Thomas Paine – Author of Common Sense – 1776
Von Thomas Paine
Vielleicht ist die auf den folgenden Seiten enthalten Gefühle sind noch nicht ausreichend in Mode gekommen, sie zu beschaffen allgemeinen Gunst; ein langer Gewohnheit nicht an eine Sache falsch, es gibt einen oberflächlichen Anschein von Recht und wirft zunächst einen gewaltigen Aufschrei in der Verteidigung der Sitte. Aber Aufruhr bald nachlässt. Zeit macht mehr Konvertiten als die Vernunft.
Wie lange und heftige Machtmissbrauch ist in der Regel einem Aufruf das Recht in Frage, (und in Verfahren betreffend die auch noch nie gedacht könnte, hatte nicht die Betroffenen in die Untersuchung wurden verschärft,) und als der König der England hat in seinem eigenen Recht durchgeführt, um das Parlament in das, was er ihnen Anrufe zu unterstützen, und die guten Menschen in diesem Land sind schmerzlich durch die Kombination unterdrückt, eine unzweifelhafte Privileg, in die Ansprüche der beiden erkundigen sie haben, und ebenso abzulehnen die Anmaßungen der beiden.
In den folgenden Seiten, hat der Autor vermied jede Sache, die unter uns persönlich ist. Komplimente und Kritik, um Personen zu machen keinen Teil davon. Der Weise und der würdige Notwendigkeit nicht der Triumph einer Broschüre; und diejenigen, deren Gefühle sind unverständig oder unfreundlich, wird von selbst aufhören, wenn nicht zu viel Mühe wird bei ihrer Bekehrung geschenkt.
Die Ursache für Amerika ist, in einem großen Maß, die Ursache für die ganze Menschheit. Viele Umstände haben konnten und werden entstehen, die nicht lokal, sondern universell, und durch die die Prinzipien der alle Liebhaber der Menschen betroffen sind, und für den Fall von denen, Interesse ihrer Zuneigung. Die Verlegung eines Landes verwüstet mit Feuer und Schwert und erklärte Krieg gegen die natürlichen Rechte aller Menschen, und auszurotten die Verteidiger derselben von der Oberfläche der Erde, ist das Anliegen eines jeden Menschen, denen die Natur gegeben hat, die Macht des Gefühls; wobei die Klasse, unabhängig von Partei Tadel, ist
Philadelphia, 14. Februar 1776
DER HERKUNFT UND DESIGN DER REGIERUNG IM ALLGEMEINEN. MIT KOMPAKT Bemerkungen über der englischen Verfassung
Einige Autoren haben so verdammte Gesellschaft mit der Regierung, als zu wenig oder gar kein Unterschied zwischen ihnen zu verlassen; Diese Maßnahmen sind nicht nur unterschiedliche, sondern hat verschiedene Ursachen. Die Gesellschaft wird durch unsere Wünsche durch unsere Schlechtigkeit produziert und Regierung; der ehemalige fördert unser Glück positiv durch die Vereinigung unserer Zuneigungen, letztere negativ durch Zurückhalten unsere Laster. Die eine fordert Verkehr, der andere schafft Scheidungen. Das erste ist ein Patron, der letzte ein punisher.
Gesellschaft in jedem Staat ist ein Segen, aber Regierung selbst in ihrer besten Zustand ist, sondern ein notwendiges Übel in seiner schlimmsten Zustand eine unerträgliche ein; denn wenn wir leiden, oder an die gleichen Nöte von einer Regierung, die wir in einem Land ohne Regierung könnte erwarten, ausgesetzt ist unser Unglück durch Reflexion, dass wir liefern die Mittel, mit denen wir leiden, erhöht! Regierung, wie Kleid, ist das Abzeichen der verlorenen Unschuld; die Paläste der Könige auf den Ruinen der Lauben Paradies gebaut. Zum waren die Impulse des Gewissens klare, einheitliche und unwiderstehlich gehorchte, würde man keine andere Gesetzgeber müssen; aber das nicht der Fall ist, findet er es notwendig, sich zu ergeben einen Teil seines Vermögens, um Mittel für den Schutz der den Rest liefern; und dies wird er veranlasst, von der gleichen Umsicht, die in jedem anderen Fall rät ihm von zwei Übeln, gelinde, tun. Darum, Sicherheit der wahre Design und Ende der Regierung, es unwiderleglich ergibt sich, dass, was auch immer Form davon scheint wahrscheinlich, es uns zu gewährleisten, mit dem geringsten Aufwand und größten Nutzen, ist besser, alle anderen.
Um eine klare und einfach Vorstellung von der Gestaltung und am Ende der Regierung zu gewinnen, nehmen wir an, eine kleine Anzahl von Personen in einigen abgesonderten Teil der Erde angesiedelt, die nicht mit der Ruhe, sie werden dann stellen die erste Besiedlung eines Landes, oder der Welt. In diesem Zustand der natürlichen Freiheit, wird die Gesellschaft ihr erster Gedanke sein. Tausend Motive werden sie dazu anzuregen, ist die Stärke eines Mannes so ungleich seine Bedürfnisse und seine Meinung so ungeeignet für ewige Einsamkeit, dass er sich bald gezwungen, Hilfe und Unterstützung von anderen, der seinerseits erfordert die gleiche zu suchen. Vier oder fünf vereint der Lage wäre, eine tolerierbare Wohnung mitten in der Wildnis zu erhöhen, aber ein Mann könnte Arbeit der gemeinsamen Lebenszeit unverrichteter irgend etwas; als er sein Holz geschlagen hatte, konnte er sich nicht mehr entfernen, noch zu errichten, nachdem es entfernt wurde; Hunger in der Zwischenzeit würde ihn von seiner Arbeit zu drängen, und jedes anderes wollen nennen ihn einen anderen Weg. Krankheit, ja sogar Unglück wäre der Tod, denn wenn auch vielleicht nicht sterblich sein, aber entweder ihn von Lebens deaktivieren und ihn in einen Zustand, in dem er vielleicht nicht die zugrunde gehen, als zu sterben, zu reduzieren.
So Notwendigkeit, wie ein gravitierenden Macht, bald bilden unsere neu angekommenen Einwanderer in die Gesellschaft, die gegenseitigen Segen denen, ersetzen würde, und machen die Verpflichtungen von Gesetz und Regierung unnötig, während sie blieb vollkommen einfach miteinander zu verbinden; sondern nichts als der Himmel ist uneinnehmbar umge, wird es unweigerlich passieren, dass in dem Maße, wie sie die ersten Schwierigkeiten der Emigration, die sie für eine gemeinsame Sache zusammengebunden zu überwinden, werden sie anfangen, in ihren Dienst und Bindung miteinander zu entspannen; und diese Nachlässigkeit, wird auf die Notwendigkeit, der Einrichtung einer gewissen staatlichen, den Mangel der moralischen Tugend zu versorgen.
Einige praktische Baum wird sie unter den Zweigen, von denen, die ganze Kolonie kann versammeln, um auf öffentlichen Angelegenheiten zu beraten leisten einen Staat-Haus. Es ist mehr als wahrscheinlich, dass die ersten Gesetze wird der Titel nur der Verordnungen haben, und durch keine andere Strafe als öffentliche disesteem durchgesetzt werden. In dieser ersten Parlaments jeder Mensch durch natürliche Recht einen Sitz haben.
Aber als die Kolonie zu, werden die Bedenken der Öffentlichkeit ebenfalls zu erhöhen, und der Abstand, in dem die Mitglieder getrennt werden, wird es zu unbequem für alle von ihnen, um bei jeder Gelegenheit, wie auf den ersten, wenn ihre Zahl war klein, ihre Wohnungen zu erfüllen machen in der Nähe, und die Bedenken der Öffentlichkeit zu wenig und unbedeutend. Dies wird Sie auf den Komfort ihrer Zustimmung zur legislativen Rahmen zu verlassen, um von einer ausgewählten Anzahl, die aus dem ganzen Körper, die angeblich die gleichen Bedenken auf dem Spiel steht, die diejenigen haben, die sie ernannt hat, und die in der Tat müssen verwaltet werden gleiche Weise wie im ganzen Körper wirken würde waren sie zu präsentieren. Wenn die Kolonie weiter erhöhen, wird es notwendig, die Anzahl der Vertreter zu ergänzen, und dass das Interesse eines jeden Teil der Kolonie kann besucht werden, wird es am besten zu finden, um die gesamte in handliche Teile zu unterteilen, wobei jeder Teil sendet seine richtige Anzahl; und dass die gewählte vielleicht nie zu bilden, um sich ein Interesse getrennt von den Wählern wird Umsicht darauf hin, den Anstand, die Wahlen häufig; weil, wie der gewählte Macht durch das bedeutet, zurück und mischen mit der allgemeinen Körper der Wähler in ein paar Monaten wird ihre Treue an die Öffentlichkeit durch die umsichtige spiegelt nicht einen Stab für sich zu sichern. Und da diese häufiger Austausch wird ein gemeinsames Interesse mit jedem Teil der Gemeinschaft zu etablieren, werden sie sich gegenseitig und natürlich unterstützen sich gegenseitig, und auf diese (nicht auf dem nichtssagenden Namen des Königs), hängt die Stärke der Regierung, und das Glück der Regierten .
