Cosmopolitan, No. 1



To the Inhabitants of the AMERICAN Colonies.

Friends and Fellow-Citizens:

By the splendid monuments of Grecian antiquity, we learn, at Athens — that seat of science, that nursery of freedom, that mistress of the world, now in ruins — there was a custom, in times of trouble and general calamity, to invite, by the publick crier, every person, of whatever age, quality, degree, or profession, to give his opinion with freedom and plainness, for the good of the State. Unaspiring to opinions upon difficult and intricate questions, leaving plans and measures to the invention and wisdom of deep politicians and the united efforts of our assembled Delegates, not long since, without fee or reward, expectation or prospect, I assumed my pen in opposition to Ministerial hirelings, and the tools and minions of despotick sway. Having delineated our rights, and scanned the pretences for infringing them, I stopped short, and retired from the publick view. Something more may yet be done. The duty of a citizen is undischarged but in constant struggles in his Country' s cause. My present design is to cast in a mite to rouse the attention, increase the vigilance, and set in motion the wheels of reflection, among the various classes of men, especially the yeomanry of America, against the wanton ebullitions of undelegated power, and the increasing torrent of Britannick oppression. Not doubting the sincerity of the heart, you will excuse, from a principle of tenderness, the want of elocution and polished sentirnent in one whose highest ambition is the service of the publick; who, although he has neither that experience of years, which adds weight to counsel, and authority to debate, had rather wander abroad in a rustick dress, than to enjoy that silent glow of the recluse speculator, which, being confined to the narrow circle of his own breast, must, void of utility, soon perish.

We have, my dear friends, passed the Rubicon; the die is up. There is but a single alternative: either in the blaze of war to submit our cause to the great arbiter of battles, or resign ourselves and ours into the unrelenting hands of the proud and the cruel, to be by them butchered as sheep, or, like machines, disposed of in servile drudgery, or the infamous business of enslaving others. There is no retrospect; our choice is easy, our duty plain. It was the opinion of David, a brave and magnanimous prince, a great statesman, and a good soldier, that it was better to fall into the hands of God than into the hands of men. Being thoroughly convinced that the assumed right of Parliament is ill-founded, that her claim is usurpation, or exercised power, tyranny, and cruelty, we bottom on the unshaken rock of eternal truth, in defence of our own rights, the rights of humanity, and the rights of heaven. Let this prepare us for every hazardous and manly achievement. Reason, self-preservation points out the way, and a consciousness of rectitude ought to supply us with ardour, resolution, and fortitude. The calls of the community, the business of the day, is level to every man' s eye. Our rights are invaded; they must be defended. The heavy stroke of Ministerial vengeance, which is aimed at our vitals, must be repelled, although, in its rebound, it should plunge Great Britain into the vast ocean of her own misconduct. The dispute is become too serious to think of temporizing accommodations or partial contracted negotiations. The exigencies of the times require something bold, something decisive. Mysteries and unintelligible refinement may amuse the curious, secure a party, or conceal a tyrant. Interest and faction may be their advocates; honour and honesty despise them.

There are those who solace themselves in the pleasing expectation that Great Britain will reverse her measures, and meet us again upon equitable terms; an expectation irrational in itself, and dangerous to the community. It is


with bodies as with individuals: their past behaviour is the best security for their future conduct. The Ministry, however weak, narrow, and unstable in their means, have been, like the needle to the pole, fixed upon their favourite end. The entire subjugation of all America is their object. This must be attempted, at all adventures, say the Ministry, and the Commons echo back the humane sentiment. Nothing but a feeling conviction, from fatal experience of its utter impracticability, will ever divert King, Lords, or Commons, from the shameful pursuit. Deaf to the dictates of true policy, to the voice of prudence, the cries of humanity, and the schemes of the experienced statesman, to the reasoning of the wise, and the tongues of the eloquent, unsheathed daggers, fire and force, guns and swords, are their reasoning topicks.

