Common Sense, British Edition
Of the Present Ability of America, with Some Miscellaneous Reflexions
COMMON SENSE. 31ceases at once, for, the time hath found us. The ge-
neral concurrence, the glorious union of all things prove
It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength,
lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the
force of all the world. The Continent hath, at this time,
the largest, body of armed and disciplined men of any power
under Heaven; and is just arrived at that pitch of strength,
in which no single colony is able to support itself, and the
whole, when united, can accomplish the matter, and either
more, or, less than this, might be fatal in its effects. Our
land force is already sufficient, and as to naval affairs, we
cannot be insensible, that Britain would never suffer an Ame-
rican 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 pro-
Were the Continent crowded with inhabitants, her suffer-
ings under the present circumstances would be intolerable.
The more seaport towns we had, the more should we have
both to defend and to lose. Our present numbers are so
happily proportioned to our wants, that no man need be idle.
The diminution of trade affords an army, and the necessities
of an army create a new trade.
Debts we have none; and whatever we may contract on
this account will serve as a glorious memento of our virtue.
Can we but leave posterity with a settled form of government,
an independant constitution of its own, the purchase at any
price will be cheap. But to expend millions for the sake of
getting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the present mi-
nistry 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
honour, and is the true characteristic of a narrow heart and a
The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard, if
the work be but accomplished. No nation ought to be with-
“Common Sense, British Edition,” Common Sense Digital Edition, accessed October 18, 2017, http://explorecommonsense.com/items/show/42.