Common Sense, British Edition

Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs

Page 24

24                   COMMON SENSE.

I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharoah of  
England forever; and disdain the wretch, that with
the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE can
unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, and composedly sleep
with their blood upon his soul.

But admitting that matters were now made up, what
would be the event? I answer, the ruin of the continent.---
And that for several reasons.

First, The powers of governing still remaining in the
hands of the king, he will have a negative over the whole
legislation of this continent. And as he hath shewn himself
such an inveterate enemy to liberty, and discovered such
a thirst for abritrary power,
is he, or is he not, a proper man
to say to these colonies, “You shall make no laws but what I
please?” And is there any inhabitant in American so igno-
rant, as not to know, that according to what is called the
present constitution, that this continent can make no laws but
what the king gives leave to? and is there any man so un-
wise as not to see, that (considering what has happened)
he will suffer no law to be made here, but such as suits his
purpose?  We may be effectually enslaved by the want of
laws in America, as by submitting to laws made for us in
England.  After matters are made up (as it is called) can
there be any doubt, but the whole power of the crown will
be exerted to keep this continent as low and as humble as
possible?  Instead of going forward, we shall go backward,
or be perpetually quarrelling or ridiculously petitioning.—
We are already greater than the King wishes us to be, and
will he not hereafter endeavour to make us less.
To bring
the matter to one point. Is the power who is jealous of our
prosperity, a proper power to govern us? Whoever says No
to this question, is an independent ; for independency means
no more, than whether we shall make our own laws, or
whether the King, the greatest enemy this Continent hath, 
or can have, shall tell us, "there shall be no laws but such
"as I like."

But the king, you will say, has a negative in England;
the people there can make no laws without his consent. In
point of right and good order, there is something very ridi-
culous, that a youth of twenty-one (which hath often hap-
pened) shall say to several millions of people, older and
wiser than himself, I forbid this or that act of yours to be law. But in this place I decline this sort of reply, though
I will never cease to expose the absurdity of it, and only an-



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

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