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address to the King in consequence of the King's Speech at the opening of the Parliament. The address, which is always an echo of the speech, was voted without opposition, and this equivocal silence passed for unanimity. The next thing was to present it, and it was made the order for the next day that the House should go up in a body to the King, with the Speaker at their head, for that purpose. The time fixed was half after three, and it was expected the procession would be numerous, three or four hundred at least, in order to shew their zeal and their loyalty and their thanks to the King for his intention of taking the field. But when half after three arrived, only thirty members were present, and without forty (the number that makes a House) the address could not be presented. The serjeant was then sent out, with the authority of a press-warrant, to search for members, and by four o'clock he returned with just enough to make up forty, and the procession set off with the slowness of a funeral; for it was remarked it went slower than usual.
Such a circumstance in such a critical juncture of affairs, and on such an occasion, shows, at least, a great indifference towards the Government. It was like saying, you have brought us into a great deal of trouble, and we have no personal thanks to make to you. We have voted the address, as a customary matter of form, and we leave it to find its way to you as well as it can.
If the invasion succeed, I hope Buonaparte will remember that this war has not been provoked by the people. It is altogether the act of the Government, without their consent or knowledge; and though the late peace appears to have been insidious from the first, on the part of Government, it was received by the people with a sincerity of joy.
There is yet, perhaps, one way, if it be not too late, to put an end to this burthensome state of things, and which threatens to be worse, which is, for the people, now they are embodied for their own protection, to instruct their representatives in Parliament to move for the fulfilment of the treaty of Amiens, for a treaty ought to be fulfilled. The present is an uncommon case, accompanied with uncommon circumstances, and it must be got over by means suited to the occasion. What is Malta to them? The possession of it might serve to extend the patronage and influence of the Crown, on the appointment to new offices, and the part that would fall to the people would be to pay the expence. The more acquisitions the Government makes abroad, the more taxes the people have to pay at home. This has always been the case in England.
The non-fulfilment of a treaty ruins the honour of a Government and spreads a reproach over the character of a nation. But when a treaty of peace is made with the concealed design of not fulfilling it, and war is declared for the avowed purpose of avoiding it, the case is still worse. The representative system does not put it in the power of an individual to declare war of his own will. It must be the act of the body of the representatives, for it is their constituents who are to pay the expence. The state which the people of England are now in, shews the extreme danger of trusting this power to the caprice of an individual, whatever title he may bear. In that country this power is assumed by what is called the Crown, for it is not constituted by any legal authority. It is a branch from the trunk of monarchical despotism.
By this impolitic declaration of war the Government of England have put every thing to issue; and no wise general would commence an action he might avoid, where nothing is to be gained by gaining the battle, and every thing is to be lost by losing it. An invasion and a revolution, which consequently includes that of Ireland, stand now on the same ground. What part the people may finally take in a contest pregnant with such an issue is yet to be known. By the experiment of raising the country in mass, the Government have put arms into the hands of men whom they would have sent to Botany Bay but a few months before, had they found a pike in their possession. The honour of this project, which is copied from France, is claimed by Mr. Pitt; and no project of his has yet succeeded, in the end, except that of raising the taxes, and ruining the Bank. All his schemes in the revolutionary war of France failed of success, and finished in discredit. If Buonaparte is remarkable for au unexampled series of good fortune, Mr. Pitt is remarkable for a contrary fate, and his want of popularity with the people, whom he deserted and betrayed on the question of a reform of parliament, sheds no beams of glory round his projects.
If the present eventful crisis, for an eventful one it is, should end in a revolution, the people of England have, within their glance, the benefit of experience both in theory and fact. This was not the case at first. The American Revolution began on untried ground. The representative system of Government was then unknown in practice, and but little thought of in theory. The idea that man must be governed by effigy and show, and that superstitious reverence was necessary to establish authority, had so benumbed the reasoning faculties of men, that some bold exertion was necessary to shock them into reflection. But the experiment has now been made. The practice of almost thirty years, the last twenty of which have been of peace, notwithstanding the wrong-headed tumultuous administration of John Adams, has proved the excellence of the representative system, and the New World is now the preceptor of the Old. The children are become the fathers of their progenitors.
With respect to the French Revolution, it was begun by good men and on good principles, and I have always believed it would have gone on so, had not the provocative interference of foreign powers, of which Pitt was the principal and vindictive agent, distracted it into madness, and sown jealousies among the leaders.
