THE WRITINGS

of

THOMAS PAINE

COLLECTED AND EDITED BY

MONCURE DANIEL CONWAY

 

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NOTE: This is volume four of the 'Writings of Thomas Paine' by

Moncure Daniel Conway, this volume contains the Theological

writings of Thomas Paine and as these are the writings that has

been most slandered and suppressed by pious interests we are

pleased to publish them in Reproducible Electronic form so that

interested readers can judge these writings for themselves. We do

not publish the entire four volume set as the information in the

first three volumes are in print and easily obtainable. EFF.

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AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE," "OMITTED CHAPTERS OF

HISTORY DISCLOSED IN THE LIFE AND PAPERS OF EDMUND RANDOLPH,"

"GEORGE WASHINGTON AND MOUNT VERNON," ETC.

VOLUME IV.

G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS

NEW YORK LONDON

27 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET 24 BEDFORD STREET, STRAND

1896

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GENERAL INTRODUCTION,

WITH LAST GLEANINGS, HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL.

BEFORE sending out this final volume, I have rambled again in

some of the fields harvested in my seven years' labor on the Life

and Works of Thomas Paine, and present the more important gleanings

in these preliminary pages.

I recently obtained from a solicitor of Rotherham, Mr. Rising,

a letter (on whose large seal part of the P remains), written by

Paine from London to Thomas Walker, Esq., a member of the firm

which manufactured the large model of the iron bridge invented by

the author, and exhibited at Paddington in June, 1790. The letter

is dated February 26, 1789, and the first part, which relates to

the bridge, is quoted in Appendix E. The political part, here

given, relates to the controversy which arose on the insanity of he

Prince of Wales by hereditary right, while the Pitt Ministry

maintained that the Prince had no right during the King's lifetime,

more than any other person, though it was "expedient" to select him

as the Regent, with restrictions on his power imposed by the two

Houses of Parliament. Paine writes:

"With respect to News and Politics, the King is certainly

greatly amended, but what is to follow from it is a matter of much

uncertainty. How far the Nation may be safe with a man of a

deranged mind at the head of it, and who, ever since he took up the

notion of quitting England and going to live in Hanover, has been

continually planning to entangle England with German connections,

which if followed must end in a war, is a matter that will occasion

various opinions. However unfortunate it may have been for the

sufferer, the King's malady has been no disservice to the Nation;

he was burning his fingers very fast in the German war, and whether

he is enough in his senses to keep out of the fire is a matter of

doubt.

"You mention the Rotherham Address as complimenting Mr. Pitt

on the success of his administration, and for asserting and

supporting the Rights of the People. I differ exceedingly from you

in this opinion, and I think the conduct of the Opposition much

nearer to the principles of the Constitution, than what the conduct

of the Ministry was. So far from Mr. Pitt asserting and supporting

the Rights of the people, it appears to me taking them away -- but

as a man ought not to make an assertion without giving his reasons,

I will give you mine.

"The English Nation is composed of two orders of men -- Peers

and Commoners. By Commoners is properly meant every man in the

Nation not having the title of Peer. And it is the existence of

those two orders, setting up distinct and opposite Claims, the one

hereditary and the other elective, that makes it necessary to

establish a third order, or that known by the name of the Regal

Power, or the Power of the Crown.

"The Regal Power is the Majesty of the Nation collected to a

center, and residing in the person exercising the Regal Power. The

Right therefore of the Prince is a Right standing on the Right of

the whole Nation. But Mr. Pitt says it stands on the Right of

Parliament. Is not Parliament composed of two houses, one of which

is itself hereditary, and over which the people have no control,

and in the establishment of which they have no election; and the

other house the representative of only a small part of the nation?

How then can the Rights of the People be asserted and supported by

absorbing them into an hereditary house of Peers? Is not one

hereditary power or Right as dangerous as the other? And yet the

Addressers have all gone on the Error of establishing Power in the

house of Peers, over whom, as I have already said, they have no

control, for the inconsistent purpose of opposing it in the prince

over whom they have some control.

"It was one of those Cases in which there ought to have been

a National Convention for the express purpose: for if Government be

permitted to alter itself, or any of the parts be permitted to

alter the other, there is no fixed Constitution in the Country. And

if the Regal Power, or the person exercising the Regal Power,

either as King or Regent, instead of standing on the universal

ground of the Nation, be made the mere Creature of Parliament, it

is, in my humble opinion, equally as inconsistent and

unconstitutional as if Parliament was the mere Creature of the

Crown.

