A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Secretary Dundas, in the House of Commons, in the debate
on the Proclamation, May 25, for taking that measure, was, he said,
because Mr. Paine could not be found, or words to that effect. Mr.
Paine, sir, so far from secreting himself, never went a step out of his
way, nor in the least instance varied from his usual conduct, to avoid
any measure you might choose to adopt with respect to him. It is on the
purity of his heart, and the universal utility of the principles and
plans which his writings contain, that he rests the issue; and he will
not dishonour it by any kind of subterfuge. The apartments which he
occupied at the time of writing the work last winter, he has continued
to occupy to the present hour, and the solicitors of the prosecution
knew where to find him; of which there is a proof in their own office,
as far back as the 21st of May, and also in the office of my own
Attorney.(1)

1 Paine was residing at the house of one of his publishers,
Thomas Rickman, 7 Upper Marylebone Street, London. His
Attorney was the Hon. Thomas Erskine.--_Editor_.

But admitting, for the sake of the case, that the reason for proceeding
against the publisher was, as Mr. Dundas stated, that Mr. Paine could
not be found, that reason can now exist no longer.

The instant that I was informed that an information was preparing to be
filed against me, as the author of, I believe, one of the most useful
and benevolent books ever offered to mankind, I directed my Attorney
to put in an appearance; and as I shall meet the prosecution fully and
fairly, and with a good and upright conscience, I have a right to
expect that no act of littleness will be made use of on the part of the
prosecution towards influencing the future issue with respect to the
author. This expression may, perhaps, appear obscure to you, but I am
in the possession of some matters which serve to shew that the action
against the publisher is not intended to be a _real_ action. If,
therefore, any persons concerned in the prosecution have found their
cause so weak, as to make it appear convenient to them to enter into
a negociation with the publisher, whether for the purpose of his
submitting to a verdict, and to make use of the verdict so obtained as a
circumstance, by way of precedent, on a future trial against myself;
or for any other purpose not fully made known to me; if, I say, I have
cause to suspect this to be the case, I shall most certainly withdraw
the defence I should otherwise have made, or promoted on his (the
publisher's) behalf, and leave the negociators to themselves, and shall
reserve the whole of the defence for the _real_ trial.(1)

But, sir, for the purpose of conducting this matter with at least the
appearance of fairness and openness, that shall justify itself before
the public, whose cause it really is, (for it is the right of public
discussion and investigation that is questioned,) I have to propose to
you to cease the prosecution against the publisher; and as the reason
or pretext can no longer exist for continuing it against him because
Mr. Paine could not be found, that you would direct the whole process
against me, with whom the prosecuting party will not find it possible to
enter into any private negociation.

1 A detailed account of the proceedings with regard to the
publisher will be found infra, in ix., Letter to the
Addressers.--_Editor_.

I will do the cause full justice, as well for the sake of the nation, as
for my own reputation.

Another reason for discontinuing the process against the publisher is,
because it can amount to nothing. First, because a jury in London cannot
decide upon the fact of publishing beyond the limits of the jurisdiction
of London, and therefore the work may be republished over and over
again in every county in the nation, and every case must have a separate
process; and by the time that three or four hundred prosecutions have
been had, the eyes of the nation will then be fully open to see that the
work in question contains a plan the best calculated to root out all the
abuses of government, and to lessen the taxes of the nation upwards of
_six millions annually_.

Secondly, Because though the gentlemen of London may be very expert in
understanding their particular professions and occupations, and how
to make business contracts with government beneficial to themselves as
individuals, the rest of the nation may not be disposed to consider them
sufficiently qualified nor authorized to determine for the whole Nation
on plans of reform, and on systems and principles of Government. This
would be in effect to erect a jury into a National Convention, instead
of electing a Convention, and to lay a precedent for the probable
tyranny of juries, under the pretence of supporting their rights.

That the possibility always exists of packing juries will not be denied;
and, therefore, in all cases, where Government is the prosecutor,
more especially in those where the right of public discussion and
investigation of principles and systems of Government is attempted to be
suppressed by a verdict, or in those where the object of the work that
is prosecuted is the reform of abuse and the abolition of sinecure
places and pensions, in all these cases the verdict of a jury will
itself become a subject of discussion; and therefore, it furnishes
an additional reason for discontinuing the prosecution against the
publisher, more especially as it is not a secret that there has been a
negociation with him for secret purposes, and for proceeding against
me only. I shall make a much stronger defence than what I believe the
Treasury Solicitor's agreement with him will permit him to do.

