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10th, 1794.

I address this memorial to you, in consequence of a letter I received
from a friend, 18 Fructidor (September 4th,) in which he says, "Mr.
Monroe has told me, that he has no orders [meaning from the American
government] respecting you; but I am sure he will leave nothing
undone to liberate you; but, from what I can learn, from all the late
Americans, you are not considered either by the Government, or by
the individuals, as an American citizen. You have been made a french
Citizen, which you have accepted, and you have further made yourself
a servant of the french Republic; and, therefore, it would be out
of character for an American Minister to interfere in their internal
concerns. You must therefore either be liberated out of Compliment to
America, or stand your trial, which you have a right to demand."

This information was so unexpected by me, that I am at a loss how to
answer it. I know not on what principle it originates; whether from an
idea that I had voluntarily abandoned my Citizenship of America for that
of France, or from any article of the American Constitution applied to
me. The first is untrue with respect to any intention on my part; and
the second is without foundation, as I shall shew in the course of this
memorial.

The idea of conferring honor of Citizenship upon foreigners, who had
distinguished themselves in propagating the principles of liberty and
humanity, in opposition to despotism, war, and bloodshed, was first
proposed by me to La Fayette, at the commencement of the french
revolution, when his heart appeared to be warmed with those principles.
My motive in making this proposal, was to render the people of different
nations more fraternal than they had been, or then were. I observed that
almost every branch of Science had possessed itself of the exercise
of this right, so far as it regarded its own institution. Most of the
Academies and Societies in Europe, and also those of America, conferred
the rank of honorary member, upon foreigners eminent in knowledge, and
made them, in fact, citizens of their literary or scientific republic,
without affecting or anyways diminishing their rights of citizenship
in their own country or in other societies: and why the Science of
Government should not have the same advantage, or why the people of
one nation should not, by their representatives, exercise the right of
conferring the honor of Citizenship upon individuals eminent in another
nation, without affecting _their_ rights of citizenship, is a problem
yet to be solved.

I now proceed to remark on that part of the letter, in which the writer
says, that, _from what he can learn from all the late Americans, I
am not considered in America, either by the Government or by the
individuals, as an American citizen_.

In the first place I wish to ask, what is here meant by the Government
of America? The members who compose the Government are only individuals,
when in conversation, and who, most probably, hold very different
opinions upon the subject. Have Congress as a body made any declaration
respecting me, that they now no longer consider me as a citizen? If they
have not, anything they otherwise say is no more than the opinion
of individuals, and consequently is not legal authority, nor anyways
sufficient authority to deprive any man of his Citizenship. Besides,
whether a man has forfeited his rights of Citizenship, is a question not
determinable by Congress, but by a Court of Judicature and a Jury; and
must depend upon evidence, and the application of some law or article of
the Constitution to the case. No such proceeding has yet been had, and
consequently I remain a Citizen until it be had, be that decision what
it may; for there can be no such thing as a suspension of rights in the
interim.

I am very well aware, and always was, of the article of the Constitution
which says, as nearly as I can recollect the words, that "any citizen
of the United States, who shall accept any title, place, or office, from
any foreign king, prince, or state, shall forfeit and lose his right of
Citizenship of the United States."

Had the Article said, that _any citizen of the United States, who shall
be a member of any foreign convention, for the purpose of forming a free
constitution, shall forfeit and lose the right of citizenship of the
United States_, the article had been directly applicable to me; but
the idea of such an article never could have entered the mind of the
American Convention, and the present article _is_ altogether foreign
to the case with respect to me. It supposes a Government in active
existence, and not a Government dissolved; and it supposes a citizen of
America accepting titles and offices under that Government, and not a
citizen of America who gives his assistance in a Convention chosen by
the people, for the purpose of forming a Government _de nouveau_ founded
on their authority.