It is a common Idea in all countries that to take Power from

the Prince is to give liberty to the people. But Mr. Pitt's conduct

is almost the reverse of this: his is to take power from one part

of the Government to add it to another; for he has increased the

Power of the Peers, not the Rights of the People. -- I must give

him credit for his ingenuity if I do not for his principles, and

the less so because the object of his conduct is now visible, which

was to [keep] themselves in pay after they should be out of

f[avor], by retaining, thro' an Act of Parliament of their own

making, between four and five hundred thousand pounds of the Civil

List in their own hands. This is the key of the whole business; and

it was for this and not for the Rights of the people that he set up

the Right of Parliament, because it was only by that means that the

spoil could be divided. If the restrictions had been that he should

not declare war, or enter into foreign alliances without the

consent of Parliament, the objects would have been national and

would have had some sense in them; but it is, that he should not

have all the money. If Swift was alive he would say ---- on such

Patriotism.'

"How they will manage with Ireland I have no opportunity of

learning, as I have not been at the other end of the Town since the

Commission arrived. Ireland will certainly judge for itself, and

not permit the English Parliament or Doctors to judge for her. --

Thus much for Politics."

The letter just quoted is the more remarkable because the

Prince Regent was particularly odious to Paine. The reader will

find this issue of the Regency dealt with in the "Rights of Man"

(ii., p. 371 of this edition), but it may be remarked in passing

that this supposed purblind enemy of thrones was found in 1789

maintaining that the monarch, however objectionable, was more

related to the people than a non-representative Parliament, and

that. in 1793 he pleaded for the life of Louis XVI.

The last paragraph in the above extract shows that Paine was

already in sympathy with Irish discontent. I have a little scrap of

his writing (early 1792) which appears to be from the draft of a

note to one of the associations in London, respecting the Society

of United Irishmen, whose Declaration was issued in October, 1791:

"I have the honor of presenting the Gentlemen present a

letter I have received from the United Irishmen of Dublin

informing me of my having been elected an honorary member of

their Society. By this adoption of me as one of their body I

have the pleasure of considering myself on their" --

[caeteradesunt].

The tremendous effect produced in Ireland by Paine's answer to

Burke is indicated in the Charlemont Papers (Hist. MSS. Com. 1894).

Mr. Thomas Shore first called attention to the items concerning

Paine in the London 'Freethinker,' March and April, 1896. Although

a Liberal Whig. In 1791 (April ii) Sheridan writes from Downpatrick

to Charlemont;

"I find from the newspapers that the Whigs of the capital

(a society of which I am a member, and into which I entered

with the best intentions) have, in my absence, and without my

knowledge, named and published me one of a committee for

disseminating Mr. Paine's pamphlet in reply to Mr. Burke's

'Reflections on the French Revolution.' I have read that

pamphlet; it appears to me designed to level all distinction,

and to have this object in view -- a total overthrow of the

Constitution. With this opinion I must naturally feel it

indecent, in my public situation as a member of parliament, a

citizen, a barrister and (what I value least) one of his

majesty's counsel, to disseminate that work, but I am at a

loss how to act. My first intention was to contradict it

publicly. I fear a misinterpretation of my motives, and I

dislike public differences with men in whose cause I am an

humble assistant."

Two days later Charlemont replies:

"Thinking exactly as you do of Paine's very

entertaining, very ingenious, but very dangerous performance

. . . yet how to advise upon this occasion I do not well

know. A serious public contradiction would not be pleasant,

and possibly not innoxious. Perhaps the best method may be

to expostulate between jest and earnest with some of your

brethren on the liberty they have taken, and to declare in

all companies, without being too serious, your real opinion

of the tendency of the pamphlet, giving it, however, its due

praise, for much merit it certainly has. . . . Men connected

with the popular party will often be brought into scrapes of

this sort, as the people who sometimes do not go too far

will seldom go far enough."