Hier ist dann der Ursprung und Aufstieg der Regierung; nämlich ein Modus notwendig gemacht durch die Unfähigkeit der moralische Tugend, die Welt zu regieren; Auch hier ist das Design und das Ende der Regierung, dh., Freiheit und Sicherheit. Und wie unsere Augen mit Schnee, oder unsere Ohren durch Schall getäuscht geblendet werden; allerdings Voreingenommenheit kann unseren Willen verzerren oder verdunkeln Interesse unserer Auffassung, die einfache Stimme der Natur und der Vernunft werden sagen, richtig ist.
Ich ziehe meine Vorstellung von der Regierungsform von einem Prinzip in der Natur, die keine Kunst kippen kann, nämlich, dass die einfachere irgend etwas ist, desto weniger wahrscheinlich ist es ungeordnet zu sein, und desto leichter repariert, wenn ungeordnete. und mit dieser Maxime in Anbetracht, biete ich ein paar Bemerkungen über die so viel gerühmt Verfassung von England. Dass es edle für die dunklen und sklavische Zeiten, in denen sie errichtet wurde erteilt. Als die Welt mit Tyrannei überrannt die am wenigsten davon war ein herrlicher Rettung. Aber dass es unvollkommen ist, unterwerfen Konvulsionen, und unfähig, was es scheint zu versprechen ist, ist leicht zu zeigen.
Absolute Regierungen (obwohl die Schande der menschlichen Natur) haben diesen Vorteil mit sich, dass sie einfach sind; wenn die Menschen leiden, sie wissen, dass der Kopf, von dem ihr Leiden Quellen, wissen auch die Heilmittel, und nicht durch eine Vielzahl von Ursachen und Heilung verwirrt. Aber die Verfassung von England ist so außerordentlich komplex, dass die Nation kann für Jahre zusammen ohne die Möglichkeit, bei der ein Teil der Fehler liegt entdecken leiden, werden einige in einem und einige in eine andere zu sagen, und jede politische Arzt wird eine andere Medizin beraten.
Ich weiß, es ist schwierig, über lokale oder langjährigen Vorurteile zu bekommen, aber wenn wir uns leiden, um die Bestandteile der englischen Verfassung zu untersuchen, so finden wir sie auf die Basis sein, Reste von zwei alten Tyranneien, mit einigen neuen republikanischen Materialien zusammengesetzt .
First.- Die Überreste der monarchischen Tyrannei in der Person des Königs. Secondly.- Die Überreste aristocratical Tyrannei in den Personen der Altersgenossen. Thirdly.- Die neue republikanische Materialien, in den Personen der Allmende, auf dessen Grund hängt die Freiheit Englands.
Die ersten beiden, indem sie erblich, sind unabhängig von den Menschen; weshalb in einem verfassungsrechtlichen Sinne sie nichts gegen die Freiheit des Staates bei.
Zu sagen, dass die Verfassung von England ist eine Vereinigung von drei Kräfte wechselseitig überprüfen, ist eine Farce, entweder die Worte haben keine Bedeutung, oder sie sind flach Widersprüche.
Zu sagen, dass die Gemeingüter ist ein Gegengewicht gegen den König, setzt zwei Dinge.
First.- dass der König nicht ohne betreut vertraut werden, oder mit anderen Worten, dass ein Verlangen nach absoluter Macht ist die natürliche Krankheit der Monarchie. Secondly.- Dass die Gemeingüter, indem sie damit beauftragt, sind entweder klüger oder mehr verdient Vertrauen als die Krone.
Aber als die gleiche Verfassung, die das Unterhaus gibt eine Macht, den König durch das Zurückhalten der Lieferungen zu überprüfen, gibt dann dem König eine Macht, die Allmende zu prüfen, durch die Stärkung ihn zu ihrem Wechsel, zurückzuweisen; es wieder voraus, dass der König ist weiser als die, die sie bereits angenommen, weiser als ihn sein. Eine bloße Absurdität!
Es ist etwas in der Zusammensetzung der Monarchie überaus lächerlich; es zuerst schließt einen Mann aus den Informationsmittel, noch befähigt ihn, in den Fällen zu handeln, wo die höchste Abwägen erfordern. Der Zustand eines Königs schließt ihn von der Welt, aber das Geschäft von einem König verlangt von ihm, um es gründlich zu kennen; weshalb die verschiedenen Teile, unnatürlich entgegen und sich gegenseitig zu zerstören, beweisen den ganzen Charakter absurd und nutzlos.
Einige Autoren haben die englische Verfassung so zu erklären; der König, sagen sie, ist eine, die Menschen eine andere; die Peers sind ein Haus im Namen des Königs; die Gemeinen im Namen der Menschen; aber das hat alle Unterscheidungen eines Hauses in sich gespalten; und angenehm eingerichtet, obwohl die Ausdrücke sein, aber wenn sie im Leerlauf untersucht und mehrdeutig erscheinen; und es wird immer der Fall, dass die schönsten Konstruktion, die Worte in der Lage sind, wenn sie auf die Beschreibung von etwas aufgebracht, die entweder nicht vorhanden oder zu unverständlich im Kompass Beschreibung, werden Wörter, die von Ton nur sein, und obwohl sie kann das Ohr zu unterhalten, können sie den Geist nicht informieren können, für diese Erklärung enthält eine vorherige Frage, nämlich. Wie kam der König durch eine Kraft, die die Menschen haben Angst, zu vertrauen und immer verpflichtet zu prüfen? Eine solche Macht nicht das Geschenk eines weisen Menschen sein, noch kann jeder Macht, die Kontrolle muss von Gott sein; doch ist die Bestimmung, die die Verfassung macht, setzt eine solche Macht zu existieren.
Aber die Bestimmung der Aufgabe nicht gewachsen; das Mittel entweder nicht oder wird nicht das Ende zu erreichen, und die ganze Sache ist ein felo de se; für die mehr Gewicht tragen stets up desto weniger, und wie alle Räder einer Maschine in Gang setzen nach dem anderen, es bleibt nur noch zu wissen, welche Macht in der Verfassung das größte Gewicht hat, denn das wird zu regieren; und wenn auch die anderen, oder einen Teil davon, können verstopfen, oder, wie die Phrase ist, überprüfen Sie die Schnelligkeit seiner Bewegung, und doch, so lange sie kann es nicht stoppen, werden ihre Bemühungen unwirksam sein; die erste bewegende Kraft wird schließlich haben ihren Weg, und was sie will in der Geschwindigkeit wird durch Zeit geliefert.
Dass die Krone dieser überheblich an der englischen Verfassung muss nicht erwähnt werden, und dass sie ihre ganze Folge leitet sich lediglich davon, dass der Spender der Orte Renten versteht sich von selbst, weshalb, obwohl wir und klug genug, um zu und verriegeln eine Tür gegen absolute Monarchie haben wir zur gleichen Zeit war dumm genug, um die Krone in Besitz des Schlüssels setzen.
Das Vorurteil der Engländer, sich für ihre eigene Regierung durch König, Lords und Commons stellt sich so viel oder mehr von Nationalstolz als die Vernunft. Einzelpersonen sind in England zweifellos sicherer als in einigen anderen Ländern, sondern den Willen des Königs ist so viel das Gesetz des Landes in England wie in Frankreich, mit dem Unterschied, dass anstatt darüber direkt aus seinem Mund, übergab das ist es Menschen unter dem furchtbarsten Form einer Handlung des Parlaments. Für das Schicksal des Karl I., der hat nur gemacht Könige subtiler nicht- gerechter.
Darum legt ab alle nationalen Stolz und Vorurteil zugunsten der Arten und Formen, ist die einfache Wahrheit, dass sie ganz durch die Verfassung des Volkes, und nicht auf die Verfassung der Regierung, dass die Krone nicht als bedrückende in England wie in der Türkei.
Eine Untersuchung der verfassungsrechtlichen Fehler in der englischen Form der Regierung ist in dieser Zeit höchst notwendig; für wie wir noch nie in einem einwandfreien Zustand gerecht zu anderen, während wir unter dem Einfluss von einigen führenden Parteilichkeit weiter, so dass wir auch nicht in der Lage, es zu tun, um uns, während wir weiterhin von einer hartnäckigen Vorurteilen gefesselt. Und als ein Mann, der sich zu einer Prostituierten verbunden ist, ist ungeeignet, um zu wählen oder Richter einer Frau, so dass jede Voreingenommenheit zugunsten eines faulen Verfassung Regierung wird uns von anspruchsvollen eine gute zu deaktivieren.
