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
Those works have procured to him an addition of esteem in America,
and I am sorry they have been so ill rewarded in France. But be this
title of French Citizen more or less, it is now entirely swept away by
the vote of the Convention which declares him to be a foreigner, and
which supercedes the vote of the Assembly that conferred that title upon
him, consequently upon the case superceded with it.

In consequence of this vote of the Convention declaring him to be a
foreigner the former Committees have imprisoned him. It is therefore
become my official duty to declare to you that the foreigner thus
imprisoned is a citizen of the United States of America as fully, as
legally, as constitutionally as myself, and that he is moreover one of
the principal founders of the American Republic.

I have been informed of a law or decree of the Convention which
subjects foreigners born in any of the countries at war with France
to arrestation and imprisonment. This law when applied to citizens of
America born in England is an infraction of the Treaty of Alliance and
of Amity and Commerce, which knows no distinction of American citizens
on account of the place of their birth, but recognizes all to be
citizens whom the Constitution and laws of America recognize as such.
The circumstances under which America has been peopled requires this
guard on her Treaties, because the mass of her citizens are composed not
of natives only but also of the natives of almost all the countries
of Europe who have sought an asylum there from the persecutions they
experienced in their own countries. After this intimation you will
without doubt see the propriety of modelling that law to the principles
of the Treaty, because the law of Treaty in cases where it applies is
the governing law to both parties alike, and it cannot be infracted
without hazarding the existence of the Treaty.

Of the Patriotism of Thomas Paine I can speak fully, if we agree to give
to patriotism a fixed idea consistent with that of a republic. It would
then signify a strict adherence to Moral Justice, to the equality of
civil and political rights, to the system of representative government,
and an opposition to all hereditary claims to govern. Admitting
patriotism to consist in these principles, I know of no man who has gone
beyond Thomas Paine in promulgating and defending them, and that for
almost twenty years past.

I have now spoken to you on the principal matters concerned in the case
of Thomas Paine. The title of French citizen which you had enforced upon
him, you have since taken away by declaring him to be a foreigner, and
consequently this part of the subject ceases of itself. I have declared
to you that this foreigner is a citizen of the United States of America,
and have assured you of his patriotism.

I cannot help at the same time repeating to you my wish that his
liberation had taken place without my being obliged to go thus far into
the subject, because it is the mutual interest of both republics to
avoid as much as possible all subjects of controversy, especially those
from which no possible good can flow. I still hope that you will save me
the unpleasant task of proceeding any farther by sending me an order
for his liberation, which the injured state of his health absolutely
requires. I shall be happy to receive such an order from you and
happy in presenting it to him, for to the welfare of Thomas Paine the
Americans are not and cannot be indifferent.

This is the sort of letter I wish you to write, for I have no idea that
you will succeed by any measures that can, by any kind of construction,
be interpreted into a want of confidence or an apprehension of
consequences. It is themselves that ought to be apprehensive of
consequences if any are to be apprehended. They, I mean the Committees,
are not certain that the Convention or the nation would support them
in forcing any question to extremity that might interrupt the good
understanding subsisting between the two countries; and I know of no
question [so likely] to do this as that which involves the rights and
liberty of a citizen.

You will please to observe that I have put the case of French
citizenship in a point of view that ought not only to preclude, but to
make them ashamed to advance any thing upon this subject; and this is
better than to have to answer their counter-reclamation afterwards.
Either the Citizenship was intended as a token of honorary respect, or
it was in-tended to deprive America of a citizen or to seduce him from
his allegiance to his proper country. If it was intended as an honour
they must act consistently with the principle of honour. But if they
make a pretence for detaining me, they convict themselves of the act
of seduction. Had America singled out any particular French citizen,
complimented him with the title of Citizen of America, which he without
suspecting any fraudulent intention might accept, and then after having
invited or rather inveigled him into America made his acceptance of
that Title a pretence for seducing or forcing him from his allegiance to
France, would not France have just cause to be offended at America? And
ought not America to have the same right to be offended at France? And
will the Committees take upon themselves to answer for the dishonour
they bring upon the National Character of their Country? If these
arguments are stated beforehand they will prevent the Committees going
into the subject of French Citizenship. They must be ashamed of it.
But after all the case comes to this, that this French Citizenship
appertains no longer to me because the Convention, as I have already
said, have swept it away by declaring me to be foreigner, and it is not
in the power of the Committees to reverse it. But if I am to be citizen
and foreigner, and citizen again, just when and how and for any purpose
they please, they take the Government of America into their own hands
and make her only a Cypher in their system.