It is evident that Paine had a powerful following, and that

it was not at that time prudent for a Whig politician to

repudiate him. Soon after we find Earl Charlemont writing from

Dublin, May 9, 1791, to Dr. Alexander Haliday, Belfast: "I did,

indeed, suppose that Paine's pamphlet, which is, by the way, a

work of great genius, would be well received in your district;

yet, in my opinion, it ought to be read with some degree of

caution. He does, indeed, tear away the bandage from the public

eye; but in tearing it off there may be some danger of injuring

the organ." In reply to a radical outburst from Haliday,

Charlemont writes (July 30, 1791): "Though I admire Mr. Paine, I

am by no means a convert to his doctrine concerning our

constitution, and cannot help thinking that some approbation of

this constitution, as it ought to be, should at all times be

joined with the applause which we so justly bestow on the

emancipation of a great people from utter slavery." Charlemont

was a friend and correspondent of Burke, and frankly expressed

his differences of opinion, but Holiday gave him proofs of a

dishonorable proceeding on Burke's part, eleven years before

(borrowing a manuscript play of Haliday's in confidence, showing

it to Sheridan, and never returning it, professing that it was

lost), and pronounced him (Burke) a snake in the grass.

Thereafter no communication appears between Charlemont and Burke.

The prosecution of the second Part of the "Rights of Man,"

and the paniccaused by massacres in France, thinned the ranks of

Paine's eminent friends, while the popularity of his work

increased. Malone, writing from London to Charlemont, December 3,

1792, says: "For several weeks past not less than four thousand

per week of Paine's despicable and nonsensical pamphlet have been

issued forth, for almost nothing, and dispersed all over the

kingdom. At Manchester the innovators bribe the poor by drink to

hear it read." And on December 22, four days after Paine's trial,

Malone has the satisfaction of reporting: "That vain fellow

Erskine has been going about this month past, saying he would

make a speech in defence of Paine's nonsensical and impudent

libel on the English constitution, that would astonish the world,

and make him to be remembered when Pitt and Fox and Burke, etc.,

were all forgotten. After speaking for four hours, and fainting

in the usual form, the jury, without suffering the attorney-

general to reply, found Paine guilty." Malone (Edmund, the

Shakespearian) was an admirable Irishman, but he seems to have

been taken off his feet by 'the court-panic in London. There is a

touch of comedy in finding him bringing out a quarto with a

republican publisher.

"This person," he tells Charlemont, November 15, 1793,

"a Mr. George Robinson, is unluckily too a determined

republican, on which account alone I am sorry that I have

employed him. In consequence of his political frenzy he at

this moment is apprehensive of judgment being pronounced

against him by the king's bench for selling Paine's

pamphlet, and may probably be punished for his zeal in the

'good old cause,' as they called it in the last century, by

six months' imprisonment. I shall not have the smallest pity

for him. To do any act whatever that may tend to forward the

principles maintained by the diabolical ruffians in France

is so highly criminal that I hope the chief justice will

inflict the most exemplary punishment on all the favorers of

that vile system, whenever he can lay hold on them."

Robinson had been found guilty August 10, and when called up

for judgment seems to have escaped with a fine (Sherwin's

"Paine," p. 138). Before leaving the Charlemont Papers it may be

remarked that in no case does the Earl respond to Malone's

acrimonious language against Paine, and even when the good

Catholic has before him the author's direst offenses, he limits

himself in writing to Haliday (long since scared) to a mild

sentence: "So Paine has now attacked Washington! No wonder; he

has lately dared to attack heaven."

From the papers of Francis Place (British Museum), it

appears that the work of repressing political discussion was

begun by the Lord Mayor, who on November 27, 1792, closed the

debating society which had been meeting at the King's Arms,

Cornhill. (By the diary of Paine's friend, John Hall, I find that

after the information had been lodged against Paine, all of the

debating societies in London were intimidated, and the King's

Arms debate had come down to the question, "Whether a husband

obstinate and ignorant, or a man of parts, though tyrannical, was

the most eligible for woman of refined sensibilities?" Hall

adds:" Did not stay a to the end, but it seemed to be going in

favor of the sensible man, the tyrant." Whether the Lord Mayor

scented sedition in such questions or not, John Hall, after some

absence from London, enters in his diary, November 26, "Could not

find where Debating Society met.")