DER Monarchie und Erbfolge
MENSCHHEIT Wesen ursprünglich gleich in der Schöpfungsordnung, die Gleichheit nur durch einem späteren Umstand zerstört werden; die Unterschiede der reichen und armen, kann in einem großen Maß zu bilanzieren, und das ohne Rückgriff auf die harten, schlecht klingenden Namen der Unterdrückung und Habgier. Unterdrückung ist oft die Folge, aber selten oder nie die Mittel des Reichtums; und obwohl Geiz wird einen Mann ab als necessitously armen erhalten, in der Regel macht es ihn zu furchtsam, um wohlhabend zu sein. Aber es gibt eine andere und größere Unterscheidung, für die keine wirklich natürliche oder religiösen Gründen zugeordnet werden können, und das ist die Unterscheidung der Menschen in KINGS und Themen. Männliche und weibliche sind die Unterschiede der Natur, gute und schlechte Unterscheidungen des Himmels; aber wie ein Rennen der Männer in die Welt gekommen, so erhaben über dem Rest, und unterscheiden, wie einige neue Arten, die es wert Nachforschungen über, und ob es sich um die Mittel des Glücks oder des Elends der Menschheit.
In den frühen Zeitaltern der Welt, nach der Schrift: Chronologie, gab es keine Könige; die Folge davon war, gab es keine Kriege; es ist der Stolz der Könige, die die Menschheit in Verwirrung zu stürzen. Holland ohne König hat genossen mehr Ruhe für diesen letzten Jahrhunderts als einer der monarchischen Regierungen in Europa. Antike begünstigt dieselbe Bemerkung; für die ruhigen und ländlichen Leben der ersten Patriarchen hat ein glückliches etwas in ihnen, die weg verschwindet, wenn wir die Geschichte der jüdischen lizenz kommen.
Regierung von Königen wurde zuerst von den Heiden, von denen die Kinder Israel kopiert die benutzerdefinierten in die Welt gebracht. Es war die wohlhabendste Erfindung der Teufel immer zu Fuß zur Förderung des Götzendienstes einzustellen. Die Heiden bezahlt göttliche Ehren ihrer verstorbenen Könige und die christliche Welt hat auf den Plan, indem Sie die gleichen, ihre Lebens diejenigen verbessert. Wie pietätlos ist der Titel des heiligen Majestät zu einem Wurm, der in der Mitte seiner Pracht zu Staub zerfall angewendet wird!
Da die Verherrlichung eines Mannes so sehr über den Rest kann nicht auf die Gleichberechtigung von Natur gerechtfertigt werden, so kann auch nicht auf der Autorität der Schrift verteidigt werden; für den Willen des Allmächtigen, wie Gideon und dem Propheten Samuel erklärt, missbilligt ausdrücklich Regierungs von Königen. Alle anti-monarchische Teile der Schrift wurden sehr sanft über in monarchischen Regierungen vertuscht, aber sie zweifellos verdienen die Aufmerksamkeit von Ländern, die ihre Regierungen noch nicht zu bilden. Gebt dem Kaiser, was des Kaisers ist die biblische Lehre von der Gerichte, aber es gibt keine Unterstützung der monarchischen Regierung, für die Juden zu dieser Zeit waren ohne König, und in einem Zustand der Knechtschaft an die Römer.
In der Nähe von 3000 Jahre im Rahmen eines nationalen Wahn von der Mosaic sichts der Einrichtung, bis die Juden bestanden fordert einen König. Bis dahin ihre Regierungsform (außer in Ausnahmefällen, in denen der Allmächtige zwischen) war eine Art Republik von einem Richter verabreicht und die Ältesten der Stämme. Kings hatten sie keine, und es sündig gehalten wurde, jede Befinden unter diesem Titel, aber die Herren von Hosts zu bestätigen. Und wenn ein Mann ernsthaft Gedanken über die götzendienerische Hommage, die an die Personen, von Königen er sich nicht wundern muss bezahlt wird, dass der Allmächtige, immer eifersüchtig auf seine Ehre, sollte einer Regierungsform, die so gottlos dringt das Vorrecht des Himmels missbilligen.
Monarchie wird in der Schrift als eine der Sünden der Juden, für die ein Fluch in der Reserve gegen sie denunziert Platz. Die Geschichte dieser Transaktion ist einen Besuch wert, um.
Und die Kinder Israel von den Midianitern Drückten marschierten Gideon gegen sie mit einer kleinen Armee, und der Sieg, durch die göttliche Zwischen entschied zu seinen Gunsten. Die Juden begeistern mit Erfolg, zuweisen und auf die Feldherrn von Gideon, schlug vor, ihm einen König und sprach Regel Herr über uns, du und dein Sohn und deine Kindeskinder. Hier war die Versuchung in vollem Umfang; nicht nur Reiche, sondern eine erbliche, aber Gideon in der Frömmigkeit seiner Seele antwortete: Ich will nicht über euch herrschen, auch mein Sohn soll über euch herrschen, wird der Herr die Herrschaft über SIE. Wörter müssen nicht mehr explizit sein; Gideon hat euch nicht die Ehre zurückgehen, aber leugnet ihr Recht, es zu geben; weder doth sie mit erfundenen Erklärungen seinen Dank Kompliment, aber im positiven Stil eines Propheten lädt sie mit Missbehagen an ihren richtigen Herrscher, der König des Himmels.
Über 130 Jahre danach, fielen sie wieder in die gleichen Fehler. Die Sehnsucht, die die Juden für die abgöttische Gebräuche der Heiden hatte, ist etwas äußerst unerklärlich; aber so war es, dass ihre Besitzergreifung das Fehlverhalten Samuels zwei Söhne, die mit einigen weltlichen Sorgen anvertraut waren, kamen sie zu einem abrupten und lärmende Weise zu Samuel und sprach: Siehe, du bist alt und deine Söhne wandeln nicht in deinen Wegen, Jetzt sind wir ein König, der uns wie alle anderen Nationen richten. Und hier können wir nicht, aber beobachten, dass ihre Motive waren schlecht, dh., Daß sie gleich den anderen Nationen, das heißt den Heiden während ihre wahre Herrlichkeit in sein so viel im Gegensatz zu ihnen wie möglich verlegt werden. Aber Das gefiel Samuel übel, als sie sagten, geben Sie uns einen König, der uns richte; und Samuel betete zum Herrn, und der Herr sprach zu Samuel: Gehorche der Stimme des Volkes in allem, was sie sage dir, denn sie haben nicht dich, sondern mich verworfen haben, dann hätte ich nicht über sie herrschen.
