Testimonials to the Merits of Thomas Paine
Compiled by Joseph N. Moreau
Boston: J. P. Mendum 1874
To the Rev. M.D. Conway, of Cincinnati, Ohio, the first clergyman who has had the moral courage to champion in the pulpit the cause of one whose fair name, though now defamed, shall one day deservedly shine forth as the brightest star in the American gallery. This little work is respectfully dedicated, by his friends, the publisher.
TO THE READER.
The following little work will, perhaps, give you a more high conception of the important and meritorious services of the "Archimedes of the 18th century" to mankind, then could be conceived from any perusal of any "Life" of him ever issued from the Press; for, instead of its being the opinion of one individual, and that opinion perhaps biassed, it is a collection of the sentiments of some seventy Historians, Statesman, Poets, and Divines, many of whom were opposed to his political, and almost all to his theological views. If it, in the slightest degree adds to your appreciation of Paine, the object of the compiler will be accomplished.
Joseph N Moreau.
Philadelphia, PA, 1861
GEN. GEORGE WASHINGTON
First President of this great Republic in a letter to Thomas Paine, inviting that author in patriot to protect with him, at Rocky-Hill, says: -
"Your presence may remind Congress of your past services to this country, and if it is in my power to impress them, command my best exertions with freedom, as they will be rendered cheerfully, by one who entertains a lively sense of the importance of your works."
In his letter to Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, this honored hero writes: -
"That his Common Sense and many of his Crisis were well-timed and had a happy effect on the public mind, none I believe will turn to the epocha at which they were published, will deny. - That his services have hitherto passed off unnoticed, is obvious to all."
Gen. Washington to Gen. Joseph Reed, March, 1776: - "by private letters which I have lately received from Virginia, I find that 'Common Sense' is working a powerful change their in the minds of many men."
"A few more such flaming arguments as were exhibited at Falmouth and Norfolk, added to the sound doctrine and unanswerable reasoning contained in the pamphlet `Common Sense', will not leave numbers at a loss to decide on the propriety of a separation." - (General Washington to Joseph Reed, David Cambridge, January 31, 1776.)
The Second President of the United States, who spared no occasion to underrate Thomas Paine's services, and to assault his opinions in character, the transparent mode of being a jealousy to be considered himself the greatest mover of the ball of Independence, thus writes to his wife on the 19th of March, 1776: -
"You asked me what I thought of Common Sense. Sensible men think there are some whims, some soft isms, some artful addresses to superstitious notions, some keen attempts upon the passions, in this pamphlet. But all agree there is a great deal of good sense, delivered in a clear, simple, concise, and nervous style. His sentiments of the abilities of America, and of the difficulty of a reconciliation with Great Britain, are generally approved."
The Third President of the United States, and the writer of the glorious "Declaration of Independence," the speaks of the "Author Hero" who first suggested it, in a letter to Francis Eppes: -
"You ask my opinion of Lord Bolingbroke and Thomas Paine. There were alike in making bitter enemies of the priests and pharisees of their day. Both were honest man; both advocates for human liberty.... These two persons differed remarkably in the style of their writing, each leaving a model of what is most perfect in both extremes of the simple and the sublime. No writer has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity of style, and perspicuity of expression, happiness of elucidation, and in simple and unassuming language. In this he may be compared with Dr. Franklin."
In 1801, in a letter to Paine tendering him a passage to the United States from France, international vessel, Jefferson writes: -
"I am in hopes you will find us returned generally to sentiments worthy of former times. In these it will be your glory to have steadily labored, and with as much effect as any man living. That you may long live to continue your useful labors and to reap the reward of the thankfulness of nations, is my sincere prayer."
The Fourth President of the United States, and expander of the Constitution. In 1784, a bill was brought before the Virginia Legislature, proposing to give Paine a tract of land on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay. It was defeated by a single vote. Monroe stated that it would have been carried in his favor, had he not written "Public Good." It was this that called forth the following Madison to Washington: -
"whether a greater disposition to reward patriotic and distinguished exertions of genius will be found on any succeeding occasion, is not for me to predetermine. Should he finally appear that the merits of the man whose writings have so much contributed to infuse and foster the spirit of independence in the people of America are unable to inspire them with a just beneficence, the world, it is to be feared, will give us as little credit for our policy is for our gratitude in this particular."
