Common Sense, British Edition

Of Monarchy and Hereditary Sucession

Page 14

14                             COMMON SENSE.
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 testi-
mony against, and blood will attend it.

If we enquire 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 suc-
cessors to tread the same idle ground. In absolute mo-
narchies the whole weight business, civil and military,
lies on the king ; the children of Israel in their request for
a king, urged this plea, “that he may judge us, and go out
before us, and fight our battles.” But in countries where
he is neither a judge nor a general, as in England, a man
would be puzzled to know what is his business.

The nearer any government approaches to a republic the
less business there is for a king. It is somewhat difficult to
find a proper name for the government of England. Sir
William Meredith
calls it a republic; but in its present state
it is unworthy of the name, because the corrupt influence of
the crown, by having all the places in its disposal, hath so
effectually swallowed up the power, and eaten out the virtue
of the house of commons (the republican part in the consti-
tution) that the government of England is nearly as mo-
narchical as that of France or Spain. Men fall out with
names without understanding them. For it is the republican
and not the monarchical part of the constitution of England
which Englishmen glory in, viz. the liberty of choosing an
house of commons from out of their own body—and it is
easy to see that when republican virtue fails, slavery ensues.
Why is the constitution of England sickly, but because mo-
narchy 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 im-
poverish 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 bar-
gain! Of more worth is one honest man to society, and in
the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.



“Common Sense, British Edition,” Common Sense Digital Edition, accessed August 22, 2017,