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50.--_Author_

Others use this bad reasoning: "Were there no hereditary chief there
would be an elective chief: the citizens would side with this man or
that, and there would be a civil war at every election." In the first
place, it is certain that hereditary succession alone has produced
the civil wars of France and England; and that beyond this are the
pre-tended rights, of royal families which have twenty times drawn on
these nations the scourge of foreign wars. It is, in fine, the heredity
of crowns that has caused the troubles of Regency, which Thomas Paine
calls Monarchy at nurse.

But above all it must be said, that if there be an elective chief, that
chief will not be a king surrounded by courtiers, burdened with pomp,
inflated by idolatries, and endowed with thirty millions of money; also,
that no citizen will be tempted to injure himself by placing another
citizen, his equal, for some years in an office without limited income
and circumscribed power.

In a word, whoever demands a king demands an aristocracy, and thirty
millions of taxes. See why Franklin described Royalism as _a crime like
poisoning_.

Royalty, its fanatical eclat, its superstitious idolatry, the delusive
assumption of its necessity, all these fictions have been invented only
to obtain from men excessive taxes and voluntary servitude. Royalty
and Popery have had the same aim, have sustained themselves by the same
artifices, and crumble under the same Light.




XII. TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, ON THE PROSECUTION AGAINST THE SECOND PART
OF RIGHTS OF MAN.(1)

Paris, 11th of November, 1st Year of the Republic. [1792.]

Mr. Attorney General:

Sir,--As there can be no personal resentment between two strangers, I
write this letter to you, as to a man against whom I have no animosity.

You have, as Attorney General, commenced a prosecution against me, as
the author of Rights of Man. Had not my duty, in consequence of my being
elected a member of the National Convention of France, called me from
England, I should have staid to have contested the injustice of
that prosecution; not upon my own account, for I cared not about the
prosecution, but to have defended the principles I had advanced in the
work.

1 Read to the Jury by the Attorney General, Sir Archibald
Macdonald, at the trial of Paine, December 18, 1792, which
resulted in his outlawry.--_Editor._

The duty I am now engaged in is of too much importance to permit me to
trouble myself about your prosecution: when I have leisure, I shall have
no objection to meet you on that ground; but, as I now stand, whether
you go on with the prosecution, or whether you do not, or whether you
obtain a verdict, or not, is a matter of the most perfect indifference
to me as an individual. If you obtain one, (which you are welcome to
if you can get it,) it cannot affect me either in person, property, or
reputation, otherwise than to increase the latter; and with respect to
yourself, it is as consistent that you obtain a verdict against the Man
in the Moon as against me; neither do I see how you can continue the
prosecution against me as you would have done against one _your own
people, who_ had absented himself because he was prosecuted; what passed
at Dover proves that my departure from England was no secret. (1)

My necessary absence from your country affords the opportunity of
knowing whether the prosecution was intended against Thomas Paine, or
against the Right of the People of England to investigate systems and
principles of government; for as I cannot now be the object of the
prosecution, the going on with the prosecution will shew that something
else was the object, and that something else can be no other than the
People of England, for it is against _their Rights_, and not against
me, that a verdict or sentence can operate, if it can operate at all.
Be then so candid as to tell the Jury, (if you choose to continue the
process,) whom it is you are prosecuting, and on whom it is that the
verdict is to fall.(2)

But I have other reasons than those I have mentioned for writing you
this letter; and, however you may choose to interpret them, they proceed
from a good heart. The time, Sir, is becoming too serious to play
with Court prosecutions, and sport with national rights. The terrible
examples that have taken place here, upon men who, less than a year ago,
thought themselves as secure as any prosecuting Judge, Jury, or Attorney
General, now can in England, ought to have some weight with men in
your situation. That the government of England is as great, if not the
greatest, perfection of fraud and corruption that ever took place since
governments began, is what you cannot be a stranger to, unless the
constant habit of seeing it has blinded your senses; but though you
may not chuse to see it, the people are seeing it very fast, and the
progress is beyond what you may chuse to believe. Is it possible that
you, or I, can believe, or that reason can make any other man believe,
that the capacity of such a man as Mr. Guelph, or any of his profligate
sons, is necessary to the government of a nation? I speak to you as one
man ought to speak to another; and I know also that I speak what other
people are beginning to think.

