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4," is said to be by "Thomas
Paine, Citoyen et cultivateur de l'Amerique septentrionale, secretaire
du Congres du departement des affaires etrangeres pendant la guerre
d'Amerique, et auteur des ouvrages intitules: LA SENS COMMUN et LES
DROITS DE L'HOMME."

When the Revolution was advancing to increasing terrors, Paine,
unwilling to participate in the decrees of a Convention whose sole legal
function was to frame a Constitution, retired to an old mansion
and garden in the Faubourg St. Denis, No. 63. Mr. J.G. Alger, whose
researches in personal details connected with the Revolution are
original and useful, recently showed me in the National Archives
at Paris, some papers connected with the trial of Georgeit, Paine's
landlord, by which it appears that the present No. 63 is not, as I had
supposed, the house in which Paine resided. Mr. Alger accompanied me to
the neighborhood, but we were not able to identify the house. The
arrest of Georgeit is mentioned by Paine in his essay on "Forgetfulness"
(Writings, iii., 319). When his trial came on one of the charges was
that he had kept in his house "Paine and other Englishmen,"--Paine
being then in prison,--but he (Georgeit) was acquitted of the paltry
accusations brought against him by his Section, the "Faubourg du Nord."
This Section took in the whole east side of the Faubourg St. Denis,
whereas the present No. 63 is on the west side. After Georgeit (or
Georger) had been arrested, Paine was left alone in the large mansion
(said by Rickman to have been once the hotel of Madame de Pompadour),
and it would appear, by his account, that it was after the execution
(October 31, 1793) Of his friends the Girondins, and political comrades,
that he felt his end at hand, and set about his last literary bequest
to the world,--"The Age of Reason,"--in the state in which it has since
appeared, as he is careful to say. There was every probability, during
the months in which he wrote (November and December 1793) that he would
be executed. His religious testament was prepared with the blade of
the guillotine suspended over him,--a fact which did not deter pious
mythologists from portraying his death-bed remorse for having written
the book.

In editing Part I. of "The Age of Reason," I follow closely the first
edition, which was printed by Barrois in Paris from the manuscript, no
doubt under the superintendence of Joel Barlow, to whom Paine, on
his way to the Luxembourg, had confided it. Barlow was an American
ex-clergyman, a speculator on whose career French archives cast an
unfavorable light, and one cannot be certain that no liberties were
taken with Paine's proofs.

I may repeat here what I have stated in the outset of my editorial work
on Paine that my rule is to correct obvious misprints, and also any
punctuation which seems to render the sense less clear. And to that I
will now add that in following Paine's quotations from the Bible I have
adopted the Plan now generally used in place of his occasionally too
extended writing out of book, chapter, and verse.

Paine was imprisoned in the Luxembourg on December 28, 1793, and
released on November 4, 1794. His liberation was secured by his old
friend, James Monroe (afterwards President), who had succeeded his
(Paine's) relentless enemy, Gouverneur Morris, as American Minister in
Paris. He was found by Monroe more dead than alive from semi-starvation,
cold, and an abscess contracted in prison, and taken to the Minister's
own residence. It was not supposed that he could survive, and he owed
his life to the tender care of Mr. and Mrs. Monroe. It was while thus
a prisoner in his room, with death still hovering over him, that Paine
wrote Part Second of "The Age of Reason."

The work was published in London by H.D. Symonds on October 25, 1795,
and claimed to be "from the Author's manuscript." It is marked as
"Entered at Stationers Hall," and prefaced by an apologetic note of
"The Bookseller to the Public," whose commonplaces about avoiding both
prejudice and partiality, and considering "both sides," need not be
quoted. While his volume was going through the press in Paris, Paine
heard of the publication in London, which drew from him the following
hurried note to a London publisher, no doubt Daniel Isaacs Eaton:

"SIR,--I have seen advertised in the London papers the second Edition
[part] of the Age of Reason, printed, the advertisement says, from the
Author's Manuscript, and entered at Stationers Hall. I have never sent
any manuscript to any person. It is therefore a forgery to say it is
printed from the author's manuscript; and I suppose is done to give the
Publisher a pretence of Copy Right, which he has no title to.

"I send you a printed copy, which is the only one I have sent to London.
I wish you to make a cheap edition of it. I know not by what means any
copy has got over to London. If any person has made a manuscript copy
I have no doubt but it is full of errors. I wish you would talk to Mr.
----- upon this subject as I wish to know by what means this trick has
been played, and from whom the publisher has got possession of any copy.

