An essay entitled "The American Crisis" was published this day, Dec. 23, 1776. Signed "Common Sense," it was written by Thomas Paine and it greatly spread the flames of independence. Gen. George Washington ordered it read to his troops. It stated: "These are the times that try men's souls. ... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. ... What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly. ... Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. ... Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. ... 'Show your faith by your works,' that God may bless you."