Nach allen Arbeiten, die seit dem Tag getan haben; womit sie brachte sie aus Ägypten heraufgeführt, bis auf diesen Tag; womit sie mich verlassen und andern Göttern gedient; tun sie dies auch zu dir. So gehorche nun ihrer Stimme, howbeit, protestieren feierlich zu ihnen und zeigen ihnen das Recht des Königs, der über sie herrschen wird, dh nicht von einem bestimmten König, aber die allgemeine Art und Weise der Könige der Erde, die Israel so war eifrig nach dem Kopieren. Und trotz der großen Entfernung der Zeit und die Differenz der Sitten, ist der Charakter immer noch in Mode. Und Samuel sagte alle Worte des Herrn zu dem Volk, das von ihm einen König. Und er sprach: Dies ist das Recht des Königs, der über euch herrschen muss; Eure Söhne wird er nehmen und ernennt sie für sich selbst für seinen Wagen und an seinen Reitern, und einige werden vor seinem Wagen her laufen (diese Beschreibung mit der vorliegenden Art der beeindruckenden Männer stimmt), und er wird ihn die Hauptleute über tausend und über ernennen fünfzig und zu Ackerleuten, setzte seinen Boden und seine Ernte zu lesen und sie seinen Harnisch, und was zu seinem Wagen zu machen; und er wird eure Töchter nehmen, um Süßigkeiten zu sein und Köche und Bäcker (dies beschreibt den Aufwand und Luxus sowie die Unterdrückung der Könige), und er wird Ihre Felder und Olivenhaine Ihre, auch die besten von ihnen zu nehmen, und geben sie an seine Knechte; und wird er den Zehnten von deinen Samen nehmen und euren Weinbergen und geben sie an seine Offiziere und seinen Dienern (von dem wir sehen, dass Bestechung, Korruption und Vetternwirtschaft sind die stehenden Laster der Könige) und wird er den Zehnten nehmen deiner Knechte und eure Mägde und eure schönsten Jünglinge und eure Esel, und legte sie an seine Arbeit; und wird er den Zehnten deiner Schafe nehmen, und ihr werdet seine Knechte zu sein, und ihr werdet in der Zeit über euren König, den ihr werdet gewählt haben schreien, und der Herr wird NICHT HÖREN SIE DIESEM TAG. Dies erklärt die Fortsetzung der Monarchie; auch nicht die Zeichen der wenigen guten Könige, die seit gelebt haben, sei es zu heiligen den Titel oder tilge die Sündhaftigkeit des Ursprungs; die hohe Loblied Davids gegeben nimmt keine Notiz von ihm offiziell als König, sondern nur als ein Mann nach dem Herzen Gottes. Aber das Volk weigerte sich, die Stimme Samuels zu gehorchen, und sie sagten: Nein, sondern es soll ein König über uns sein, dass wir wie alle Völker sein, und das uns unser König richte und vor uns und Kampf unsere Schlachten. Samuel fort, mit ihnen zu, aber ohne Erfolg; er legte ihnen ihre Undankbarkeit, aber alle nicht in Anspruch zu nehmen; und sehen, wie sie auf ihre Torheit vollständig gebeugt, rief er aus: Ich will dem Herrn anrufen, und er soll donnern und regen (die dann war eine Strafe, da die Zeit der Weizenernte), die ihr wahrnehmen und sehen, dass deine Bosheit ist groß, die ihr in den Augen des Herrn geschehe, zu fragen, dir einen König. So rief Samuel dem Herrn, und der Herr sandte Donner und regen an diesem Tag, und das ganze Volk den Herrn und Samuel und das ganze Volk gefürchtet sprach zu Samuel: Bitte für deine Knechte den Herrn, deinen Gott, dass wir nicht sterben, für Wir haben euch unsere Sünden MEHR dieses Übel, um einen König zu ASK. Diese Teile der Heiligen Schrift sind direkte und positive. Sie geben zu, keine zweideutigen Konstruktion. Dass der Allmächtige hat hier eingetragen sein Protest gegen die monarchische Regierung wahr ist, oder die Schrift ist falsch. Und der Mensch hat guten Grund zu glauben, dass es so viel von kingcraft, als Priester in Zurückhaltung der Schrift aus dem öffentlichen in Popish Ländern. Für Monarchie in jedem Fall ist das Papsttum der Regierung.
Um dem Übel der Monarchie haben wir, dass der Erbfolge hinzugefügt; und als der erste ist, eine Verschlechterung und Verringerung von uns selbst, also die zweite, behauptete als eine Angelegenheit von rechts, ist eine Beleidigung und eine Zumutung für die Nachwelt. Für alle Menschen als ursprünglich entspricht, konnte niemand von Geburt ein Recht auf seine eigene Familie in ständiger Vorliebe zu allen anderen für immer eingestellt haben, und obwohl sich vielleicht ein paar anständige Maß an Ehre seiner Zeitgenossen verdienen, aber seine Nachkommen könnten weit sein zu unwürdig, sie erben. Einer der stärksten natürlichen Beweise für die Torheit Erbrecht in Könige, ist, dass die Natur missbilligt es, sonst hätte sie nicht so häufig machen es zu lächerlich, indem er die Menschheit einen Esel für einen Löwen.
Zweitens, da kein Mann an konnte zunächst keine andere öffentliche Ehrungen, als wurden ihm verliehen haben, so dass die Geber dieser Auszeichnung konnte nicht die Macht, das Recht der Nachwelt zu verschenken haben, und obwohl sie könnte sagen: "Wir wählen Sie für unser Haupt ", sie konnte nicht, ohne manifeste Ungerechtigkeit, um ihre Kinder, sagen wir," dass Ihre Kinder und Ihre Kindeskinder über uns in Ewigkeit. "Weil eine solche unklug, ungerecht, unnatürliche kompakte Macht (vielleicht) in der nächsten Abfolge legte sie unter der Regierung von einem Schurken oder Narren. Die meisten Weisen, in ihrem privaten Gefühle, je Erbrecht verachtet; dennoch ist eine jener Übel, die, wenn einmal etabliert ist, nicht leicht entfernt; viele einreichen aus Angst, andere aus Aberglauben, und die stärkeren Teil Aktien mit dem König die Plünderung der Ruhe.
Dies wird angenommen, die gegenwärtige Rennen der Könige in der Welt, um eine ehrenvolle Ursprung gehabt haben; Es ist mehr als wahrscheinlich, dass wir nehmen Sie den dunklen Abdeckung der Antike, und Spuren sie ihre ersten Anstieg, dass wir die ersten von ihnen finden nichts Besseres als die Haupt Grobian von einigen unruhig Bande, deren wilde Arten der Vorrang in Subtilität erhalten ihm den Titel des Chef unter Plünderer; und die sich durch die Erhöhung der Macht, und streckte seine Verwüstungen, schüchterte die ruhige und wehrlos, um ihre Sicherheit durch häufige Beiträge erwerben. Doch seine Wähler konnten keine Idee, erbliche Recht auf seine Nachkommen, weil eine solche ewige Ausschluss von sich mit den freien und ungebremst Prinzipien, die sie bekennen zu leben unvereinbar sind. Darum, Erbfolge in der Frühzeit der Monarchie konnte nicht Platz als eine Angelegenheit von Anspruch zu nehmen, sondern als etwas lässig oder ergänzende; aber wie wenige oder gar keine Aufzeichnungen waren noch vorhanden in jenen Tagen und überlieferten Geschichte, Fabeln, gefüllt, es war sehr einfach, nach dem Ablauf von wenigen Generationen, zu übertrumpfen sich einige abergläubische Geschichte, bequem timed, wie Mohammed, erbliche hinunter stopfen die Kehlen der vulgär. Vielleicht sind die Störungen, die bedroht oder schien auf dem Tod eines Führers und die Wahl eines neuen (für die Wahlen unter Raufbolde nicht sehr ordentlich sein) induziert viele auf den ersten zu erblichen Ansprüche begünstigen bedrohen; wodurch es passiert ist, wie es da hat passiert, dass das, was auf den ersten haben wir als weiterführende eingereicht wurde danach als ein Recht behauptet.
England, seit der Eroberung, hat bekannt paar wenigen guten Monarchen, aber stöhnte unter einer viel größeren Anzahl von schlechten, aber kein vernünftiger Mensch kann sagen, dass ihre Forderung unter Wilhelm dem Eroberer ist eine sehr ehrenvolle. Ein Französisch Bastard Landung mit einem bewaffneten Banditen, und mit sich selbst zum König von England gegen die Zustimmung der Eingeborenen ist in Klartext eine sehr armselige rascally Original. Sicherlich hat kein Gottheit in ihm. Es ist jedoch unnötig zu viel Zeit bei der Aufdeckung die Torheit Erbrecht zu verbringen, wenn es welche gibt so schwach, es zu glauben, lassen Sie sie wahllos verehren den Arsch und Löwe, und willkommen. Ich werde weder kopiert ihrer Demut, noch stören ihre Hingabe.
Aber ich würde mich freuen, zu fragen, wie sie meinen, Könige kam zuerst? Die Frage gibt, aber von drei Antworten, dh., Entweder durch das Los, durch Wahl oder durch Usurpation. Wenn der erste König von Partie zu entnehmen, stellt es einen Präzedenzfall für die nächste, die Erbfolge ausschließt. Saul war durch das Los, aber die Reihenfolge war nicht erblich, es ist auch nicht aus dieser Transaktion erscheint es irgendeine Absicht, es überhaupt sein sollte. Wenn der erste König von jedem Land war durch Wahlen, die ebenfalls schafft einen Präzedenzfall für die nächste; zum zu sagen, dass das Recht aller zukünftigen Generationen wird entfernt, durch den Akt der ersten Wähler einer Familie der Könige für immer genommen, bei der Wahl nicht nur eines Königs, aber, hat keine Parallele in oder aus der Schrift, sondern die Lehre von der Erbsünde, die den freien Willen aller Menschen in Adam verloren annimmt; und aus diesem Vergleich, und es wird von keinem anderen, Erbfolge zugeben kann keinen Ruhm ableiten. Denn wie in Adam alle gesündigt haben, und wie in den ersten Wähler alle Menschen gehorchte; wie in der einen die ganze Menschheit wurden Satan unterzogen und in der anderen, um Souveränität; wie unsere Unschuld wurde in der ersten, und unsere Autorität in der letzten verloren; und da beide deaktivieren uns von reassuming etwas früheren Zustand und das Privileg, es unwiderleglich ergibt sich, dass die Erbsünde und Erbfolge Parallelen. Unehrenhaft Rang! Inglorious Verbindung! Doch die subtilste Sophisten nicht produzieren eine gerechtere Gleichnis.
