The Crisis: A British Defense of American Rights, 1775–1776

Title page

The Crisis was a London weekly published between January 1775 and October 1776. It was the longest-running weekly pamphlet series printed in the British Atlantic world during those years, and it used unusually bold, pithy language. Neither the longevity of the effort nor the colorful language employed would be reason enough to collect and print all ninety-two issues under one cover in a modern edition. The Crisis lays claim to our attention because of its place in the rise of freedom of the press, its self-conscious attempt to create a transatlantic community of protest, and its targeting of the king as the source of political problems—but without attacking the institution of monarchy itself.

The Crisis was condemned informally by leaders in the British government, and then formally in court, as a dangerous example of seditious libel. Copies of it were publicly burned, and yet publication continued uninterrupted. The men behind The Crisis were determined to interest the British public in American affairs and were no doubt pleased when various issues were reprinted in the colonies. They played on shared beliefs and shared fears: beliefs in the existence of fundamental rights, rights beyond the reach of any government, and the fear that loss of those rights in Britain’s American colonies could lead to their loss in Britain itself. They denounced George III in language at once harsh and florid, and did so many months before Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Even so, The Crisis did not call on Britons to overthrow monarchy with a republic, and its ardor for the Patriot cause cooled once Revolutionary Americans declared their independence. It stands as proof that strident rhetoric does not necessarily lead to radical political action. Its history also shows that ideas, once unleashed, take on a life of their own.

We have prepared a more detailed ToC for York’s The Crisis which includes the date, the author’s name, and the topic:

