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Every motive arising from recollection of times past, ought to
have suggested to you the propriety of such a measure. But I cannot find
that you have so much as directed any enquiry to be made whether I
was in prison or at liberty, dead or alive; what the cause of that
imprisonment was, or whether there was any service or assistance you
could render. Is this what I ought to have expected from America, after
the part I had acted towards her, or will it redound to her honour or
to yours, that I tell the story? I do not hesitate to say, that you have
not served America with more disinterestedness, or greater zeal, or more
fidelity, than myself, and I know not if with better effect. After the
revolution of America was established I ventured into new scenes
of difficulties to extend the principles which that revolution had
produced, and you rested at home to partake of the advantages. In the
progress of events, you beheld yourself a President in America, and me a
prisoner in France. You folded your arms, forgot your friend, and became
silent.

"As every thing I have been doing in Europe was connected with my wishes
for the prosperity of America, I ought to be the more surprised at this
conduct on the part of her government. It leaves me but one mode of
explanation, which is, _that every thing is not as it ought to be
amongst you_, and that the presence of a man who might disapprove, and
who had credit enough with the country to be heard and believed, was not
wished for. This was the operating motive with the despotic faction
that imprisoned me in France, (though the pretence was, that I was a
foreigner,) and those that have been silent and inactive towards me
in America, appear to me to have acted from the same motive. It is
impossible for me to discover any other.(1)

"After the part I have taken in the revolution of America, it is
natural that I feel interested in whatever relates to her character
and prosperity. Though I am not on the spot to see what is immediately
acting there, I see some part of what she is acting in Europe. For
your own sake, as well as for that of America, I was both surprised
and concerned at the appointment of Gouverneur Morris to be Minister
to France. His conduct has proved that the opinion I had formed of that
appointment was well founded. I wrote that opinion to Mr. Jefferson at
the time, and I was frank enough to say the same thing to Morris--_that
it was an unfortunate appointment?_ His prating, insignificant
pomposity, rendered him at once offensive, suspected, and ridiculous;
and his total neglect of all business had so disgusted the Americans,
that they proposed drawing up a protest against him. He carried this
neglect to such an extreme, that it was necessary to inform him of it;
and I asked him one day, if he did not feel himself ashamed to take the
money of the country, and do nothing for it?' But Morris is so fond of
profit and voluptousness, that he cares nothing about character. Had
he not been removed at the time he was, I think his conduct would have
precipitated the two countries into a rupture; and in this case,
hated _systematically_ as America is and ever will be by the British
government, and at the same time suspected by France, the commerce of
America would have fallen a prey to both countries.

1 This paragraph of the original letter was omitted from the
American pamphlet, probably by the prudence of Mr. Bache.--
_Editor._

2 "I have just heard of Gouverneur Morris's appointment. It
is a most unfortunate one; and, as I shall mention the same
thing to him when I see him, I do not express it to you with
the injunction of confidence."--Paine to Jefferson, Feb.
13,1792.--_Editor._

3 Paine could not of course know that Morris was willing
that the Americans, to whom he alludes, captains of captured
vessels, should suffer, in order that there might be a case
against France of violation of treaty, which would leave the
United States free to transfer the alliance to England. See
Introduction to XXI.. also my "Life of Paine," ii., p.
83.--_Editor._.

"If the inconsistent conduct of Morris exposed the interest of America
to some hazard in France, the pusillanimous conduct of Mr. Jay in
England has rendered the American government contemptible in Europe.
Is it possible that any man who has contributed to the independence of
Amer-ica, and to free her from the tyranny and injustice of the British
government, can read without shame and indignation the note of Jay to
Grenville? It is a satire upon the declaration of Independence, and an
encouragement to the British government to treat America with contempt.
At the time this Minister of Petitions was acting this miserable part,
he had every means in his hands to enable him to have done his business
as he ought. The success or failure of his mission depended upon the
success or failure of the French arms. Had France failed, Mr. Jay might
have put his humble petition in his pocket, and gone home. The case
happened to be otherwise, and he has sacrificed the honour and perhaps
all the advantages of it, by turning petitioner. I take it for granted,
that he was sent over to demand indemnification for the captured
property; and, in this case, if he thought he wanted a preamble to his
demand, he might have said,

'That, tho' the government of England might suppose itself under
the necessity of seizing American property bound to France, yet
that supposed necessity could not preclude indemnification to the
proprietors, who, acting under the authority of their own government,
were not accountable to any other.'

