their own body--and it is easy to see that when republican virtue

fails, slavery ensues. Why is the constitution of England sickly, but

because monarchy hath poisoned the republic, the crown hath engrossed

the commons?


  In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give

away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and

set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be

allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped

into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in

the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.




IN the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain

arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to

settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice

and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to

determine for themselves; that he will put ON, or rather that he

will not put OFF, the true character of a man, and generously

enlarge his views beyond the present day.


  Volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle between

England and America. Men of all ranks have embarked in the

controversy, from different motives, and with various designs; but

all have been ineffectual, and the period of debate is closed. Arms,

as the last resource, decide the contest; the appeal was the choice

of the king, and the continent hath accepted the challenge.


  It hath been reported of the late Mr Pelham (who tho' an able

minister was not without his faults) that on his being attacked in

the house of commons, on the score, that his measures were only of a

temporary kind, replied, "THEY WILL LAST MY TIME." Should a thought

so fatal and unmanly possess the colonies in the present contest, the

name of ancestors will be remembered by future generations with



  The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. 'Tis not the

affair of a city, a country, a province, or a kingdom, but of a

continent--of at least one eighth part of the habitable globe. 'Tis

not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually

involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected, even to

the end of time, by the proceedings now. Now is the seed time of

continental union, faith and honor. The least fracture now will be

like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a

young oak; The wound will enlarge with the tree, and posterity read

it in full grown characters.


  By referring the matter from argument to arms, a new era for

politics is struck; a new method of thinking hath arisen. All plans,

proposals, &c. prior to the nineteenth of April, I. E. to the

commencement of hostilities, are like the almanacks of the last year;

which, though proper then, are superceded and useless now. Whatever

was advanced by the advocates on either side of the question then,

terminated in one and the same point, viz. a union with

Great Britain; the only difference between the parties was the method

of effecting it; the one proposing force, the other friendship; but

it hath so far happened that the first hath failed, and the second

hath withdrawn her influence.


  As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation, which,

like an agreeable dream, hath passed away and left us as we were, it

is but right, that we should examine the contrary side of the

argument, and inquire into some of the many material injuries which

these colonies sustain, and always will sustain, by being connected

with, and dependant on Great Britain. To examine that connexion and

dependance, on the principles of nature and common sense, to see what

we have to trust to, if separated, and what we are to expect, if



  I have heard it asserted by some, that as America hath flourished

under her former connexion with Great Britain, that the same

connexion is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always

have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind

of argument. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived

upon milk, that it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty

years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But

even this is admitting more than is true, for I answer roundly, that

America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no

European power had any thing to do with her. The commerce, by which

she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life, and will

always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.


  But she has protected us, say some. That she hath engrossed us is

true, and defended the continent at our expence as well as her own is

admitted, and she would have defended Turkey from the same motive,

viz. the sake of trade and dominion.


  Alas, we have been long led away by ancient prejudices, and made

large sacrifices to superstition. We have boasted the protection of

Great Britain, without considering, that her motive was INTEREST

not ATTACHMENT; that she did not protect us from OUR ENEMIES on


those who had no quarrel with us on any OTHER ACCOUNT, and who will

always be our enemies on the SAME ACCOUNT. Let Britain wave her

pretensions to the continent, or the continent throw off the

dependance, and we should be at peace with France and Spain were they

at war with Britain. The miseries of Hanover last war ought to warn

us against connexions.


  It hath lately been asserted in parliament, that the colonies have

no relation to each other but through the parent country, I. E.

that Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and so on for the rest, are sister

colonies by the way of England; this is certainly a very round-about

way of proving relationship, but it is the nearest and only true way

of proving enemyship, if I may so call it. France and Spain never

were, nor perhaps ever will be our enemies as AMERICANS, but as our



  But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame

upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages

make war upon their families; wherefore the assertion, if true, turns

to her reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so,

and the phrase PARENT or MOTHER COUNTRY hath been jesuitically

adopted by the king and his parasites, with a low papistical design

of gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds.

Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new

world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and

religious liberty from EVERY PART of Europe. Hither have they fled,

not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of

the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny

which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants



  In this extensive quarter of the globe, we forget the narrow limits

of three hundred and sixty miles (the extent of England) and carry

our friendship on a larger scale; we claim brotherhood with every

European christian, and triumph in the generosity of the sentiment.


  It is pleasant to observe by what regular gradations we surmount

the force of local prejudice, as we enlarge our acquaintance with the

world. A man born in any town in England divided into parishes, will

naturally associate most with his fellow parishioners (because their

interests in many cases will be common) and distinguish him by the

name of NEIGHBOUR; if he meet him but a few miles from home, he

drops the narrow idea of a street, and salutes him by the name of

TOWNSMAN; if he travel out of the county, and meet him in any

other, he forgets the minor divisions of street and town, and calls

him COUNTRYMAN; i. e. COUNTY-MAN; but if in their foreign

excursions they should associate in France or any other part of

EUROPE, their local remembrance would be enlarged into that of

ENGLISHMEN. And by a just parity of reasoning, all Europeans

meeting in America, or any other quarter of the globe, are

COUNTRYMEN; for England, Holland, Germany, or Sweden, when compared

with the whole, stand in the same places on the larger scale, which

the divisions of street, town, and county do on the smaller ones;

distinctions too limited for continental minds. Not one third of the

inhabitants, even of this province, are of English descent. Wherefore

I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother country applied to England

only, as being false, selfish, narrow and ungenerous.


  But admitting, that we were all of English descent, what does it

amount to? Nothing. Britain, being now an open enemy, extinguishes

every other name and title: And to say that reconciliation is our

duty, is truly farcical. The first king of England, of the present

line (William the Conqueror) was a Frenchman, and half the Peers of

England are descendants from the same country; wherefore, by the same

method of reasoning, England ought to be governed by France.


  Much hath been said of the united strength of Britain and the

colonies, that in conjunction they might bid defiance to the world.

But this is mere presumption; the fate of war is uncertain, neither

do the expressions mean any thing; for this continent would never

suffer itself to be drained of inhabitants, to support the British

arms in either Asia, Africa, or Europe.


  Besides, what have we to do with setting the world at defiance? Our

plan is commerce, and that, well attended to, will secure us the

peace and friendship of all Europe; because, it is the interest of

all Europe to have America a FREE PORT. Her trade will always be a

protection, and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from



  I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to shew, a

single advantage that this continent can reap, by being connected

with Great Britain. I repeat the challenge, not a single advantage is

derived. Our corn will fetch its price in any market in Europe, and

our imported goods must be paid for buy them where we will.


