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
I will give them a specimen for the next year. Here
it is--

When an Ant, in travelling over the globe, lift up its foot, and put it
again on the ground, it shakes the earth to its centre: but when YOU,
the mighty Ant of the East, was born, &c. &c. &c, the centre jumped upon
the surface.

This, gentlemen, is the proper style of addresses from _well-bred_ ants
to the monarch of the ant hills; and as I never take pay for preaching,
praying, politics, or poetry, I make you a present of it. Some people
talk of impeaching John Adams; but I am for softer measures. I would
keep him to make fun of. He will then answer one of the ends for which
he was born, and he ought to be thankful that I am arrived to take his
part. I voted in earnest to save the life of one unfortunate king, and
I now vote in jest to save another. It is my fate to be always plagued
with fools. But to return to Federalism and apostacy.

The plan of the leaders of the faction was to overthrow the liberties
of the new world, and place government on the corrupt system of the old.
They wanted to hold their power by a more lasting tenure than the choice
of their constituents. It is impossible to account for their conduct and
the measures they adopted on any other ground. But to accomplish that
object, a standing army and a prodigal revenue must be raised; and to
obtain these, pretences must be invented to deceive. Alarms of dangers
that did not exist even in imagination, but in the direct spirit of
lying, were spread abroad. Apostacy stalked through the land in the garb
of patriotism, and the torch of treason blinded for a while the flame of
liberty.

For what purpose could an army of twenty-five thousand men be wanted?
A single reflection might have taught the most credulous that while
the war raged between France and England, neither could spare a man to
invade America. For what purpose, then, could it be wanted? The case
carries its own explanation. It was wanted for the purpose of destroying
the representative system, for it could be employed for no other. Are
these men Federalists? If they are, they are federalized to deceive and
to destroy.

The rage against Dr. Logan's patriotic and voluntary mission to France
was excited by the shame they felt at the detection of the false alarms
they had circulated. As to the opposition given by the remnant of
the faction to the repeal of the taxes laid on during the former
administration, it is easily accounted for. The repeal of those taxes
was a sentence of condemnation on those who laid them on, and in the
opposition they gave in that repeal, they are to be considered in the
light of criminals standing on their defence, and the country has passed
judgment upon them.

Thomas Paine.

City of Washington, Lovett's Hotel, Nov. 19, 1802.



LETTER III.(1)


1 The National Intelligencer, Dec. 29th, 1802.--_Editor._.

To ELECT, and to REJECT, is the prerogative of a free people.

Since the establishment of Independence, no period has arrived that
so decidedly proves the excellence of the representative system of
government, and its superiority over every other, as the time we now
live in. Had America been cursed with John Adams's _hereditary Monarchy_
or Alexander Hamilton's _Senate for life_ she must have sought, in the
doubtful contest of civil war, what she now obtains by the expression of
public will. An appeal to elections decides better than an appeal to the
sword.

The Reign of Terror that raged in America during the latter end of the
Washington administration, and the whole of that of Adams, is enveloped
in mystery to me. That there were men in the government hostile to the
representative system, was once their boast, though it is now their
overthrow, and therefore the fact is established against them. But that
so large a mass of the people should become the dupes of those who were
loading them with taxes in order to load them with chains, and deprive
them of the right of election, can be ascribed only to that species
of wildfire rage, lighted up by falsehood, that not only acts without
reflection, but is too impetuous to make any.

There is a general and striking difference between the genuine effects
of truth itself, and the effects of falsehood believed to be truth.
Truth is naturally benign; but falsehood believed to be truth is always
furious. The former delights in serenity, is mild and persuasive, and
seeks not the auxiliary aid of invention. The latter sticks at nothing.
It has naturally no morals. Every lie is welcome that suits its purpose.
It is the innate character of the thing to act in this manner, and the
criterion by which it may be known, whether in politics or religion.
When any thing is attempted to be supported by lying, it is presumptive
evidence that the thing so supported is a lie also. The stock on which a
lie can be grafted must be of the same species as the graft.

