Common Sense, British Edition

Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs

Page 16

6                                 COMMON SENSE.

superseded and useless now.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second hath withdrawn her influence.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 con-
trary side of the argument, and enquire 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 depend-
ance, on the principles of nature and common sense, to see
what we have to trust to, if separated, and what we are to ex-
pect, if dependant,

I have heard it asserted by some, that as America hath flou-
rished 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 as-
sert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is ne-
ver 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 Ame-
rica 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 inriched herself, are the necses-
saries of life, and will always have a market while eating is
the custom of Europe.

But she has protected us, say some. That she has en-
us is true, and defended the continent at our expence
as well as her own, is admitted, and she would have defend-
ed Turkey from the same motive, viz. the sake of trade and

Alas, 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 pro-
tect us from our enemies on our account, but from her enemies on
her own account, from those who had no quarrel with us on



“Common Sense, British Edition,” Common Sense Digital Edition, accessed June 18, 2024,

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