In the Francis Place MSS., 27, 809, p. 268, there is a list

of the prosecutions in 1793; and in 27, 812, pp. 10, 12, are

documents showing that about the middle of June, 1792,

subscriptions had been opened, for the defence of Paine, by both

the "London Corresponding Committee and the "Constitutional

Society." In MSS. 27, 817, p. 24, "Mr. Payne" (sic) and Rickman

are in the list of those who met in the London Coffee House, May

9, 1792, and founded the Society of Friends of the People."

Paine was elected a member of the French National Convention

by four departments -- Oise, Puy-de-Dome, the Somme, and Pas-de-

Calais, and decided to sit for the latter. Among the manuscripts

of Genet, the first Minister sent by the Convention to the United

States, confided to me by his son, George Clinton Genet of New

York, I find a memorandum of great historical interest, which may

be inserted here in advance of the monograph I hope to prepare

concerning that much-wronged ambassador. In this memorandum Genet-- a brother of Madame Campan -- states that his appointment to the United States was in part because of the position his family

had held at Court, and with a View to the banishment of the royal

family to that country. (It had already been arranged that Paine

should move for this in the Convention.) I now quote Genet:

Roux Facillac, who had been very intimate in my

father's family at Versailles, met me one morning [January

14, 1793] and wished me to spend the evening at Le Brun's,

where I had been invited. He accompanied me there and we met

Brissot, Guadet, Leonnet, Ducos, Fauchet, Thomas Paine, and

most of the Gironde leaders. ... Tom Paine, who did not

pretend to understand French, took no part in the

conversation, and sat quietly sipping his claret. "Ask

Paine, Genet," said Brissot, "what effect the execution of

Capet would have in America? "Paine replied to my enquiry by

simply saying "bad, very bad." The next day Paine presented

to the Convention his celebrated letter demanding in the

name of Liberty, and the people of the United States, that

Louis should be sent to the United States. Vergniaux

enquired of me what effect I thought it would have in

Europe, I replied in a few words that it would gratify the

enemies of France who had not forgiven Louis the acceptance

of the Constitution nor the glorious results of the American

Revolution. . . . "Genet," continued Le Brun, "how would you

like to go to the United States and take Capet and his

family with you?

The next day, January 15, Genet was appointed by Le Brun

(Minister of Foreign Affairs), and Paine's appeal was made in the

Convention; but there is reason to believe that Le Brunos servant

was a spy; and the conversation, reported to the Jacobins soon

after its occurrence, "contributed," Genet believed, "to the

early fall of Louis."

I will now call attention to a passage in "The Journal of a

Spy in Paris during the Reign of Terror," recently published, and

will place it beside an extract from Paine's memorial to Monroe

while in prison.

The Spy.

"April 2, 1793. He [Paine] is said to be moving heaven and earth to get himself recognized as an "American Citizen" and theron liberatedů The Minister of the American States [Gouverneur Morris] is too shrewd to allow such a fish to go over and swim in his waters, if he can prevent it; and avows to Robespierre that eh knows nothing of any rights of naturalization claimed by Paine."

Paine, 1794.

"However disconrdant the Late American Minister Gouverneur Morris and the late French Committee of Public Safety were, it suited the purpose of both that I should be continued in arrestation. The former wished to prevent my return to America that I should not expose his misconduct; and the latter, lest I should publish to the world the history of its wickedness. Whilst that Minister and the Committee continued I had no expectation of liberty. I speak here of the Committee of which Robespierre was a member."

 

 

Here then is corroboration, were it needed, of the criminal

treachery of Morris to both Paine and Washington, of which I have

given unanswerable documentary evidence (vol. iii., chap. 21),

although I had not then conceived that Morris' guilt extended to

personal incitements of Robespierre against Paine.

Morris knew well that "naturalization," though an effective

word to use on Robespierre, had nothing to do with the

citizenship acquired at the American Revolution by persons of

alien birth, such as Paine, Hamilton, Robert Morris, -- to name

three who had held high offices in the United States. But, as

Monroe stated, all Americans of 1776 were born under the British

flag, and needed no formal process to make them citizens.

