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It is there that I
have made myself a home. It is there that I have given the services of
my best days. America never saw me flinch from her cause in the most
gloomy and perilous of her situations; and I know there are those in
that country who will not flinch from me. If I have enemies (and every
man has some) I leave them to the enjoyment of their ingratitude.*

* I subjoin in a note, for the sake of wasting the solitude
of a prison, the answer that I gave to the part of the
letter above mentioned. It is not inapplacable to the
subject of this Memorial; but it contain! somewhat of a
melancholy idea, a little predictive, that I hope is not
becoming true so soon.

It is somewhat extraordinary that the idea of my not being a citizen
of America should have arisen only at the time that I am imprisoned
in France because, or on the pretence that, I am a foreigner. The case
involves a strange contradiction of ideas. None of the Americans who
came to France whilst I was in liberty had conceived any such idea or
circulated any such opinion; and why it should arise now is a matter
yet to be explained. However discordant the late American Minister G. M.
[Gouverneur Morris] and the late French Committee of Public Safety were,
it suited the purpose of both that I should be continued in arrestation.
The former wished to prevent my return to America, that I should not
expose his misconduct; and the latter, lest I should publish to the
world the history of its wickedness. Whilst that Minister and the
Committee continued I had no expectation of liberty. I speak here of the
Committee of which Robespierre was member.(1)

"You touch me on a very tender point when you say that my
friends on your side the water cannot be reconciled to the
idea of my abandoning America. They are right. I had rather
see my horse Button eating the grass of Borden-Town or
Morrisania than see all the pomp and show of Europe.

"A thousand years hence (for I must indulge a few thoughts)
perhaps in less, America may be what Europe now is. The
innocence of her character, that won the hearts of all
nations in her favour, may sound like a romance and her
inimitable virtue as if it had never been. The ruin of that
liberty which thousands bled for or struggled to obtain may
just furnish materials for a village tale or extort a sigh
from rustic sensibility, whilst the fashionable of that day,
enveloped in dissipation, shall deride the principle and
deny the fact.

"When we contemplate the fall of Empires and the extinction
of the nations of the Ancient World, we see but little to
excite our regret than the mouldering ruins of pompous
palaces, magnificent museums, lofty pyramids and walls and
towers of the most costly workmanship; but when the Empire
of America shall fall, the subject for contemplative sorrow
will be infinitely greater than crumbling brass and marble
can inspire. It will not then be said, here stood a temple
of vast antiquity; here rose a babel of invisible height;
or there a palace of sumptuous extravagance; but here, Ah,
painful thought! the noblest work of human wisdom, the
grandest scene of human glory, the fair cause of Freedom
rose and fell. Read this, and then ask if I forget
America."--Author.


1 This letter, quoted also in Paine's Letter to Washington,
was written from London, Jan. 6, 1789, to the wife of Col.
Few, née Kate Nicholson. It is given in full in my "Life of
Paine," i., p. 247.--_Editor._



THE MEMORIAL TO MONROE.

I ever must deny, that the article of the American constitution
already mentioned, can be applied either verbally, intentionally,
or constructively, to me. It undoubtedly was the intention of the
Convention that framed it, to preserve the purity of the American
republic from being debased by foreign and foppish customs; but it never
could be its intention to act against the principles of liberty, by
forbidding its citizens to assist in promoting those principles in
foreign Countries; neither could it be its intention to act against
the principles of gratitude.(1) France had aided America in the
establishment of her revolution, when invaded and oppressed by England
and her auxiliaries. France in her turn was invaded and oppressed by a
combination of foreign despots. In this situation, I conceived it an act
of gratitude in me, as a citizen of America, to render her in return the
best services I could perform. I came to France (for I was in England
when I received the invitation) not to enjoy ease, emoluments, and
foppish honours, as the article supposes; but to encounter difficulties
and dangers in defence of liberty; and I much question whether those who
now malignantly seek (for some I believe do) to turn this to my injury,
would have had courage to have done the same thing. I am sure Gouverneur
Morris would not. He told me the second day after my arrival, (in
Paris,) that the Austrians and Prussians, who were then at Verdun,
would be in Paris in a fortnight. I have no idea, said he, that seventy
thousand disciplined troops can be stopped in their march by any power
in France.