The late Constitution and Government of France was dissolved the 10th of
August, 1792. The National legislative Assembly then in being, supposed
itself without sufficient authority to continue its sittings, and it
proposed to the departments to elect not another legislative Assembly,
but a Convention for the express purpose of forming a new Constitution.
When the Assembly were discoursing on this matter, some of the members
said, that they wished to gain all the assistance possible upon the
subject of free constitutions; and expressed a wish to elect and invite
foreigners of any Nation to the Convention, who had distinguished
themselves in defending, explaining, and propagating the principles
of liberty. It was on this occasion that my name was mentioned in the
Assembly. (I was then in England.)

1 In the American pamphlet a footnote, probably added by
Bache, here says: "Even this article does not exist in the
manner here stated." It is a pity Paine did not have in his
prison the article, which says: "No person holding any
office of profit or trust under them [the United States]
shall, without the consent of Congress, accept of any
present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever,
from any king, prince, or foreign State."--_Editor._


After this, a deputation from a body of the french people, in order
to remove any objection that might be made against my assisting at the
proposed Convention, requested the Assembly, as their representatives,
to give me the title of French Citizen; after which, I was elected a
member of the Convention, in four different departments, as is already
known.(1)

The case, therefore, is, that I accepted nothing from any king,
prince, or state, nor from any Government: for France was without any
Government, except what arose from common consent, and the necessity of
the case. Neither did I _make myself a servant of the french Republic_,
as the letter alluded to expresses; for at that time France was not a
republic, not even in name. She was altogether a people in a state of
revolution.

It was not until the Convention met that France was declared a republic,
and monarchy abolished; soon after which a committee was elected, of
which I was a member,(2) to form a Constitution, which was presented to
the Convention [and read by Condorcet, who was also a member] the
15th and 16th of February following, but was not to be taken into
consideration till after the expiration of two months,(3) and if
approved of by the Convention, was then to be referred to the people for
their acceptance, with such additions or amendments as the Convention
should make.

1 The deputation referred to was described as the
"Commission Extraordinaire," in whose name M. Guadet moved
that the title of French Citizen be conferred on Priestley,
Paine, Bentham, Wilberforce, Clarkson, Mackintosh, David
Williams, Cormelle, Paw, Pestalozzi, Washington, Madison,
Hamilton, Klopstock, Koscinsko, Gorani, Campe, Anacharsis
Clootz, Gilleers. This was on August 26, and Paine was
elected by Calais on September 6,1792; and in the same week
by Oise, Somme, and Puy-de-Dome.--_Editor._

2 Sieves, Paine, Brissot, Pétion, Vergniaud, Gensonne,
Barère, Danton, Condorcet.--_Editor._

3 The remainder of this sentence is replaced in the American
pamphlet by the following: "The disorders and the
revolutionary government that took place after this put a
stop to any further progress upon the case."--_Editor._

In thus employing myself upon the formation of a Constitution, I
certainly did nothing inconsistent with the American Constitution. I
took no oath of allegiance to France, or any other oath whatever. I
considered the Citizenship they had presented me with as an honorary
mark of respect paid to me not only as a friend to liberty, but as
an American Citizen. My acceptance of that, or of the deputyship, not
conferred on me by any king, prince, or state, but by a people in a
state of revolution and contending for liberty, required no transfer of
my allegiance or of my citizenship from America to France. There I was
a real citizen, paying Taxes; here, I was a voluntary friend, employing
myself on a temporary service. Every American in Paris knew that it was
my constant intention to return to America, as soon as a constitution
should be established, and that I anxiously waited for that event.

I know not what opinions have been circulated in America. It may have
been supposed there that I had voluntarily and intentionally abandoned
America, and that my citizenship had ceased by my own choice. I can
easily [believe] there are those in that country who would take such
a proceeding on my part somewhat in disgust. The idea of forsaking
old friendships for new acquaintances is not agreeable. I am a little
warranted in making this supposition by a letter I received some time
ago from the wife of one of the Georgia delegates in which she says
"Your friends on this side the water cannot be reconciled to the idea of
your abandoning America."

I have never abandoned her in thought, word or deed; and I feel it
incumbent upon me to give this assurance to the friends I have in that
country and with whom I have always intended and am determined, if the
possibility exists, to close the scene of my life.



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