To the Right Honorable the Marquis of Lansdowne Sept. 21, 1787

To the Right Honorable the Marquis of Lansdowne Sept. 21, 1787


The Abbe Morellet your Lordship’s very good friend and mine, desired me, on my leaving Paris to present you his respects. I am sorry I have not an opportunity of delivering them personally, with such other matters as arise in conversation between the Abbe and myself.

But I request your Lordship to be assured that independent of any commission of compliments from any person whatever, I should have been impelled by the respect I bear to the abilities and principles your Lordship showed in opposing the American war to have waited on you to express my thanks. I have not the honor of being personally known to you, but the signature I have used, Common Sense, will I presume bring my name and character to your recollection.

I must regret your Lordship’s absence from Town. There are matters I should have been very happy in hearing your opinion upon, for to a man who considers the world as his home, and the good of it in all places as his object, I have long banished the contracted ideas, I was, like other people, brought up in. With respect to France I am certain the English entertain very wrong ideas. The people of that country are a different kind of people to what they have been represented here, and as it is the true interest of the two countries to agree and trade, instead of fight, with each other, I hope the time is not far distant when they will mutually see their true interest.

I am not unacquainted that your Lordship possesses more liberal principles on this head than are to be found in some of your contemporaries, but time and reason will effect great things, especially if a few good men in both countries will make a beginning.

Here is a clamor of war which nobody understands. There appears no object to the bulk of the people either to justify the measure or answer the expense. I joined in the defense of America, on the ground that a country invaded is in the condition of a house broke into, and on no other principle than this, can a reflective mind at least such as mine, justify war to itself. It is a matter worth considering that while the English boast of the freedom of their government, that government is the oppressor of freedom in all other countries, and France its protectress.

A war in Europe that would involve England would be a pecuniary advantage to America. She would be the neutral flag and the trade would go into her hands, therefore in wishing peace to Europe my principles operate over my interest, for America is the country where my heart, and what property I have lie, and to which I shall return.

I am at present on a visit to some relatives and friends here. I shall return in about a week to London. If your Lordship should find leisure to favor me with a line it will be a pleasure to me to receive it. Mr. Palmer Controller General of the Post Office whom I saw in Paris with Lord Wycomb will take charge of any letters for me, and should it happen that I should return to Paris, on my way to America without the honor of seeing your Lordship, I request you to accept my thanks, and wishes for health and happiness.

I am Your Lordship’s Humble Servant,