1 See Chapter VIII. of this volume.--_Editor._

2 In reading the letter in court the Attorney General said
at this point: "Gentlemen, I certainly will comply with
this request. I am prosecuting both him and his work; and
if I succeed in this prosecution, he shall never return to
this country otherwise than _in vintulis_, for I will outlaw
him."--_Editor._

That you cannot obtain a verdict (and if you do, it will signify
nothing) _without packing a Jury_, (and we _both_ know that such tricks
are practised,) is what I have very good reason to believe, I have gone
into coffee-houses, and places where I was unknown, on purpose to learn
the currency of opinion, and I never yet saw any company of twelve men
that condemned the book; but I have often found a greater number than
twelve approving it, and this I think is _a fair way of collecting the
natural currency of opinion_. Do not then, Sir, be the instrument of
drawing twelve men into a situation that may be _injurious_ to them
afterwards. I do not speak this from policy, but from benevolence; but
if you chuse to go on with the process, I make it my request to you that
you will read this letter in Court, after which the Judge and the Jury
may do as they please. As I do not consider myself the object of the
prosecution, neither can I be affected by the issue, one way or the
other, I shall, though a foreigner in your country, subscribe as much
money as any other man towards supporting the right of the nation
against the prosecution; and it is for this purpose only that I shall do
it.(1)

Thomas Paine.

As I have not time to copy letters, you will excuse the corrections.

1 In reading this letter at the trial the Attorney
interspersed comments. At the phrase, "Mr. Guelph and his
profligate sons," he exclaimed: "This passage is
contemptuous, scandalous, false, cruel. Why, gentlemen, is
Mr. Paine, in addition to the political doctrines he is
teaching us in this country, to teach us the morality and
religion of implacability? Is he to teach human creatures,
whose moments of existence depend upon the permission of a
Being, merciful, long-suffering, and of great goodness, that
those youthful errors from which even royalty is not
exempted, are to be treasured up in a vindictive memory, and
are to receive sentence of irremissible sin at His hands....
If giving me pain was his object he has that hellish
gratification." Erskine, Fame's counsel, protested in
advance against the reading of this letter (of which he had
heard), as containing matter likely to divert the Jury from
the subject of prosecution (the book). Lord Kenyon admitted
the letter.--_Editor._

P. S. I intended, had I staid in England, to have published the
information, with my remarks upon it, before the trial came on; but as
I am otherwise engaged, I reserve myself till the trial is over, when I
shall reply fully to every thing you shall advance.




XIII. ON THE PROPRIETY OF BRINGING LOUIS XVI. TO TRIAL.(1)

Read to the Convention, November 21, 1792.

Paris, Nov. 20, 1792.

Citizen President,

As I do not know precisely what day the Convention will resume the
discussion on the trial of Louis XVI., and, on account of my inability
to express myself in French, I cannot speak at the tribune, I request
permission to deposit in your hands the enclosed paper, which contains
my opinion on that subject. I make this demand with so much more
eagerness, because circumstances will prove how much it imports to
France, that Louis XVI. should continue to enjoy good health. I should
be happy if the Convention would have the goodness to hear this paper
read this morning, as I propose sending a copy of it to London, to be
printed in the English journals.(2)

Thomas Paine.

1 This address, which has suffered by alterations in all
editions is here revised and completed by aid of the
official document: "Opinion de Thomas Payne, Depute du
Département de la Somme [error], concernant le jugement de
Louis XVI. Précédé par sa lettre d'envoi au Président de la
Convention. Imprimé par ordre de la Convention Nationale. À
Paris. De l'Imprimerie Nationale." Lamartine has censured
Paine for this speech; but the trial of the King was a
foregone conclusion, and it will be noted that Paine was
already trying to avert popular wrath from the individual
man by directing it against the general league of monarchs,
and the monarchal system. Nor would his plea for the King's
life have been listened to but for this previous address.--
_Editor._

2 Of course no English journal could then venture to print
it.--_Editor._

A Secretary read the opinion of Thomas Paine.



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