  1. NUMBER I January 20, 1775 - “To the People of England and America”
  2. NUMBER II January 28, 1775 - “A Bloody Court, A Bloody Ministry, And A Bloody Parliament” and a poem “These mighty Crimes will sure ere long provoke, The Arm of Britain to some noble Stroke.”
  3. NUMBER III February 4, 1775 - “To the KING: TO follow you regularly through every Step of a fourteen Years SHAMEFUL and INGLORIOUS Reign.”
  4. NUMBER IV February 11, 1775 - “Ye CONSPIRATORS against the LIBERTIES of Mankind” and “TO THE Officers, Soldiers, and Seamen”.
  5. NUMBER V February 18, 1775 - “Resistance to Tyrants and the Instruments of Tyranny is Justifiable, and Warranted, by all the Laws of God and Man”
  6. NUMBER VI February 25, 1775 - “To the Right Honourable LORD NORTH, First Lord of the Treasury” and “A Parody, for your Lordship’s Perusal”.
  7. NUMBER VII March 4, 1775 - Junius, “To the Right Honourable LORD APSLEY, Lord Chancellor of England”
  8. NUMBER VIII March 11, 1775 - “To the Lords Suffolk, Pomfret, Radnor, Apsley, and Sandwich”.
  9. NUMBER IX March 18, 1775 - “The worst of all Tyranny is that established by Law. To the KING”.
  10. NUMBER X March 25, 1775 - Junius, “LETTER II.: To the Right Honourable LORD APSLEY, Lord Chancellor of England”.
  11. NUMBER XI April 1, 1775 - “THIS Country is now reduced to a Situation really Degrading and Deplorable”.
  12. NUMBER XII April 8, 1775 - “The prophecy of Ruin, A POEM.”
  13. NUMBER XIII April 15, 1775 - Casca, “With Rage from Hell the Tyrant’s Heart may glow, But He’s no Briton who can strike the Blow,” “The Address, Remonstrance, and Petition of the CITY of LONDON,” and “The KING’s ANSWER, Which would do Honour to any BUTCHER, MONSTER, or TYRANT on Earth.”
  14. NUMBER XIV April 22, 1775 - “The present Necessary DEFENSIVE War on the Part of America.”
  15. NUMBER XV April 29, 1775 - Casca, “A constant Scourge—still I’ll renew the Charge, And lash the Tyrant as his Crimes enlarge.”
  16. NUMBER XVI May 6, 1775 - Casca, “To SUPPLICATION turn a Princely ear; Nor MURDER Subjects you have SWORN to HEAR.”
  17. NUMBER XVII May 13, 1775 - “Casca’s Epistle to LORD MANSFIELD” (a poem).
  18. NUMBER XVIII May 20, 1775 - “Casca’s Epistle to LORD NORTH” (a poem): “ If sad Britannia wails, in deep Distress, Her Taxes greater and her Freedom less.”
  19. NUMBER XIX May 27, 1775 - “ADMINISTRATION has now “let slip the Dogs of War.”
  20. NUMBER XX June 3, 1775 - “To the KING: LIKE that fell Monster, and infernal TYRANT Charles the First” and a poem “He that can levy WAR with all Mankind, Can cut his Subjects Throats, and fell his Friend”.
  21. NUMBER XXI June 10, 1775 - Casca, “To Lord NORTH” and “Remarks on his Majesty’s last most Gracious (I had like to have said infamous) Speech.”
  22. NUMBER XXII June 17, 1775 - “BLOOD calls for BLOOD. To the People of England.”
  23. NUMBER XXIII June 24, 1775 - Casca, “To his TYRANNIC MAJESTY.—the DEVIL” and “To the Lords BUTE and MANSFIELD.”
  24. NUMBER XXIV July 1, 1775 - Casca, “A Disease of a venal Majority in the great Council of the Nation.”
  25. NUMBER XXV July 8, 1775 - Casca, “Be wise, ye Kings, nor to mere Power trust.”
  26. NUMBER XXVI July 15, 1775 - Casca, “ADMINISTRATION dare not, as yet (or else they would) deny the Subjects Right of PETITIONING the King.”
  27. NUMBER XXVII July 22, 1775 - Cato, “To the KING.” A poem: “REFORM thy Conduct, Monarch, or attend, The Doom denounc’d, by Virtu’s constant Friend.”
  28. NUMBER XXVIII July 29, 1775 - By his Excellency Thomas Shaw, PROTECTOR and DEFENDER of MAGNA CHARTA, and the BILL of RIGHTS. A PROCLAMATION” and “God Save AMERICA.”
  29. NUMBER XXIX August 5, 1775 - “To the KING.” A poem: “ONCE more to stay the Fury of the Sword, Cato addresses Britain’s misled Lord”.
  30. A CRISIS EXTRAORDINARY. August 9, 1775 - Casca, “GENERAL GAGE’S Proclamation lies before me.”
  31. NUMBER XXX August 12, 1775 - “To the KING. From Philip Thicknesse, Esq.”
  32. NUMBER XXXI August 19, 1775 - “To the KING: For Seas of BLOOD which your mad Fury shed, God soon will hurl his Veng’ance on your Head.”
  33. NUMBER XXXII August 26, 1775 - Casca, “A ROUGH SKETCH For the ROYAL ACADEMY.” A poem: “SHUT not the Door, good Hertford, I’am but One, A single Sufferer can’t alarm the THRONE.”
  34. NUMBER XXXIII September 2, 1775 - Casca, ”MY two last Papers, described the morbid State of the Ministerial Majority of the great Council.”
