Common Sense HTML version

I have heard it asserted by some, that as America hath flourished 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 assert that because a child has thrived upon milk that it
is never 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 America 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 enriched herself,
are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of
But she has protected us, say some. That she has engrossed us is true, and defended the
continent at our expense as well as her own is admitted, and she would have defended
Turkey from the same motive, viz. the sake of trade and dominion.
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 protect us from OUR
from those who had no quarrel with us on any OTHER ACCOUNT, and who will always
be our enemies on the SAME ACCOUNT. Let Britain wave her pretensions to the
continent, or the continent throw off the dependence, and we should be at peace with
France and Spain were they at war with Britain. The miseries of Hanover last war ought
to warn us against connections.
It has lately been asserted in parliament, that the colonies have no relation to each other
but through the parent country, i. e. that Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and so on for the
rest, are sister colonies by the way of England; this is certainly a very round-about way of
proving relationship, but it is the nearest and only true way of proving enemyship, if I
may so call it. France and Spain never were, nor perhaps ever will be our enemies as
AMERICANS, but as our being the subjects of GREAT BRITAIN.
But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even
brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families; wherefore
the assertion, if true, turns to her reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so
and the phrase PARENT or MOTHER COUNTRY hath been jesuitically adopted by the
king and his parasites, with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias on the
credulous weakness of our minds. Europe, and not England, is the parent country of
America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and
religious liberty from EVERY PART of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the
tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of
England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their
descendants still.
In this extensive quarter of the globe, we forget the narrow limits of three hundred and
sixty miles (the extent of England) and carry our friendship on a larger scale; we claim