  But the injuries and disadvantages we sustain by that connection,

are without number; and our duty to mankind at large, as well as to

ourselves, instruct us to renounce the alliance: Because, any

submission to, or dependance on Great Britain, tends directly to

involve this continent in European wars and quarrels; and sets us at

variance with nations, who would otherwise seek our friendship, and

against whom, we have neither anger nor complaint. As Europe is our

market for trade, we ought to form no partial connection with any

part of it. It is the true interest of America to steer clear of

European contentions, which she never can do, while by her dependance

on Britain, she is made the make-weight in the scale on British



  Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace,

and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power,

the trade of America goes to ruin, BECAUSE OF HER CONNECTION WITH

BRITAIN. The next war may not turn out like the last, and should it

not, the advocates for reconciliation now will be wishing for

separation then, because, neutrality in that case, would be a safer

convoy than a man of war. Every thing that is right or natural pleads

for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature

cries, 'TIS TIME TO PART. Even the distance at which the Almighty

hath placed England and America, is a strong and natural proof, that

the authority of the one, over the other, was never the design of

Heaven. The time likewise at which the continent was discovered, adds

weight to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled

encreases the force of it. The reformation was preceded by the

discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a

sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford

neither friendship nor safety.


  The authority of Great Britain over this continent, is a form of

government, which sooner or later must have an end: And a serious

mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward, under the painful

and positive conviction, that what he calls "the present

constitution" is merely temporary. As parents, we can have no joy,

knowing that THIS GOVERNMENT is not sufficiently lasting to ensure

any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method

of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we

ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and

pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly, we

should take our children in our hand, and fix our station a few years

farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect, which a few

present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.


  Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence, yet I am

inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of

reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions.

Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who CANNOT

see; prejudiced men, who WILL NOT see; and a certain set of

moderate men, who think better of the European world than it

deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be

the cause of more calamities to this continent, than all the other



  It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of

sorrow; the evil is not sufficiently brought to THEIR doors to make

THEM feel the precariousness with which all American property is

possessed. But let our imaginations transport us for a few moments to

Boston, that seat of wretchedness will teach us wisdom, and instruct

us for ever to renounce a power in whom we can have no trust. The

inhabitants of that unfortunate city, who but a few months ago were

in ease and affluence, have now, no other alternative than to stay

and starve, or turn out to beg. Endangered by the fire of their

friends if they continue within the city, and plundered by the

soldiery if they leave it. In their present condition they are

prisoners without the hope of redemption, and in a general attack for

their relief, they would be exposed to the fury of both armies.


  Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offences of

Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, "COME,


passions and feelings of mankind, Bring the doctrine of

reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me, whether

you can hereafter love, honour, and faithfully serve the power that

hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all

these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay

bringing ruin upon posterity. Your future connection with Britain,

whom you can neither love nor honour, will be forced and unnatural,

and being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in a

little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first. But if

you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, Hath

your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your

face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or

bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands,

and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then

are you not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and still can

shake hands with the murderers, then you are unworthy of the name of

husband, father, friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or

title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a



  This is not inflaming or exaggerating matters, but trying them by

those feelings and affections which nature justifies, and without

which, we should be incapable of discharging the social duties of

life, or enjoying the felicities of it. I mean not to exhibit horror

for the purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from fatal and

unmanly slumbers, that we may pursue determinately some fixed object.

It is not in the power of Britain or of Europe to conquer America, if

she do not conquer herself by DELAY and TIMIDITY. The present

winter is worth an age if rightly employed, but if lost or neglected,

the whole continent will partake of the misfortune; and there is no

punishment which that man will not deserve, be he who, or what, or

where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so

precious and useful.


  It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things to all

examples from former ages, to suppose, that this continent can longer

remain subject to any external power. The most sanguine in Britain

does not think so. The utmost stretch of human wisdom cannot, at this

time, compass a plan short of separation, which can promise the

continent even a year's security. Reconciliation is NOW a falacious

dream. Nature hath deserted the connexion, and Art cannot supply her

place. For, as Milton wisely expresses, "never can true reconcilement

grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep."


  Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. Our prayers

have been rejected with disdain; and only tended to convince us, that

nothing flatters vanity, or confirms obstinacy in Kings more than

repeated petitioning--and noting hath contributed more than that very

measure to make the Kings of Europe absolute: Witness Denmark and

Sweden. Wherefore, since nothing but blows will do, for God's sake,

let us come to a final separation, and not leave the next generation

to be cutting throats, under the violated unmeaning names of parent

and child.


  To say, they will never attempt it again is idle and visionary, we

thought so at the repeal of the stamp act, yet a year or two

undeceived us; as well may we suppose that nations, which have been

once defeated, will never renew the quarrel.


  As to government matters, it is not in the power of Britain to do

this continent justice: The business of it will soon be too weighty,

and intricate, to be managed with any tolerable degree of

convenience, by a power, so distant from us, and so very ignorant of

us; for if they cannot conquer us, they cannot govern us. To be

always running three or four thousand miles with a tale or a

petition, waiting four or five months for an answer, which when

obtained requires five or six more to explain it in, will in a few

years be looked upon as folly and childishness--There was a time when

it was proper, and there is a proper time for it to cease.


  Small islands not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper

objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something

very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by

an island. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than

its primary planet, and as England and America, with respect to each

other, reverses the common order of nature, it is evident they belong

to different systems: England to Europe, America to itself.


  I am not induced by motives of pride, party, or resentment to

espouse the doctrine of separation and independance; I am clearly,

positively, and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true

interest of this continent to be so; that every thing short of THAT

is mere patchwork, that it can afford no lasting felicity,--that it is

leaving the sword to our children, and shrinking back at a time,

when, a little more, a little farther, would have rendered this

continent the glory of the earth.


  As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination towards a

compromise, we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy

the acceptance of the continent, or any ways equal to the expense of

blood and treasure we have been already put to.


  The object, contended for, ought always to bear some just

proportion to the expense. The removal of North, or the whole

detestable junto, is a matter unworthy the millions we have expended.

A temporary stoppage of trade, was an inconvenience, which would have

sufficiently ballanced the repeal of all the acts complained of, had

such repeals been obtained; but if the whole continent must take up

arms, if every man must be a soldier, it is scarcely worth our while

to fight against a contemptible ministry only. Dearly, dearly, do we

pay for the repeal of the acts, if that is all we fight for; for in a

just estimation, it is as great a folly to pay a Bunker-hill price

for law, as for land. As I have always considered the independancy of

this continent, as an event, which sooner or later must arrive, so

from the late rapid progress of the continent to maturity, the event

could not be far off. Wherefore, on the breaking out of hostilities,

it was not worth the while to have disputed a matter, which time

would have finally redressed, unless we meant to be in earnest;

otherwise, it is like wasting an estate on a suit at law, to regulate

the trespasses of a tenant, whose lease is just expiring. No man was

a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself, before the fatal

nineteenth of April 1775,  but the moment the event of that day was

made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of

England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended

title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE, can unfeelingly hear of their

slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.