  35. NUMBER XXXIV September 9, 1775 - Casca, “To Lord BUTE: I Shall address your Lordship with as little Ceremony as you have met with Occasionally.”
  36. NUMBER XXXV September 16, 1775 - Casca, “To the AUTHORS of the CRISIS: AS one of your Correspondents;” Thomas Shaw, “A FREE PRESS. To the PUBLIC;” and Detector, “HINTS for the AUTHOR of the CRISIS.”
  37. NUMBER XXXVI September 23, 1775 - Casca, “To the KING: LORD Bolingbroke has drawn a masterly Picture of a wise King in Idea.”
  38. NUMBER XXXVII September 30, 1775 - Brutus, “To the PEOPLE of ENGLAND: THE CRISIS is at length arrived when Truths are branded with the opprobrious Name of TREASON;” “Instructions from the FREEHOLDERS of the COUNTY of Middlesex, to the Right Honourable JOHN WILKES and JOHN GLYNN,” and “A Letter from the FREEHOLDERS of MIDDLESEX, to the FREEHOLDERS of GREAT BRITAIN.”
  39. NUMBER XXXVIII October 7, 1775 - Casca, “SINCE every Truth is now considered, by the King’s Friends, as a Libel upon Government.”
  40. NUMBER XXXIX October 14, 1775 - Casca, “An Ideal SCETCH of a FOOLISH KING. Continued from Number XXXVI. To the KING.”
  41. NUMBER XL October 21, 1775 - Casca, “An Ideal SCETCH of a FOOLISH KING finished. Continued from the last Number.”
  42. NUMBER XLI October 28, 1775 - “To the PEOPLE OF ENGLAND. Men and Britons, Friends and Countrymen.”
  43. NUMBER XLII November 4, 1775 - Casca, “* Whilst servile Wesley’s Pen with Johnson’s vyes, Enforcing all his Sophistry and Lyes.”
  44. NUMBER XLIII November 11, 1775 - “Of meaner Crimes we scorn to mention more, But of a M————R CROWN’D, besmeared with GORE.” And “To the PUBLIC. For COUGHS, COLDS, HOARSENESSES, &c. The PECTORAL DECOCTION, an infallible Remedy.”
  45. NUMBER XLIV November 18, 1775 - Allen’s Ghost, “I Have just observed how one of the weakest and wickedest men in England was lately escorted.”
  46. NUMBER XLV November 25, 1775 - “To the Earl of DARTMOUTH, Late Secretary of State for the Colonies.”
  47. NUMBER XLVI December 2, 1775 - “TO THE KING: Go on vile Prince by lawless strides, and try How soon your Crown will fade, your Empire die.”
  48. NUMBER XLVII December 9, 1775 - Casca, “EVERY wicked ministerial stratagem, every human and inhuman mode of distruction has been tried.”
  49. NUMBER XLVIII December 16, 1775 - “When Kings are base, when Tyrants they are grown, May Britons hurl them headlong from the Throne.”
  50. NUMBER XLIX December. 23, 1775 - “When Kings the Sword of Justice first lay down They are no Kings, tho’ they possess a CROWN.”
  51. NUMBER L December 30, 1775 - Casca, “* Whether by Valour, or Deceit we tame Our hostile Children, ’tis to Bute the same.”
  52. NUMBER LIJanuary 6, 1776 - “It is an Act of PUBLIC JUSTICE not only to RESTRAIN, but to DESTROY TYRANTS.”
  53. NUMBER LII January 13, 1776 - “SCOTCH REBELS, and Traitors Triumphant.”
  54. NUMBER LIII January 20, 1776 - Casca, “To LORD MANSFIELD: YOUR Lordship’s late Speech in the House of Lords upon the Restraining Bill.”
  55. NUMBER LIV January 27, 1776 - Casca, “To LORD MANSFIELD. [Continued from our last.”
  56. NUMBER LV February 3, 1776 - “A candid Appeal to every true Lover of God, his Country, and Himself; FRIENDS and COUNTRYMEN.”
  57. NUMBER LVI February 10, 1776 - “A candid Appeal to every true Lover of God, his Country, and Himself; [Concluded from our last.]
  58. NUMBER LVII February 17, 1776 - Brutus, “To the KING.” A “Remonstrance.”
  59. NUMBER LVIII February 24, 1776 - “To the KING: This galling Truth to GEORGE let BRITONS tell, When Kings grow TYRANTS Subjects will REBEL.”
  60. NUMBER LIX March 2, 1776 - Casca, “HAD I the honour of knowing Lord Mansfield.”
  61. NUMBER LX March 9, 1776 - “Qualifications requisite for PRIME MINISTER in the present Reign; the vilest that ever disgraced the Annals of this Kingdom.” And “NOW or NEVER! BRITONS strike HOME!”
  62. NUMBER LXI March 12, 1776 - Casca, “As Johnson noddles, right or wrong’s inferr’d; He stalks the Leader of the scribbling Herd.”
  63. NUMBER LXII March 23, 1776 - Casca, “[Concluded from our last.] MR. Wesley asks,—“How has any Man consented to those Laws which were made before he was born?””
  64. NUMBER LXIII March 30, 1776 - Casca, “Th’ abuse of Greatness is, when it disjoins Remorse from Power.”
  65. NUMBER LXIV April 6, 1776 - “GARDNER’s GHOST, A prophetic Ballad found in Merlin’s Cave, Richmond;” Tiberius, “REVOLVE your annals of mankind, and say, ye historians, which is the most horrible scene you have exhibited!;” and “To English SOLDIERS.”
