Common Sense, British Edition

Of the Origin and Design of Government in General. With Concise Remarks on the English Constitution.

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                                COMMON SENSE.                            3

to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was
small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and
trifling. This will point out the convenience of their con-
senting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select
number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to
have the same concerns at stake which those have who ap-
pointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the
whole body would act, were they present. If the colony
continue increasing, it will become necessary to augment the
number of the representatives, and that the interest of every
part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found
best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part
sending its proper number ; and that the elected might never
form to themselves an interest seperate from the electors, pru-
dence will point out the necessity of having elections often;
because as the elected might by that means return and mix
again with the general body of the electors in a few months,
their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent
reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this
frequent interchange will establish a common interest with
every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally
support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name
of king) depends the strength of government and the happiness of
the governed.

Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a
mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to
govern the world; here too is the design and end of govern-
ment, viz. freedom and security. And however our eyes
may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound;
however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our
understanding ; the simple voice of nature and of reason will
say, it is right.

I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle
in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more
simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the
easier repaired when disordered ; and with this maxim in view,

I offer a few remarks on the so much boasted constitution of
That it was noble for the dark and slavish times
in which it was erected, is granted. When the world was
over-run with tyranny, the least remove therefrom was a
glorious risque. But that it is imperfect, subject to convul-



“Common Sense, British Edition,” Common Sense Digital Edition, accessed April 16, 2024,

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