Mr. J.G. Alger, author of "Englishmen in the French

Revolution," and "Glimpses of the French Revolution," whose

continued researches in Paris promise other original and striking

works, has graciously sent me a document of much interest just

discovered by him in the National Archives, where it is marked U

1021. It is the copy of a "Declaration" made by Paine, the

original being buried away in the chaos of Fouquier-Tinville

documents. The Declaration was made on October 8, 1794, in

connection with the trial of Denis Julien, accused of having been

a Spy of Robespierre and his party in the Luxembourg prison. It

was proved that on June 29, 1794, Julien had been called on in

the prison, where he was detained, to inform the revolutionary

tribunal concerning the suspected conspiracy among the prisoners.

He said that he knew nothing; that his room was at the extremity

of the building divided off from the mass of prisoners, and he

could not pronounce against any one. (Wallon's "Hist. Tribunal

Rdvolutionnaire," iv., p. 409.) Wallon, however, had not

discovered this document found by Mr. Alger, which shows that

Paine was long a room-mate of Julien in the prison where his

(Paine's) Declaration was demanded and given as follows:

"Denis Julien was my room mate from the time of his

entering the Luxembourg prison at the end of the month of

Ventose [about the middle of March] till towards the end of

Messidor [about the middle of July], at which date I was

visited with a violent fever which obliged me to go into a

room better suited to the condition I was in. It is for the

time when we were room mates that I shall speak of him, as

being within my personal knowledge. I shall not go beyond

that date, because my illness rendered me incapable of

knowing anything of what happened in the prison or

elsewhere, and my companions on their part, all the time

that my recovery remained doubtful, were silent to me on all

that happened. The first news which they told me was of the

fall of Robespierre. I state all this so that the real

reason why I do not speak of any of the allegations

preferred against Julien in the summoning of him as a

witness before the revolutionary tribunal, in the case of

persons accused of conspiracy, may be clearly known, and

that my silence on that case may not be attributed to any

unfavorable reticence. Of his conduct during the time of our

room intimacy, which lasted more than four months, I can

speak fully. He appeared to me during all that time a man of

strict honor, probity, and humanity, incapable of doing

anything repugnant to those principles. We found ourselves

in entire agreement in the horror which we felt for the

character of Robespierre, and in the opinion which we formed

of his hypocrisy, particularly on the occasion of his

harangue on the Supreme Being, and on the atrocious perfidy

which he showed in proposing the bloody law of the 22

Prairial [June 10, 1794]; and we communicated our opinions

to each other in writing, and these confidential notes we

wrote in English to prevent the risk of our being understood

by the prisoners, and for our own safety we threw them into

the fire as soon as read. As I knew nothing of the

denunciations which took place at the Luxembourg, or of the

judgments and executions which were the consequence, until

at least a month after the event, I can only say that when I

was informed of them, as also of the appearance of Julien as

a witness in that affair, I concluded from the opinion which

I had already formed of him that he had been an unwilling

witness, or that he had acted with the view of rendering

service to the accused, and I have now no reason to believe

otherwise. That the accused were not guilty of any anti-

revolutionary conduct is also what I believe, but the fact

was that all the prisoners saw themselves shut up like sheep

in a pen to be sacrificed in turn just as they daily saw

their companions were, and the expression of discontent

which the misery of such a situation forced from them was

converted into a conspiracy by the spies of Robespierre who

were posted in the prison. -- Luxembourg, 7 Vendemiaire,

Year 3."

Julien was discharged without trial. The answers he had

given to the Revolutionary Committee, quoted above, unknown of

course to Paine, justified his opinion of Julien, though the fact

of his being summoned at all looks as if Julien had been placed

with Paine as an informer. In the companionship of the author

Julien may have found a change of heart! Mr. Alger in a note to

me remarks, "What a picture of the prisoners' distrust of each

other!" The document also brings before us the notable fact that,

though at its date, fourteen weeks after the fall of Robespierre,

the sinister power of Gouverneur Morris' accomplices on the

Committee of Public Safety still kept Paine in prison, his

testimony to the integrity of an accused man was called for and

apparently trusted.

The next extract that I give is a clipping from a London

paper of 1794, the name not given, preserved in a scrap-book

extending from 1776 to 1827, which I purchased many years ago at

the Bentley sale.

"GENERAL O'HARA AND MR. THOMAS PAYNE -- These well

known Gentlemen are at Paris -- both kept at the Luxembourg

-- imprisoned, indeed, but in a mitigated manner as to

accommodations, apartments, table, intercourse, and the

liberty of the garden -- which our well-informed readers

know is very large. The ground plan of the Luxembourg is

above six acres. In this confinement General O'Hara and Mr.