The Fifth President of the United States. The following extract is from a letter written by this gentleman to Paine, previous to the release from the Luxembourg of "the Apostle of Liberty": -
"it is not necessary for me to tell you how much all your countrymen - I speak of the great mass of the people - are interested in your welfare. They have not forgotten the history of their own Revolution, and the difficult scenes through which they had passed; nor do they review it several stages without reviving in their bosoms a do sensibility of the merits of those who serve them in that great and arduous conflict. The crime of ingratitude has not yet sustained, and I hope never will stain, our national character. You are considered by them as not only having rendered important services in our own Revolution, but as being, on a more extensive scale, the friend of human rights, and a distinguished and able advocate in favor of public liberty. To the welfare of Thomas Paine the Americans are not, nor can they be, indifferent."
GEN. ANDREW JACKSON,
The "Hero of New Orleans", and the Seventh President of the United States, said to the venerable philanthropist, Judge Herttell, of New York, upon the latter proposing the erection of a suitable monument to Thomas Paine: -
"Thomas Paine needs no monument made by hands; he has erected himself a monument in the hearts of all lovers of liberty. ` The Rights of Man' will be more enduring than all the piles of marble and granite man can erect."
Who first introduced Thomas Paine to the new world, says, in a letter he gave the English exciseman recommending him to his son-in-law, Richard Bache(1774): -
"The bearer, Mr. Thomas Paine, is very well recommended to me as an ingenious, were the young man. He goes to Pennsylvania with a view of settling their. I request you to give him your best advice and countenance."
About thirteen years after, Dr. Franklin gave him letters of introduction to several of the most prominent French "men of letters." The following is an extract from one to the Duke de la Rochefoucauld: -
"The bearer of this is Mr. Paine, the author of the famous piece entitled Common Sense, published here with great effect on the minds of the people at the beginning of the Revolution. He is an ingenious, honest man; and as such I beg leave to recommend him to your civilities."
DR. BENJAMIN RUSH,
A member from Philadelphia of the Continental Congress and Signer of the Declaration of Independence, gives the following account of the first appearance of "Common Sense": -
"at that time there was a certain Robert Bell, an intelligent Scotch printer and bookseller of Philadelphia, whom I knew to be as high-toned as Mr. Paine upon the subject of independence That. I mentioned the subject of the pamphlet to him, and he at once consented to run the risk of publishing it. The author in the printer were immediately brought together, and `Common Sense' bursting from the press of the latter, in a few days, with the effect which has really been produced by types and paper, in any age or country."
"Mr. Paine's manner of life was desultory. He often visited in the families of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Rittenhouse, and of Mr. George Clymer, where he made himself acceptable by a turn he discovered for philosophical as well as political subjects."
RICHARD HENRY LEE,
A distinguished patriot of the Revolution, and who, as member of Congress from Virginia, in 1776, first proposed to that body the Declaration of Independence, in returning thanks to general Washington for a copy of the Rights of Man, remarked:
"it is a performance of which any man might be proud; and I most sincerely regret that our country could not have offered sufficient inducements to have retained, as a permanent citizen, a man so thoroughly Republican and sentiment, and fearless in the expression of his opinion."
In a letter of Lee to Washington, dated Chantilly, 22nd July, 1784, he says: -
"the very great respect I shall ever pay to your recommendations, would have been very sufficient to have procured my exertions in favor of Mr. Paine, independent of his great public merits in our Revolution. I have a perfect knowledge of the extraordinary effects produced by that gentleman's writings; effects of such an important nature as would render it very unworthy of these States to let him suffer anywhere; but it would be culpable indeed to permitted under their own I, and weed in their own limits. I had not the good fortune to present when Mr. Paine's business was considered in the House of Delegates (of Virginia) or, most certainly, I should have exerted myself in his behalf. I have been told that a proposition in his favor has miscarried, from its being observed that he had shown enmity to the State by having written a pamphlet (The Public Good) injurious to our claim of Western territory. It has ever appeared to me that this pamphlet was the consequence of Mr. Paine's being himself imposed upon: and that it was rather the fault of the placement of the man. This, however, was but a trifle, when compared with the great and essential services that his other writings have done for the United States."
Extract from a letter from a gentleman in Charleston, S. C., Dated February 14, 1776: Who is the author of Common Sense? I can hardly refrain from adoring him. He deserves a statue of gold? - (Pennsylvania Journal, March 27, 1776.)