Wie zu widerrechtliche Aneignung, wird kein Mann so winterhart, um sie zu verteidigen; und daß Wilhelm der Eroberer war ein Usurpator ist eine Tatsache, nicht widersprochen. Die einfache Wahrheit ist, dass das Alter der englischen Monarchie wird nicht auf der Suche in Bär.
Aber es ist nicht so sehr die Absurdität, wie das Übel der Erbfolge, die die Menschheit betrifft. Hat es ein Rennen der guten und Weise sicherzustellen, dass es würde das Siegel göttlicher Autorität zu haben, aber da es eine Tür zum töricht, den Bösen öffnet; und die unsachgemäße, der hat es in ihm die Art der Unterdrückung. Männer, die sich selbst geboren zu herrschen sehen, und andere, zu gehorchen, bald wachsen unverschämt; ausgewählt aus der übrigen Menschheit ihr Verstand früh von Bedeutung vergiftet; und die Welt, die sie in Handeln unterscheidet sich damit wesentlich von der Welt im Allgemeinen, dass sie nur wenig Gelegenheit, zu wissen, seine wahren Interessen, und wenn sie an die Regierung Erfolg sind häufig die am meisten unwissend und unfähig für jede während der Herrschaften.
Ein weiteres Übel, Erbfolge besucht ist, dass der Thron unterliegt durch einen Minderjährigen in jedem Alter besessen zu sein; Alle welcher Zeit der Regentschaft, unter dem Deckmantel eines Königs handelt, haben alle Möglichkeiten und Anreize, um ihr Vertrauen zu verraten. Das gleiche nationales Unglück passiert, wenn ein König mit Alter und Gebrechen getragen, in die letzte Stufe der menschlichen Schwäche. In beiden Fällen wird die Öffentlichkeit zum Opfer jeden Bösewicht, der erfolgreich mit den Torheiten entweder alt oder Kinderschuhen manipulieren kann.
Die plausibelste Klagegrund, der jemals für Erbfolge angeboten hat, ist, dass es eine Nation von Bürgerkriegen bewahrt; und waren das wahr wäre es gewichtige; wohingegen, ist es das unverschämte Falschheit überhaupt auf die Menschheit verhängt. Die ganze Geschichte der England verleugnet die Tatsache. Dreißig Könige und zwei Minderjährige in dieser abgelenkt Reich seit der Eroberung, in der die Zeit hat es (einschließlich der Revolution) nicht weniger als acht Bürgerkriege und Aufstände neunzehn regierte. Darum anstatt für den Frieden, ist es dagegen, und zerstört die Grundlagen scheint zu stehen.
Der Wettbewerb für die Monarchie und nacheinander zwischen den Häusern York und Lancaster, legte England in einer Szene des Blutes für viele Jahre. 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 If 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 a house of commons from out of their own body- and it is easy to see that when the republican virtue fails, slavery ensues. My 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.
THOUGHTS OF THE PRESENT STATE OF AMERICAN AFFAIRS
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 fast my time.” Should a thought so fatal and unmanly possess the colonies in the present contest, the name of ancestors will be remembered by future generations with detestation.
The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. 'Tis not the affair of a city, a 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 area for politics is struck; a new method of thinking hath arisen. All plans, proposals, &c. prior to the nineteenth of April, ie, to the commencement of hostilities, are like the almanacs of the last year; which, though proper then, are superseded and useless now. Whatever was advanced by the advocates on either side of the question then, terminated in one and the same point, viz., a union with Great Britain; the only difference between the parties was the method of effecting it; the one proposing force, the other friendship; but it hath so far happened that the first hath failed, and the second hath withdrawn her influence.
As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation, which, like an agreeable dream, hath passed away and left us as we were, it is but right, that we should examine the contrary side of the argument, and inquire into some of the many material injuries which these colonies sustain, and always will sustain, by being connected with, and dependant on Great Britain. To examine that connection 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 dependant.
I have heard it asserted by some, that as America hath flourished under her former connection with Great Britain, that the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert, that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is never to have meat; or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true, for I answer roundly, that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power had any thing to do with her. The commerce by which she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.
But she has protected us, say some. That she hath engrossed us is true, and defended the continent at our expense as well as her own is admitted, and she would have defended Turkey from the same motive, viz., the sake of trade and dominion.
Leider! we have been long led away by ancient prejudices and made large sacrifices to superstition. We have boasted the protection of Great Britain, without considering, that her motive was interest not attachment; that she did not protect us from our enemies on our account, but from her enemies on her own account, from those who had no quarrel with us on any other account, and who will always be our enemies on the same account. Let Britain wave her pretensions to the continent, or the continent throw off the 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 connections.
It hath lately been asserted in parliament, that the colonies have no relation to each other but through the parent country, ie, that Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and so on for the rest, are sister colonies by the way of England; this is certainly a very roundabout way of proving relation ship, but it is the nearest and only true way of proving enemyship, if I may so call it. France and Spain never were, nor perhaps ever will be our enemies as Americans, but as our being the subjects of Great Britain.
But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young; nor savages make war upon their families; wherefore the assertion, if true, turns to her reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so, and the phrase parent or mother country hath been jesuitically adopted by the king and his parasites, with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds. Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers off civil and religious liberty from every Part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home pursues their descendants still.
In this extensive quarter of the globe, we forget the narrow limits of three hundred and sixty miles (the extent of England) and carry our friendship on a larger scale; we claim brotherhood with every European Christian, and triumph in the generosity of the sentiment.
It is pleasant to observe by what regular gradations we surmount the force of local prejudice, as we enlarge our acquaintance with the world. A man born in any town in England divided into parishes, will naturally associate most with his fellow parishioners (because their interests in many cases will be common) and distinguish him by the name of neighbor; 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 travels out of the county, and meet him in any other, he forgets the minor divisions of street and town, and calls him countryman; ie, countyman; 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? Kein Ding. 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 anything; for this continent would never suffer itself to be drained of inhabitants to support the British arms in either Asia, Africa, or Europe.
Besides, what have we to do with setting the world at defiance? Our plan is commerce, and that, well attended to,will secure us the peace and friendship of all Europe; because it is the interest of all Europe to have America a free port. Her trade will always be a protection, and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from invaders.
I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to show, 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 I 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 of British politics.
Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace, and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin, because of her connection with Britain. The next war may not turn out like the Past, and should it not, the advocates for reconciliation now will be wishing for separation then, because, neutrality in that case, would be a safer convoy than a man of war. Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, 'tis time to part. Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one, over the other, was never the design of Heaven. The time likewise at which the continent was discovered, adds weight to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled increases the force of it. The reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety.
The authority of Great Britain over this continent, is a form of government, which sooner or later must have an end: And a serious mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward, under the painful and positive conviction, that what he calls “the present constitution” is merely temporary. As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly, we should take our children in our hand, and fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect, which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.
Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary 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 three.
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 offenses of Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, Come we shall be friends again for all this. But examine the passions and feelings of mankind. Bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me, whether you can hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon posterity. Your future connection with Britain, whom you can neither love nor honor, will be forced and unnatural, and being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first. But if you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, Hath your house been burnt? Hath you 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 can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of husband, father, friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant.
This is not inflaming or exaggerating matters, but trying them by those feelings and affections which nature justifies, and without which, we should be incapable of discharging the social duties of life, or enjoying the felicities of it. I mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbers, that we may pursue determinately some fixed object. It is not in the power of Britain or of Europe to conquer America, if she do not conquer herself by delay and timidity. The present winter is worth an age if rightly employed, but if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the misfortune; and there is no punishment which that man will not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.
It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things, to all examples from the 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 was a fallacious dream. Nature hath deserted the connection, and Art cannot supply her place. For, as Milton wisely expresses, “never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.”
Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. Our prayers have been rejected with disdain; and only tended to convince us, that nothing flatters vanity, or confirms obstinacy in kings more than repeated petitioning- and nothing hath contributed more than that very measure to make the kings of Europe absolute: Witness Denmark and Sweden. Wherefore since nothing but blows will do, for God's sake, let us come to a final separation, and not leave the next generation to be cutting throats, under the violated unmeaning names of parent and 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 me we may suppose that nations, which have been once defeated, will never renew the quarrel.
As to government matters, it is not in the powers 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 independence; 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 the North, or the whole detestable junto, is a matter unworthy the millions we have expended. A temporary stoppage of trade, was an inconvenience, which would have sufficiently balanced the repeal of all the acts complained of, had such repeals been obtained; but if the whole continent must take up arms, if every man must be a soldier, it is scarcely worth our while to fight against a contemptible ministry only. Dearly, dearly, do we pay for the repeal of the acts, if that is all we fight for; for in a just estimation, it is as great a folly to pay a Bunker Hill price for law, as for land. As I have always considered the independency 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 of 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 (Massacre at Lexington), but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended title of Father of his people, can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.