Thomas Payne have often met, and their meeting has been

productive of a little event in some sort so unexpected as

to be added to the extraordinary vicissitudes of which the

present time is so teeming. The fact was that General O'Hara

wanted money; and that through Mr. Thomas Payne he was able

to get what he wanted. The sum was 200 pounds sterling. The

General's bill, through other channels tried in vain, was

negotiated by Mr. Thomas Payne."

The story of this money, and how Paine contrived to keep it,

is told in vol. iii., p. 396, n. The mitigations of punishment

alluded to in the paragraph did not last long; the last months of

Paine's imprisonment were terrible. O'Hara, captured at Toulon

and not released until August, 1795, was the General who carried

out the sword of Cornwallis for surrender at Yorktown.

Charles Nodier, in his "Souvenirs de la Revolution et de

I'Empire " (Paris, 1850), has some striking sketches of Paine and

his friends in the last years of the eighteenth century. Nodier

had no sympathy with Paine's opinions, but was much impressed by

the man. I piece together some extracts from various parts of his

rambling work.

"One of our dinners at Bonneville's has left such an

impression on me that when I am thinking of these things it

seems like a dream. There were six of us in the Poet's

immense sitting room. It had four windows looking on the

street. The cloth was spread on an oblong table, loaded at

each end with bronzes, globes, maps, books, crests, and

portraits. The only one of the guests whom I knew was the

impenetrable Seyffert, with his repertory of ideas a

thousand times more profound, but also a thousand times more

obscure than the cave of Trophonius. Old Mercier came in and

sat down with his chin resting on his big ivory-topped cane.

... The fifth guest was a military man, fifty years of age,

with a sort of inverted curled up face, reserved in

conversation, like a man of sense, common in manners, like a

man of the people. They called him a Pole. The last guest

was an Anglo-American, with a long, thin, straight head, all

in profile as it were, without any

expression; for gentleness, benevolence, shyness, give

little scope for it. ... This Anglo-American was Thomas

Payne, and the Tartar with sullen looks was Kosciusko. ...

Thomas Payne, whom I seldom saw, has left on me the

impression of a well-to-do man, bold in principle, cautious

in practice; liable to yield himself up to revolutionary

movements, incapable of accepting the dangerous

consequences; good by nature, and a sophist by conviction.

... On the whole an honest and unpretending person who, in

the most fatal day of our annals, exhibited every courage

and virtue; and of whom history, in order to be just to his

memory, ought to forget nothing but his writings."

At a somewhat later period Paine was met in Paris by the

eminent engraver, Abraham Raimbach, Corresponding Member of the

Institute of France, whose "Recollections," privately printed,

were loaned me by Mr. Henry Clifton. I am permitted by Mr. W.L.

Raimbach, grandson of the engraver, to use this family volume.

Raimbach probably had met Paine between 1800 and 1802, and

writes:

"He was at this time constantly to be seen at an

obscure cabaret in an obscure street in the fauxbourg St.

Germain (Cafe Jacob, rue Jacob). The scene as we entered the

room from the street -- it was on the ground floor -- was,

under the circumstances, somewhat impressive. It was on a

summer's evening, and several tables were occupied by men,

apparently tradesmen and mechanics, some playing at the then

universal game of dominoes, others drinking their bottle of

light, frothy, but pleasant beer, or their little glass of

liqueur. while in a retired part of the room sat the once-

dreaded demagogue, the supposed conspirator against thrones

and altars, the renowned Thomas Paine! He was in

conversation with several well-dressed Irishmen, who soon

afterwards took leave, and we placed ourselves at his table.

His general appearance was mean and poverty-stricken. The

portrait of him engraved by Sharp from Romney's portrait is

a good likeness, but he was now much withered and careworn,

tho' his dark eye still retained its sparkling vigor. He was

fluent in his speech, of mild and gentle demeanor, clear and

distinct in enunciation, and his voice exceedingly soft and

agreeable. The subject of his talk being of course

political, resembled very much his printed opinions; and the

dogmatic form in which he delivered them seemed to evince

his own perfect self-conviction of their truth."