  But admitting that matters were now made up, what would be the

event? I answer, the ruin of the continent. And that for several



  FIRST. The powers of governing still remaining in the hands of

the king, he will have a negative over the whole legislation of this

continent. And as he hath shewn himself such an inveterate enemy to

liberty, and discovered such a thirst for arbitrary power; is he, or

is he not, a proper man to say to these colonies, "YOU SHALL MAKE NO

LAWS BUT WHAT I PLEASE." And is there any inhabitant in America so

ignorant, as not to know, that according to what is called the

PRESENT CONSTITUTION, that this continent can make no laws but what

the king gives it leave to; and is there any man so unwise, as not to

see, that (considering what has happened) he will suffer no law to be

made here, but such as suit HIS purpose. We may be as effectually

enslaved by the want of laws in America, as by submitting to laws

made for us in England. After matters are made up (as it is called)

can there be any doubt, but the whole power of the crown will be

exerted, to keep this continent as low and humble as possible?

Instead of going forward we shall go backward, or be perpetually

quarrelling or ridiculously petitioning. We are already greater than

the king wishes us to be, and will he not hereafter endeavour to make

us less? To bring the matter to one point. Is the power who is

jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern us? Whoever says

NO to this question is an INDEPENDANT, for independancy means no

more, than, whether we shall make our own laws, or, whether the king,

the greatest enemy this continent hath, or can have, shall tell us,



  But the king you will say has a negative in England; the people

there can make no laws without his consent. In point of right and

good order, there is something very ridiculous, that a youth of

twenty-one (which hath often happened) shall say to several millions

of people, older and wiser than himself, I forbid this or that act of

yours to be law. But in this place I decline this sort of reply,

though I will never cease to expose the absurdity of it, and only

answer, that England being the King's residence, and America not so,

make quite another case. The king's negative HERE is ten times more

dangerous and fatal than it can be in England, for THERE he will

scarcely refuse his consent to a bill for putting England into as

strong a state of defence as possible, and in America he would never

suffer such a bill to be passed.


  America is only a secondary object in the system of British

politics, England consults the good of THIS country, no farther

than it answers her OWN purpose. Wherefore, her own interest leads

her to suppress the growth of OURS in every case which doth not

promote her advantage, or in the least interferes with it. A pretty

state we should soon be in under such a second-hand government,

considering what has happened! Men do not change from enemies to

friends by the alteration of a name: And in order to shew that

reconciliation NOW is a dangerous doctrine, I affirm, THAT IT





Reconciliation and ruin are nearly related.


  SECONDLY. That as even the best terms, which we can expect to

obtain, can amount to no more than a temporary expedient, or a kind

of government by guardianship, which can last no longer than till the

colonies come of age, so the general face and state of things, in the

interim, will be unsettled and unpromising. Emigrants of property

will not choose to come to a country whose form of government hangs

but by a thread, and who is every day tottering on the brink of

commotion and disturbance; and numbers of the present inhabitants

would lay hold of the interval, to dispose of their effects, and quit

the continent.


  But the most powerful of all arguments, is, that nothing but

independance, i. e. a continental form of government, can keep the

peace of the continent and preserve it inviolate from civil wars. I

dread the event of a reconciliation with Britain now, as it is more

than probable, that it will followed by a revolt somewhere or other,

the consequences of which may be far more fatal than all the malice

of Britain.


  Thousands are already ruined by British barbarity; (thousands more

will probably suffer the same fate.) Those men have other feelings

than us who have nothing suffered. All they NOW possess is liberty,

what they before enjoyed is sacrificed to its service, and having

nothing more to lose, they disdain submission. Besides, the general

temper of the colonies, towards a British government, will be like

that of a youth, who is nearly out of his time; they will care very

little about her. And a government which cannot preserve the peace,

is no government at all, and in that case we pay our money for

nothing; and pray what is it that Britain can do, whose power will be

wholly on paper, should a civil tumult break out the very day after

reconciliation? I have heard some men say, many of whom I believe

spoke without thinking, that they dreaded an independance, fearing

that it would produce civil wars. It is but seldom that our first

thoughts are truly correct, and that is the case here; for there are

ten times more to dread from a patched up connexion than from

independance. I make the sufferers case my own, and I protest, that

were I driven from house and home, my property destroyed, and my

circumstances ruined, that as a man, sensible of injuries, I could

never relish the doctrine of reconciliation, or consider myself bound



  The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and

obedience to continental government, as is sufficient to make every

reasonable person easy and happy on that head. No man can assign the

least pretence for his fears, on any other grounds, that such as are

truly childish and ridiculous, viz. that one colony will be striving

for superiority over another.


  Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority,

perfect equality affords no temptation. The republics of Europe are

all (and we may say always) in peace. Holland and Swisserland are

without wars, foreign or domestic: Monarchical governments, it is

true, are never long at rest; the crown itself is a temptation to

enterprizing ruffians at HOME; and that degree of pride and

insolence ever attendant on regal authority, swells into a rupture

with foreign powers, in instances, where a republican government, by

being formed on more natural principles, would negotiate the mistake.



  If there is any true cause of fear respecting independance, it is

because no plan is yet laid down. Men do not see their way

out--Wherefore, as an opening into that business, I offer the

following hints; at the same time modestly affirming, that I have no

other opinion of them myself, than that they may be the means of

giving rise to something better. Could the straggling thoughts of

individuals be collected, they would frequently form materials for

wise and able men to improve into useful matter.


  Let the assemblies be annual, with a President only. The

representation more equal. Their business wholly domestic, and

subject to the authority of a Continental Congress.


  Let each colony be divided into six, eight, or ten, convenient

districts, each district to send a proper number of delegates to

Congress, so that each colony send at least thirty. The whole number

in Congress will be least 390. Each Congress to sit and to choose

a president by the following method. When the delegates are met, let

a colony be taken from the whole thirteen colonies by lot, after

which, let the whole Congress choose (by ballot) a president from out

of the delegates of THAT province. In the next Congress, let a

colony be taken by lot from twelve only, omitting that colony from

which the president was taken in the former Congress, and so

proceeding on till the whole thirteen shall have had their proper

rotation. And in order that nothing may pass into a law but what is

satisfactorily just, not less than three fifths of the Congress to be

called a majority. He that will promote discord, under a government

so equally formed as this, would have joined Lucifer in his revolt.


  But as there is a peculiar delicacy, from whom, or in what manner,

this business must first arise, and as it seems most agreeable and

consistent that it should come from some intermediate body between

the governed and the governors, that is, between the Congress and the

people, let a CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE be held, in the following

manner, and for the following purpose.


  A committee of twenty-six members of Congress, viz. two for each

colony. Two members for each House of Assembly, or Provincial

Convention; and five representatives of the people at large, to be

chosen in the capital city or town of each province, for, and in

behalf of the whole province, by as many qualified voters as shall

think proper to attend from all parts of the province for that

purpose; or, if more convenient, the representatives may be chosen in

two or three of the most populous parts thereof. In this conference,

thus assembled, will be united, the two grand principles of business,

KNOWLEDGE and POWER. The members of Congress, Assemblies, or

Conventions, by having had experience in national concerns, will be

able and useful counsellors, and the whole, being impowered by the

people, will have a truly legal authority.


