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You slept away your time in the field,
till the finances of the country were completely exhausted, and you have
but little share in the glory of the final event. It is time, sir, to
speak the undisguised language of historical truth.

Elevated to the chair of the Presidency, you assumed the merit of every
thing to yourself, and the natural ingratitude of your constitution
began to appear. You commenced your Presidential career by encouraging
and swallowing the grossest adulation, and you travelled America from
one end to the other to put yourself in the way of receiving it. You
have as many addresses in your chest as James the II. As to what were
your views, for if you are not great enough to have ambition you are
little enough to have vanity, they cannot be directly inferred from
expressions of your own; but the partizans of your politics have
divulged the secret.

John Adams has said, (and John it is known was always a speller after
places and offices, and never thought his little services were highly
enough paid,)--John has said, that as Mr. Washington had no child, the
Presidency should be made hereditary in the family of Lund Washington.
John might then have counted upon some sinecure himself, and a provision
for his descendants. He did not go so far as to say, also, that the
Vice-Presidency should be hereditary in the family of John Adams. He
prudently left that to stand on the ground that one good turn deserves
another.(*)

John Adams is one of those men who never contemplated the origin of
government, or comprehended any thing of first principles. If he had,
he might have seen, that the right to set up and establish hereditary
government, never did, and never can, exist in any generation at any
time whatever; that it is of the nature of treason; because it is an
attempt to take away the rights of all the minors living at that time,
and of all succeeding generations. It is of a degree beyond common
treason. It is a sin against nature. The equal right of every generation
is a right fixed in the nature of things. It belongs to the son when of
age, as it belonged to the father before him. John Adams would himself
deny the right that any former deceased generation could have to
decree authoritatively a succession of governors over him, or over his
children; and yet he assumes the pretended right, treasonable as it is,
of acting it himself. His ignorance is his best excuse.

John Jay has said,(**) (and this John was always the sycophant of
every thing in power, from Mr. Girard in America, to Grenville in
England,)--John Jay has said, that the Senate should have been appointed
for life. He would then have been sure of never wanting a lucrative
appointment for himself, and have had no fears about impeachment. These
are the disguised traitors that call themselves Federalists.(**)

Could I have known to what degree of corruption and perfidy the
administrative part of the government of America had descended, I
could have been at no loss to have understood the reservedness of Mr.
Washington towards me, during my imprisonment in the Luxembourg. There
are cases in which silence is a loud language. I will here explain the
cause of that imprisonment, and return to Mr. Washington afterwards.

* Two persons to whom John Adams said this, told me of it.
The secretary of Mr. Jay was present when it was told to
me.--_Author_.

** If Mr. John Jay desires to know on what authority I say
this, I will give that authority publicly when he chooses to
call for it--_Author_.

In the course of that rage, terror and suspicion, which the brutal
letter of the Duke of Brunswick first started into existence in France,
it happened that almost every man who was opposed to violence, or who
was not violent himself, became suspected. I had constantly been opposed
to every thing which was of the nature or of the appearance of violence;
but as I had always done it in a manner that shewed it to be a principle
founded in my heart, and not a political manouvre, it precluded the
pretence of accusing me. I was reached, however, under another pretence.

A decree was passed to imprison all persons born in England; but as
I was a member of the Convention, and had been complimented with the
honorary style of Citizen of France, as Mr. Washington and some other
Americans had been, this decree fell short of reaching me. A motion was
afterwards made and carried, supported chiefly by Bourdon de l'Oise,
for expelling foreigners from the Convention. My expulsion being thus
effected, the two committees of Public Safety and of General Surety,
of which Robespierre was the dictator, put me in arrestation under the
former decree for imprisoning persons born in England. Having thus shewn
under what pretence the imprisonment was effected, I come to speak of
such parts of the case as apply between me and Mr. Washington, either as
a President or as an individual.

