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Monroe had no official authority
upon the case, they would have paid little or no regard to his
reclamation of me. In the mean time my health was suffering exceedingly,
the dreary prospect of winter was coming on, and imprisonment was still
a thing of danger. After the Robespierrian members of the Committee were
removed by the expiration of their time of serving, Mr. Monroe reclaimed
me, and I was liberated the 4th of November. Mr. Monroe arrived in Paris
the beginning of August before. All that period of my imprisonment,
at least, I owe not to Robespierre, but to his colleague in projects,
George Washington. Immediately upon my liberation, Mr. Monroe invited me
to his house, where I remained more than a year and a half; and I speak
of his aid and friendship, as an open-hearted man will always do in such
a case, with respect and gratitude.

Soon after my liberation, the Convention passed an unanimous vote,
to invite me to return to my seat among them. The times were still
unsettled and dangerous, as well from without as within, for the
coalition was unbroken, and the constitution not settled. I chose,
however, to accept the invitation: for as I undertake nothing but what
I believe to be right, I abandon nothing that I undertake; and I
was willing also to shew, that, as I was not of a cast of mind to be
deterred by prospects or retrospects of danger, so neither were my
principles to be weakened by misfortune or perverted by disgust.

Being now once more abroad in the world, I began to find that I was
not the only one who had conceived an unfavourable opinion of Mr.
Washington; it was evident that his character was on the decline as well
among Americans as among foreigners of different nations. From being the
chief of the government, he had made himself the chief of a party;
and his integrity was questioned, for his politics had a doubtful
appearance. The mission of Mr. Jay to London, notwithstanding there
was an American Minister there already, had then taken place, and was
beginning to be talked of. It appeared to others, as it did to me, to
be enveloped in mystery, which every day served either to increase or to
explain into matter of suspicion.

In the year 1790, or about that time, Mr. Washington, as President,
had sent Gouverneur Morris to London, as his secret agent to have some
communication with the British Ministry. To cover the agency of Morris
it was given out, I know not by whom, that he went as an agent from
Robert Morris to borrow money in Europe, and the report was permitted
to pass uncontradicted. The event of Morris's negociation was, that Mr.
Hammond was sent Minister from England to America, Pinckney from
America to England, and himself Minister to France. If, while Morris was
Minister in France, he was not a emissary of the British Ministry and
the coalesced powers, he gave strong reasons to suspect him of it. No
one who saw his conduct, and heard his conversation, could doubt his
being in their interest; and had he not got off the time he did, after
his recall, he would have been in arrestation. Some letters of his had
fallen into the hands of the Committee of Public Safety, and enquiry was
making after him.

A great bustle had been made by Mr. Washington about the conduct of
Genet in America, while that of his own Minister, Morris, in France, was
infinitely more reproachable. If Genet was imprudent or rash, he was not
treacherous; but Morris was all three. He was the enemy of the French
revolution, in every stage of it. But notwithstanding this conduct
on the part of Morris, and the known profligacy of his character, Mr.
Washington in a letter he wrote to him at the time of recalling him on
the complaint and request of the Committee of Public Safety, assures
him, that though he had complied with that request, he still retained
the same esteem and friendship for him as before. This letter Morris was
foolish enough to tell of; and, as his own char-acter and conduct were
notorious, the telling of it could have but one effect, which was that
of implicating the character of the writer.(1) Morris still loiters
in Europe, chiefly in England; and Mr. Washington is still in
correspondence with him. Mr. Washington ought, therefore, to expect,
especially since his conduct in the affairs of Jay's treaty, that France
must consider Morris and Washington as men of the same description. The
chief difference, however, between the two is, (for in politics there
is none,) that the one is profligate enough to profess an indifference
about _moral_ principles, and the other is prudent enough to conceal the
want of them.