The following is related by Clio Rickman, the Poet, who was with Paine in France: -
"When Bonaparte returned (to Paris) from Italy, he called on Mr. Paine and invited him to dinner. In the course of his rapturous address to him, he declared that a statue of gold ought to be erected to him in every city of the universe, assuring him that he always slept with the ` Rights of Man' under his pillow, and conjured him to honor him with his correspondence and advice."
Rickman then remarks on the above: -
"This antidote is only related as a fact. Of the sincerity of the compliment those must judge who knew Bonaparte's principles best."
It might be here added, that when Napoleon meditated his invasion of England, by means of gunboats, he secured the services of Paine to organize a government if it proves successful.
MAJ. GEN. CHARLES LEE,
Fourteen days after the publication of "Common Sense", thus wrote to Gen. Washington: -
"have you seen the pamphlet ` Common Sense'? I never saw such a masterly, irresistible performance. It will, if I mistake not, in concurrence with the transcendent folly and wickedness of the ministry, give the coup de grace to Great Britain. In short, I own myself convinced by the arguments of the necessity of separation."
General Lee, speaking of the wonderful effects of Paine's writings, said, that "He burst forth on the world like Jove in thunder!" John Adams says that Lee used to speak of Paine as "the man with genius in his eyes."
The Poet, whose lyrics and didactic writings have secured him in niche in the Temple of Fame, says:
"Those who remember the impression that was made by Burke's writings on the then living generation, will recollects that in the better educated classes of society there was a general proneness to go with Burke, and it is my sincere opinion that that proneness would have become universal, if such a man as Mackintosh had not presented himself like a breakwater to the general spring tide of Burkeism. I may be reminded there was such a man as Thomas Paine, and that he strongly answered at the bar of public opinion all the arguments of Burke. I do not deny this fact; and I should be sorry if I could be blinds, even with tears in my eyes from Mackintosh, to the services that have been rendered to the cause of truth by the shrewdness encourage of Thomas Paine. But without disparagement to Paine, integrate any essential view, it must be admitted that, though radically sound and sense, he was deficient in strategetics of philosophy; while Mackintosh met Burke perfectly his equal in the tactics of moral science and beauty of style and illustration. Hence Mackintosh went as the apostle of Liberalism among the class, perhaps to influential in society, to whom the manners of Paine were repulsive."
"The greatest forensic advocate since the days of Cicero," speaking of the American Revolution, said: -
"In that great and calamitous conflict, Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine fought in the same field together, but with very different success. Mr. Burke spoke to a Parliament in England, such as Sir George Saville describes it, having no years but for sounds that flattered its corruptions. Mr. Paine, on the other hand, spoke to the people, reasoned with them, told them they were bound by no subjection to any sovereignty, further than their own benefit connected them; and by these powerful arguments prepared the minds of the American people for that glorious, just, and happy Revolution."
SIR FRANCIS BURDETT
Thus alluded to Thomas Paine, in a speech in London, in 1797, as Chairman of the meeting of the "Friends of Parliamentary Reform": -
"Union! It is union among the people that ministers dread. They are aware that when once the people united in demanding their rights, then there must be an end to illegitimate power; I mean all power not derived from the people. Ministers know that he united people are not to be resisted; and it is this that we must understand by what is written in the works of anhonest man too long calumniated, I mean Thomas Paine."
Of New York, says: - "no man in modern ages has done more to benefit mankind, were distinguished himself more for the immense moral good he has affected for his species than Thomas Paine; who in truth merits eternal life, and, doubtless will be immortalized in the memory and gratitude of future generations of happy beings, who will continue to hymn his praises and make his merits known to the remotest posterity."
MME. De STAEL,
In her "Considerations on the French Revolution," says: -
"Thomas Paine was the most violent of the American Democrats; and yet,
there was neither calculation nor hypocrisy in his political
exaggerations. When the sentence of Louis XVI. came under discussion, he
alone advised what would have done honor to France if it had been adopted,
the offer to the King of an asylum in America.
The Americans are grateful
to him," said Paine,for having promoted their Independence.'"
In her "Appeal," says: (See vol.i. part 2, page 45,ed. 1798.)
