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If, on my return to America, I should
employ myself on a history of the French Revolution, I had rather record
a thousand errors on the side of mercy, than be obliged to tell one act
of severe justice. I voted against an appeal to the people, because it
appeared to me that the Convention was needlessly wearied on that point;
but I so voted in the hope that this Assembly would pronounce against
death, and for the same punishment that the nation would have voted,
at least in my opinion, that is for reclusion during the war, and
banishment thereafter.(1) That is the punishment most efficacious,
because it includes the whole family at once, and none other can so
operate. I am still against the appeal to the primary assemblies,
because there is a better method. This Convention has been elected to
form a Constitution, which will be submitted to the primary assemblies.
After its acceptance a necessary consequence will be an election and
another assembly. We cannot suppose that the present Convention will
last more than five or six months. The choice of new deputies will
express the national opinion, on the propriety or impropriety of your
sentence, with as much efficacy as if those primary assemblies had been
consulted on it. As the duration of our functions here cannot be long,
it is a part of our duty to consider the interests of those who shall
replace us. If by any act of ours the number of the nation's enemies
shall be needlessly increased, and that of its friends diminished,--at a
time when the finances may be more strained than to-day,--we should
not be justifiable for having thus unnecessarily heaped obstacles in
the path of our successors. Let us therefore not be precipitate in our
decisions.

1 It is possible that the course of the debate may have
produced some reaction among the people, but when Paine
voted against submitting the king's fate to the popular vote
it was believed by the king and his friends that it would be
fatal. The American Minister, Gouverneur Morris, who had
long been acting for the king, wrote to President
Washington, Jan. 6, 1793: "The king's fate is to be decided
next Monday, the 14th. That unhappy man, conversing with one
of his Council on his own fate, calmly summed up the motives
of every kind, and concluded that a majority of the Council
would vote for referring his case to the people, and that in
consequence he should be massacred." Writing to Washington
on Dec. 28, 1792, Morris mentions having heard from Paine
that he was to move the king's banishment to America, and he
may then have informed Paine that the king believed
reference of his case to popular vote would be fatal.
Genet was to have conducted the royal family to America.--
_Editor._

France has but one ally--the United States of America. That is the only
nation that can furnish France with naval provisions, for the
kingdoms of northern Europe are, or soon will be, at war with her. It
unfortunately happens that the person now under discussion is considered
by the Americans as having been the friend of their revolution. His
execution will be an affliction to them, and it is in your power not
to wound the feelings of your ally. Could I speak the French language I
would descend to your bar, and in their name become your petitioner to
respite the execution of the sentence on Louis.

Thuriot: This is not the language of Thomas Paine.

Marat: I denounce the interpreter. I maintain that it is not Thomas
Paine's opinion. It is an untrue translation.

Garran: I have read the original, and the translation is correct.(1)

[_Prolonged uproar. Paine, still standing in the tribune beside his
interpreter, Deputy Bancal, declared the sentiments to be his._]

Your Executive Committee will nominate an ambassador to Philadelphia;
my sincere wish is that he may announce to America that the National
Convention of France, out of pure friendship to America, has consented
to respite Louis. That people, by my vote, ask you to delay the
execution.

Ah, citizens, give not the tyrant of England the triumph of seeing the
man perish on the scaffold who had aided my much-loved America to break
his chains!

Marat ["_launching himself into the middle of the hall_"]: Paine voted
against the punishment of death because he is a Quaker.

Paine: I voted against it from both moral motives and motives of public
policy.

1 See Guizot, "Hist, of France," vi., p. 136. "Hist.
Parliamentair," vol. ii., p. 350. Louis Blanc says that
Paine's appeal was so effective that Marat interrupted
mainly in order to destroy its effect.--"Hist, de la Rev.,"
tome vii, 396.--_Editor._




XVI. DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.(1)

The object of all union of men in society being maintenance of their
natural rights, civil and political, these rights are the basis of the
social pact: their recognition and their declaration ought to precede
the Constitution which assures their guarantee.