"But Mr. Jay sets out with an implied recognition of the right of the
British government to seize and condemn: for he enters his complaint
against the _irregularity_ of the seizures and the condemnation, as if
they were reprehensible only by not being _conformable_ to the _terms_
of the proclamation under which they were seized. Instead of being the
Envoy of a government, he goes over like a lawyer to demand a new trial.
I can hardly help thinking that Grenville wrote that note himself and
Jay signed it; for the style of it is domestic and not diplomatic.
The term, _His_ Majesty, used without any descriptive epithet, always
signifies the King whom the Minister that speaks represents. If this
sinking of the demand into a petition was a juggle between Grenville
and Jay, to cover the indemnification, I think it will end in another
juggle, that of never paying the money, and be made use of afterwards to
preclude the right of demanding it: for Mr. Jay has virtually disowned
the right _by appealing to the magnanimity of his Majesty against the
capturers_. He has made this magnanimous Majesty the umpire in the case,
and the government of the United States must abide by the decision. If,
Sir, I turn some part of this business into ridicule, it is to avoid the
unpleasant sensation of serious indignation.

"Among other things which I confess I do not understand, is the
proclamation of neutrality. This has always appeared to me as
an assumption on the part of the executive not warranted by the
Constitution. But passing this over, as a disputable case, and
considering it only as political, the consequence has been that of
sustaining the losses of war, without the balance of reprisals. When
the profession of neutrality, on the part of America, was answered by
hostilities on the part of Britain, the object and intention of that
neutrality existed no longer; and to maintain it after this, was not
only to encourage farther insults and depredations, but was an informal
breach of neutrality towards France, by passively contributing to the
aid of her enemy. That the government of England considered the American
government as pusillanimous, is evident from the encreasing insolence of
the conduct of the former towards the latter, till the affair of General
Wayne. She then saw that it might be possible to kick a government into
some degree of spirit.(1) So far as the proclamation of neutrality was
intended to prevent a dissolute spirit of privateering in America under
foreign colors, it was undoubtedly laudable; but to continue it as a
government neutrality, after the commerce of America was made war upon,
was submission and not neutrality. I have heard so much about this thing
called neutrality, that I know not if the ungenerous and dishonorable
silence (for I must call it such,) that has been observed by your part
of the government towards me, during my imprisonment, has not in some
measure arisen from that policy.

1 Wayne's success against the Indians of the Six Nations,
1794, was regarded by Washington also as a check on England.
Writing to Pendleton, Jan. 22, 1795, he says: "There is
reason to believe that the Indians...._together with their
abettors_; begin to see things in a different point of
view." (Italics mine).--_Editor._

"Tho' I have written you this letter, you ought not to suppose it has
been an agreeable undertaking to me. On the contrary, I assure you, it
has caused me some disquietude. I am sorry you have given me cause to
do it; for, as I have always remembered your former friendship with
pleasure, I suffer a loss by your depriving me of that sentiment.

"Thomas Paine."


That this letter was not written in very good temper, is very evident;
but it was just such a letter as his conduct appeared to me to merit,
and every thing on his part since has served to confirm that
opinion. Had I wanted a commentary on his silence, with respect to my
imprisonment in France, some of his faction have furnished me with it.
What I here allude to, is a publication in a Philadelphia paper, copied
afterwards into a New York paper, both under the patronage of the
Washington faction, in which the writer, still supposing me in prison
in France, wonders at my lengthy respite from the scaffold; and he marks
his politics still farther, by saying:

"It appears, moreover, that the people of England did not relish his
(Thomas Paine's) opinions quite so well as he expected, and that for one
of his last pieces, as destructive to the peace and happiness of their
country, (meaning, I suppose, the _Rights of Man_,) they threatened
our knight-errant with such serious vengeance, that, to avoid a trip to
Botany Bay, he fled over to France, as a less dangerous voyage."

I am not refuting or contradicting the falsehood of this publication,
for it is sufficiently notorious; neither am I censuring the writer: on
the contrary, I thank him for the explanation he has incautiously given
of the principles of the Washington faction.



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