and unnatural attack from the people of England; yet, as the question of Independency has been lately started, in a pamphlet entitled Common Sense, and supported by a variety of subsequent authors, I confess I was much pleased on the appearance of a writer on the other side of the question; for, as I have no other view than peace and happiness for myself and posterity, I was determined to give an earnest attention to the arguments on both sides. It is no matter with me whether I live under an Emperor, a Pope, a Bashaw, a King of England, or a Republick, provided I can be convinced, by irrefutable arguments, that such or such a state contained the greatest quantity of happiness for the people at large, and for individuals in particular; for, as I am in the situation of ninety-nine out of every hundred in the world, who have no expectations of ever ascending into office, and riding upon the top of the machine, and have only to expect to contribute my proportion of labour to wheel it along, I therefore think it my business, as well as my fellow-labourers, to see that it is so constructed as to move with as little labour as possible, and the machinery so contrived as to be the least liable to get out of order in the variety of rough and smooth roads through which we must inevitably pass. Now, taking it for granted that the machine must necessarily be kept in proper motion, I conclude, we are not to consult the ease and convenience of the riders, but that of the draughtsmen, who, being the majority, and giving motion to the machine for their own emolument(I know, criticks, the simile wont run upon all fours, but I shall nevertheless stick to it till you offer me a better)I say, we move it along for our own emolument; and if the riders should insist on having it built to contain only a single chair for a crowned head, or to spread a larger floor over our heads to support a Commonwealth, we who pull, and not they who ride, ought to be the judges of the matter; for that some must pull, and that some will ride, in every community on the face of the earth, must be granted me; therefore, all I have to consider, with the rest of my brethren on the ground, is to attach myself to that machine, or (if you wont let me pursue the simile) to that form of Government, which will afford me the most ease, and give me the least pain.
People in general know so little of the different movements of a State, and the complicated connections and dependencies on the other powers of the world, that they are almost unequal to the task of forming a proper judgment of the fitness or unfitness of this or that mode; for this reason it gave me great pleasure to think I was now about to have the matter laid before me in an open and candid manner, that I and the rest of my unlettered brethren might judge for ourselves. The writer signed Cato, I should have liked much better had his actions corresponded with his declarations. Says he, Nor need any person be alarmed; for an indecent nor angry expression shall not dishonour my pen, nor yet a single sentiment which is not calculated to cement all parties in the Province, upon safe and popular grounds, more firmly than ever, in executing the resolves of the Congress, and maintaining American liberty. Had this decency really prevailed in Catos breast, why did he, a few lines before, charge the commentators on the conduct of the Assembly with scurrilous misrepresentations? Decency and scurrility can certainly have no possible connection; and, unhappily for him, in his second letter, he proceeds to term a writer, who styles himself Cassandra, an enthusiast, a madman, and a barbarian. Language of this kind can be of no real use to men who are searching for truth; and I will take the liberty to request Cato, in his future essays, to keep up to the decency he professed to set out with. I could have wished to have passed Cassandra unnoticed on this head; but as he also has given too much reason for censure, I will just make free to say, that his arguments have acquired no force with me by directing personal attacks on Cato, and endeavouring to point out the real man to the publick; nay, by introducing the very name of a private gentleman into his essays, and obliquely glancing at him as the writer of Catos letters. I am sensible it is so guarded that Cassandra may plead off, and declare, if he pleases, that he had no such person in view; and Cato might find it difficult to disprove his sincerity. Cassandra may also assert, where he hints at the danger which Cato runs of too far provoking the majesty of the people by the bold flourishes of a pen which pays no respect to truth, lest he may find it expedient to end his days on the principles of dependency, that he meant no such thing as the threatening Cato with the chance of being hanged by a mob; though his marking the word dependency in italicks, will certainly convey that idea to many minds. Now, gentlemen, with all due respect to you both, I would wish you to avoid indecency and personality. However sharp your minds may be set against each other, upon a supposition that you have got at the secret of names on both sides, I would request you to consider, that though you are both volunteers, yet you are in some measure accountable to the publick. If two advocates, pleading a cause of great importance before a learned Court and an intelligent Jury, were to make use of illiberal reflections upon each others characters, and rip up a long list of charges of fraudulent designs and wicked practices, would not both Court and Jury think themselves grossly insulted, and would not such advocates deserve the severest censure from the bench? Be pleased to remember, gentlemen, you are pleading at the bar of the publick, upon a cause of greater importance than ever came before any tribunal on earthno less than whether it is expedient or inexpedient to make a total separation in Government between the new and the old world. Do you think, gentlemen, that a thousandth part of your readers either know, care for, or desire to know, who are the writers on this popular subject? If John a Nokes and Tom a Stiles should be fixed on as the authors in this city, and should hand forth to the publick every foible and unfavourable incident of each others life, of what importance, think you, would this be to those who are strangers to them both? If Kouli Khans gardeners daughter had a child by the Grand Viziers brother, what has that to do with the Revolution in Persia ? It is the matter, and not the man, that the publick are concerned with. If Lord North himself was a prisoner amongst us, and should issue forth from his confinement daily lucubrations on the subject now before us, I would give them as earnest a reading as if they flowed from the pen of a Camden or a Burke; and yet I am a zealous advocate against Great Britain in the present controversy. It is truth alone I am hunting for, and this I believe to be the case with nine-tenths of the people; therefore I beg you will behave like gentlemen to yourselves and to the publick; canvass the matter fairly, fully, and freely; and do not suppose yourselves of so much importance as to think we shall be pleased with your calling off our attention from the grand question, to the unimportant discussions of the characters or schemes of either party. I, with a great number of others, should be glad to see you enter deeply into the question on both sides. State the advantages of an Independencethe benefits to be derived from a new mode of Government; how it will affect individuals; the additional happiness and freedom it will produceparticularized in a number of plain, clear instances; for though I, and some others, might be satisfied with the general assertion, that the State will be much benefited by the change, yet there is no gaining admission into some bosoms but by full and positive demonstation; and the number of such is very great. To make myself better understood, I mean thus: If A, being a shopkeeper in this city, having a tolerable stand for business, though at a distance from the market, was to be advised by B to remove his shop to the outskirts of the town, where he should be sure to make his fortune, A would naturally require of B some proof of its probability, as the proposal might seem a strange one; but if B, being in the secret, should inform him that the Corporation had determined to remove the market to that very spot, A would not hesitate a moment about the matter. So with respect to Independence: some people will be satisfied with nothing short of such clear and demonstrative evidence. You must tell them, also, of the particular new trades which will be opened to us; the prices our goods will bear at home to the farmer, and what they will bring at such and such ports, and how much those prices exceed what we have been used to get for them at the markets we were allowed to trade to. In this you must name the articles, the prices, and the places. You must then tell us the advantages of buying linens, woollens, cottons, silks, and hardware in France, Spain, and Portugal, and other counties in Europe, and how much cheaper they are than in England and Ireland. In this, too,