  The conferring members being met, let their business be to frame a

CONTINENTAL CHARTER, or Charter of the United Colonies; (answering to

what is called the Magna Charta of England) fixing the number and

manner of choosing members of Congress, members of Assembly, with

their date of sitting, and drawing the line of business and

jurisdiction between them: (Always remembering, that our strength is

continental, not provincial:) Securing freedom and property to all

men, and above all things, the free exercise of religion, according

to the dictates of conscience; with such other matter as is necessary

for a charter to contain. Immediately after which, the said

Conference to dissolve, and the bodies which shall be chosen

comformable to the said charter, to be the legislators and governors

of this continent for the time being: Whose peace and happiness, may

God preserve, Amen.


  Should any body of men be hereafter delegated for this or some

similar purpose, I offer them the following extracts from that wise

observer on governments DRAGONETTI. "The science" says he "of the

politician consists in fixing the true point of happiness and

freedom. Those men would deserve the gratitude of ages, who should

discover a mode of government that contained the greatest sum of

individual happiness, with the least national expense." "DRAGONETTI



  But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend,

he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal

Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in

earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the

charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word

of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know,

that so far as we approve as monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS

KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free

countries the law OUGHT to be King; and there ought to be no other.

But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the

conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the

people whose right it is.


  A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man

seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will

become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a

constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it

in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and

chance. If we omit it now, some, [*1] Massanello may hereafter arise,

who laying hold of popular disquietudes, may collect together the

desperate and discontented, and by assuming to themselves the powers

of government, may sweep away the liberties of the continent like a

deluge. Should the government of America return again into the hands

of Britain, the tottering situation of things, will be a temptation

for some desperate adventurer to try his fortune; and in such a case,

what relief can Britain give? Ere she could hear the news, the fatal

business might be done; and ourselves suffering like the wretched

Britons under the oppression of the Conqueror. Ye that oppose

independance now, ye know not what ye do; ye are opening a door to

eternal tyranny, by keeping vacant the seat of government. There are

thousands, and tens of thousands, who would think it glorious to

expel from the continent, that barbarous and hellish power, which

hath stirred up the Indians and Negroes to destroy us, the cruelty

hath a double guilt, it is dealing brutally by us, and treacherously

by them.


  To talk of friendship with those in whom our reason forbids us to

have faith, and our affections wounded through a thousand pores

instruct us to detest, is madness and folly. Every day wears out the

little remains of kindred between us and them, and can there be any

reason to hope, that as the relationship expires, the affection will

increase, or that we shall agree better, when we have ten times more

and greater concerns to quarrel over than ever?


  Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliation, can ye restore to us

the time that is past? Can ye give to prostitution its former

innocence? Neither can ye reconcile Britain and America. The last

cord now is broken, the people of England are presenting addresses

against us. There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would

cease to be nature if she did. As well can the lover forgive the

ravisher of his mistress, as the continent forgive the murders of

Britain. The Almighty hath implanted in us these unextinguishable

feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of his

image in our hearts. They distinguish us from the herd of common

animals. The social compact would dissolve, and justice be extirpated

from the earth, or have only a casual existence were we callous to

the touches of affection. The robber, and the murderer, would often

escape unpunished, did not the injuries which our tempers sustain,

provoke us into justice.


  O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny,

but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun

with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and

Africa, have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger,

and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the

fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.


Note 1  Thomas Anello, otherwise Massanello, a fisherman of Naples,

who after spiriting up his countrymen in the public market place,

against the oppression of the Spaniards, to whom the place was then

subject, prompted them to revolt, and in the space of a day became





I HAVE never met with a man, either in England or America, who hath

not confessed his opinion, that a separation between the countries,

would take place one time or other: And there is no instance, in

which we have shewn less judgment, than in endeavouring to describe,

what we call, the ripeness or fitness of the Continent for



  As all men allow the measure, and vary only in their opinion of the

time, let us, in order to remove mistakes, take a general survey of

things, and endeavour, if possible, to find out the VERY time. But

we need not go far, the inquiry ceases at once, for, the TIME HATH

FOUND US. The general concurrence, the glorious union of all things

prove the fact.


  It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies;

yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the

world. The Continent hath, at this time, the largest body of armed

and disciplined men of any power under Heaven; and is just arrived at

that pitch of strength, in which, no single colony is able to support

itself, and the whole, when united, can accomplish the matter, and

either more, or, less than this, might be fatal in its effects. Our

land force is already sufficient, and as to naval affairs, we cannot

be insensible, that Britain would never suffer an American man of war

to be built, while the continent remained in her hands. Wherefore, we

should be no forwarder an hundred years hence in that branch, than we

are now; but the truth is, we should be less so, because the timber

of the country is every day diminishing, and that, which will remain

at last, will be far off and difficult to procure.


  Were the continent crowded with inhabitants, her sufferings under

the present circumstances would be intolerable. The more sea port

towns we had, the more should we have both to defend and to loose.

Our present numbers are so happily proportioned to our wants, that no

man need be idle. The diminution of trade affords an army, and the

necessities of an army create a new trade.


  Debts we have none; and whatever we may contract on this account

will serve as a glorious memento of our virtue. Can we but leave

posterity with a settled form of government, an independant

constitution of it's own, the purchase at any price will be cheap.

But to expend millions for the sake of getting a few vile acts

repealed, and routing the present ministry only, is unworthy the

charge, and is using posterity with the utmost cruelty; because it is

leaving them the great work to do, and a debt upon their backs, from

which, they derive no advantage. Such a thought is unworthy a man of

honor, and is the true characteristic of a narrow heart and a pedling



  The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard if the work be

but accomplished. No nation ought to be without a debt. A national

debt is a national bond; and when it bears no interest, is in no case

a grievance. Britain is oppressed with a debt of upwards of one

hundred and forty millions sterling, for which she pays upwards of

four millions interest. And as a compensation for her debt, she has a

large navy; America is without a debt, and without a navy; yet for

the twentieth part of the English national debt, could have a navy as

large again. The navy of England is not worth, at this time, more

than three millions and an half sterling.


  The first and second editions of this pamphlet were published

without the following calculations, which are now given as a proof

that the above estimation of the navy is a just one. SEE ENTIC'S



  The charge of building a ship of each rate, and furnishing her with

masts, yards, sails and rigging, together with a proportion of eight

months boatswain's and carpenter's sea-stores, as calculated by Mr.

Burchett, Secretary to the navy.




     For a ship of a 100 guns |    | 35,553 L.


                           90 |    | 29,886


                           80 |    | 23,638


                           70 |    | 17,785


                           60 |    | 14,197


                           50 |    | 10,606


                           40 |    |  7,558


                           30 |    |  5,846


                           20 |    |  3,710


  And from hence it is easy to sum up the value, or cost rather, of

the whole British navy, which in the year 1757, when it was as its

greatest glory consisted of the following ships and guns.