  66. NUMBER LXV April 13, 1776 - Casca, “To LORD CHATHAM; I Have just read a letter given to the public in one of the daily papers.”
  67. NUMBER LXVI April 20, 1776 - “TO THE KING: They that resolve their Liberty to lose, Heav’n is too just that Freedom to refuse, But lets them have the Slav’ry which they choose.”
  68. NUMBER LXVII April 27, 1776 - “For the CRISIS: THE law is the great rule in every country, at least in every free country.”
  69. NUMBER LXVIII May 4, 1776 - “TO THE KING: IT ought to be a reflection which you should often make.”
  70. NUMBER LXIX May 11, 1776 - William Stewardson, “A serious Warning to Great Britain, addressed TO THE KING.”
  71. NUMBER LXX May 18, 1776 - “For the CRISIS: BY liberty, I understand the power which every man has over his own actions,.”
  72. NUMBER LXXI May 25, 1776 - “For the CRISIS: IT is altogether impossible for one man or a small number of men.”
  73. NUMBER LXXII June 1, 1776 - “For the CRISIS: To the worst and most infamous minister that ever disgraced this Country, LORD NORTH”
  74. NUMBER LXXIII June 8, 1776 - “To the Inhabitants of this once flourishing Nation. Friends and Fellow Subjects.”
  75. NUMBER LXXIV June 15, 1776 - Marcus, “To the right honourable John Earl of Sandwich, first lord of the Admiralty, &c.—alias Twitcher” and “Extract of a letter from a gentleman at Grantham, to his friend at Lincoln.”
  76. NUMBER LXXVJune 22, 1776 - “For the CRISIS: AS there must be in all well regulated states, a variety of offices,” and “A Recept to make a LORD, occasioned by a late Promotion.”
  77. NUMBER LXXVI June 29, 1776 - “For the CRISIS: POPULAR affection, when justly obtained.”
  78. NUMBER LXXVII July 6, 1776 - “For the CRISIS: AS the present government of England, under his piratical Majesty GEORGE the THIRD.”
  79. NUMBER LXXVIII July 13, 1776 - Casca, “To Lord GEORGE GERMAINE.”
  80. NUMBER LXXIX July 20, 1776 - “Reflections on the present conspiracy of the King and Parliament of Britain against the Americans.”
  81. NUMBER LXXX July 27, 1776 - “Reflections on the present conspiracy of the King and Parliament of Britain against the Americans. Continued from our last.”
  82. NUMBER LXXXI August 3, 1776- “Reflections on the present conspiracy of the King and Parliament of Britain against the Americans. Continued from our last.”
  83. NUMBER LXXXII August 10, 1776- “Reflections on the present conspiracy of the King and Parliament of Britain against the Americans. Concluded from our last” and “Lord Camden’s Speech in the House of Lords, in 1765, on the declaratory Bill of the sovereinty of Great Britain over her Colonies.”
  84. NUMBER LXXXIII August 17, 1776 - “I Cannot help thinking it an astonishing event in the history of human affairs.”
  85. NUMBER LXXXIV August 24, 1776 - “The following is the Declaration of INDEPENDENCE of the BRAVE, FREE, and VIRTUOUS Americans, against the most dastardly, slavish, and vicious TYRANT, that ever disgraced a Nation” and “Extract of a LETTER.”
  86. NUMBER LXXXV August 30, 1776 - “From the LONDON GA ZETTE of August 24” and “REMARKS.”
  87. NUMBER LXXXVI September 8, 1776 - Robert Molesworth, “The PRINCIPLES of a REAL WHIG” (Part 1).
  88. NUMBER LXXXVII September 14, 1776 - Robert Molesworth, “The PRINCIPLES of a REAL WHIG” (Part 2).
  89. NUMBER LXXXVIII September 21, 1776 - Robert Molesworth, “The PRINCIPLES of a REAL WHIG” (Part 3); and “CIRCULAR LETTER FROM THE LONDON ASSOCIATION.”
  90. NUMBER LXXXIX September 28, 1776 - “From the Virginia Gazette, and other American papers, dated August 3d, 1776.”
  91. NUMBER XC October 6, 1776 - “An EXTRACT from the Freeholder’s Political Catechism, written by the late Earl of Bath, containing a short but judicious Summary of the Duty, as well as Rights, of every English Freeholder” (Part 1).
  92. NUMBER XCI October 12, 1776 - “An EXTRACT from the Freeholder’s Political Catechism, written by the late Earl of Bath, containing a short but judicious Summary of the Duty, as well as Rights, of every English Freeholder” (Part 2) and “An ADDRESS from the AUTHORS to the PUBLIC.”

The Crisis: A British Defense of American Rights, 1775–1776. Edited and with an Introduction by Neil L. York (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2016).

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