"Among the persons I was in the habit of receiving, and of whom I have already described the most remarkable, Paine deserves to be mentioned. Declared a French citizen, as one of those celebrated foreigners whom the nation ought with eagerness to adopt, he was known by writings which had been useful in the American Revolution, and might have contributed to produce one in England. I shall not take upon me to decide decisively on his character, because he understood French without speaking it, and I was nearly in the same situation would respect to English; I was, therefore, less able to converse with him myself than to listen to his discourses with those whose political talents were greater than my own. The boldness of his conceptions, the originality of this style, the striking truths which he boldly throws out in the midst of those whom they offend, must necessarily have produced great effects; but I should think him better qualified to scatter, if I may be allowed the expression, the flames of conflagration, then to discuss primary principles or prepare the formation of Government."
REV. GEORGE CROLY,
In his "Life of George IV," thus speaks of Thomas Paine: -
"An impartial estimate of this remarkable person has been rarely forms, and still more rarely expressed. He was commonly assuredly, one of the original man of the age in which he lived. It has been said that he owed his success to vulgarity. No one competent to judge, could read a page of his `Rights of Man', without seeing that this is a clumsy misrepresentation. There is a peculiar originality in his style of thought and expression, his diction is not vulgar or illiterate, but nervous, simple, and scientific. Others have said of him, with more truth, that he owed his popularity to the hardihood with which he proclaimed and indicated his errors. - Paine, like the young Spartan warrior, went into the field stripped bare to the last thread of prudent conventional disguise; and thus not only fixed the gaze of man upon his intrepid singularity, but exhibited the vigor of his faculties in full play. - His ambition seems to have been that of an eccentric, well-intentioned desperado."
The poet, patriot, and statesman, and an intimate friend of Paine, says: -
"He was one of the most benevolent and and disinterested of mankind, endowed with the clearest perception, and uncommon share of original genius, and the greatest depth of thought....
"He ought to be ranked among the brightest and undeviating luminaries of the age in which he lived.
"As a visiting acquaintance and a literary friend, he was one of the most instructive man I ever have known. He had a surprising memory and a brilliant fancy. His mind was a storehouse of facts and useful observations. He was full of lively anecdote, and ingenious, original, pertinent remark upon almost every subject....
"He was always charitable to the poor beyond his means, a sure protector and a friend to all Americans in distress that he found in foreign countries: and he had frequent occasion to exert his influence and protecting them during the Revolution in France....
"His writings will answer for his patriotism."
Author of a "History of the Reformation," and several other works, and at one time a violent opponent of Thomas Paine, says, in his "Paper against Gold": -
"In principles of finance, Mr. Paine was deeply skilled; and two is very great and rare talents as a writer he added an uncommon degree of experience in the concerns of paper money.... Events have proved the truths of his principles on the subject, and to point out the fact is no more than an act of justice due to his talents, and enact more particularly do at my hands, I having been one of his most violent assailants."
In his "Political Register," he confessed that:
"Old age having laid his hand upon this truly great man, this truly philosophical politician, and his expiring flambeau I lighted my taper."
He also says: -
"I saw Paine first pointing the way, and then leading a nation through perils and difficulties of all sorts to Independence, and to lasting liberty, prosperity, and greatness."
The eloquent Irish barrister, wrote the following beautiful tribute to Paine. It may be found in his "Loves of Celestine and St. Hubert": -
"among these, there was one whom I could not help viewing with peculiar admiration, because, by the sole power of surprising genius, he had surmounted the disadvantages of birth and the difficulties of fortune. It was the celebrated Thomas Paine, a man who, no matter what may be the difference of opinion as to his principles, must ever remain a proud example of minds, on patronized and unsupported, eclipsing the factitious beams of rank, and wealth, and pedigree! I never saw him in his captivity, or heard the revilings by which he has since been assailed, without cursing in my heart that ungenerous feeling which, cold to the necessities of genius, his clamorous and the publication of its defects.... `Ye great ones of his nation! Ye pretended moralists, so forward now to cast your interested indignation upon the memory of Paine, where were you in the day of his adversity? - Which of you, to assist his infant merit, would diminish even the surplus of your debauchery's? - Where the mitred charity - the practical religion? Consistent disclaimers, rail on. What, though his genius was the gift of heaven, his heart the altar of friendship! What, though with an eloquence, and anecdote flowed freely from his tone, well conviction made her voice his messenger! What, though thrones trembled, and prejudice fled, and freedom came at his command! He dared to question the creed which you, believing, contradicted, and to despise the rank which you, boasting of, debased.'"