I have always considered that a foreigner, such as I was in fact, with
respect to France, might be a member of a Convention for framing a
Constitution, without affecting his right of citizenship in the
country to which he belongs, but not a member of a government after
a Constitution is formed; and I have uniformly acted upon this
distinction» To be a member of a government requires that a person be
in allegiance to that government and to the country locally. But a
Constitution, being a thing of principle, and not of action, and
which, after it is formed, is to be referred to the people for their
approbation or rejection, does not require allegiance in the persons
forming and proposing it; and besides this, it is only to the thing
after it be formed and established, and to the country after its
governmental character is fixed by the adoption of a constitution, that
the allegiance can be given. No oath of allegiance or of citizenship was
required of the members who composed the Convention: there was nothing
existing in form to swear allegiance to. If any such condition had been
required, I could not, as Citizen of America in fact, though Citizen of
France by compliment, have accepted a seat in the Convention.

As my citizenship in America was not altered or diminished by any thing
I had done in Europe, (on the contrary, it ought to be considered as
strengthened, for it was the American principle of government that I
was endeavouring to spread in Europe,) and as it is the duty of every
govern-ment to charge itself with the care of any of its citizens who
may happen to fall under an arbitrary persecution abroad, and is also
one of the reasons for which ambassadors or ministers are appointed,--it
was the duty of the Executive department in America, to have made (at
least) some enquiries about me, as soon as it heard of my imprisonment.
But if this had not been the case, that government owed it to me on
every ground and principle of honour and gratitude. Mr. Washington owed
it to me on every score of private acquaintance, I will not now say,
friendship; for it has some time been known by those who know him, that
he has no friendships; that he is incapable of forming any; he can serve
or desert a man, or a cause, with constitutional indifference; and it is
this cold hermaphrodite faculty that imposed itself upon the world,
and was credited for a while by enemies as by friends, for prudence,
moderation and impartiality.(1)

1 "L'on pent dire qu'il [Washington] jouit de tous les
avantages possibles a l'exception des douceurs de
l'amitié."--Louis Otto, Chargé d'Affaires (at New York) to
his government, 13 June, 1790. French Archives, vol. 35, No.
32.--Editor.

Soon after I was put into arrestation, and imprisoned in the Luxembourg,
the Americans who were then in Paris went in a body to the bar of the
Convention to reclaim me. They were answered by the then President
Vadier, who has since absconded, that _I was born in England_, and it
was signified to them, by some of the Committee of _General Surety_, to
whom they were referred (I have been told it was Billaud Varennes,) that
their reclamation of me was only the act of individuals, without any
authority from the American government.

A few days after this, all communications from persons imprisoned to
any person without the prison was cut off by an order of the Police. I
neither saw, nor heard from, any body for six months; and the only hope
that remained to me was, that a new Minister would arrive from America
to supercede Morris, and that he would be authorized to enquire into
the cause of my imprisonment. But even this hope, in the state to which
matters were daily arriving, was too remote to have any consolatory
effect, and I contented myself with the thought, that I might be
remembered when it would be too late. There is perhaps no condition from
which a man conscious of his own uprightness cannot derive consolation;
for it is in itself a consolation for him to find, that he can bear that
condition with calmness and fortitude.

From about the middle of March (1794) to the fall of Robespierre
July 29, (9th of Thermidor,) the state of things in the prisons was a
continued scene of horror. No man could count upon life for twenty-four
hours. To such a pitch of rage and suspicion were Robespierre and his
Committee arrived, that it seemed as if they feared to leave a man
living. Scarcely a night passed in which ten, twenty, thirty, forty,
fifty, or more, were not taken out of the prison, carried before a
pretended tribunal in the morning, and guillotined before night. One
hundred and sixty-nine were taken out of the Luxembourg one night, in
the month of July, and one hundred and sixty of them guillotined. A
list of two hundred more, according to the report in the prison, was
preparing a few days before Robespierre fell. In this last list I have
good reason to believe I was included. A memorandum in the hand-writing
of Robespierre was afterwards produced in the Convention, by the
committee to whom the papers of Robespierre were referred, in these
words:

"Demander que Thomas "I Demand that Thomas Paine
"Payne soit décrété d'ac- be decreed of accusation
"cusation pour les inté- for the interests of America
"rôtsde l'Amérique,autant as well as of France."
"que de la France."


1 In reading this the Committee added, "Why Thomas Payne
more than another?



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