            SHIPS. | GUNS. | COST OF ONE. | COST OF ALL.


                 6 | 100   | 35,553 _l._  | 213,318 _l._


                12 |  90   | 29,886       | 358,632


                12 | 80    | 23,638       | 283,656


                43 | 70    | 17,785       | 746,755


                35 | 60    | 14,197       | 496,895


                40 | 50    | 10,606       | 424,240


                45 | 40    | 7,558        | 340,110


                58 | 20    | 3,710        | 215,180


                85 | Sloops, bombs, and

                     fireships, one

                     with another, at

                           | 2,000        | 170,000


                            Cost           3,266,786


                      Remains for guns    | 233,214


                            Total.         3,500,000


  No country on the globe is so happily situated, so internally

capable of raising a fleet as America. Tar, timber, iron, and cordage

are her natural produce. We need go abroad for nothing. Whereas the

Dutch, who make large profits by hiring out their ships of war to the

Spaniards and Portuguese, are obliged to import most of the materials

they use. We ought to view the building a fleet as an article of

commerce, it being the natural manufactory of this country. It is the

best money we can lay out. A navy when finished is worth more than it

cost. And is that nice point in national policy, in which commerce

and protection are united. Let us build; if we want them not, we can

sell; and by that means replace our paper currency with ready gold

and silver.


  In point of manning a fleet, people in general run into great

errors; it is not necessary that one fourth part should be sailor.

The Terrible privateer, Captain Death, stood the hottest engagement

of any ship last war, yet had not twenty sailors on board, though her

complement of men was upwards of two hundred. A few able and social

sailors will soon instruct a sufficient number of active landmen in

the common work of a ship. Wherefore, we never can be more capable to

begin on maritime matters than now, while our timber is standing, our

fisheries blocked up, and our sailors and shipwrights out of employ.

Men of war, of seventy and eighty guns were built forty years ago in

New England, and why not the same now? Ship-building is America's

greatest pride, and in which, she will in time excel the whole world.

The great empires of the east are mostly inland, and consequently

excluded from the possibility of rivalling her. Africa is in a state

of barbarism; and no power in Europe, hath either such an extent of

coast, or such an internal supply of materials. Where nature hath

given the one, she has withheld the other; to America only hath she

been liberal of both. The vast empire of Russia is almost shut out

from the sea; wherefore, her boundless forests, her tar, iron, and

cordage are only articles of commerce.


  In point of safety, ought we to be without a fleet? We are not the

little people now, which we were sixty years ago; at that time we

might have trusted our property in the streets, or fields rather; and

slept securely without locks or bolts to our doors or windows. The

case now is altered, and our methods of defence, ought to improve

with our increase of property. A common pirate, twelve months ago,

might have come up the Delaware, and laid the city of Philadelphia

under instant contribution, for what sum he pleased; and the same

might have happened to other places. Nay, any daring fellow, in a

brig of fourteen or sixteen guns, might have robbed the whole

Continent, and carried off half a million of money. These are

circumstances which demand our attention, and point out the necessity

of naval protection.


  Some, perhaps, will say, that after we have made it up with

Britain, she will protect us. Can we be so unwise as to mean, that

she shall keep a navy in our harbours for that purpose? Common sense

will tell us, that the power which hath endeavoured to subdue us, is

of all others, the most improper to defend us. Conquest may be

effected under the pretence of friendship; and ourselves, after a

long and brave resistance, be at last cheated into slavery. And if

her ships are not to be admitted into our harbours, I would ask, how

is she to protect us? A navy three or four thousand miles off can be

of little use, and on sudden emergencies, none at all. Wherefore, if

we must hereafter protect ourselves, why not do it for ourselves? Why

do it for another?


  The English list of ships of war, is long and formidable, but not a

tenth part of them are at any time fit for service, numbers of them

not in being; yet their names are pompously continued in the list, if

only a plank be left of the ship: and not a fifth part, of such as

are fit for service, can be spared on any one station at one time.

The East, and West Indies, Mediterranean, Africa, and other parts

over which Britain extends her claim, make large demands upon her

navy. From a mixture of prejudice and inattention, we have contracted

a false notion respecting the navy of England, and have talked as if

we should have the whole of it to encounter at once, and for that

reason, supposed, that we must have one as large; which not being

instantly practicable, have been made use of by a set of disguised

Tories to discourage our beginning thereon. Nothing can be farther

from truth than this; for if America had only a twentieth part of the

naval force of Britain, she would be by far an over match for her;

because, as we neither have, nor claim any foreign dominion, our

whole force would be employed on our own coast, where we should, in

the long run, have two to one the advantage of those who had three or

four thousand miles to sail over, before they could attack us, and

the same distance to return in order to refit and recruit. And

although Britain by her fleet, hath a check over our trade to Europe,

we have as large a one over her trade to the West Indies, which, by

laying in the neighbourhood of the Continent, is entirely at its



  Some method might be fallen on to keep up a naval force in time of

peace, if we should not judge it necessary to support a constant

navy. If premiums were to be given to merchants, to build and employ

in their service, ships mounted with twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty

guns, (the premiums to be in proportion to the loss of bulk to the

merchants) fifty or sixty of those ships, with a few guard ships on

constant duty, would keep up a sufficient navy, and that without

burdening ourselves with the evil so loudly complained of in England,

of suffering their fleet, in time of peace to lie rotting in the

docks. To unite the sinews of commerce and defence is sound policy;

for when our strength and our riches, play into each other's hand, we

need fear no external enemy.


  In almost every article of defence we abound. Hemp flourishes even

to rankness, so that we need not want cordage. Our iron is superior

to that of other countries. Our small arms equal to any in the world.

Cannons we can cast at pleasure. Saltpetre and gunpowder we are every

day producing. Our knowledge is hourly improving. Resolution is our

inherent character, and courage hath never yet forsaken us.

Wherefore, what is it that we want? Why is it that we hesitate? From

Britain we can expect nothing but ruin. If she is once admitted to

the government of America again, this Continent will not be worth

living in. Jealousies will be always arising; insurrections will be

constantly happening; and who will go forth to quell them? Who will

venture his life to reduce his own countrymen to a foreign obedience?

The difference between Pennsylvania and Connecticut, respecting some

unlocated lands, shews the insignificance of a British government,

and fully proves, that nothing but Continental authority can regulate

Continental matters.


  Another reason why the present time is preferable to all others,

is, that the fewer our numbers are, the more land there is yet

unoccupied, which instead of being lavished by the king on his

worthless dependents, may be hereafter applied, not only to the

discharge of the present debt, but to the constant support of

government. No nation under heaven hath such an advantage as this.


  The infant state of the Colonies, as it is called, so far from

being against, is an argument in favor of independance. We are

sufficiently numerous, and were we more so, we might be less united.

