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In short, that it is dictating a verdict by
proclamation; and I consider the instigators of the meeting to be held
at Epsom, as aiding and abetting the same improper, and, in my opinion,
illegal purpose, and that in a manner very artfully contrived, as I
shall now shew.

Had a meeting been called of the Freeholders of the county of Middlesex,
the gentlemen who had composed that meeting would have rendered
themselves objectionable as persons to serve on a Jury, before whom the
judicial case was afterwards to come. But by calling a meeting out
of the county of Middlesex, that matter is artfully avoided, and the
gentlemen of Surry are summoned, as if it were intended thereby to give
a tone to the sort of verdict which the instigators of the meeting no
doubt wish should be brought in, and to give countenance to the Jury in
so doing. I am, sir,

With much respect to the

Gentlemen who shall meet, Their and your obedient and humble Servant,

Thomas Paine.


TO ONSLOW CRANLEY,

COMMONLY CALLED LORD ONSLOW.

SECOND LETTER. SIR,

London, June 21st 1792.

WHEN I wrote you the letter which Mr. Home Tooke did me the favour to
present to you, as chairman of the meeting held at Epsom, Monday, June
18, it was not with much expectation that you would do me the justice of
permitting, or recommending it to be publicly read. I am well aware that
the signature of Thomas Paine has something in it dreadful to sinecure
Placemen and Pensioners; and when you, on seeing the letter opened,
informed the meeting that it was signed Thomas Paine, and added in a
note of exclamation, "the common enemy of us all." you spoke one of the
greatest truths you ever uttered, if you confine the expression to
men of the same description with yourself; men living in indolence and
luxury, on the spoil and labours of the public.

The letter has since appeared in the "Argus," and probably in other
papers.(1) It will justify itself; but if any thing on that account
hath been wanting, your conduct at the meeting would have supplied
the omission. You there sufficiently proved that I was not mistaken in
supposing that the meeting was called to give an indirect aid to the
prosecution commenced against a work, the reputation of which will long
outlive the memory of the Pensioner I am writing to.

When meetings, Sir, are called by the partisans of the Court, to
preclude the nation the right of investigating systems and principles
of government, and of exposing errors and defects, under the pretence
of prosecuting an individual--it furnishes an additional motive for
maintaining sacred that violated right.

The principles and arguments contained in the work in question, _Rights
OF Man_, have stood, and they now stand, and I believe ever will stand,
unrefuted. They are stated in a fair and open manner to the world, and
they have already received the public approbation of a greater number of
men, of the best of characters, of every denomination of religion, and
of every rank in life, (placemen and pensioners excepted,) than all the
juries that shall meet in England, for ten years to come, will amount
to; and I have, moreover, good reasons for believing that the approvers
of that work, as well private as public, are already more numerous than
all the present electors throughout the nation.

1 The _Argus_ was edited by Sampson Perry, soon after
prosecuted.--_Editor_.

Not less than forty pamphlets, intended as answers thereto, have
appeared, and as suddenly disappeared: scarcely are the titles of any of
them remembered, notwithstanding their endeavours have been aided by all
the daily abuse which the Court and Ministerial newspapers, for almost
a year and a half, could bestow, both upon the work and the author;
and now that every attempt to refute, and every abuse has failed,
the invention of calling the work a libel has been hit upon, and the
discomfited party has pusillanimously retreated to prosecution and a
jury, and obscure addresses.

As I well know that a long letter from me will not be agreeable to you,
I will relieve your uneasiness by making it as short as I conveniently
can; and will conclude it with taking up the subject at that part where
Mr. HORNE TOOKE was interrupted from going on when at the meeting.

That gentleman was stating, that the situation you stood in rendered it
improper for you to appear _actively_ in a scene in which your private
interest was too visible: that you were a Bedchamber Lord at a thousand
a year, and a Pensioner at three thousand pounds a year more--and here
he was stopped by the little but noisy circle you had collected round.
Permit me then, Sir, to add an explanation to his words, for the benefit
of your neighbours, and with which, and a few observations, I shall
close my letter.

