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The Crisis. No. I



To the People of ENGLAND and AMERICA :

To the People of ENGLAND and AMERICA:. It is with the greatest propriety I address this paper to you. It is in your defence, at this great, this important crisis, I take the pen in hand. A crisis big with the fate of the most glorious Empire known in the records of time; and by your firmness and resolution only, it can be saved from destruction. By your firmness and resolution, you may preserve to yourselves, your immediate offspring, and latest posterity, all the glorious blessings of freedom given by Heaven to undeserving mortals; by your supineness and pusillanimity, you will entail on yourselves, your children, and millions yet unborn, misery and slavery.

It is in your defence I now stand forth to oppose the most sanguinary and despotick Court that ever disgraced a free Country. It is in your defence I now unsheath the sword of Justice, to oppose the most profligate and abandoned Administration that ever showed the weakness, or abused the confidence, of a Prince. It is in your defence I now stand forth, with a firmness and resolution becoming an Englishman determined to be free, to oppose every arbitrary and every unconstitutional Act, of a venal and corrupt majority, smuggled into the present new-fangled Court Parliament, through the villainy of Lord North, and purchased with the publick money, to betray their trust, enslave the people, subvert the Protestant religion, and destroy the glory, the honour, interest, and commerce, both foreign and domestick, of England and America; and all this villanous sacrifice of a great Empire, a brave people, and the glorious truths of Heaven, to ambitious views, and to gratify the mean vindictive spirit of one, assisted by a numerous train of deputy tyrants, whose sole aim has been to trample under foot the sacred rights of mankind, and the English Constitution.

It is in your defence, and in defence of the liberties of my Country, that I now stand forth, with, a fixed resolution, to oppose, and show to the world, unawed by fear, the dangerous tendency of every act of lawless power, whether it shall proceed from the King, the Lords, or the Commons.


I will endeavour, in conjunction with my fellow-labourer in this great work, to rescue the liberty of the Press (that bulwark of freedom) from the ruin with which it is now threatened, by special juries of Middlesex, and the arbitrary decisions of a Scotch Chief Justice, the glorious advocates for despotick sway. The heavy fines and cruel imprisonment of the two Woodfalls, without even the appearance of guilt, and contrary to the intention of the Jury, will be faithfully recorded by the pen of truth, and fill many pages in the black catalogue of Murray' s crimes. It shall be my endeavour, in this degenerate age, to revive the dying embers of freedom, and rouse my countryman in England from that lethargick state of supineness and inattention, in which they seem to sleep at this time of national danger, when a mighty Kingdom, and all the dearest rights of men are hastening to their ruin; that they may yet stand high on the roll of fame, equal with their brave and virtuous brethren in America, who are now struggling in the glorious cause of liberty, against the cruel oppressions and the destructive designs of exalted villains, whose actions will be transmitted to posterity in characters of blood, and their names forever branded with eternal marks of infamy; while America will remain the glory and admiration of the world, and be held in the highest veneration to the end of time. Let not the long envied glory of Britain, O my countrymen! be eclipsed by the virtuous actions of the Americans in the new world. Our danger is the same; their cause is our cause; with the constitutional rights of America, must fall the liberties of England. Let us, then, show ourselves equal to them in virtue, courage, firmness, and resolution; and as they have done, prove to the world we are alike enemies to tyranny, and that we never will be slaves to one, nor to a majority of five hundred and fifty-eight tyrants. We will strain every nerve, and brave every danger, to stimulate our countrymen on this side the Atlantick, to a noble exertion of their rights as freemen; to show them the danger, as well as the infamy of remaining quiet spectators of their own destruction; and to remove that dark cloud of slavery, which now obscures the glorious light of freedom; and but for the virtue of our forefathers, would, ages ago, have overwhelmed this Kingdom, like the States around us, in a long, a lasting night of misery and ruin.

Upon this plan, and with these principles, we set out, and intend to proceed, that the present (if not too far degenerated) and future generations may enjoy, undiminished, all the blessings of liberty. To accomplish this end we will risk every thing that is dear to man, and brave both Royal and Ministerial vengeance, to preserve from ruin, if possible, the natural rights of mankind, the sacred Constitution of the British Empire, and the freedom of our Country.

