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As the former Legislature shewed a disposition that
I should assist in this business of the new Constitution, they prepared
the way by voting me a French Citoyen (they conferred the same title
on General Washington and certainly I had no more idea than he had of
vacating any part of my real Citizenship of America for a nominal one in
France, especially at a time when she did not know whether she would
be a Nation or not, and had it not even in her power to promise me
protection). I was elected (the second person in number of Votes, the
Abbé Sieves being first) a member for forming the Constitution, and
every American in Paris as well as my other acquaintance knew that it
was my intention to return to America as soon as the Constitution should
be established. The violence of Party soon began to shew itself in the
Convention, but it was impossible for me to see upon what principle they
differed--unless it was a contention for power. I acted however as I
did in America, I connected myself with no Party, but considered myself
altogether a National Man--but the case with Parties generally is that
when you are not with one you are supposed to be with the other.

1 A friendly lamp-lighter, alluded to in the Letter to
Washington, conveyed this letter to Mr. Beresford.--
_Editor._

I was taken out of bed between three and four in the morning on the
28 of December last, and brought to the Luxembourg--without any other
accusation inserted in the order than that I was a foreigner; a motion
having been made two days before in the Convention to expel Foreigners
therefrom. I certainly then remained, even upon their own tactics, what
I was before, a Citizen of America.

About three weeks after my imprisonment the Americans that were in Paris
went to the bar of the Convention to reclaim me, but contrary to my
advice, they made their address into a Petition, and it miscarried.
I then applied to G. Morris, to reclaim me as an official part of his
duty, which he found it necessary to do, and here the matter stopt.(1)
I have not heard a single line or word from any American since, which
is now seven months. I rested altogether on the hope that a new Minister
would arrive from America. I have escaped with life from more dangers
than one. Had it not been for the fall of Roberspierre and your timely
arrival I know not what fate might have yet attended me. There seemed to
be a determination to destroy all the Prisoners without regard to merit,
character, or any thing else. During the time I laid at the height of my
illness they took, in one night only, 169 persons out of this prison
and executed all but eight. The distress that I have suffered at being
obliged to exist in the midst of such horrors, exclusive of my own
precarious situation, suspended as it were by the single thread of
accident, is greater than it is possible you can conceive--but thank God
times are at last changed, and I hope that your Authority will release
me from this unjust imprisonment.

1 The falsehood told Paine, accompanied by an intimation of
danger in pursuing the pretended reclamation, was of course
meant to stop any farther action by Paine or his friends.--
_Editor._.


August 25, 1794.

My Dear Sir: Having nothing to do but to sit and think, I will write
to pass away time, and to say that I am still here. I have received two
notes from Mr. Beresford which are encouraging (as the generality of
notes and letters are that arrive to persons here) but they contain
nothing explicit or decisive with respect to my liberation, and _I
shall be very glad to receive a line from yourself to inform me in what
condition the matter stands_. If I only glide out of prison by a sort
of accident America gains no credit by my liberation, neither can my
attachment to her be increased by such a circumstance. She has had the
services of my best days, she has my allegiance, she receives my portion
of Taxes for my house in Borden Town and my farm at New Rochelle, and
she owes me protection both at home and thro' her Ministers abroad, yet
I remain in prison, in the face of her Minister, at the arbitrary will
of a committee.

Excluded as I am from the knowledge of everything and left to a random
of ideas, I know not what to think or how to act. Before there was
any Minister here (for I consider Morris as none) and while the
Robespierrian faction lasted, I had nothing to do but to keep my mind
tranquil and expect the fate that was every day inflicted upon my
comrades, not individually but by scores. Many a man whom I have passed
an hour with in conversation I have seen marching to his destruction the
next hour, or heard of it the next morning; for what rendered the scene
more horrible was that they were generally taken away at midnight, so
that every man went to bed with the apprehension of never seeing his
friends or the world again.

I wish to impress upon you that all the changes that have taken place in
Paris have been sudden. There is now a moment of calm, but if thro' any
over complaisance to the persons you converse with on the subject of my
liberation, you omit procuring it for me _now_, you may have to lament
the fate of your friend when its too late. The loss of a Battle to the
Northward or other possible accident may happen to bring this about. I
am not out of danger till I am out of Prison.