But admitting that matters were now made up, what would be the event? I answer, the ruin of the continent. And that for several reasons:
First. The powers of governing still remaining in the hands of the king, he will have a negative over the whole legislation of this continent. And as he hath shown 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 inhabitants in America so ignorant, as not to know, that according to what is called the present constitution, that this continent can make no laws but what the king gives leave to? and is there any man so unwise, as not to see, that (considering what has happened) he will suffer no Law to be made here, but such as suit his purpose? We may be as effectually enslaved by the want of laws in America, as by submitting to laws made for us in England. After matters are make 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 endeavor 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 independent, for independency means no more, than, whether we shall make our own laws, or whether the king, the greatest enemy this continent hath, or can have, shall tell us, “there shall be now laws but such as I like.”
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 interfere 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 show that reconciliation now is a dangerous doctrine, I affirm, that it would be policy in the kingdom at this time, to repeal the acts for the sake of reinstating himself in the government of the provinces; in order, that he may accomplish by craft and subtlety, in the long run, wha he cannot do by force ans violence in the short one. 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 inhabitant 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 independence, ie, a continental form of government, can keep the peace of the continent and preserve it inviolate from civil wars. I dread the event of a reconciliation with Britain now, as it is more than probable, that it will be followed by a revolt somewhere or other, the consequences of which may be far more fatal than all the malice of Britain.
Tausende sind bereits von britischen Barbarei zerstörten; (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 independence, fearing that it would produce civil wars. It is but seldom that our first thoughts are truly correct, and that is the case here; for there are ten times more to dread from a patched up connection than from independence. I make the sufferers case my own, and I protest, that were I driven from house and home, my property destroyed, and my circumstances ruined, that as man, sensible of injuries, I could never relish the doctrine of reconciliation, or consider myself bound thereby.
The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and obedience to continental government, as is sufficient to make every reasonable person easy and happy on that head. No man can assign the least pretence for his fears, on any other grounds, 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 Switzerland are without wars, foreign or domestic; monarchical governments, it is true, are never long at rest: the crown itself is a temptation to enterprising ruffians at home; and that degree of pride and insolence ever attendant on regal authority swells into a rupture with foreign powers, in instances where a republican government, by being formed on more natural principles, would negotiate the mistake.
If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence it is because no plan is yet laid down. Men do not see their way out; wherefore, as an opening into that business I offer the following hints; at the same time modestly affirming, that I have no other opinion of them myself, than that they may be the means of giving rise to something better. Could the straggling thoughts of individuals be collected, they would frequently form materials for wise and able men to improve to useful matter.
Let the assemblies be annual, with a President only. The representation more equal. Their business wholly domestic, and subject to the authority of a continental congress.
Let each colony be divided into six, eight, or ten, convenient districts, each district to send a proper number of delegates to congress, so that each colony send at least thirty. The whole number in congress will be at least three hundred ninety. 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. I 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 join 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 empowered by the people will have a truly legal authority.
The conferring members being met, let their business be to frame a Continental Charter, or Charter of the United Colonies; (answering to what is called the Magna 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 conformable 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 on Virtue and Rewards.
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 of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it 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 in finitely 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 Massenello* may hereafter arise, who laying hold of popular disquietudes, may collect together the desperate and the discontented, and by assuming to themselves the powers of government, may sweep away the liberties of the continent like a deluge. Should the government of America return again into the hands of Britain, the tottering situation of things, will be a temptation for some desperate adventurer to try his fortune; and in such a case, 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 independence now, ye know not what ye do; ye are opening a door to eternal tyranny, by keeping vacant the seat of government.
(*Thomas Anello, otherwise Massenello, 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 king.)
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 inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of his image in our hearts. They distinguish us from the herd of common animals. The social compact would dissolve, and justice be extirpated the earth, of 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.
OF THE PRESENT ABILITY OF AMERICA, WITH SOME MISCELLANEOUS REFLECTIONS
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 shown less judgment, than in endeavoring to describe, what we call, the ripeness or fitness of the Continent for independence.
As all men allow the measure, and vary only in their opinion of the time, let us, in order to remove mistakes, take a general survey of things and endeavor 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, who 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 independent constitution of its own, the purchase at any price will be cheap. But to expend millions for the sake of getting a few we 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 peddling politician.
The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard if the work be but accomplished. No nation ought to be without a debt. A national debt is a national bond; and when it bears no interest, is in no case a grievance. Britain is oppressed with a debt of upwards of one hundred and forty millions sterling, for which she pays upwards of four millions interest. And as a compensation for her debt, she has a large navy; America is without a debt, and without a navy; yet for the twentieth part of the English national debt, could have a navy as large again. The navy of England is not worth, at this time, more than three millions and a 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 Entick's naval history, intro. page 56.)
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, is as follows:
For a ship of 100 guns £35,553
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 £35,533 £213,318
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 £7,758 £344,110
58 20 £3,710 £215,180
85 Sloops, bombs,
and fireships, one another £2,000 £170,000
Remains for guns £229,214
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 sailors. The privateer Terrible, 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 landsmen 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 or 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 harbors for that purpose? Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavored 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 harbors, 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 one time fit for service, numbers of them not in being; yet their names are pompously continued in the list, if only a plank be left of the ship: and not a fifth part, of such as are fit for service, can be spared on any one station at one time. The East, and West Indies, Mediterranean, Africa, and other parts over which Britain extends her claim, make large demands upon her navy. From a mixture of prejudice and inattention, we have contracted a false notion respecting the navy of England, and have talked as if we should have the whole of it to encounter at once, and for that reason, supposed that we must have one as large; which not being instantly practicable, have been made use of by a set of disguised tories to discourage our beginning thereon. Nothing can be farther from truth than this; for if America had only a twentieth part of the naval force of Britain, she would be by far an 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 neighborhood of the Continent, is entirely at its mercy.
Some method might be fallen on to keep up a naval force in time of peace, if we should not judge it necessary to support a constant navy. If premiums were to be given to merchants, to build and employ in their service, ships mounted with twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty guns, (the premiums to be in proportion to the loss of bulk to the merchants) fifty or sixty of those ships, with a few 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. Cannon we can cast at pleasure. Saltpetre and gunpowder we are every day producing. Our knowledge is hourly improving. Resolution is our inherent character, and courage hath never yet forsaken us. Wherefore, what is it that we want? Why is it that we hesitate? From Britain we can expect nothing but ruin. If she is once admitted to the government of America again, this Continent will not be worth living in. Jealousies will be always arising; insurrections will be constantly happening; and who will go forth to quell them? Who will venture his life to reduce his own countrymen to a foreign obedience? The difference between Pennsylvania and Connecticut, respecting some unlocated lands, shows 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 independence. 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 anything else. Commerce diminishes the spirit, both of patriotism and military defence. And history sufficiently informs us, that the bravest achievements were always accomplished in the non-age of a nation. With the increase of commerce England hath lost its spirit. The city of London, notwithstanding its numbers, submits to continued insults with the patience of a coward. The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a spaniel.
Youth is the seed-time of good habits, as well in nations as in individuals. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to form the Continent into one government half a century hence. The vast variety of interests, occasioned by an increase of trade and population, would create confusion. Colony would be against colony. Each being able might scorn each other's assistance: and while the proud and foolish gloried in their little distinctions, the wise would lament that the union had not been formed before. Wherefore, the present time is the true time for establishing it. The intimacy which is contracted in infancy, and the friendship which is formed in misfortune, are, of all others, the most lasting and unalterable. Our present union is marked with both these characters: we are young, and we have been distressed; but our concord hath withstood our troubles, and fixes a memorable area for posterity to glory in.
The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time, which never happens to a nation but once, viz., the time of forming itself into a government. Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors, instead of making laws for themselves. First, they had a king, and then a form of government; whereas, the articles or charter of government, should be formed first, and men delegated to execute them afterwards: but from the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom, and lay hold of the present opportunity- to begin government at the right end.
When William the Conqueror subdued England he gave them law at the point of the sword; and until we consent that the seat of government in America, be legally and authoritatively occupied, we shall be in danger of having it filled by some fortunate ruffian, who may treat us in the same manner, and then, where will be our freedom? where our property?
As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith. Let a man throw aside that narrowness of soul, that selfishness of principle, which the niggards of all professions are so unwilling to part with, and he will be at 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.
Earlier in this work, I threw out a few thoughts on the propriety of a Continental Charter, (for I only presume to offer hints, not plans) and in this place, I take the liberty of rementioning the subject, by observing, that a charter is to be understood as a bond of solemn obligation, which the whole enters into, to support the right of every separate part, whether of religion, personal freedom, or property, A firm bargain and a right reckoning make long friends.
