Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings

By Thomas Paine; Mark Philp | Go to book overview

AMERICAN CRISIS XIII

THOUGHTS ON THE PEACE, AND THE PROBABLE ADVANTAGES THEREOF

THE times that tried men souls,1 are over--and the greatest and completest revolution the world ever knew, gloriously and happily accomplished.*

But to pass from the extremes of danger to safety--from the tumult of war to the tranquillity of peace, though sweet in contemplation, requires a gradual composure of the senses to receive it. Even calmness has the power of stunning, when it opens too instantly upon us. The long and raging hurricane that should cease in a moment, would leave us in a state rather of wonder than enjoyment; and some moments of recollection must pass, before we could be capable of tasting the felicity of repose. There are but few instances, in which the mind is fitted for sudden transitions: it takes in its pleasures by reflection and comparison and those must have time to act, before the relish for new scenes is complete.

In the present case--the mighty magnitude of the object--the various uncertainties of fate it has undergone-- the numerous and complicated dangers we have suffered or escaped--the eminence we now stand on, and the vast prospect before us, must all conspire to impress us with contemplation.

To see it in our power to make a world happy--to teach mankind the art of being so--to exhibit, on the theatre of the universe a character hitherto unknown--and to have, as it were, a new creation intrusted to our hands, are honors that command reflection, and can neither be too highly estimated, nor too gratefully received.

In this pause then of recollection--while the storm is ceasing, and the long agitated mind vibrating to a rest, let us

____________________
1
'These are the times that try men's souls,' The Crisis No. I. published December, 1776.--Author.

-72-

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