Agreeable to our motto, we shall ever think "liberty with danger, is preferable to servitude with security." We should glory in the smiles of our Sovereign, but will never purchase them at the expense of our liberty; nor will we ever give up, but with our lives, the right to expose, and publickly display, in all its hideous forms, the cruel despotism of tyrants. We can conceive no reason why the laws and religion of England should be sported with, and trampled under foot, by a Prince of the House of Brunswick, rather than by one of the House of Stuart. Surely, upon every principle of justice, reason, and common sense, whatever is tyranny and murder in one man, is equally so in another; and if it is just to oppose and resist one, it is as just to oppose and resist the other. It is not a name, nor an office, however important, that can or ought to bring respect and reverence to the possessor, while he acts below, and is unworthy of them. Folly and villany ought to have no asylum; nor can titles sanctify crimes, though, in our days, they protect criminals. A royal, right honourable, or a right reverend robber, is the most dangerous robber, and consequently the most to be detested.

Our modern advocates for villany and slavery, have found out a new way of arguing and convincing the judgments of men; they make nice distinctions without a difference, and tell the world what was tyranny in the time of Charles the First, is not tyranny in the reign of George the Third; and to this they add a long catalogue of virtues, which he never possessed. They say he is pious; that his chief aim is to render his subjects a happy, great, and free people. These, and many other falsehoods equally wicked


and absurd, they endeavour to instill into the minds of the too easily deluded English. These, and such like artifices, have ever been made use of in the reign of arbitrary Kings, to deceive the people, and make them, with more ease, and to chains well polished, submit their necks, and even reverence and adore the hand that rivets them. Thus do tyrants succeed, and the galling yoke of slavery, so much complained of by almost every Nation in the world, becomes a crime of the first magnitude in the people, through their own credulity and vile submission. Truth, in spite of all the false colouring of venal writers, speaks a different language, and declares, in opposition to the pen of falsehood, that bloodshed and slaughter, violence and oppression, Popery and lawless power, characterize the present reign; and we will defy even the pensioned Johnson, after the closest examination of the two reigns, to tell which is the best. Charles broke his coronation oath, butchered his subjects, made ten thousand solemn promises he never intended to perform, and often committed perjury; (but these are no crimes in a King, for all Kings have a divine right to be devils.) He tried to overturn the Constitution by force, but found his mistake when it was too late, and that even royal villany does not always succeed, and when the just vengeance of Heaven overtook him, he saw (though he would not believe it before, and imagined he had a divine right to shed human blood) that the same power which raised him up could pull him down. The present Sovereign, not willing to make a figure in history without a head, and being more mild and gentle, just and good, has improved upon the plan, and is now tearing up the Constitution by the roots, under the form of law. This method of proceeding is certainly much safer, and more judicious, as well as just; for what right can an Englishman have to complain, when he is legally made a slave by Act of Parliament. How wicked! how rebellious! must the Americans be, and what leveling principles must they possess, to resist the divine right of the Lords and Commons, under the sanction of a divine Act of Parliament, sent from Heaven to plunder, butcher, starve, or enslave them, just as it shall come into their divine heads, or the heads of their divine instruments; and when once they have carried this divine law into execution, according to their righteous intention, we shall soon see, on this side the Atlantick, that they have the same divine right to use us in the same merciful and divine manner. This is but the first divine step of a diabolical plan for shedding human blood, reducing an industrious, brave, flourishing, and free people, from a state of affluence to that of misery, beggary, and slavery; and nothing but a resolution in the people here, will be able to prevent the next divine step of the same plan, from laying in ruins all the rights of the British, with those of the American, world.

The altar of despotism is erected in America, and we shall be the next victims to lawless power; all the horrours of slavery now stare us in the face; our religion subverted; freedom, law, and right, artfully undermined; the Roman Catholick religion not tolerated but established; a majority of the House of Commons and the House of Lords mere creatures of the King; in short, every engine of oppression and arbitrary power is at work, to accomplish our ruin.

O, my countrymen, that we could but inspire you with noble sentiments of liberty, rouse you to a just sense of your immediate danger, and make you feel, sensibly feel, all the blessings derived from freedom, the natural right of every man, but more particularly of Englishmen; it is our birthright, our inheritance; it was handed down to us by our ancestors, and sealed often with their blood. Let us, then, in justice to them, to ourselves, and to posterity, make a noble constitutional stand, in conjunction with our noble and spirited, but suffering, fellow-subjects in America, against the present plan, long fixed by the minions of power to destroy it, and overturn the Constitution, a Constitution ten thousand times superiour to any system ever devised by the Greeks or Romans.

At such a time as this, when the merciless, the relentless baud of tyranny is tearing out the vitals of freedom, sapping the foundations of publick security, making a mockery of publick justice, and destroying all the envied rights of Britain, and the truths of Heaven; — I say, at such a time, to be inattentive or inactive, is infamy; and


he who can tamely see his Country upon the brink of ruin, without putting out his arm, and lending a helping hand to rescue her from destruction, must be an abandoned wretch, a disgrace to the name of Englishman, and to his Country.