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the State over which you preside, in his holy protection ; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field ; and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant.

[Circular Letter ddressed to the Governors of all the States on Disbanding the Army. The text followed, with the permission of the publishers, is that employed by W. C. Ford, in his The Writings of George Washington, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1891, vol. x, pp. 254–265.]


[Thomas Paine was born at Thetford, in Norfolk County, England, Jan. 29, 1736/7. He was brought up in his father's faith, that of the Quakers, and trained to his father's trade of stay-making. He received a grammar school education, without the Latin; later this was broadened by attendance upon scientific lectures in London and by miscellaneous reading. After a brief experiment in privateering (1756), he sought his livelihood in a singular variety of occupations: he was, in turn or at the same time, stay-maker, schoolmaster, tobacconist, grocer, and exciseman. He was twice married, in 1759 and in 1771, but had no children. In 1774, bankrupt in business and dismissed from the excise, he separated by agreement from his wife and sailed for America. He carried letters from Franklin, whom he had met in London, and with their aid he secured employment in Philadelphia, first as a private tutor, then as editor of a literary magazine. Here, at last, he discovered his vocation. With the publication of Common Sense, in January, 1776, he became the leading pamphleteer of the American Revolution; and this position he retained to the close of the war by a series of patriotic brochures entitled The Crisis. He served for a time as aide-de-camp to General Greene, and in 1777 and 1778 he acted as secretary to the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs. In 1781 he accompanied Colonel Laurens on an important and successful mission to the French Court. At the end of the war, after all these services, he was as poor as at the beginning. His pay, as far as he got it, had barely defrayed his expenses; he was too honest to line his pockets in any irregular fashion; he had refused, from patriotic motives, to copyright his publications. The Republic showed some gratitude: at the instance of Washington, Paine received grants of money from Congress and from the Pennsylvania legislature, and from the legislature of New York a tract of confiscated land near New Rochelle. In 1787, he sailed for Europe with a plan for building iron bridges of novel construction and unprecedented length of span; but the outbreak of the French Revolution drew him back into literature and politics. To Burke's attack upon the Revolution he responded with a book upon the Rights of Man (1791). A second part (1792) caused his indictment and condemnation for treason; but he had already fled to France, where, as a friend of liberty, he had received honorary citizenship and had been elected a member of the Convention. In this capacity he acted with the Girondists and voted against the execution of Louis XVI. During the Terror he narrowly escaped the guillotine; but after ten months' imprisonment, he was liberated in November, 1794. In 1794 and 1795 appeared his Age of Reason, an attack upon the authenticity and morality of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. The first English printer was indicted and convicted (1797) for publishing blasphemy, and other publishers were fined and imprisoned as late as 1819. In the United States also, to which Paine returned in 1797, the work was ill received: it practically destroyed his popularity. He died June 8, 1809, and was buried on his farm at New Rochelle. In 1819 his remains were disinterred by William Cobbett and taken to England. Cobbett's intention of celebrating a second funeral and making of it a great Radical demonstration was never carried out; in 1836 Paine's bones passed, with Cobbett's other effects, into the hands of a receiver in bankruptcy; and they are understood to be now scattered through England, held as curiosities or relics.]

The best collection of Paine's writings, of which only the most important have been mentioned, is that edited by Moncure D. Conway (four vols., G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1894-96). Conway has also written the best life of Paine (two vols., G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1892).

was as

“WHERE liberty is, there is my country," said Benjamin Franklin. “Where liberty is not, there is mine," was Thomas Paine's reply. In their cosmopolitan spirit, as in the radical character of their liberalism, both of these men were fair representatives of the rationalistic eighteenth century; but Paine had the crusading instinct besides, and this carried him into enterprises of which his cannier and more cautious friend would have been incapable. It

a volunteer of the world," and not as a man having a stake in play, that Paine, as soon as he reached America, espoused the anti-British cause. It was as a friend of freedom that he threw himself, to his own harm, into the central and fiercest whirl of the French Revolution. It was as a knight-errant in the cause of liberty that he plunged into the last and most disastrous of his adventures, his attack upon orthodox Christianity; for it seemed to him that men bound by any faith less elastic than his own were victims of the worst of tyrannies, bondsmen not only in their actions but in their thoughts.

There was nothing especially novel in Paine's message to his contemporaries. His political ideals — popular sovereignty, equal rights, representative government - had been the commonplaces of advanced Whig theory since the days of the English Commonwealth ; and in their French adaptations these theories had become familiar to Europe. In his Rights of Man he advocated also the limitation of governmental power by a written constitution ; but this idea had been formulated in England in 1647, had

been kept alive in the American colonies during the charter disputes, and had been embodied in the state constitutions at the very beginning of the Revolution. Paine's religious views were scarcely more original; they were substantially those of the English deists, tinged with Quakerism of the more radical school. It is always a long way, however, from the formulation of theories to their general acceptance, and such acceptance does not necessarily imply an immediate change of practice. In his political writings Paine did as much as any man, and perhaps more than any other man, to popularize the dogmas of Locke and Rousseau and to facilitate their embodiment in governmental institutions. His religious propaganda was less successful, and the hostility it aroused has done much to obscure his political services.

Other political writers may have exercised a deeper and more enduring influence, but few have had in their own day a larger public. Of his Common Sense one hundred and twenty thousand copies were sold within three months, and Conway estimates its total sale at home and abroad, in the original and in translations, at half a million copies. The first part of the Rights of Man, in spite of the fact that English opinion was hostile to Paine's conclusions, found more than forty thousand purchasers in Great Britain, and this without the advertisement which prosecution gave afterwards to the completed work. Ten years after its completion, Paine claimed that its total circulation, in English and in translations, had exceeded four hundred thousand. The popularity of these tracts was partly owing to their timeliness, but mainly to their almost perfect adaptation to their purpose. Paine knew men. He knew what arguments would appeal to them, and how these arguments should be put. He had in high degree the faculty of lucid statement and of pat illustration. He could coin phrases and even epigrams, and he was too wise to lessen their value by coining too many. He knew that epigrammatic writing is fatiguing reading, and that to appeal to the plain people a writer should be known as a man of sense and not as a wit. Of humor Paine was wholly destitute. A man of humor cannot be a professional agitator.

The eighteenth century pamphleteer was the immediate forerunner of the nineteenth century journalist, and Paine's best work

is rather journalism than literature. Such work is in its nature transitory. Paine's Age of Reason is to-day even more antiquated than are the particular phases of faith which at the time especially invited his attack; for the fashion of scepticism has changed far more than has the form of Christian belief. In his political writings there is more of permanent interest. We have grown sceptical to-day about laws of nature, and we doubt the finality of political dogmas; but we recognize that Paine's political philosophy was better adapted than ours to a revolutionary crisis, and we cannot deny that it has left deep traces on our national habits of thought. Paine's political writings are a part of our history; and students of our history will always find it advisable to read them.



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