Common Sense, British Edition

Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs

Page 18

18                            COMMON SENSE.  

name of townsman; if he travel out of the county, and meet
him in any other, he forgets the minor divisions of street and
town, and calls him countryman, i. e. countyman ; but if in
their foreign excursions they should associate in France, or
any other part of Europe, their local remembrance would be
enlarged into that of Englishmen. And by a just parity of
reasoning, all Europeans meeting in America, or any other
quarter of the globe, are countrymen; for England, Holland,
Germany, or Sweden, when compared with the whole, stand
in the same places on the larger scale, which the divisions
of street, town, and county do on the smaller ones; distinc-
tions too limited for continental minds. Not one-third of
the inhabitants, even of this province, are of English de-
Wherefore I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother
country applied to England only, as being false, selfish, nar-
row, and ungenerous.

But admitting, that we were all of English descent, what
does it amount to? Nothing. Britain, being now an open
enemy, extinguishes every other name and title: And to say
that reconciliation is our duty, is truly farcical. The first
king of England, of the present line (William the Con-
queror) was a Frenchman, and half the Peers of England
are descendants from the same country; wherefore, by the
same method of reasoning, England ought to be governed by

Much hath been said of the united strength of Britain and
the colonies, that in conjunction they might bid defiance to
the world. But this is mere presumption; the fate of war is
uncertain, neither do the expressions mean any thing; for
this continent would never suffer itself to be drained of in-
habitants, to support the British arms in either Asia, Africa,
or Europe.

Besides what have we to do with setting the world at de-
fiance? Our plan is commerce, and that, well attended to,
will secure us the peace and friendship of all Europe;
because, it is the interest of all Europe to have America
a free port. Here trade will always be a protection,
and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from

I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to
shew, a single advantage that this continent can reap,
by being connected with Great-Britain. I repeat the


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

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