Common Sense, British Edition

Of the Present Ability of America, with Some Miscellaneous Reflexions

Page 40

40                         COMMON SENSE
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 re-
bels. 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

Fourthly. Were a manifesto to be published, and dis-
patched 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 dispo-
position towards them, and of our desire of entering into trade
with them: such a memorial would produce more good ef-
fects to this Continent, than if a ship were freighted with pe-
titions 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 independ-
ance, we take rank with other nations.

These proceeding 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.


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