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
The one is that of abandoning the Bourbons and the war
together; the other is that of changing the object of the war and
substituting a partition scheme in the place of their first object, as
they have done by Poland. If this should be their object, the internal
contentions that now rage will favour that object far more than it
favoured their former object. The danger every day increases of a
rupture between Paris and the departments. The departments did not send
their deputies to Paris to be insulted, and every insult shown to them
is an insult to the departments that elected and sent them. I see but
one effectual plan to prevent this rupture taking place, and that is to
fix the residence of the Convention, and of the future assemblies, at a
distance from Paris.

I saw, during the American Revolution, the exceeding inconvenience that
arose by having the government of Congress within the limits of any
Municipal Jurisdiction. Congress first resided in Philadelphia, and
after a residence of four years it found it necessary to leave it. It
then adjourned to the State of Jersey. It afterwards removed to
New York; it again removed from New York to Philadelphia, and after
experiencing in every one of these places the great inconvenience of
a government, it formed the project of building a Town, not within
the limits of any municipal jurisdiction, for the future residence of
Congress. In any one of the places where Congress resided, the municipal
authority privately or openly opposed itself to the authority of
Congress, and the people of each of these places expected more attention
from Congress than their equal share with the other States amounted to.
The same thing now takes place in France, but in a far greater excess.

I see also another embarrassing circumstance arising in Paris of which
we have had full experience in America. I mean that of fixing the price
of provisions. But if this measure is to be attempted it ought to
be done by the Municipality. The Convention has nothing to do with
regulations of this kind; neither can they be carried into practice. The
people of Paris may say they will not give more than a certain price
for provisions, but as they cannot compel the country people to bring
provisions to market the consequence will be directly contrary to their
expectations, and they will find dearness and famine instead of plenty
and cheapness. They may force the price down upon the stock in hand, but
after that the market will be empty.

I will give you an example. In Philadelphia we undertook, among other
regulations of this kind, to regulate the price of Salt; the consequence
was that no Salt was brought to market, and the price rose to thirty-six
shillings sterling per Bushel. The price before the war was only one
shilling and sixpence per Bushel; and we regulated the price of flour
(farina) till there was none in the market, and the people were glad to
procure it at any price.

There is also a circumstance to be taken into the account which is not
much attended to. The assignats are not of the same value they were a
year ago, and as the quantity increases the value of them will diminish.
This gives the appearance of things being dear when they are not so in
fact, for in the same proportion that any kind of money falls in
value articles rise in price. If it were not for this the quantity of
assignats would be too great to be circulated. Paper money in America
fell so much in value from this excessive quantity of it, that in the
year 1781 I gave three hundred paper dollars for one pair of worsted
stockings. What I write you upon this subject is experience, and not
merely opinion. I have no personal interest in any of these matters, nor
in any party disputes. I attend only to general principles.

As soon as a constitution shall be established I shall return to
America; and be the future prosperity of France ever so great, I shall
enjoy no other part of it than the happiness of knowing it. In the mean
time I am distressed to see matters so badly conducted, and so little
attention paid to moral principles. It is these things that injure the
character of the Revolution and discourage the progress of liberty all
over the world. When I began this letter I did not intend making it so
lengthy, but since I have gone thus far I will fill up the remainder of
the sheet with such matters as occur to me.