It is a matter worthy of observation, that the more a country is

peopled, the smaller their armies are. In military numbers, the

ancients far exceeded the moderns: and the reason is evident, for

trade being the consequence of population, men become too much

absorbed thereby to attend to any thing else. Commerce diminishes the

spirit, both of patriotism and military defence. And history

sufficiently informs us, that the bravest achievements were always

accomplished in the non age of a nation. With the increase of

commerce, England hath lost its spirit. The city of London,

notwithstanding its numbers, submits to continued insults with the

patience of a coward. The more men have to lose, the less willing are

they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit

to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a Spaniel.


  Youth is the seed time of good habits, as well in nations as in

individuals. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to form the

Continent into one government half a century hence. The vast variety

of interests, occasioned by an increase of trade and population,

would create confusion. Colony would be against colony. Each being

able might scorn each other's assistance; and while the proud and

foolish gloried in their little distinctions, the wise would lament,

that the union had not been formed before. Wherefore, the PRESENT

TIME is the TRUE TIME for establishing it. The intimacy which is

contracted in infancy, and the friendship which is formed in

misfortune, are, of all others, the most lasting and unalterable. Our

present union is marked with both these characters: we are young, and

we have been distressed; but our concord hath withstood our troubles,

and fixes a memorable area for posterity to glory in.


  The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time, which never

happens to a nation but once, VIZ. the time of forming itself into

a government. Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that

means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors,

instead of making laws for themselves. First, they had a king, and

then a form of government; whereas, the articles or charter of

government, should be formed first, and men delegated to execute them

afterwards: but from the errors of other nations, let us learn

wisdom, and lay hold of the present opportunity--TO BEGIN GOVERNMENT



  When William the Conqueror subdued England, he gave them law at the

point of the sword; and until we consent, that the seat of

government, in America, be legally and authoritatively occupied, we

shall be in danger of having it filled by some fortunate ruffian, who

may treat us in the same manner, and then, where will be our freedom?

Where our property?


  As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensible duty of all

government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I

know of no other business which government hath to do therewith. Let

a man throw aside that narrowness of soul, that selfishness of

principle, which the niggards of all professions are so unwilling to

part with, and he will be at once delivered of his fears on that

head. Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all

good society. For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that

it is the will of the Almighty, that there should be diversity of

religious opinions among us: It affords a larger field for our

Christian kindness. Were we all of one way of thinking, our religious

dispositions would want matter for probation; and on this liberal

principle, I look on the various denominations among us, to be like

children of the same family, differing only, in what is called, their

Christian names.


  In page [III par 47], I threw out a few thoughts on

the propriety of a Continental Charter, (for I only presume to offer

hints, not plans) and in this place, I take the liberty of

rementioning the subject, by observing, that a charter is to be

understood as a bond of solemn obligation, which the whole enters

into, to support the right of every separate part, whether or

religion, personal freedom, or property. A firm bargain and a right

reckoning make long friends.


  In a former page I likewise mentioned the necessity of a large and

equal representation; and there is no political matter which more

deserves our attention. A small number of electors, or a small number

of representatives, are equally dangerous. But if the number of the

representatives be not only small, but unequal, the danger is

increased. As an instance of this, I mention the following; when the

Associators petition was before the House of Assembly of

Pennsylvania; twenty-eight members only were present, all the Bucks

county members, being eight, voted against it, and had seven of the

Chester members done the same, this whole province had been governed

by two counties only, and this danger it is always exposed to. The

unwarrantable stretch likewise, which that house made in their last

sitting, to gain an undue authority over the Delegates of that

province, ought to warn the people at large, how they trust power out

of their own hands. A set of instructions for the Delegates were put

together, which in point of sense and business would have dishonored

a schoolboy, and after being approved by a FEW, a VERY FEW

without doors, were carried into the House, and there passed IN

BEHALF OF THE WHOLE COLONY; whereas, did the whole colony know, with

what ill-will that House hath entered on some necessary public

measures, they would not hesitate a moment to think them unworthy of

such a trust.


  Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if

continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are

different things. When the calamities of America required a

consultation, there was no method so ready, or at that time so

proper, as to appoint persons from the several Houses of Assembly for

that purpose; and the wisdom with which they have proceeded hath

preserved this continent from ruin. But as it is more than probable

that we shall never be without a CONGRESS, every well wisher to good

order, must own, that the mode for choosing members of that body,

deserves consideration. And I put it as a question to those, who make

a study of mankind, whether REPRESENTATION AND ELECTION is not too

great a power for one and the same body of men to possess? When we

are planning for posterity, we ought to remember, that virtue is not



  It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent maxims, and are

frequently surprised into reason by their mistakes. Mr. Cornwall (one

of the Lords of the Treasury) treated the petition of the New York

Assembly with contempt, because THAT House, he said, consisted but

of twenty-six members, which trifling number, he argued, could not

with decency be put for the whole. We thank him for his involuntary

honesty. [*Note 1]


  TO CONCLUDE, however strange it may appear to some, or however

unwilling they may be to think so, matters not, but many strong and

striking reasons may be given, to shew, that nothing can settle our

affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for

independance. Some of which are,


  FIRST--It is the custom of nations, when any two are at war, for

some other powers, not engaged in the quarrel, to step in as

mediators, and bring about the preliminaries of a peace: but while

America calls herself the Subject of Great Britain, no power, however

well disposed she may be, can offer her mediation. Wherefore, in our

present state we may quarrel on for ever.


  SECONDLY--It is unreasonable to suppose, that France or Spain

will give us any kind of assistance, if we mean only, to make use of

that assistance for the purpose of repairing the breach, and

strengthening the connection between Britain and America; because,

those powers would be sufferers by the consequences.


  THIRDLY--While we profess ourselves the subjects of Britain, we

must, in the eye of foreign nations, be considered as rebels. The

precedent is somewhat dangerous to THEIR PEACE, for men to be in

arms under the name of subjects; we, on the spot, can solve the

paradox: but to unite resistance and subjection, requires an idea

much too refined for the common understanding.


  FOURTHLY--Were a manifesto to be published, and despatched to

foreign courts, setting forth the miseries we have endured, and the

peaceable methods we have ineffectually used for redress; declaring,

at the same time, that not being able, any longer, to live happily or

safely under the cruel disposition of the British court, we had been

driven to the necessity of breaking off all connections with her; at

the same time, assuring all such courts of our peacable disposition

towards them, and of our desire of entering into trade with them:

Such a memorial would produce more good effects to this Continent,

than if a ship were freighted with petitions to Britain.


  Under our present denomination of British subjects, we can neither

be received nor heard abroad: The custom of all courts is against us,

and will be so, until, by an independance, we take rank with other



  These proceedings may at first appear strange and difficult; but,

like all other steps which we have already passed over, will in a

little time become familiar and agreeable; and, until an independance

is declared, the Continent will feel itself like a man who continues

putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it

must be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is

continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.