Though these ideas have been long with me they have been more
particularly matured by reading your last Communication, and I have
many reasons to wish you had opened that Communication sooner. I am best
acquainted with the persons you have to deal with and the circumstances
of my own case. If you chuse to adopt the letter as it is, I send you a
translation for the sake of expediting the business. I have endeavoured
to conceive your own manner of expression as well as I could, and the
civility of language you would use, but the matter of the letter is
essential to me.

If you chuse to confer with some of the members of the Committee at
your own house on the subject of the letter it may render the sending it
unnecessary; but in either case I must request and press you not to give
away to evasion and delay, and that you will fix positively with them
that they shall give you an answer in three or four days whether they
will liberate me on the representation you have made in the letter, or
whether you must be forced to go further into the subject. The state of
my health will not admit of delay, and besides the tortured state of
my mind wears me down. If they talk of bringing me to trial (and I well
know there is no accusation against me and that they can bring none)
I certainly summons you as an Evidence to my Character. This you may
mention to them either as what I intend to do or what you intend to do
voluntarily for me.

I am anxious that you undertake this business without losing time,
because if I am not liberated in the course of this decade, I intend, if
in case the seventy-one detained deputies are liberated, to follow the
same track that they have done, and publish my own case myself.(1)
I cannot rest any longer in this state of miserable suspense, be the
consequences what they may.

Thomas Paine.

1 Those deputies, imprisoned for having protested against
the overthrow of the Girondin government, May 31,1793, when
the Convention was invaded and overawed by the armed
communes of Paris. These deputies were liberated and
recalled to the Convention, December 8, 1794. Paine was
invited to resume his seat the day before, by a special act
of the Convention, after an eloquent speech by Thibaudeau.--
_Editor._.


Dear Sir: I need not mention to you the happiness I received from the
information you sent me by Mr. Beresford. I easily guess the persons
you have conversed with on the subject of my liberation--but matters
and even promises that pass in conversation are not quite so strictly
attended to here as in the Country you come from. I am not, my Dear Sir,
impatient from any thing in my disposition, but the state of my health
requires liberty and a better air; and besides this, the rules of the
prison do not permit me, though I have all the indulgences the Concierge
can give, to procure the things necessary to my recovery, which is
slow as to strength. I have a tolerable appetite but the allowance of
provision is scanty. We are not allowed a knife to cut our victuals
with, nor a razor to shave; but they have lately allowed some barbers
that are here to shave. The room where I am lodged is a ground floor
level with the earth in the garden and floored with brick, and is so
wet after every rain that I cannot guard against taking colds that
continually cheat my recovery. If you could, without interfering with or
deranging the mode proposed for my liberation, inform the Committee that
the state of my health requires liberty and air, it would be good ground
to hasten my liberation. The length of my imprisonment is also a reason,
for I am now almost the oldest inhabitant of this uncomfortable mansion,
and I see twenty, thirty and sometimes forty persons a day put in
liberty who have not been so long confined as myself. Their liberation
is a happiness to me; but I feel sometimes, a little mortification
that I am thus left behind. I leave it entirely to you to arrange this
matter. The messenger waits. Your's affectionately,

T. P.

I hope and wish much to see you. I have much to say. I have had the
attendance of Dr.



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.