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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. He supplied my place all the way through.

One hundred and sixty-eight persons were taken out of the Luxembourg
in one night, and a hundred and sixty of them guillotined next day, of
which I now know I was to have been one; and the manner I escaped that
fate is curious, and has all the appearance of accident.

The room in which I was lodged was on the ground floor, and one of a
long range of rooms under a gallery, and the door of it opened outward
and flat against the wall; so that when it was open the inside of the
door appeared outward, and the contrary when it was shut. I had three
comrades, fellow prisoners with me, Joseph Vanhuele, of Bruges, since
President of the Municipality of that town, Michael Rubyns, and Charles
Bastini of Louvain.

When persons by scores and by hundreds were to be taken out of the
prison for the guillotine it was always done in the night, and those who
performed that office had a private mark or signal, by which they knew
what rooms to go to, and what number to take. We, as I have stated, were
four, and the door of our room was marked, unobserved by us, with that
number in chalk; but it happened, if happening is a proper word, that
the mark was put on when the door was open, and flat against the
wall, and thereby came on the inside when we shut it at night, and the
destroying angel passed by it.(1) A few days after this, Robespierre
fell, and Mr. Monroe arrived and reclaimed me, and invited me to his
house.

1 Painefs preface to the "Age of Reason" Part IL, and his
Letter to Washington (p. 222.) show that for some time after
his release from prison he had attributed his escape from
the guillotine to a fever which rendered him unconscious at
the time when his accusation was demanded by Robespierre;
but it will be seen (XXXI.) that he subsequently visited his
prison room-mate Vanhuele, who had become Mayor of Bruges,
and he may have learned from him the particulars of their
marvellous escape. Carlyle having been criticised by John G.
Alger for crediting this story of the chalk mark, an
exhaustive discussion of the facts took place in the London
Athenoum, July 7, 21, August 25, September 1, 1894, in which
it was conclusively proved, I think, that there is no reason
to doubt the truth of the incident See also my article on
Paine's escape, in The Open Court (Chicago), July 26,1894.
The discussion in the Athenoum elicited the fact that a
tradition had long existed in the family of Sampson Perry
that he had shared Paine's cell and been saved by the
curious mistake. Such is not the fact. Perry, in his book on
the French Revolution, and in his "Argus," told the story of
Paine's escape by his illness, as Paine first told it; and
he also relates an anecdote which may find place here:
"Mr. Paine speaks gratefully of the kindness shown him by his
fellow-prisoners of the same chamber during his severe
malady, and especially of the skilful and voluntary
assistance lent him by General O'Hara's surgeon. He relates
an anecdote of himself which may not be unworthy of
repeating. An arrêt of the Committee of Public Welfare had
given directions to the administrators of the palace
[Luxembourg] to enter all the prisons with additional guards
and dispossess every prisoner of his knives, forks, and
every other sharp instrument; and also to take their money
from them. This happened a short time before Mr. Paine's
illness, and as this ceremony was represented to him as an
atrocious plunder in the dregs of municipality, he
determined to avert its effect so far as it concerned
himself. He had an English bank note of some value and gold
coin in his pocket, and as he conceived the visitors would
rifle them, as well as his trunks (though they did not do so
by any one) he took off the lock from his door, and hid the
whole of what he had about him in its inside. He recovered
his health, he found his money, but missed about three
hundred of his associated prisoners, who had been sent in
crowds to the murderous tribunal, while he had been
insensible of their or his own danger." This was probably
the money (£200) loaned by Paine to General O'Hara (who
figured at the Yorktown surrender) in prison.--_Editor._

During the whole of my imprisonment, prior to the fall of Robespierre,
there was no time when I could think my life worth twenty-four hours,
and my mind was made up to meet its fate. The Americans in Paris went in
a body to the Convention to reclaim me, but without success. There was
no party among them with respect to me. My only hope then rested on the
government of America, that it would _remember me_. But the icy heart of
ingratitude, in whatever man it be placed, has neither feeling nor
sense of honour. The letter of Mr. Jefferson has served to wipe away the
reproach, and done justice to the mass of the people of America.(1)