The people of England have now two revolutions before them. The one as an example; the other as a warning. Their own wisdom will direct them what to choose and what to avoid, and in every thing which regards their happiness, combined with the common good of mankind, I wish them honour and success.
New York, May, 1804. THOMAS PAINE.
TO A FRIEND.
Feli.ow-citizen, New Rochelle, July 9, 1804.
As the weather is now getting hot in New York, and the people begin to get out of town, you may as well come up here and help me to settle my accounts with the man who lives on the place. You will be able to do this better than I shall, and in the mean time I can go on with my literary works, without having my mind taken off by affairs of a different kind. I have received a packet from Governor Clinton enclosing what I wrote for. If you come up by the stage you will stop at the post-office, and they will direct you the way to the farm. It is only a pleasant walk. I send a piece for the Prospect; if the plan mentioned in it is pursued, it will open a way to enlarge and give establishment to the Deistical Church; but of this and some other things we will talk when you come up, and the sooner the better. Your's, in friendship,
I have not received any newspapers nor any numbers of the Prospect since I have been here.
TO THE FRENCH INHABITANTS OF LOUISIANA.
A Publication having the appearance of a memorial and remonstrance, to be presented to Congress at the ensuing session, has appeared in several papers. It is therefore open to examination, and I offer you my remarks upon it. The title and introductory paragraph are as follows:
"To the Congress of the United States, in Senate and the House of Representatives convened.
"We the subscribers, planters, merchants, and other inhahitants of Louisiana, respectfully approach the legislature of the United States with a memorial of our rights, a remonstrance against certain laws which contravene them, and a petition for that redress to which the laws of nature, sanctioned by positive stipulations have entitled us."
It often happens that when one party, or one that thinks itself a party, talks much about its rights, it puts those of the other party upon examining into their own, and such is the effect produced by your memorial.
A single reading of that memorial will shew it is the work of some person who is not of your people. His acquaintance with the cause, commencement, progress and termination of the American revolution decides this point; and his making our merits in that revolution the ground of your claims, as if our merits could become yours, shews he does not understand your situation.
We obtained our rights by calmly understanding principles, and by the successful event of a long, obstinate, and expensive war. But it is not incumbent on us to fight the battles of the world for the world's profit. You are already participating, without any merit or expence in obtaining it, the blessings of freedom acquired by ourselves; and in proportion as you become initiated into the principles and practice of the representative system of government, of which you have yet had no experience, you will participate more, and finally be partakers of the whole. You see what mischief ensued in France by the possession of power before they understood principles. They earned liberty in words, but not in fact. The writer of this was in France through the whole of the revolution and knows the truth of what he speaks; for after endeavouring to give it principle he had nearly fallen a victim to its rage.
There is a great want of judgment in the person who drew up your memorial. He has mistaken your case and forgotten his own; and by trying to court your applause has injured your pretensions. He has written like a lawyer, straining every point that would please his client, without studying his advantage. I find no fault with the composition of the memorial, for it is well written; nor with the principles of liberty it contains considered in the abstract. The error lies in the misapplication of them, and in assuming a ground they have not a right to stand upon. Instead of their serving you as a ground of reclamation against us, they change into a satire on yourselves. Why did you not speak thus when you ought to have spoken it. We fought for liberty when you stood quiet in slavery.
The author of the memorial injudiciously confounding two distinct cases together, has spoken as if be was the memorialist of a body of Americans, who after sharing equally with us in all the dangers and hardships of the revolutionary war had retired to a distance and made a settlement for themselves. If in such a situation, Congress had established a temporary government over them in which they were not personally consulted, they would have had a right to speak as the memorial speaks. But your situation is different from what the situation of such persons would be, and therefore their ground of reclamation cannot of right become yours. You are arriving at freedom by the easiest means that any people ever enjoyed it; without contest, without expence, and even without any contrivance of your own. And you already so far mistake principles that under the name of rights you ask for power" power to import and enslave Africans; and to govern a territory that we have purchased.
To give colour to your memorial you refer to the Treaty of Cession (in which you were not one of the contracting parties) concluded at Paris between the governments of the United States and France.
"The third article (you say) of the treaty lately concluded at Paris declares, that the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the union of the United States, and admitted, as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States ; and, iu the mean time, they shall be protected