"T. PAINE.

"PARIS, December 4, 1795"

Eaton's cheap edition appeared January 1, 1796, with the above letter on
the reverse of the title. The blank in the note was probably "Symonds"
in the original, and possibly that publisher was imposed upon. Eaton,
already in trouble for printing one of Paine's political pamphlets, fled
to America, and an edition of the "Age of Reason" was issued under a new
title; no publisher appears; it is said to be "printed for, and sold by
all the Booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland." It is also said to
be "By Thomas Paine, author of several remarkable performances." I have
never found any copy of this anonymous edition except the one in my
possession. It is evidently the edition which was suppressed by the
prosecution of Williams for selling a copy of it.

A comparison with Paine's revised edition reveals a good many clerical
and verbal errors in Symonds, though few that affect the sense. The
worst are in the preface, where, instead of "1793," the misleading
date "1790" is given as the year at whose close Paine completed Part
First,--an error that spread far and wide and was fastened on by his
calumnious American "biographer," Cheetham, to prove his inconsistency.
The editors have been fairly demoralized by, and have altered in
different ways, the following sentence of the preface in Symonds: "The
intolerant spirit of religious persecution had transferred itself into
politics; the tribunals, styled Revolutionary, supplied the place of the
Inquisition; and the Guillotine of the State outdid the Fire and Faggot
of the Church." The rogue who copied this little knew the care with
which Paine weighed words, and that he would never call persecution
"religious," nor connect the guillotine with the "State," nor concede
that with all its horrors it had outdone the history of fire and faggot.
What Paine wrote was: "The intolerant spirit of church persecution had
transferred itself into politics; the tribunals, styled Revolutionary,
supplied the place of an Inquisition and the Guillotine, of the Stake."

An original letter of Paine, in the possession of Joseph Cowen, ex-M.P.,
which that gentleman permits me to bring to light, besides being one
of general interest makes clear the circumstances of the original
publication. Although the name of the correspondent does not appear on
the letter, it was certainly written to Col. John Fellows of New
York, who copyrighted Part I. of the "Age of Reason." He published the
pamphlets of Joel Barlow, to whom Paine confided his manuscript on his
way to prison. Fellows was afterwards Paine's intimate friend in New
York, and it was chiefly due to him that some portions of the author's
writings, left in manuscript to Madame Bonneville while she was a
freethinker were rescued from her devout destructiveness after her
return to Catholicism. The letter which Mr. Cowen sends me, is dated at
Paris, January 20, 1797.

"SIR,--Your friend Mr. Caritat being on the point of his departure for
America, I make it the opportunity of writing to you. I received two
letters from you with some pamphlets a considerable time past, in which
you inform me of your entering a copyright of the first part of the Age
of Reason: when I return to America we will settle for that matter.

"As Doctor Franklin has been my intimate friend for thirty years past
you will naturally see the reason of my continuing the connection with
his grandson. I printed here (Paris) about fifteen thousand of the
second part of the Age of Reason, which I sent to Mr. F[ranklin] Bache.
I gave him notice of it in September 1795 and the copy-right by my
own direction was entered by him. The books did not arrive till April
following, but he had advertised it long before.

"I sent to him in August last a manuscript letter of about 70 pages,
from me to Mr. Washington to be printed in a pamphlet. Mr. Barnes of
Philadelphia carried the letter from me over to London to be forwarded
to America. It went by the ship Hope, Cap: Harley, who since his return
from America told me that he put it into the post office at New York for
Bache. I have yet no certain account of its publication. I mention this
that the letter may be enquired after, in case it has not been published
or has not arrived to Mr. Bache. Barnes wrote to me, from London 29
August informing me that he was offered three hundred pounds sterling
for the manuscript. The offer was refused because it was my intention it
should not appear till it appeared in America, as that, and not England
was the place for its operation.

"You ask me by your letter to Mr. Caritat for a list of my several
works, in order to publish a collection of them. This is an undertaking
I have always reserved for myself. It not only belongs to me of right,
but nobody but myself can do it; and as every author is accountable (at
least in reputation) for his works, he only is the person to do it. If
he neglects it in his life-time the case is altered. It is my intention
to return to America in the course of the present year.



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