There ought to be some regulation with respect to the spirit of
denunciation that now prevails. If every individual is to indulge his
private malignancy or his private ambition, to denounce at random and
without any kind of proof, all confidence will be undermined and all
authority be destroyed. Calumny is a species of Treachery that ought to
be punished as well as any other kind of Treachery. It is a private vice
productive of public evils; because it is possible to irritate men into
disaffection by continual calumny who never intended to be disaffected.
It is therefore, equally as necessary to guard against the evils
of unfounded or malignant suspicion as against the evils of blind
confidence. It is equally as necessary to protect the characters of
public officers from calumny as it is to punish them for treachery or
misconduct. For my own part I shall hold it a matter of doubt, until
better evidence arises than is known at present, whether Dumouriez has
been a traitor from policy or resentment. There was certainly a time
when he acted well, but it is not every man whose mind is strong enough
to bear up against ingratitude, and I think he experienced a great deal
of this before he revolted. Calumny becomes harmless and defeats itself,
when it attempts to act upon too large a scale. Thus the denunciation
of the Sections [of Paris] against the twenty-two deputies [Girondists]
falls to the ground. The departments that elected them are better judges
of their moral and political characters than those who have denounced
them. This denunciation will injure Paris in the opinion of the
departments because it has the appearance of dictating to them what sort
of deputies they shall elect. Most of the acquaintances that I have in
the Convention are among those who are in that list, and I know there
are not better men nor better patriots than what they are.

I have written a letter to Marat of the same date as this but not on the
same subject. He may show it to you if he chuse.

Votre Ami,

Thomas Paine.

Citoyen Danton.




XIX. A CITIZEN OF AMERICA TO THE CITIZENS OF EUROPE (1)


18th Year of Independence.

1 State Archives, Paris: États Unis, vol. 38, fol. 90. This
pamphlet is in English, without indication of authorship or
of the place of publication. It is accompanied by a French
translation (MS.) inscribed "Par Thomas Payne." In the
printed pamphlet the date (18th Year, etc) is preceded by
the French words (printed): "Philadelphie 28 Juillet 1793."
It was no doubt the pamphlet sent by Paine to Monroe, with
various documents relating to his imprisonment, describing
it as "a Letter which I had printed here as an American
letter, some copies of which I sent to Mr. Jefferson." A
considerable portion of the pamphlet embodies, with
occasional changes of phraseology, a manuscript (États Unis,
vol. 37, Do. 39) endorsed: "January 1793. Thorn. Payne.
Copie. Observations on the situation of the Powers joined
against France." This opens with the following paragraph:
"It is always useful to know the position and the designs of
one's enemies. It is much easier to do so by combining and
comparing the events, and by examining the consequences
which result from them, than by forming one's judgment by
letters found or intercepted. These letters could be
fabricated with the intention of deceiving, but events or
circumstances have a character which is proper to them. If
in the course of our political operations we mistake the
designs of our enemy, it leads us to do precisely that which
he desires we should do, and it happens by the fact, but
against our intentions, that we work for him." That the date
written on this MS. is erroneous appears by an allusion to
the defeat of the Duke of York at Dunkirk in the closing
paragraph: "There are three distinct parties in England at
this moment: the government party, the revolutionary party,
and an intermedial party,--which is only opposed to the war
on account of the expense it entails, and the harm it does
commerce and manufactures. I am speaking of the People, and
not of the Parliament. The latter is divided into two
parties: the Ministerial, and the Anti-ministerial. The
revolutionary party, the intermedial party, and the anti-
ministerial party, will all rejoice, publicly or privately,
at the defeat of the Duke of York at Dunkirk." The two
paragraphs quoted represent the only actual additions to the
pamphlet. I have a clipping from the London Morning
Chronicle of Friday, April 25, 1794, containing the part of
the pamphlet headed "Of the present state of Europe and the
Confederacy," signed "Thomas Paine, Author of Common Sense,
etc." On February 1,1793, the Convention having declared
war, appointed Paine, Barère, Condorcet and Faber, a
Committee to draft an address to the English people. It was
never done, but these fragments may represent notes written
by Paine with reference to that task. The pamphlet
probably appeared late in September, 1793.--_Editor._,


Understanding that a proposal is intended to be made at the ensuing
meeting of the Congress of the United States of America "to send
commissioners to Europe to confer with the Ministers of all the Neutral
Powers for the purpose of negotiating preliminaries of peace," I address
this letter to you on that subject, and on the several matters connected
therewith.

In order to discuss this subject through all its circumstances, it
will be necessary to take a review of the state of Europe, prior to the
French revolution.



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.