Yours affectionately.

P. S.--I am now entirely without money. The Convention owes me 1800
livres salary which I know not how to get while I am here, nor do I know
how to draw for money on the rent of my farm in America. It is under
the care of my good friend General Lewis Morris. I have received no rent
since I have been in Europe.

[Addressed] Minister Plenipotentiary from America, Maison des Étrangers,
Rue de la Loi, Rue Richelieu.


Such was the sufficiently cruel situation when there reached Paine in
prison, September 4th, the letter of Peter Whiteside which caused him
to write his Memorial. Whiteside was a Philadelphian whose bankruptcy in
London had swallowed up some of Paine's means. His letter, reporting to
Paine that he was not regarded by the American Government or people as
an American citizen, and that no American Minister could interfere in
his behalf, was evidently inspired by Morris who was still in Paris, the
authorities being unwilling to give him a passport to Switzerland,
as they knew he was going in that direction to join the conspirators
against France. This Whiteside letter put Paine, and through him Monroe,
on a false scent by suggesting that the difficulty of his case lay in a
_bona fide_ question of citizenship, whereas there never had been really
any such question. The knot by which Morris had bound Paine was thus
concealed, and Monroe was appealing to polite wolves in the interest of
their victim. There were thus more delays, inexplicable alike to Monroe
and to Paine, eliciting from the latter some heartbroken letters, not
hitherto printed, which I add at the end of the Memorial. To add to
the difficulties and dangers, Paris was beginning to be agitated by
well-founded rumors of Jay's injurious negotiations in England, and a
coldness towards Monroe was setting in. Had Paine's release been delayed
much longer an American Minister's friendship might even have proved
fatal. Of all this nothing could be known to Paine, who suffered agonies
he had not known during the Reign of Terror. The other prisoners of
Robespierre's time had departed; he alone paced the solitary corridors
of the Luxembourg, chilled by the autumn winds, his cell tireless, unlit
by any candle, insufficiently nourished, an abscess forming in his side;
all this still less cruel than the feeling that he was abandoned, not
only by Washington but by all America.

This is the man of whom Washington wrote to Madison nine years before:
"Must the merits and services of 'Common Sense' continue to glide down
the stream of time unrewarded by this country?" This, then, is his
reward. To his old comrade in the battle-fields of Liberty, George
Washington, Paine owed his ten months of imprisonment, at the end of
which Monroe found him a wreck, and took him (November 4) to his own
house, where he and his wife nursed him back into life. But it was not
for some months supposed that Paine could recover; it was only after
several relapses; and it was under the shadow of death that he wrote the
letter to Washington so much and so ignorantly condemned. Those who have
followed the foregoing narrative will know that Paine's grievances were
genuine, that his infamous treatment stains American history; but they
will also know that they lay chiefly at the door of a treacherous and
unscrupulous American Minister.

Yet it is difficult to find an excuse for the retention of that Minister
in France by Washington. On Monroe's return to America in 1797, he
wrote a pamphlet concerning the mission from which he had been curtly
recalled, in which he said:

"I was persuaded from Mr. Morris's known political character and
principles, that his appointment, and especially at a period when the
French nation was in a course of revolution from an arbitrary to a free
government, would tend to discountenance the republican cause there
and at home, and otherwise weaken, and greatly to our prejudice, the
connexion subsisting between the two countries."

In a copy of this pamphlet found at Mount Vernon, Washington wrote on
the margin of this sentence:

"Mr. Morris was known to be a man of first rate abilities; and his
integrity and honor had never been impeached. Besides, Mr. Morris was
sent whilst the kingly government was in existence, ye end of 91 or
beginning of 92." (1)

But this does not explain why Gouverneur Morris was persistently kept in
France after monarchy was abolished (September 21, 1792), or even after
Lafayette's request for his removal, already quoted. To that letter
of Lafayette no reply has been discovered. After the monarchy was
abolished, Ternant and Genêt successively carried to America protests
from their Foreign Office against the continuance of a Minister in
France, who was known in Paris, and is now known to all acquainted with
his published papers, to have all along made his office the headquarters
of British intrigue against France, American interests being quite
subordinated.



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