1 This and the two preceding paragraphs, including the
footnote, are entirely omitted from the American pamphlet.
It will be seen that Paine had now a suspicion of the
conspiracy between Gouverneur Morris and those by whom he
was imprisoned. Soon after his imprisonment he had applied
to Morris, who replied that he had reclaimed him, and
enclosed the letter of Deforgues quoted in my Introduction
to this chapter, of course withholding his own letter to the
Minister. Paine answered (Feb. 14, 1793): "You must not
leave me in the situation in which this letter places me.
You know I do not deserve it, and you see the unpleasant
situation in which I am thrown. I have made an answer to the
Minister's letter, which I wish you to make ground of a
reply to him. They have nothing against me--except that they
do not choose I should lie in a state of freedom to write my
mind freely upon things I have seen. Though you and I are
not on terms of the best harmony, I apply to you as the
Minister of America, and you may add to that service
whatever you think my integrity deserves. At any rate I
expect you to make Congress acquainted with my situation,
and to send them copies of the letters that have passed on
the subject. A reply to the Minister's letter is absolutely
necessary, were it only to continue the reclamation.
Otherwise your silence will be a sort of consent to his
observations." Deforgues' "observations" having been
dictated by Morris himself, no reply was sent to him, and no
word to Congress.--_Editor_.

2 In the pamphlet this last clause of the sentence is
omitted.--_Editor._.

Besides the reasons I have already given for accepting the invitations
to the Convention, I had another that has reference particularly to
America, and which I mentioned to Mr. Pinckney the night before I left
London to come to Paris: "That it was to the interest of America that
the system of European governments should be changed and placed on the
same principle with her own." Mr. Pinckney agreed fully in the same
opinion. I have done my part towards it.(1)

It is certain that governments upon similar systems agree better
together than those that are founded on principles discordant with each
other; and the same rule holds good with respect to the people living
under them. In the latter case they offend each other by pity, or by
reproach; and the discordancy carries itself to matters of commerce. I
am not an ambitious man, but perhaps I have been an ambitious American.
I have wished to see America the _Mother Church_ of government, and I
have done my utmost to exalt her character and her condition.

1 In the American pamphlet the name of Pinckney (American
Minister in England) is left blank in this paragraph, and
the two concluding sentences are omitted from both the
French and American pamphlets.--_Editor._,

I have now stated sufficient matter, to shew that the Article in
question is not applicable to me; and that any such application to my
injury, as well in circumstances as in Rights, is contrary both to
the letter and intention of that Article, and is illegal and
unconstitutional. Neither do I believe that any Jury in America, when
they are informed of the whole of the case, would give a verdict to
deprive me of my Rights upon that Article. The citizens of America,
I believe, are not very fond of permitting forced and indirect
explanations to be put upon matters of this kind. I know not what were
the merits of the case with respect to the person who was prosecuted for
acting as prize master to a french privateer, but I know that the jury
gave a verdict against the prosecution. The Rights I have acquired
are dear to me. They have been acquired by honourable means, and by
dangerous service in the worst of times, and I cannot passively permit
them to be wrested from me. I conceive it my duty to defend them, as the
case involves a constitutional and public question, which is, how
far the power of the federal government (1) extends, in depriving any
citizen of his Rights of Citizenship, or of suspending them.

That the explanation of National Treaties belongs to Congress is
strictly constitutional; but not the explanation of the Constitution
itself, any more than the explanation of Law in the case of individual
citizens. These are altogether Judiciary questions. It is, however,
worth observing, that Congress, in explaining the Article of the Treaty
with respect to french prizes and french privateers, confined itself
strictly to the letter of the Article. Let them explain the Article
of the Constitution with respect to me in the same manner, and the
decision, did it appertain to them, could not deprive me of my Rights of
Citizenship, or suspend them, for I have accepted nothing from any king,
prince, state, or Government.

You will please to observe, that I speak as if the federal Government
had made some declaration upon the subject of my Citizenship; whereas
the fact is otherwise; and your saying that you have no order respecting
me is a proof of it.



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