1. The natural rights of men, civil and political, are liberty,
equality, security, property, social protection, and resistance to
oppression.

2. Liberty consists in the right to do whatever is not contrary to
the rights of others: thus, exercise of the natural rights of each
individual has no limits other than those which secure to other members
of society enjoyment of the same rights.

1 In his appeal from prison to the Convention (August 7,
1794) Paine states that he had, as a member of the Committee
for framing the Constitution, prepared a Plan, which was in
the hands of Barère, also of that Committee. I have not yet
succeeded in finding Paine's Constitution, but it is certain
that the work of framing the Constitution of 1793 was mainly
entrusted to Paine and Condorcet.

Dr. John Moore, in his work on the French Revolution,
describes the two at their work; and it is asserted that he
"assisted in drawing up the French Declaration of Rights,"
by "Juvencus," author of an able "Essay on the Life and
Genius of Thomas Paine," whose information came from a
personal friend of Paine. ("Aphorisms, Opinions, and
Reflections of Thomas Paine," etc., London, 1826. Pp. 3,
14.) A translation of the Declaration and Constitution
appeared in England (Debrett, Picadilly, 1793), but with
some faults. The present translation is from "Oeuvres
Complètes de Condorcet," tome xviii. The Committee reported
their Constitution February 15th, and April 15th was set for
its discussion, Robespierre then demanded separate
discussion of the Declaration of Rights, to which he
objected that it made no mention of the Supreme Being, and
that its extreme principles of freedom would shield illicit
traffic. Paine and Jefferson were troubled that the United
States Constitution contained no Declaration of Rights, it
being a fundamental principle in Paine's theory of
government that such a Declaration was the main safeguard of
the individual against the despotism of numbers. See
supra, vol. ii.t pp. 138, 139.--_Editor._.

3. The preservation of liberty depends on submission to the Law, which
is the expression of the general will. Nothing unforbidden by law can be
hindered, and none may be forced to do what the law does not command.

4. Every man is free to make known his thoughts and opinions.

5. Freedom of the press, and every other means of publishing one's
opinion, cannot be interdicted, suspended, or limited.

6. Every citizen shall be free in the exercise of his religion
(_culte_).

7. Equality consists in the enjoyment by every one of the same rights.

8. The law should be equal for all, whether it rewards or punishes,
protects or represses.

9. All citizens are admissible to all public positions, employments, and
functions. Free nations recognize no grounds of preference save talents
and virtues.

10. Security consists in the protection accorded by society to every
citizen for the preservation of his person, property, and rights.

11. None should be sued, accused, arrested, or detained, save in cases
determined by the law, and in accordance with forms prescribed by it.
Every other act against a citizen is arbitrary and null.

12. Those who solicit, further, sign, execute, or cause to be executed,
such arbitrary acts are culpable, and should be punished.

13. Citizens against whom the execution of such acts is attempted
have the right to repel force by force; but every citizen summoned or
arrested by authority of the Law, and in the forms by it prescribed,
should instantly obey: he renders himself guilty by resistance.

14. Every man being presumed innocent until legally pronounced guilty,
should his arrest be deemed indispensable, all rigor not necessary to
secure his person should be severely represssed by law.

15. None should be punished save in virtue of a law formally enacted,
promulgated anterior to the offence, and legally applied.

16. Any law that should punish offences committed before its existence
would be an arbitrary act. Retroactive effect given to the law is a
crime.

17. The law should award only penalties strictly and evidently necessary
to the general safety. Penalties should be proportioned to offences, and
useful to society.

18. The right of property consists in every man's being master in the
disposal, at his will, of his goods, capital, income, and industry.

19. No kind of labor, commerce, or culture, can be prohibited to any
one: he may make, sell, and transport every species of production.

20. Every man may engage his services and his time; but he cannot sell
himself; his person is not an alienable property.

21. No one can be deprived of the least portion of his property without
his consent, unless evidently required by public necessity, legally
determined, and under the condition of a just indemnity in advance.

22. No tax shall be imposed except for the general welfare, and to meet
public needs.



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