Raimbach mentions having afterwards understood that Colonel

Bosville, of Yorkshire, was very kind to him, and enabled Paine

to return to America. Lewis Goldsmith says that Sir Francis

Burdett and Mr. William Bosville made him a present of 300 louis

d'ors, with which he remunerated Bonneville, with whom he had

resided nearly six years. Goldsmith's article on Paine (Anti-

Gallican Monitor, February 28, 1813) contains a good many errors,

but some shrewd remarks:

"From what I knew of this man, who once made such a

noise in this country and America, I judge him to have been

harmless and inoffensive; and I firmly believe that if he

could have imagined that his writings would have caused

bloodshed be would never have written at all. . . . He never

was respected by any party in France, as he certainly was

not an advocate of (what was falsely called) French liberty,

-- that system which enforced Republican opinions by

drowning, shooting, and the guillotine. ... He even saw

several foreigners, who like himself were staunch admirers

of the French Revolution, led to the scaffold -- such as

Anacharsis Clootz, Baron Trenk, etc. -- and had Robespierre

lived eight days longer Paine would have certainly followed

them, as his name was already on the Proscribed list of the

Public Accuser. . . . I have no doubt that if Paine, on his

return to America, had found the head of the government of

that country [Jefferson] to be that stern Republican which

he professed to be, he would have written some account of

the French Revolution, and of the horrid neglect which he

experienced there from Robespierre as well as from

Buonaparte; for if the former designed to take away his

life, the latter refused him the means of living. . . . I

must in justice to him declare that he left France a decided

enemy to the Revolution in that country, and with an

unconquerable aversion to Buonaparte, against whom he

indulged himself in speaking in severe terms to almost every

person of his acquaintance in Paris."

The last of my gleanings were gathered at Bromley, in Kent,

where Paine went on April 21, 1792, "to compose," says his friend

Hall, "the funeral sermon of Burke," but local tradition says, to

write the "Age of Reason." Paine, as a private letter proves, was

anxious for a prosecution of his "Rights of Man," which Burke had

publicly proposed, and no doubt began at Bromley his pamphlet

with the exposure of Burke's pension. However, when Paine sought

refuge from the swarm of radicals and interviewers besetting him

in his London lodgings, it is highly probable that he wished to

continue his meditations on religious subjects and add to his

manuscripts, begun many years before, ultimately pieced together

in the "Age of Reason." Under the guidance of Mr. Coles Childs,

present owner of Bromley Palace, I visited Mr. How, an

intelligent watchmaker, who remembers when a boy of twelve

hearing his father say that Paine occupied "Church Cottage," and

there wrote the "Age of Reason." There is also a local tradition

that Paine used to write on the same work while seated under the

"Tom Paine Tree," which is on the palace estate. "Church Cottage"

was ecclesiastical property, may even have been the Vicarage, and

Paine would pass by the beautiful palace of the Bishops of

Rochester to his favorite tree. The legend which has singled out

the heretical work of Paine as that which was written in an

ecclesiastical mansion, and in an episcopal park, is too

picturesque for severe criticism. The "Tom Paine Tree" is a very

ancient oak, solitary in its field, and very noble. Mr. Childs

pointed out to me some powerful but much rusted wires, amid the

upper branches, showing that it had been taken care of. The

interior surface of the trunk, which is entirely hollow, is

completely charred. The girth at the ground must be twenty-five

feet. Not a limb is dead: from the hollow and charred trunk a

superb mass of foliage arises. I think Paine must have remembered

it when writing patriotic songs for America in the Revolution, -

"The Liberty Tree," and the "Boston Patriot's Song," with its

lines --

"Our mountains are crowned with imperial oak,

Whose roots like our Liberty ages have nourished."

From this high and clear spot one may almost see the

homestead of Darwin who, more heretical than Paine, has

Westminster Abbey for his monument; and whose neighbor, the Rev.

Robert Ainslie, of Tromer Lodge, kept in his house the skull and

right hand of Thomas Paine! Of the remains of Paine, exhumed by

Cobbett in America, the brain came into the possession of Rev.