Whoever dreams of settling the controversy, of recovering our injured rights, and defending our Country, on beds of down or in the garden of pleasure, may awake in melancholy disappointment. A restoration of our envied liberties, and the barriers against subsequent encroachments and usurpation' s, cannot be erected but by those exertions of understanding and integrity, those struggles of an undaunted and vigorous spirit, which have adorned the annals of old time, and may transmit to future periods a theme of admiration and just applause. A contempt of luxury, indolence, and private emolument, love to our fellow-mortals, publick spirit, and a persevering patience in hardships, clangers, and fatigues, are necessary for the mighty occasion. Infernal policy and the mighty of the earth are in array against us. The subtilest heads, and the most obstinate and incorrigible hearts, have joined the confederacy. Americans, stung with disappointment, minds reeking with malice, and souls black with revenge and the worst of passions, influence the process, and, with the importunity of a Hutchinson, call for vengeance, havock, and desolation. Let us not court deception, or become dupes to a fond, ill-founded hope. Let us anticipate their power, consider their motives, and weigh their principles. Let us expect the conflict to be fierce and vigorous, the struggle long and expensive. Fortify for the event; prepare for the trial. Rise in spirit and resolution in proportion to the importance of the object. Hazard of life and fortune is not an equivalent for the extirpation of tyranny, the re-establishment of freedom and its attendant blessings. I repeat it, an imagination that the Ministry will slacken their pace, or halt in their career, from the sentiments of humanity, the checks of national interest, or the rebukes of their own consciences, is idle and dangerous. Considerations of future happiness, national felicity, and distant dangers, do not affect the callous hearts of court favourites, the creatures of venality, who live by the hour, and are warm in the pursuit of fortunes, rapine, and plunder. Removed from personal danger, they plot with security, and send forth their banded mercenaries to execute their hazardous projects. Necessity alone will make them retreat. A spirited opposition, on the part of America, must beget this necessity. In reply to British petitions, for redress of American grievances, says one in the Cabinet: "I do not doubt but the petitioners are aggrieved. I do not doubt but they labour under great and singular distresses. I do not doubt but every degree of men — the landed gentleman, the merchant, the manufacturer, and the mechanick — would all heavily feel, in their several situations, the threatened calamities. Nay, I do not promise certain success from present measures. The Army may proceed to hostilities; they may be defeated. The Americans may prevail. We may be stripped of the sovereignty of that Country; but what of that? (with marble apathy, says the Westminster demon.) The events of war are uncertain. The question is, allowing all the inconveniences, as set forth in the petitions, to be precisely just, and taking into full contemplation every possible contingency that human foresight and prudence can suggest, whether we should, relinquish our rights, or resolve, at all events, resolutely to persist in their assertion. It is utterly impossible to say one syllable on the matter of expediency, till the right is first as fully asserted on one side, as acknowledged on the other."

What have we to expect? What not to fear, when the political pendulum is vibrated, and the reins of government guided by men possessing such principles? — artificially headstrong; determined to plunge a whole Kingdom into


wretchedness, for the formal establishment of that which she might ever realize, as to all its valuable purposes, with pacifick facility. An experienced statesman would comprehend measures and their consequences. Actions, independent of their tendency, are like substances stripped of their essential qualities. That cannot be justifiable which is inexpedient, nor that expedient from which many bad and no good consequences can result. But this glorious advocate for servility has declared it impossible to attend to that alone which demands attention, until the right is established, "at all events," and then his question of expediency comes too late.

Certainly, then, it is not to the King, or his prostituted Court, that we are to look for security. Under a kind Providence, the strength of our arms, and our own bodies, must form the line of protection. Miracles are not to be expected. Heaven proceeds in the use of means. We are not to look for a dividing sea to swallow up an hostile fleet, or for hail-stones, from above, to humble the pride of an opposing power. The means of safety are in our own hands. Our internal resources are inexhaustible. Our natural strength, if fully and uniformly exerted, invincible. Our numbers sufficient; our bodies hardy and vigorous. Our union such as to quell the proudest Ministers and baffle the efforts of the greatest Jesuit to break it. Our courage and our discipline continually increasing, while a sense of indignities is still trickling in our veins, and the lash of oppression sharpening the edge of our spirits. Our all is at stake, and, in defence of our all, every thing is to be risked, forced, and attempted.

Worcester, Massachusetts, October 27, 1775.