I believe that Mr. Burke, finding himself defeated, and not being able
to make any answer to the _Rights of Man_, has been one of the promoters
of this prosecution; and I shall return the compliment to him by
shewing, in a future publication, that he has been a masked pensioner at
1500L. per annum for about ten years.

Thus it is that the public money is wasted, and the dread of public
investigation is produced.

I am, sir, Your obedient humble servant,

Thomas Paine.(1)

1 Paine's case was set down for June 8th, and on that day he
appeared in court; but, much to his disappointment, the
trial was adjourned to December 18th, at which time he was
in his place in the National Convention at Paris.--_Editor_.




V. TO MR. SECRETARY DUNDAS.(1)


London, June 6, 1793.

Sir,

As you opened the debate in the House of Commons, May 25th, on the
proclamation for suppressing publications, which that proclamation
(without naming any) calls wicked and seditious: and as you applied
those opprobious epithets to the works entitled "RIGHTS OF MAN," I think
it unnecessary to offer any other reason for addressing this letter to
you.

I begin, then, at once, by declaring, that I do not believe there are
found in the writings of any author, ancient or modern, on the subject
of government, a spirit of greater benignity, and a stronger inculcation
of moral principles than in those which I have published. They come,
Sir, from a man, who, by having lived in different countries, and
under different systems of government, and who, being intimate in
the construction of them, is a better judge of the subject than it is
possible that you, from the want of those opportunities, can be:--And
besides this, they come from a heart that knows not how to beguile.

I will farther say, that when that moment arrives in which the best
consolation that shall be left will be looking back on some past
actions, more virtuous and more meritorious than the rest, I shall then
with happiness remember, among other things, I have written the RIGHTS
OF MAN.---As to what proclamations, or prosecutions, or place-men,
and place-expectants,--those who possess, or those who are gaping for
office,--may say of them, it will not alter their character, either with
the world or with me.

1 Henry D. (afterwards Viscount Melville), appointed
Secretary for the Home Department, 1791. In 1805 he was
impeached by the Commons for "gross malversation" while
Treasurer of the Navy; he was acquitted by the Lords
(1806), but not by public sentiment or by history.--
_Editor_.

Having, Sir, made this declaration, I shall proceed to remark, not
particularly on your speech on that occasion, but on any one to which
your motion on that day gave rise; and I shall begin with that of Mr.
Adam.

This Gentleman accuses me of not having done the very thing that _I have
done_, and which, he says, if I _had_ done, he should not have accused
me.

Mr. Adam, in his speech, (see the Morning Chronicle of May 26,) says,

"That he had well considered the subject of Constitutional Publications,
and was by no means ready to say (but the contrary) that books of
science upon government though recommending a doctrine or system
different from the form of our constitution (meaning that of England)
were fit objects of prosecution; that if he did, he must condemn
Harrington for his Oceana, Sir Thomas More for his Eutopia, and Hume
for his Idea of a perfect Commonwealth. But (continued Mr. Adam) the
publication of Mr. Paine was very different; for it reviled what
was most sacred in the constitution, destroyed every principle of
subordination, and _established nothing in their room_."

I readily perceive that Mr. Adam has not read the Second Part of _Rights
of Man_, and I am put under the necessity, either of submitting to an
erroneous charge, or of justifying myself against it; and certainly
shall prefer the latter.--If, then, I shall prove to Mr. Adam, that in
my reasoning upon systems of government, in the Second Part of _Rights
of Man_, I have shown as clearly, I think, as words can convey ideas, a
certain system of government, and that not existing in theory only,
but already in full and established practice, and systematically
and practically free from all the vices and defects of the English
government, and capable of producing more happiness to the people, and
that also with an eightieth part of the taxes, which the present English
system of government consumes; I hope he will do me the justice, when
he next goes to the House, to get up and confess he had been mistaken in
saying, that I had _established nothing, and that I had destroyed every
principle of subordination_.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.