George Reynolds, the skull into that of Rev. Robert Ainslie, both

orthodox at the time, both subsequently unorthodox, possibly

through some desire to know what thoughts had played through the

lamp whose fragments had come into their hands. The daughter of

Mr. Ainslie, the first wife of the late Sir Russell Reynolds,

wrote me that she remembered the relics, but could not find them

after her father's death; if ever discovered they might well be

given quiet burial or cremation at the foot of this "Tom Paine

Tree." However that may be, it is a Talking Oak, if one listens

closely, and tells true fables of the charred and scarred and

storm-beaten man, rooted deep in the conscience and soul of

England, whose career, after its special issues are gone, is

still crowned with living foliage. That none can doubt who

witnessed the large Paine Exhibition in South Place Chapel, in

December, 1895, or that in the Bradlaugh Club, January 29, 1896,

and observes the steady demand for his works in England and

America. Yet it is certain that comparatively few of those who

cherish relics of Paine, and read his books, agree with his

religious opinions, or regard his political theories as now

practicable. Paine's immortality among the people is derived

mainly from the life and spirit which were in him, consuming all

mean partitions between man and man, all arbitrary and unreal

distinctions, rising above the cheap jingoism that calls itself

patriotism, and affirming the nobler State whose unit is the man,

whose motto is "My country is the world, to do good my religion."

Personally I place a very high value on Paine's writings in

themselves, and not simply for their prophetic genius, their

humane spirit, and their vigorous style. While his type of deism

is not to me satisfactory, his religious spirit at times attains

sublime heights; and while his republican formulas are at times

impaired by his eagerness to adapt them to existing conditions, I

do not find any writer at all, not even the most modern, who has

equally worked out a scheme for harmonizing the inevitable rule

of the majority with individual freedom and rights. Yet it is by

no means on this my own estimate of Paine's ideas that I rest the

claims of his writings to attention and study. Their historical

value is of the highest. Every page of Paine was pregnant with

the life of his time. He was the 'enfant terrible' of the times

that in America, England, France, made the history that is now

our international heritage: he was literally the only man who

came out with the whole truth, regardless of persons: his

testimony is now of record, and the gravest issues of to-day

cannot be understood until that testimony is mastered.

I especially invoke to the study of Paine's Life, and of

these volumes of his Writings, the historians, scholars,

statesmen of the mother of nations -- England. I have remarked a

tendency in some quarters to preserve the old odium against

Paine, no longer maintainable in respect of his religion or his

character, by transferring it to his antagonism to the government

of England in the last century. And it is probable that this

prejudice may be revived by the republication in this edition of

several of his pamphlets, notably that on the "Invasion of

England" in the Appendix (to which some of Paine's most important

works have been relegated). But if thinking Englishmen will rid

themselves of that counterfeit patriotism now called "Jingoism,"

and calmly study those same essays, they will begin to understand

that while Paine arraigned a transient misgovernment of England,

his critics arraign England itself by treating attacks on minions

of George III. as if hostile to the England of Victoria. The

widespread hostility to England recently displayed in America has

with some justice been traced to the kind of teaching that has

gone on for nearly four generations in American schools under the

name of history; but what remedy can there be for this

disgraceful situation so long as English historians are

ignorantly keeping their country, despite the friendship of its

people for Americans, in the attitude of a party to a 'vendetta'

transmitted from a discredited past? And much the same may be

said concerning the strained relations between England and

France, which constitute a most sad, and even scandalous, feature

of our time. About a hundred years ago an English government was

instigating parochial mobs to burn "Tom Paine" in effigy for

writing the "Rights of Man," little reflecting that it was making

the nation it misgoverned into an effigy for American and French

democrats to burn, on occasion, for a century to come. Paine, his

name and his personal wrongs, passed out of the case altogether,

like the heart of the hollow "Tom Paine Tree" at Bromley: but

like its living foliage the principles he represented are still

renewed, and flourish under new names and forms. But old names

and forms are coined in prejudices. The Jeffersonian in America

and the Girondin in France are now in power, and are sometimes

victimized by a superstition that George III. is still monarch of

England, and Pitt still his Minister. Meanwhile the credit of

English Literature commands the civilized world. The next great

writer will be the historian who shall without flattery, and with

inflexible justice and truth, examine and settle these long-

standing accounts with the past; and to him I dedicate in advance

these volumes, wherein he will find valuable resources and

materials.

Here then close my labors on the history and the writings of

the great Commoner of Mankind, founder of the Republic of the

World, and emancipator of the human mind and heart,

THOMAS PAINE.