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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. Graham (Physician to Genl. O'Hara, who is prisoner
here) and of Dr. Makouski, house physician, who has been most
exceedingly kind to me. After I am at liberty I shall be glad to
introduce him to you.

1 This letter, written in a feeble handwriting, is not
dated, but Monroe's endorsement, "2d. Luxembourg,"
indicates November 2, two days before Paine's liberation.--
_Editor._.




XXII. LETTER TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

Paris, July 30, 1796.

As censure is but awkwardly softened by apology. I shall offer you
no apology for this letter. The eventful crisis to which your double
politics have conducted the affairs of your country, requires an
investigation uncramped by ceremony.

There was a time when the fame of America, moral and political, stood
fair and high in the world. The lustre of her revolution extended itself
to every individual; and to be a citizen of America gave a title to
respect in Europe. Neither meanness nor ingratitude had been mingled
in the composition of her character. Her resistance to the attempted
tyranny of England left her unsuspected of the one, and her open
acknowledgment of the aid she received from France precluded all
suspicion of the other. The Washington of politics had not then
appeared.

At the time I left America (April 1787) the Continental Convention, that
formed the federal Constitution was on the point of meeting. Since that
time new schemes of politics, and new distinctions of parties, have
arisen. The term _Antifederalist_ has been applied to all those who
combated the defects of that constitution, or opposed the measures
of your administration. It was only to the absolute necessity of
establishing some federal authority, extending equally over all the
States, that an instrument so inconsistent as the present federal
Constitution is, obtained a suffrage. I would have voted for it myself,
had I been in America, or even for a worse, rather than have had none,
provided it contained the means of remedying its defects by the same
appeal to the people by which it was to be established. It is always
better policy to leave removeable errors to expose themselves, than
to hazard too much in contending against them theoretically. I have
introduced these observations, not only to mark the general difference
between Antifederalist and Anti-constitutionalist, but to preclude
the effect, and even the application, of the former of these terms to
myself. I declare myself opposed to several matters in the Constitution,
particularly to the manner in which what is called the Executive is
formed, and to the long duration of the Senate; and if I live to return
to America, I will use all my endeavours to have them altered.(*) I also
declare myself opposed to almost the whole of your administration; for
I know it to have been deceitful, if not perfidious, as I shall shew
in the course of this letter. But as to the point of consolidating the
States into a Federal Government, it so happens, that the proposition
for that purpose came originally from myself. I proposed it in a letter
to Chancellor Livingston in the spring of 1782, while that gentleman
was Minister for Foreign Affairs. The five per cent, duty recommended
by Congress had then fallen through, having been adopted by some of the
States, altered by others, rejected by Rhode Island, and repealed by
Virginia after it had been consented to. The proposal in the letter I
allude to, was to get over the whole difficulty at once, by annexing a
continental legislative body to Congress; for in order to have any law
of the Union uniform, the case could only be, that either Congress, as
it then stood, must frame the law, and the States severally adopt it
without alteration, or the States must erect a Continental Legislature
for the purpose. Chancellor Livingston, Robert Morris, Gouverneur
Morris, and myself, had a meeting at the house of Robert Morris on
the subject of that letter. There was no diversity of opinion on the
proposition for a Continental Legislature: the only difficulty was on
the manner of bringing the proposition forward. For my own part, as I
considered it as a remedy in reserve, that could be applied at any time
_when the States saw themselves wrong enough to be put right_, (which
did not appear to be the case at that time) I did not see the propriety
of urging it precipitately, and declined being the publisher of it
myself. After this account of a fact, the leaders of your party will
scarcely have the hardiness to apply to me the term of Antifederalist.
But I can go to a date and to a fact beyond this; for the proposition
for electing a continental convention to form the Continental Government
is one of the subjects treated of in the pamphlet _Common Sense_.(1)

* I have always been opposed to the mode of refining
Government up to an individual, or what is called a single
Executive. Such a man will always be the chief of a party. A
plurality is far better: It combines the mass of a nation
better together: And besides this, it is necessary to the
manly mind of a republic that it loses the debasing idea of
obeying an individual.--_Author_.


1 See vol. i. of this work, pp. 97, 98, 109, no.--_Editor._.

Having thus cleared away a little of the rubbish that might otherwise
have lain in my way, I return to the point of time at which the present
Federal Constitution and your administration began. It was very well
said by an anonymous writer in Philadelphia, about a year before that
period, that "_thirteen staves and ne'er a hoop will not make a barrel_"
and as any kind of hooping the barrel, however defectively executed,
would be better than none, it was scarcely possible but that
considerable advantages must arise from the federal hooping of the
States. It was with pleasure that every sincere friend of America
beheld, as the natural effect of union, her rising prosperity; and it
was with grief they saw that prosperity mixed, even in the blossom,
with the germ of corruption. Monopolies of every kind marked your
administration almost in the moment of its commencement. The lands
obtained by the revolution were lavished upon partisans; the interest
of the disbanded soldier was sold to the speculator; injustice was acted
under the pretence of faith; and the chief of the army became the patron
of the fraud.(2) From such a beginning what else could be expected, than
what has happened? A mean and servile submission to the insults of one
nation; treachery and ingratitude to another.

2 The history of the Scioto Company, by which so many
Frenchmen as well as Americans were ruined, warranted an
even stronger statement. Though Washington did not know what
was going on, he cannot be acquitted of a lack of due
precaution in patronizing leading agents of these
speculations, and introducing them in France.--_Editor._

Some vices make their approach with such a splendid appearance, that we
scarcely know to what class of moral distinctions they belong. They
are rather virtues corrupted than vices, originally. But meanness and
ingratitude have nothing equivocal in their character. There is not a
trait in them that renders them doubtful. They are so originally vice,
that they are generated in the dung of other vices, and crawl into
existence with the filth upon their back. The fugitives have found
protection in you, and the levee-room is their place of rendezvous.

As the Federal Constitution is a copy, though not quite so base as the
original, of the form of the British Government, an imitation of its
vices was naturally to be expected. So intimate is the connection
between _form and practice_, that to adopt the one is to invite the
other. Imitation is naturally progressive, and is rapidly so in matters
that are vicious.

Soon after the Federal Constitution arrived in England, I received a
letter from a female literary correspondent (a native of New York) very
well mixed with friendship, sentiment, and politics. In my answer
to that letter, I permitted myself to ramble into the wilderness of
imagination, and to anticipate what might hereafter be the condition
of America. I had no idea that the picture I then drew was realizing
so fast, and still less that Mr. Washington was hurrying it on. As the
extract I allude to is congenial with the subject I am upon, I here
transcribe it:

[_The extract is the same as that given in a footnote, in
the Memorial to Monroe, p. 180_.]

Impressed, as I was, with apprehensions of this kind, I had America
constantly in my mind in all the publications I afterwards made. The
First, and still more the Second, Part of the Rights of Man, bear
evident marks of this watchfulness; and the Dissertation on First
Principles of Government [XXIV.] goes more directly to the point than
either of the former. I now pass on to other subjects.

It will be supposed by those into whose hands this letter may fall, that
I have some personal resentment against you; I will therefore settle
this point before I proceed further.

If I have any resentment, you must acknowledge that I have not been
hasty in declaring it; neither would it now be declared (for what are
private resentments to the public) if the cause of it did not unite
itself as well with your public as with your private character, and with
the motives of your political conduct.

The part I acted in the American revolution is well known; I shall not
here repeat it. I know also that had it not been for the aid received
from France, in men, money and ships, that your cold and unmilitary
conduct (as I shall shew in the course of this letter) would in all
probability have lost America; at least she would not have been the
independent nation she now is.



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