What is become of the mighty clamour of French invasion, and the cry
that our country is in danger, and taxes and armies must be raised to
defend it? The danger is fled with the faction that created it, and what
is worst of all, the money is fled too. It is I only that have committed
the hostility of invasion, and all the artillery of popguns are prepared
for action. Poor fellows, how they foam! They set half their own
partisans in laughter; for among ridiculous things nothing is more
ridiculous than ridiculous rage. But I hope they will not leave off. I
shall lose half my greatness when they cease to lie.

So far as respects myself, I have reason to believe, and a right to say,
that the leaders of the Reign of Terror in America and the leaders of
the Reign of Terror in France, during the time of Robespierre, were in
character the same sort of men; or how is it to be accounted for, that
I was persecuted by both at the same time? When I was voted out of
the French Convention, the reason assigned for it was, that I was a
foreigner. When Robespierre had me seized in the night, and imprisoned
in the Luxembourg, (where I remained eleven months,) he assigned no
reason for it. But when he proposed bringing me to the tribunal, which
was like sending me at once to the scaffold, he then assigned a reason,
and the reason was, _for the interests of America as well as of France,
"Pour les intérêts de l'Amérique autant que de la France_" The words are
in his own hand-writing, and reported to the Convention by the committee
appointed to examine his papers, and are printed in their report, with
this reflection added to them, "_Why Thomas Paine more than another?
Because he contributed to the liberty of both worlds_."(1)

1 See my "Life of Paine," vol. ii., pp. 79, 81. Also, the
historical introduction to XXI., p. 330, of this volume.
Robespierre never wrote an idle word. This Paine well knew,
as Mirabeau, who said of Robespierre: "That man will go far
he believes every word he says."--_Editor._

There must have been a coalition in sentiment, if not in fact, between
the Terrorists of America and the Terrorists of France, and Robespierre
must have known it, or he could not have had the idea of putting America
into the bill of accusation against me. Yet these men, these Terrorists
of the new world, who were waiting in the devotion of their hearts for
the joyful news of my destruction, are the same banditti who are now
bellowing in all the hacknied language of hacknied hypocrisy, about
humanity, and piety, and often about something they call infidelity, and
they finish with the chorus of _Crucify him, crucify him_. I am become
so famous among them, they cannot eat or drink without me. I serve them
as a standing dish, and they cannot make up a bill of fare if I am not
in it.

But there is one dish, and that the choicest of all, that they have not
presented on the table, and it is time they should. They have not yet
_accused Providence of Infidelity_. Yet according to their outrageous
piety, she(1) must be as bad as Thomas Paine; she has protected him in
all his dangers, patronized him in all his undertakings, encouraged him
in all his ways, and rewarded him at last by bringing him in safety and
in health to the Promised Land. This is more than she did by the Jews,
the chosen people, that they tell us she brought out of the land
of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage; for they all died in the
wilderness, and Moses too.

I was one of the nine members that composed the first Committee of
Constitution. Six of them have been destroyed. Sièyes and myself have
survived--he by bending with the times, and I by not bending. The other
survivor joined Robespierre, he was seized and imprisoned in his turn,
and sentenced to transportation. He has since apologized to me for
having signed the warrant, by saying he felt himself in danger and was
obliged to do it.(2)

1 Is this a "survival" of the goddess Fortuna?--_Editor._

2 Barère. His apology to Paine proves that a death-
warrant had been issued, for Barère did not sign the order
for Paine's arrest or imprisonment.--_Editor._

Hérault Sechelles, an acquaintance of Mr. Jefferson, and a good patriot,
was my _suppléant_ as member of the Committee of Constitution, that is,
he was to supply my place, if I had not accepted or had resigned, being
next in number of votes to me. He was imprisoned in the Luxembourg with
me, was taken to the tribunal and the guillotine, and I, his principal,
was left.

There were two foreigners in the Convention, Anarcharsis Clootz and
myself. We were both put out of the Convention by the same vote,
arrested by the same order, and carried to prison together the same
night. He was taken to the guillotine, and I was again left. Joel Barlow
was with us when we went to prison.

Joseph Lebon, one of the vilest characters that ever existed, and who
made the streets of Arras run with blood, was my _suppléant_, as member
of the Convention for the department of the Pas de Calais. When I
was put out of the Convention he came and took my place. When I was
liberated from prison and voted again into the Convention, he was sent
to the same prison and took my place there, and he was sent to the
guillotine instead of me.



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.