Common Sense, British Edition

Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs

Page 21

                                 COMMON SENSE.                         21
serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your
land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only de-
ceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon
posterity. Your future connexion with Britain, whom you
can neither love nor honour, will be forced and unnatural,
and being formed only on the plan of present convenience,
will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than
the first. But if you say, you can still pass the violations
over, then I ask, Hath your house been burnt? Hath your
property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife
and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on?
Have you lost a parent or a child, by their hands, and your-
self the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not,
then are you not a judge of those who have. But if
you have, and still can shake hands with the murderers,
then are you unworthy the name of husband, father,
friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title
in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of
a sycophant.

This is not inflaming or exaggerating matters, by trying
them by those feelings and affections which nature justifies,
and without which, we should be incapable of discharging
the social duties of life, or enjoying the felicities of it.
I mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking
revenge, but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbers,
that we may pursue determinately some fixed object. It
is not in the power of Britain or of Europe to conquer
America, if she do not conquer herself be delay and timidity.
The present winter is worth an age, if rightly employed,
but if neglected, the whole continent will partake of the
misfortune; and there is no punishment which that man
will not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will,
that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious
and useful.

It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things,
to all examples from former ages, to suppose, that this
continent can longer remain subject to any external
power. The most sanguine in Britain does not think
so. The utmost stretch of human wisdom cannot, at this
time, compass a plan short of separation, which can pro-
mise the continent even a year’s security. Reconcilation



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

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