When it was reported in the English Newspapers, some short time since,
that the empress of RUSSIA had given to one of her minions a large tract
of country and several thousands of peasants as property, it very justly
provoked indignation and abhorrence in those who heard it. But if we
compare the mode practised in England, with that which appears to us so
abhorrent in Russia, it will be found to amount to very near the same
thing;--for example--

As the whole of the revenue in England is drawn by taxes from the
pockets of the people, those things called gifts and grants (of which
kind are all pensions and sinecure places) are paid out of that stock.
The difference, therefore, between the two modes is, that in England the
money is collected by the government, and then given to the Pensioner,
and in Russia he is left to collect it for himself. The smallest sum
which the poorest family in a county so near London as Surry, can be
supposed to pay annually, of taxes, is not less than five pounds; and as
your sinecure of one thousand, and pension of three thousand per annum,
are made up of taxes paid by eight hundred such poor families, it comes
to the same thing as if the eight hundred families had been given to
you, as in Russia, and you had collected the money on your account.
Were you to say that you are not quartered particularly on the people
of Surrey, but on the nation at large, the objection would amount to
nothing; for as there are more pensioners than counties, every one may
be considered as quartered on that in which he lives.

What honour or happiness you can derive from being the PRINCIPAL PAUPER
of the neighbourhood, and occasioning a greater expence than the poor,
the aged, and the infirm, for ten miles round you, I leave you to enjoy.
At the same time I can see that it is no wonder you should be strenuous
in suppressing a book which strikes at the root of those abuses. No
wonder that you should be against reforms, against the freedom of the
press, and the right of investigation. To you, and to others of your
description, these are dreadful things; but you should also consider,
that the motives which prompt you to _act_, ought, by reflection, to
compel you to be _silent_.

Having now returned your compliment, and sufficiently tired your
patience, I take my leave of you, with mentioning, that if you had not
prevented my former letter from being read at the meeting, you would not
have had the trouble of reading this; and also with requesting, that
the next time you call me "_a common enemy_," you would add, "_of us
sinecure placemen and pensioners_."

I am, Sir, &c. &c. &c.

Thomas Paine.




VII. TO THE SHERIFF OF THE COUNTY OF SUSSEX,

OR, THE GENTLEMAN WHO SHALL PRESIDE AT THE MEETING TO BE HELD AT LEWES,
JULY 4.

London, June 30, 1792.

Sir,

I have seen in the Lewes newspapers, of June 25, an advertisement,
signed by sundry persons, and also by the sheriff, for holding a meeting
at the Town-hall of Lewes, for the purpose, as the advertisement states,
of presenting an Address on the late Proclamation for suppressing
writings, books, &c. And as I conceive that a certain publication
of mine, entitled "Rights of Man," in which, among other things, the
enormous increase of taxes, placemen, and pensioners, is shewn to be
unnecessary and oppressive, _is the particular writing alluded to in
the said publication_; I request the Sheriff, or in his absence, whoever
shall preside at the meeting, or any other person, to read this letter
publicly to the company who shall assemble in consequence of that
advertisement.

Gentlemen--It is now upwards of eighteen years since I was a resident
inhabitant of the town of Lewes. My situation among you, as an officer
of the revenue, for more than six years, enabled me to see into the
numerous and various distresses which the weight of taxes even at that
time of day occasioned; and feeling, as I then did, and as it is natural
for me to do, for the hard condition of others, it is with pleasure I
can declare, and every person then under my survey, and now living, can
witness, the exceeding candour, and even tenderness, with which that
part of the duty that fell to my share was executed. The name of _Thomas
Paine_ is not to be found in the records of the Lewes' justices, in any
one act of contention with, or severity of any kind whatever towards,
the persons whom he surveyed, either in the town, or in the country;
of this, _Mr. Fuller_ and _Mr. Shelley_, who will probably attend the
meeting, can, if they please, give full testimony. It is, however, not
in their power to contradict it.

Having thus indulged myself in recollecting a place where I formerly
had, and even now have, many friends, rich and poor, and most probably
some enemies, I proceed to the more important purport of my letter.

Since my departure from Lewes, fortune or providence has thrown me
into a line of action, which my first setting out into life could not
possibly have suggested to me.

I have seen the fine and fertile country of America ravaged and deluged
in blood, and the taxes of England enormously increased and multiplied
in consequence thereof; and this, in a great measure, by the instigation
of the same class of placemen, pensioners, and Court dependants, who
are now promoting addresses throughout England, on the present
_unintelligible_ Proclamation.

I have also seen a system of Government rise up in that country, free
from corruption, and now administered over an extent of territory ten
times as large as England, _for less expence than the pensions alone in
England amount to_; and under which more freedom is enjoyed, and a more
happy state of society is preserved, and a more general prosperity is
promoted, than under any other system of Government now existing in the
world.



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