1 Washington wrote to Morris, June 19,1794, "my confidence
in and friendship for you remain undiminished." It was not
"foolish" but sagacious to show this one sentence, without
which Morris might not have escaped out of France. The
letter reveals Washington's mental decline. He says "until
then [Fauchet's demand for recall of Morris, early 1794] I
had supposed you stood well with the powers that were."
Lafayette had pleaded for Morris's removal, and two French
Ministers before Fauchet, Ternant and Genet, had expressed
their Government's dissatisfaction with him. See Ford's
Writings of Washington, vii., p. 453; also Editor's
Introduction to XXI.--_Editor._

About three months after I was at liberty, the official note of Jay
to Grenville on the subject of the capture of American vessels by the
British cruisers, appeared in the American papers that arrived at Paris.
Every thing was of a-piece. Every thing was mean. The same kind of
character went to all circumstances public or private. Disgusted at
this national degradation, as well as at the particular conduct of Mr.
Washington to me, I wrote to him (Mr. Washington) on the 22d of February
(1795) under cover to the then Secretary of State, (Mr. Randolph,) and
entrusted the letter to Mr. Le-tombe, who was appointed French consul
to Philadelphia, and was on the point of taking his departure. When I
supposed Mr. Letombe had sailed, I mentioned the letter to Mr. Monroe,
and as I was then in his house, I shewed it to him. He expressed a
wish that I would recall it, which he supposed might be done, as he had
learnt that Mr. Letombe had not then sailed. I agreed to do so, and it
was returned by Mr. Letombe under cover to Mr. Monroe.

The letter, however, will now reach Mr. Washington publicly in the
course of this work.

About the month of September following, I had a severe relapse which
gave occasion to the report of my death. I had felt it coming on a
considerable time before, which occasioned me to hasten the work I
had then in hand, the _Second part of the Age of Reason_. When I had
finished that work, I bestowed another letter on Mr. Washington, which I
sent under cover to Mr. Benj. Franklin Bache of Philadelphia. The letter
is as follows:


"Paris, September 20th, 1795.

"Sir,

"I had written you a letter by Mr. Letombe, French consul, but, at the
request of Mr. Monroe, I withdrew it, and the letter is still by me.
I was the more easily prevailed upon to do this, as it was then my
intention to have returned to America the latter end of the present
year, 1795; but the illness I now suffer prevents me. In case I had
come, I should have applied to you for such parts of your official
letters (and of your private ones, if you had chosen to give them) as
contained any instructions or directions either to Mr. Monroe, or to
Mr. Morris, or to any other person respecting me; for after you were
informed of my imprisonment in France, it was incumbent on you to have
made some enquiry into the cause, as you might very well conclude that I
had not the opportunity of informing you of it. I cannot understand your
silence upon this subject upon any other ground, than as _connivance_ at
my imprisonment; and this is the manner it is understood here, and will
be understood in America, unless you give me authority for contradicting
it. I therefore write you this letter, to propose to you to send me
copies of any letters you have written, that may remove that suspicion.
In the preface to the second part of the Age of Reason, I have given a
memorandum from the hand-writing of Robespierre, in which he proposed a
decree of accusation against me, '_for the interests of America as well
as of France!_' He could have no cause for putting America in the
case, but by interpreting the silence of the American government into
connivance and consent. I was imprisoned on the ground of being born
in England; and your silence in not enquiring into the cause of that
imprisonment, and reclaiming me against it, was tacitly giving me up. I
ought not to have suspected you of treachery; but whether I recover
from the illness I now suffer or not, I shall continue to think you
treacherous, till you give me cause to think otherwise. I am sure you
would have found yourself more at your ease, had you acted by me as
you ought; for whether your desertion of me was intended to gratify the
English Government, or to let me fall into destruction in France that
you might exclaim the louder against the French Revolution, or whether
you hoped by my extinction to meet with less opposition in mounting up
the American government--either of these will involve you in reproach
you will not easily shake off.

"THOMAS Paine."

1 Washington Papers in State Department. Endorsed by Bache:
"Jan. 18, 1796. Enclosed to Benj. Franklin Bache, and by him
forwarded immediately upon receipt."--_Editor._.

Here follows the letter above alluded to, which I had stopped in
complaisance to Mr. Monroe.


"Paris, February aad, 1795.

"Sir,

"As it is always painful to reproach those one would wish to respect, it
is not without some difficulty that I have taken the resolution to
write to you. The dangers to which I have been exposed cannot have been
unknown to you, and the guarded silence you have observed upon that
circumstance is what I ought not to have expected from you, either as a
friend or as President of the United States.

"You knew enough of my character to be assured that I could not have
deserved imprisonment in France; and, without knowing any thing more
than this, you had sufficient ground to have taken some interest for my
safety.



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