In a former page I likewise mentioned the necessity of a large and equal representation; and there is no political matter which more deserves our attention. A small number of electors, or a small number of representatives, are equally dangerous. But if the number of the representatives be not only small, but unequal, the danger is increased. As an instance of this, I mention the following; when the Associators petition was before the House of Assembly of Pennsylvania; twenty-eight members only were present, all the Bucks County members, being eight, voted against it, and had seven of the Chester members done the same, this whole province had been governed by two counties only, and this danger it is always exposed to. The unwarrantable stretch likewise, which that house made in their last sitting, to gain an undue authority over the delegates of that province, ought to warn the people at large, how they trust power out of their own hands. A set of instructions for the Delegates were put together, which in point of sense and business would have dishonored a school-boy, and after being approved by a few, a very few without doors, were carried into the house, and there passed in behalf of the whole colony; whereas, did the whole colony know, with what ill-will that House hath entered on some necessary public measures, they would not hesitate a moment to think them unworthy of such a trust.
Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things. When the calamities of America required a consultation, there was no method so ready, or at that time so proper, as to appoint persons from the several Houses of Assembly for that purpose and the wisdom with which they have proceeded hath preserved this continent from ruin. But as it is more than probable that we shall never be without a Congress, every well-wisher to good order, must own, that the mode for choosing members of that body, deserves consideration. And I put it as a question to those, who make a study of mankind, whether representation and election is not too great a power for one and the same body of men to possess? When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.
It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent maxims, and are frequently surprised into reason by their mistakes. Mr. Cornwall (one of the Lords of the Treasury) treated the petition of the New York Assembly with contempt, because that House, he said, consisted but of twenty-six members, which trifling number, he argued, could not with decency be put for the whole. We thank him for his involuntary honesty.*
*Those who would fully understand of what great consequence a large and equal representation is to a state, should read Burgh's political Disquisitions.
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 show, that nothing can settle our affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for independence. Some of which are:
First. It is the custom of nations, when any two are at war, for some other powers, not engaged in the quarrel, to step in as mediators, and bring about the preliminaries of a peace: but while America calls herself the subject of Great Britain, no power, however well disposed she may be, can offer her mediation. Wherefore, in our present state we may quarrel on for ever.
Secondly. It is unreasonable to suppose, that France or Spain will give us any kind of assistance, if we mean only to make use of that assistance for the purpose of repairing the breach, and strengthening the connection between Britain and America; because, those powers would be sufferers by the consequences.
Thirdly. While we profess ourselves the subjects of Britain, we must, in the eye of foreign nations, be considered as rebels. The precedent is somewhat dangerous to their peace, for men to be in arms under the name of subjects; we on the spot, can solve the paradox: but to unite resistance and subjection, requires an idea much too refined for common 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 connection with her; at the same time assuring all such courts of our peaceable disposition towards them, and of our desire of entering into trade with them. Such a memorial would produce more good effects to this Continent, than if a ship were freighted with petitions to Britain.
Under our present denomination of British subjects we can neither be received nor heard abroad: The custom of all courts is against us, and will be so, until, by an independence, we take rank with other nations.
These proceedings may at first appear strange and difficult; but, like all other steps which we have already passed over, will in a little time become familiar and agreeable; and, until an independence is declared, the continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it must be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.
SINCE the publication of the first edition of this pamphlet, or rather, on the same day on which it came out, the king's speech made its appearance in this city. Had the spirit of prophecy directed the birth of this production, it could not have brought it forth, at a more seasonable juncture, or a more necessary time. The bloody-mindedness of the one, show 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 independence.
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 villainy, deserved, and still deserves, a general execration both by the congress and the people. Yet as the domestic tranquility 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 consequences 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 that prince, by whose NOD ALONE they were permitted to do anything.” This is toryism with a witness! Here is idolatry even without a mask: And he who can calmly hear, and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality an apostate from the order of manhood; and ought to be considered- as one, who hath, not only given up the proper dignity of a man, but sunk himself beneath the rank of animals, and contemptibly crawl through the world like a worm.
However, it matters very little now, what the king of England either says or does; he hath wickedly broken through every moral and human obligation, trampled nature and conscience beneath his feet; and by a steady and constitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty, procured for himself an universal hatred. It is now the interest of America to provide for herself. She hath already a large and young family, whom it is more her duty to take care of, than to be granting away her property, to support a power who is become a reproach to the names of men and Christians. Ye, whose office it is to watch over the morals of a nation, of whatsoever sect or denomination ye are of, as well as ye, who are more immediately the guardians of the public liberty, if ye wish to preserve your native country uncontaminated by European corruption, ye must in secret wish a separation But leaving the moral part to private reflection, I shall chiefly confine my farther remarks to the following heads:
First. That it is the interest of America to be separated from Britain. Secondly. Which is the easiest and most practicable plan, reconciliation or independence? 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 independent of each other as France and Spain; because in many articles, neither can go to a better market. But it is the independence of this country on 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 spacious errors of those who speak without reflecting. And among the many which I have heard, the following seems the most general, viz., that had this rupture happened forty or fifty years hence, instead of now, the Continent would have been more able to have shaken off the dependance. To which I reply, that our military ability at this time, arises from the experience gained in the last war, and which in forty or fifty years time, would have been totally extinct. The Continent, would not, by that time, have had a General, or even a military officer left; and we, or those who may succeed us, would have been as ignorant of martial matters as the ancient Indians: And this single position, closely attended to, will unanswerably prove, that the present time is preferable to all others: The argument turns thus- at the conclusion of the last war, we had experience, but wanted numbers; and forty or fifty years hence, we should have numbers, without experience; wherefore, the proper point of time, must be some particular point between the two extremes, in which a sufficiency of the former remains, and a proper increase of the latter is obtained: And that point of time is the present time.
The reader will pardon this digression, as it does not properly come under the head I first set out with, and to which I again return by the following position, viz.:
Should affairs be patched up with Britain, and she to remain the governing and sovereign power of America, (which as matters are now circumstanced, is giving up the point entirely) we shall deprive ourselves of the very means of sinking the debt we have or may contract. The value of the back lands which some of the provinces are clandestinely deprived of, by the unjust extension of the limits of Canada, valued only at five pounds sterling per hundred acres, amount to upwards of twenty-five millions, Pennsylvania currency; and the quit-rents at one penny sterling per acre, to two millions yearly.
It is by the sale of those lands that the debt may be sunk, without burden to any, and the quit-rent reserved thereon, will always lessen, and in time, will wholly support the yearly expense 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 earliest and most practicable plan, reconciliation or independence? 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 generally- That INDEPENDENCE being a SINGLE SIMPLE LINE, contained within ourselves; and reconciliation, a matter exceedingly perplexed and complicated, and in which, a treacherous capricious court is to interfere, gives the answer without a doubt.
The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is capable of reflection. 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 endeavoring to dissolve. Our present condition, is, legislation without law; wisdom without a plan; a constitution without a name; and, what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independence 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 feeling 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 to have assembled offensively, had they known that their lives, by that act were forfeited to the laws of the state. A line of distinction should be drawn, between English soldiers taken in battle, and inhabitants of America taken in arms. The first are prisoners, but the latter traitors. The one forfeits his liberty the other his head.
Notwithstanding our wisdom, there is a visible feebleness in some of our proceedings which gives encouragement to dissensions. The Continental Belt is too loosely buckled. And if something is not done in time, it will be too late to do any thing, and we shall fall into a state, in which, neither reconciliation nor independence 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, says some, on the footing we were in the year 1763: 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 1763, 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 ways and 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 independency of America should have been considered, as dating its area 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 independency 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 independency 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 reflection is awful- and in this point of view, how trifling, how ridiculous, do the little, paltry cavillings, of a few weak or interested men appear, when weighed against the business of a world.
Should we neglect the present favorable and inviting period, and an independence 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 Independence, which men should rather privately think of, than be publicly told of. We ought not now to be debating whether we shall be independent 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 independence.
In short, independence is the only bond that can tie 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 independently redressing them ourselves, and then offering to open the trade. The mercantile and reasonable part of 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 favor 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 neighbor 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 resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS of MANKIND and of the FREE
AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA.
EPISTLE TO QUAKERS
To the Representatives of the Religious Society of the People called Quakers, or to so many of them as were concerned in publishing a late piece, entitled “THE ANCIENT TESTIMONY and PRINCIPLES of the people called QUAKERS renewed with respect to the KING and GOVERNMENT, and Touching the COMMOTIONS now prevailing in these and other parts of AMERICA, addressed to the PEOPLE IN GENERAL.”
THE writer of this is one of those few, who never dishonors religion either by ridiculing, or cavilling at any denomination whatsoever. To God, and not to man, are all men accountable on the score of religion. Wherefore, this epistle is not so properly addressed to you as a religious, but as a political body, dabbling in matters, which the professed quietude of your Principles instruct you not to meddle with.