Note 1  Those who would fully understand of what great consequence a

large and equal representation is to a state, should read Burgh's

political Disquisitions.




SINCE the publication of the first edition of this pamphlet, or

rather, on the same day on which it came out, the King's Speech made

its appearance in this city. Had the spirit of prophecy directed the

birth of this production, it could not have brought it forth, at a

more seasonable juncture, or a more necessary time. The bloody

mindedness of the one, shew the necessity of pursuing the doctrine of

the other. Men read by way of revenge. And the Speech instead of

terrifying, prepared a way for the manly principles of Independance.



  Ceremony, and even, silence, from whatever motive they may arise,

have a hurtful tendency, when they give the least degree of

countenance to base and wicked performances; wherefore, if this maxim

be admitted, it naturally follows, that the King's Speech, as being a

piece of finished villany, deserved, and still deserves, a general

execration both by the Congress and the people. Yet, as the domestic

tranquillity of a nation, depends greatly, on the CHASTITY of what

may properly be called NATIONAL MANNERS, it is often better, to pass

some things over in silent disdain, than to make use of such new

methods of dislike, as might introduce the least innovation, on that

guardian of our peace and safety. And, perhaps, it is chiefly owing

to this prudent delicacy, that the King's Speech, hath not, before

now, suffered a public execution. The Speech if it may be called one,

is nothing better than a wilful audacious libel against the truth,

the common good, and the existence of mankind; and is a formal and

pompous method of offering up human sacrifices to the pride of

tyrants. But this general massacre of mankind, is one of the

privileges, and the certain consequence of Kings; for as nature knows

them NOT, they know NOT HER, and although they are beings of our

OWN creating, they know not US, and are become the gods of their

creators. The Speech hath one good quality, which is, that it is not

calculated to deceive, neither can we, even if we would, be deceived

by it. Brutality and tyranny appear on the face of it. It leaves us

at no loss: And every line convinces, even in the moment of reading,

that He, who hunts the woods for prey, the naked and untutored

Indian, is less a Savage than the King of Britain.


  Sir John Dalrymple, the putative father of a whining jesuitical

piece, fallaciously called, "THE ADDRESS OF THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND

TO THE INHABITANTS OF AMERICA," hath, perhaps, from a vain

supposition, that the people HERE were to be frightened at the pomp

and description of a king, given, (though very unwisely on his part)

the real character of the present one: "But," says this writer, "if

you are inclined to pay compliments to an administration, which we do

not complain of," (meaning the Marquis of Rockingham's at the repeal

of the Stamp Act) "it is very unfair in you to withhold them from


THING." This is toryism with a witness! Here is idolatry even

without a mask: And he who can so calmly hear, and digest such

doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality--an apostate from

the order of manhood; and ought to be considered--as one, who hath,

not only given up the proper dignity of a man, but sunk himself

beneath the rank of animals, and contemptibly crawls through the

world like a worm.


  However, it matters very little now, what the king of England

either says or does; he hath wickedly broken through every moral and

human obligation, trampled nature and conscience beneath his feet;

and by a steady and constitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty,

procured for himself an universal hatred. It is NOW the interest of

America to provide for herself. She hath already a large and young

family, whom it is more her duty to take care of, than to be granting

away her property, to support a power who is become a reproach to the

names of men and christians--YE, whose office it is to watch over the

morals of a nation, of whatsoever sect or denomination ye are of, as

well as ye, who, are more immediately the guardians of the public

liberty, if ye wish to preserve your native country uncontaminated by

European corruption, ye must in secret wish a separation--But leaving

the moral part to private reflection, I shall chiefly confine my

farther remarks to the following heads.


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



  Secondly, Which is the easiest and most practicable plan,

RECONCILIATION or INDEPENDANCE? with some occasional remarks.


  In support of the first, I could, if I judged it proper, produce

the opinion of some of the ablest and most experienced men on this

continent; and whose sentiments, on that head, are not yet publicly

known. It is in reality a self-evident position: For no nation in a

state of foreign dependance, limited in its commerce, and cramped and

fettered in its legislative powers, can ever arrive at any material

eminence. America doth not yet know what opulence is; and although

the progress which she hath made stands unparalleled in the history

of other nations, it is but childhood, compared with what she would

be capable of arriving at, had she, as she ought to have, the

legislative powers in her own hands. England is, at this time,

proudly coveting what would do her no good, were she to accomplish

it; and the Continent hesitating on a matter, which will be her final

ruin if neglected. It is the commerce and not the conquest of

America, by which England is to be benefited, and that would in a

great measure continue, were the countries as independant of each

other as France and Spain; because in many articles, neither can go

to a better market. But it is the independance of this country of

Britain or any other, which is now the main and only object worthy of

contention, and which, like all other truths discovered by necessity,

will appear clearer and stronger every day.


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


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

to accomplish.


  I have frequently amused myself both in public and private

companies, with silently remarking, the specious errors of those who

speak without reflecting. And among the many which I have heard, the

following seems most general, viz. that had this rupture happened

forty or fifty years hence, instead of NOW, the Continent would

have been more able to have shaken off the dependance. To which I

reply, that our military ability AT THIS TIME, arises from the

experience gained in the last war, and which in forty or fifty years

time, would have been totally extinct. The Continent, would not, by

that time, have had a General, or even a military officer left; and

we, or those who may succeed us, would have been as ignorant of

martial matters as the ancient Indians: And this single position,

closely attended to, will unanswerably prove, that the present time

is preferable to all others. The argument turns thus--at the

conclusion of the last war, we had experience, but wanted numbers;

and forty or fifty years hence, we should have numbers, without

experience; wherefore, the proper point of time, must be some

particular point between the two extremes, in which a sufficiency of

the former remains, and a proper increase of the latter is obtained:

And that point of time is the present time.


  The reader will pardon this digression, as it does not properly

come under the head I first set out with, and to which I again return

by the following position, viz.


  Should affairs be patched up with Britain, and she to remain the

governing and sovereign power of America, (which, as matters are now

circumstanced, is giving up the point intirely) we shall deprive

ourselves of the very means of sinking the debt we have, or may

contract. The value of the back lands which some of the provinces are

clandestinely deprived of, by the unjust extension of the limits of

Canada, valued only at five pounds sterling per hundred acres, amount

to upwards of twenty-five millions, Pennsylvania currency; and the

quit-rents at one penny sterling per acre, to two millions yearly.


  It is by the sale of those lands that the debt may be sunk, without

burthen to any, and the quit-rent reserved thereon, will always

lessen, and in time, will wholly support the yearly expence of

government. It matters not how long the debt is in paying, so that

the lands when sold be applied to the discharge of it, and for the

execution of which, the Congress for the time being, will be the

continental trustees.


  I proceed now to the second head, viz. Which is the easiest and

most practicable plan, RECONCILIATION or INDEPENDANCE; with some

occasional remarks.