1 Printed in the seventh of this series of Letters.--
_Editor._.

When a party was forming, in the latter end of 1777, and beginning of
1778, of which John Adams was one, to remove Mr. Washington from the
command of the army on the complaint that _he did nothing_, I wrote the
fifth number of the Crisis, and published it at Lancaster, (Congress
then being at Yorktown, in Pennsylvania,) to ward off that meditated
blow; for though I well knew that the black times of '76 were the
natural consequence of his want of military judgment in the choice of
positions into which the army was put about New York and New Jersey, I
could see no possible advantage, and nothing but mischief, that could
arise by distracting the army into parties, which would have been the
case had the intended motion gone on.

General [Charles] Lee, who with a sarcastic genius joined a great fund
of military knowledge, was perfectly right when he said "_We have no
business on islands, and in the bottom of bogs, where the enemy, by the
aid of its ships, can bring its whole force against apart of ours and
shut it up_." This had like to have been the case at New York, and it
was the case at Fort Washington, and would have been the case at Fort
Lee if General [Nathaniel] Greene had not moved instantly off on the
first news of the enemy's approach. I was with Greene through the whole
of that affair, and know it perfectly.

But though I came forward in defence of Mr. Washington when he was
attacked, and made the best that could be made of a series of blunders
that had nearly ruined the country, he left me to perish when I was in
prison. But as I told him of it in his life-time, I should not now bring
it up if the ignorant impertinence of some of the Federal papers, who
are pushing Mr. Washington forward as their stalking horse, did not make
it necessary.

That gentleman did not perform his part in the Revolution better, nor
with more honour, than I did mine, and the one part was as necessary
as the other. He accepted as a present, (though he was already rich,)
a hundred thousand acres of land in America, and left me to occupy six
foot of earth in France.(1) I wish, for his own reputation, he had acted
with more justice. But it was always known of Mr. Washington, by
those who best knew him, that he was of such an icy and death-like
constitution, that he neither loved his friends nor hated his enemies.
But, be this as it may, I see no reason that a difference between Mr.
Washington and me should be made a theme of discord with other people.
There are those who may see merit in both, without making themselves
partisans of either, and with this reflection I close the subject.

1 Paine was mistaken, as many others were, about the gifts
of Virginia (1785) to Washington. They were 100 shares, of
$100 each, in the James River Company, and 50 shares, of
£100 each, in the Potomac Company. Washington, accepted on
condition that he might appropriate them _to public uses_
which was done in his Will.--_Editor._

As to the hypocritical abuse thrown out by the Federalists on other
subjects, I recommend to them the observance of a commandment that
existed before either Christian or Jew existed:

Thou shalt make a covenant with thy senses:
With thine eye that it behold no evil,
With thine ear, that it hear no evil,
With thy tongue, that it speak no evil,
With thy hands, that they commit no evil.

If the Federalists will follow this commandment, they will leave off
lying.

Thomas Paine.

Federal City, Lovett's Hotel, Nov. 26,1802.



LETTER IV.(1)

1 The National Intelligencer, Dec. 6th. 1802.--_Editor._.

As Congress is on the point of meeting, the public papers will
necessarily be occupied with the debates of the ensuing session, and
as, in consequence of my long absence from America, my private affairs
require my attendance, (for it is necessary I do this, or I could not
preserve, as I do, my independence,) I shall close my address to the
public with this letter.

I congratulate them on the success of the late elections, and _that_
with the additional confidence, that while honest men are chosen and
wise measures pursued, neither the treason of apostacy, masked under the
name of Federalism, of which I have spoken in my second letter, nor the
intrigues of foreign emissaries, acting in concert with that mask, can
prevail.

As to the licentiousness of the papers calling themselves _Federal_, a
name that apostacy has taken, it can hurt nobody but the party or the
persons who support such papers. There is naturally a wholesome pride
in the public mind that revolts at open vulgarity. It feels itself
dishonoured even by hearing it, as a chaste woman feels dishonour by
hearing obscenity she cannot avoid. It can smile at wit, or be diverted
with strokes of satirical humour, but it detests the _blackguard_.



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