As you have, without a proper authority for so doing, put yourselves in the place of the whole body of the Quakers, so, the writer of this, in order to be on an equal rank with yourselves, is under the necessity, of putting himself in the place of all those who approve the very writings and principles, against which your testimony is directed: And he hath chosen their singular situation, in order that you might discover in him, that presumption of character which you cannot see in yourselves. For neither he nor you have any claim or title to Political Representation.
When men have departed from the right way, it is no wonder that they stumble and fall. And it is evident from the manner in which ye have managed your testimony, that politics, (as a religious body of men) is not your proper walk; for however well adapted it might appear to you, it is, nevertheless, a jumble of good and bad put unwisely together, and the conclusion drawn therefrom, both unnatural and unjust.
The two first pages, (and the whole doth not make four) we give you credit for, and expect the same civility from you, because the love and desire of peace is not confined to Quakerism, it is the natural, as well as the religious wish of all denominations of men. And on this ground, as men laboring to establish an Independent Constitution of our own, do we exceed all others in our hope, end, and aim. Our plan is peace for ever. We are tired of contention with Britain, and can see no real end to it but in a final separation. We act consistently, because for the sake of introducing an endless and uninterrupted peace, do we bear the evils and burdens of the present day. We are endeavoring, and will steadily continue to endeavor, to separate and dissolve a connection which hath already filled our land with blood; and which, while the name of it remains, will be the fatal cause of future mischiefs to both countries.
We fight neither for revenge nor conquest; neither from pride nor passion; we are not insulting the world with our fleets and armies, nor ravaging the globe for plunder. Beneath the shade of our own vines are we attacked; in our own houses, and on our own lands, is the violence committed against us. We view our enemies in the characters of highwaymen and housebreakers, and having no defence for ourselves in the civil law; are obliged to punish them by the military one, and apply the sword, in the very case, where you have before now, applied the halter. Perhaps we feel for the ruined and insulted sufferers in all and every part of the continent, and with a degree of tenderness which hath not yet made its way into some of your bosoms. But be ye sure that ye mistake not the cause and ground of your Testimony. Call not coldness of soul, religion; nor put the bigot in the place of the Christian.
O ye partial ministers of your own acknowledged principles! If the bearing arms be sinful, the first going to war must be more so, by all the difference between wilful attack and unavoidable defence.
Wherefore, if ye really preach from conscience, and mean not to make a political hobby-horse of your religion, convince the world thereof, by proclaiming your doctrine to our enemies, for they likewise bear ARMS. Give us proof of your sincerity by publishing it at St. James's, to the commanders in chief at Boston, to the admirals and captains who are practically ravaging our coasts, and to all the murdering miscreants who are acting in authority under HIM whom ye profess to serve. Had ye the honest soul of Barclay* ye would preach repentance to your king; Ye would tell the royal tyrant of his sins, and warn him of eternal ruin. Ye would not spend your partial invectives against the injured and the insulted only, but like faithful ministers, would cry aloud and spare none. Say not that ye are persecuted, neither endeavor to make us the authors of that reproach, which, ye are bringing upon yourselves; for we testify unto all men, that we do not complain against you because ye are Quakers, but because ye pretend to be and are NOT Quakers.
*”Thou hast tasted of prosperity and adversity; thou knowest what it is to be banished thy native country, to be overruled as well as to rule, and set upon the throne; and being oppressed thou hast reason to know now hateful the oppressor is both to God and man. If after all these warnings and advertisements, thou dost not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart, but forget him who remembered thee in thy distress, and give up thyself to follow lust and vanity, surely great will be thy condemnation. Against which snare, as well as the temptation of those who may or do feed thee, and prompt thee to evil, the most excellent and prevalent remedy will be, to apply thyself to that light of Christ which shineth in thy conscience and which neither can, nor will flatter thee, nor suffer thee to be at ease in thy sins.”- Barclay's Address to Charles II.
Leider! it seems by the particular tendency of some part of your Testimony, and other parts of your conduct, as if all sin was reduced to, and comprehended in the act of bearing arms, and that by the people only. Ye appear to us, to have mistaken party for conscience, because the general tenor of your actions wants uniformity: And it is exceedingly difficult to us to give credit to many of your pretended scruples; because we see them made by the same men, who, in the very instant that they are exclaiming against the mammon of this world, are nevertheless, hunting after it with a step as steady as Time, and an appetite as keen as Death.
The quotation which ye have made from Proverbs, in the third page of your testimony, that, “when a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him;” is very unwisely chosen on your part; because it amounts to a proof, that the king's ways (whom ye are so desirous of supporting) do not please the Lord, otherwise, his reign would be in peace.
I now proceed to the latter part of your testimony, and that, for which all the foregoing seems only an introduction, viz:
“It hath ever been our judgment and principle, since we were called to profess the light of Christ Jesus, manifested in our consciences unto this day, that the setting up and putting down kings and governments, is God's peculiar prerogative; for causes best known to himself: And that it is not our business to have any hand or contrivance therein; nor to be busy-bodies above our station, much less to plot and contrive the ruin, or overturn any of them, but to pray for the king, and safety of our nation, and good of all men: that we may live a peaceable and quiet life, in all goodliness and honesty; under the government which God is pleased to set over us.” If these are really your principles why do ye not abide by them? Why do ye not leave that, which ye call God's work, to be managed by himself? These very principles instruct you to wait with patience and humility, for the event of all public measures, and to receive that event as the divine will towards you. Wherefore, what occasion is there for your political Testimony if you fully believe what it contains? And the very publishing it proves, that either, ye do not believe what ye profess, or have not virtue enough to practice what ye believe.
The principles of Quakerism have a direct tendency to make a man the quiet and inoffensive subject of any, and every government which is set over him. And if the setting up and putting down of kings and governments is God's peculiar prerogative, he most certainly will not be robbed thereof by us; wherefore, the principle itself leads you to approve of every thing, which ever happened, or may happen to kings as being his work. Oliver Cromwell thanks you. Charles, then, died not by the hands of man; and should the present proud imitator of him, come to the same untimely end, the writers and publishers of the Testimony, are bound by the doctrine it contains, to applaud the fact. Kings are not taken away by miracles, neither are changes in governments brought about by any other means than such as are common and human; and such as we are now using. Even the dispersing of the Jews, though foretold by our Savior, was effected by arms. Wherefore, as ye refuse to be the means on one side, ye ought not to be meddlers on the other; but to wait the issue in silence; and unless you can produce divine authority, to prove, that the Almighty who hath created and placed this new world, at the greatest distance it could possibly stand, east and west, from every part of the old, doth, nevertheless, disapprove of its being independent of the corrupt and abandoned court of Britain; unless I say, ye can show this, how can ye, on the ground of your principles, justify the exciting and stirring up of the people “firmly to unite in the abhorrence of all such writings, and measures, as evidence a desire and design to break off the happy connection we have hitherto enjoyed, with the kingdom of Great Britain, and our just and necessary subordination to the king, and those who are lawfully placed in authority under him.” What a slap in the face is here! the men, who, in the very paragraph before, have quietly and passively resigned up the ordering, altering, and disposal of kings and governments, into the hands of God, are now recalling their principles, and putting in for a share of the business. Is it possible, that the conclusion, which is here justly quoted, can any ways follow from the doctrine laid down? The inconsistency is too glaring not to be seen; the absurdity too great not to be laughed at; and such as could only have been made by those, whose understandings were darkened by the narrow and crabby spirit of a despairing political party; for ye are not to be considered as the whole body of the Quakers but only as a factional and fractional part thereof.
Here ends the examination of your testimony; (which I call upon no man to abhor, as ye have done, but only to read and judge of fairly;) to which I subjoin the following remark; “That the setting up and putting down of kings,” most certainly mean, the making him a king, who is yet not so, and the making him no king who is already one. And pray what hath this to do in the present case? We neither mean to set up nor to put down, neither to make nor to unmake, but to have nothing to do with them. Wherefore your testimony in whatever light it is viewed serves only to dishonor your judgment, and for many other reasons had better have been let alone than published.
First. Because it tends to the decrease and reproach of religion whatever, and is of the utmost danger to society, to make it a party in political disputes. Secondly. Because it exhibits a body of men, numbers of whom disavow the publishing political testimonies, as being concerned therein and approvers thereof. Thirdly. Because it hath a tendency to undo that continental harmony and friendship which yourselves by your late liberal and charitable donations hath lent a hand to establish; and the preservation of which, is of the utmost consequence to us all.
And here, without anger or resentment I bid you farewell. Sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right; and be, in your turn, the means of securing it to others; but that the example which ye have unwisely set, of mingling religion with politics, may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.
Source: Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, printed by W. and T. Bradford, Philadelphia, 1791.