  He who takes nature for his guide is not easily beaten out of his

argument, and on that ground, I answer GENERALLYUTHAT INDEPENDANCE






  The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is

capable of reflexion. Without law, without government, without any

other mode of power than what is founded on, and granted by courtesy.

Held together by an unexampled concurrence of sentiment, which, is

nevertheless subject to change, and which, every secret enemy is

endeavouring to dissolve. Our present condition, is, Legislation

without law; wisdom without a plan; constitution without a name; and,

what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independance contending for

dependance. The instance is without a precedent; the case never

existed before; and who can tell what may be the event? The property

of no man is secure in the present unbraced system of things. The

mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object

before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts. Nothing is

criminal; there is no such thing as treason; wherefore, every one

thinks himself at liberty to act as he pleases. The Tories dared not

have assembled offensively, had they known that their lives, by that

act, were forfeited to the laws of the state. A line of distinction

should be drawn, between, English soldiers taken in battle, and

inhabitants of America taken in arms. The first are prisoners, but

the latter traitors. The one forfeits his liberty, the other his



  Notwithstanding our wisdom, there is a visible feebleness in some

of our proceedings which gives encouragement to dissentions. The

Continental Belt is too loosely buckled. And if something is not done

in time, it will be too late to do any thing, and we shall fall into

a state, in which, neither RECONCILIATION nor INDEPENDANCE will

be practicable. The king and his worthless adherents are got at their

old game of dividing the Continent, and there are not wanting among

us, Printers, who will be busy spreading specious falsehoods. The

artful and hypocritical letter which appeared a few months ago in two

of the New York papers, and likewise in two others, is an evidence

that there are men who want either judgment or honesty.


  It is easy getting into holes and corners and talking of

reconciliation: But do such men seriously consider, how difficult the

task is, and how dangerous it may prove, should the Continent divide

thereon. Do they take within their view, all the various orders of

men whose situation and circumstances, as well as their own, are to

be considered therein. Do they put themselves in the place of the

sufferer whose ALL is ALREADY gone, and of the soldier, who hath

quitted ALL for the defence of his country. If their ill judged

moderation be suited to their own private situations ONLY,

regardless of others, the event will convince them, that "they are

reckoning without their Host."


  Put us, say some, on the footing we were on in sixty-three: To

which I answer, the request is not NOW in the power of Britain to

comply with, neither will she propose it; but if it were, and even

should be granted, I ask, as a reasonable question, By what means is

such a corrupt and faithless court to be kept to its engagements?

Another parliament, nay, even the present, may hereafter repeal the

obligation, on the pretence, of its being violently obtained, or

unwisely granted; and in that case, Where is our redress?--No going to

law with nations; cannon are the barristers of Crowns; and the sword,

not of justice, but of war, decides the suit. To be on the footing of

sixty-three, it is not sufficient, that the laws only be put on the

same state, but, that our circumstances, likewise, be put on the same

state; Our burnt and destroyed towns repaired or built up, our

private losses made good, our public debts (contracted for defence)

discharged; otherwise, we shall be millions worse than we were at

that enviable period. Such a request, had it been complied with a

year ago, would have won the heart and soul of the Continent--but now

it is too late, "The Rubicon is passed."


  Besides, the taking up arms, merely to enforce the repeal of a

pecuniary law, seems as unwarrantable by the divine law, and as

repugnant to human feelings, as the taking up arms to enforce

obedience thereto. The object, on either side, doth not justify the

means; for the lives of men are too valuable to be cast away on such

trifles. It is the violence which is done and threatened to our

persons; the destruction of our property by an armed force; the

invasion of our country by fire and sword, which conscientiously

qualifies the use of arms: And the instant, in which such a mode of

defence became necessary, all subjection to Britain ought to have

ceased; and the independancy of America, should have been considered,

as dating its era from, and published by, THE FIRST MUSKET THAT WAS

FIRED AGAINST HER. This line is a line of consistency; neither drawn

by caprice, nor extended by ambition; but produced by a chain of

events, of which the colonies were not the authors.


  I shall conclude these remarks, with the following timely and well

intended hints. We ought to reflect, that there are three different

ways, by which an independancy may hereafter be effected; and that

ONE of those THREE, will one day or other, be the fate of

America, viz. By the legal voice of the people in Congress; by a

military power; or by a mob: It may not always happen that our

soldiers are citizens, and the multitude a body of reasonable men;

virtue, as I have already remarked, is not hereditary, neither is it

perpetual. Should an independancy be brought about by the first of

those means, we have every opportunity and every encouragement before

us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth.

We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation,

similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah

until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men,

perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their

portion of freedom from the event of a few months. The Reflexion is

awful--and in this point of view, How trifling, how ridiculous, do the

little, paltry cavellings, of a few weak or interested men appear,

when weighed against the business of a world.


  Should we neglect the present favorable and inviting period, and an

Independance be hereafter effected by any other means, we must charge

the consequence to ourselves, or to those rather, whose narrow and

prejudiced souls, are habitually opposing the measure, without either

inquiring or reflecting. There are reasons to be given in support of

Independance, which men should rather privately think of, than be

publicly told of. We ought not now to be debating whether we shall be

independant or not, but, anxious to accomplish it on a firm, secure,

and honorable basis, and uneasy rather that it is not yet began upon.

Every day convinces us of its necessity. Even the Tories (if such

beings yet remain among us) should, of all men, be the most

solicitous to promote it; for, as the appointment of committees at

first, protected them from popular rage, so, a wise and well

established form of government, will be the only certain means of

continuing it securely to them. WHEREFORE, if they have not virtue

enough to be WHIGS, they ought to have prudence enough to wish for



  In short, Independance is the only BOND that can tye and keep us

together. We shall then see our object, and our ears will be legally

shut against the schemes of an intriguing, as well, as a cruel enemy.

We shall then too, be on a proper footing, to treat with Britain; for

there is reason to conclude, that the pride of that court, will be

less hurt by treating with the American states for terms of peace,

than with those, whom she denominates, "rebellious subjects," for

terms of accommodation. It is our delaying it that encourages her to

hope for conquest, and our backwardness tends only to prolong the

war. As we have, without any good effect therefrom, withheld our

trade to obtain a redress of our grievances, let us NOW try the

alternative, by INDEPENDANTLY redressing them ourselves, and then

offering to open the trade. The mercantile and reasonable part in

England, will be still with us; because, peace WITH trade, is

preferable to war WITHOUT it. And if this offer be not accepted,

other courts may be applied to.


  On these grounds I rest the matter. And as no offer hath yet been

made to refute the doctrine contained in the former editions of this

pamphlet, it is a negative proof, that either the doctrine cannot be

refuted, or, that the party in favour of it are too numerous to be

opposed. WHEREFORE, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious

or doubtful curiosity, let each of us, hold out to his neighbour the

hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like

an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former

dissention. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none

other be heard among us, than those of A GOOD CITIZEN, AN OPEN AND