HENRY C. WRIGHT
Says: - "Thomas Paine had a clear idea of God. This Being embodied his highest conception of truth, love, wisdom, mercy, liberty, and power."
The distinguished French statesman, in 1791, upon the appearance of Paine's "Rights of Man" in France, thus wrote: -
"Mr. Thomas Paine is one of those men who most contributed to the establishment of a Republic in America. In England, his ardent love of humanity, and his hatred of every form of Tierney, prompted him to defend the French Revolution against the rhapsodical declamation of Mr. Burke. His 'Rights of Man' , translated into our language, is universally known, and where is the patriotic Frenchman who has not already, from the depths of his soul, thank him for having fortified our cause with all the power of his reason and his reputation? It is with great pleasure that I embrace this occasion to offer him attribute of my thankfulness and profound esteem, for the truly philanthropic use he makes of his distinguished talents."
One of the most bold and sturdy patriots of the Revolution, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1802, in a letter to Paine, lamenting the publication of the "Age of Reason," says: -
"I have frequently, with pleasure, reflected on your services to my native
and your adopted country. Your
Common Sense', and yourCrisis'
unquestionably awakened the public mind, and lead the people loudly to
call for a Declaration of our National Independence."
In "Cassell's Illustrated History of England," says: -
"There was no man in the Colonies, nevertheless, who contributed so much
to bring the open Declaration of Independence to a crisis, as Thomas
Paine, the celebrated author of
The Rights of Man' and theAge of
"This Pamphlet (Common Sense) was the spark which was all that was needed to fire the train of independence That. It at once seized on the imagination of the public; cast all other writers into the shade, and flew in thousands and tens of thousands all over the Colonies.... During the winter and spring, this lucid and admirably reasoned pamphlet was read and discussed everywhere, and by all classes, bringing the conviction that immediate independence was necessary. The common fire blazed up in the Congress, and the thing was done.... He (Paine) became the great oracle on subjects of governments and constitutions, and contrived, both by personal exertions and through the press, to urge on the other separation of the Colonies from the mother country."
In his History of England, says: "Thomas Paine's pamphlet, `Common Sense' in which the new doctrines of liberty and equality were broadly taught, was published in America, in January, 1776, and had an immense circulation."
JOHN FROST, LL. D.,
In his History of the United States, says:
"during the winter of 1775 - 6, many of the most able writers in America were employed in demonstrating the necessity and propriety of a total separation from the mother country, and the establishment of constitutional governments in the Colonies. One of the most conspicuous of these writers was Thomas Paine, who published a pamphlet under the signature of `Common Sense,' which produced great effect. It demonstrated the necessity, advantages, and practicability of independence, and heaped reproach and disgrace on monarchical governments, and ridicule on hereditary succession. - History U. S. Vol. I. pp. 192 - 193.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA,
In 1785, pass the following:
"Whereas, During the late Revolution, and particularly in the most trying and perilous times thereof, many very eminent services were rendered to the people of the United States by Thomas Paine, Esq., accompanied with sundry distinguished instances of fidelity, patriotism, and disinterestedness;
"And, whereas, The said Thomas Paine did, during the whole progress of the Revolution, voluntarily devote himself to the service of the public, without accepting recompense therefor, and, moreover did decline taking or receiving the profits which authors are entitled to on the side of their literary works, but relinquish them for the better accommodation of the country, and for the honor of the public cause;
"And, whereas, Besides the knowledge which this House has of the services of the said Thomas Paine, the same having been recommended to us by his Excellency, the President, and the Supreme Executive Council of the State, of 16th of December last past, and by the friendly offices of the late patriotic Commander-in-chief General Washington;
"Be it enacted, And it is hereby enacted, by the Representatives of the freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, that, as a temporary recompense to the said Thomas Paine, and until suitable provision shall be further made, either federally by Congress, or otherwise, the Supreme Executive Council be authorized and empowered to draw on the Treasurer of this State for the sum of -L-500 in favor of an payable to the said Thomas Paine.
"Signed by the order of the House,
John Bayard, Speaker
CHARLES WILSON PEALE,
In a letter to Silas Deane, dated Philadelphia, July 28, 1779, says:
"Believing Mr. Paine to be a firm friend to America, and by personal acquaintance with him, gives me an opportunity of knowing that he had done more for our common cause than the world, who had only seen his publications, could know, I thought of my duty to support him."
REV. SOLOMON SOUTHWICK,
Printer, politician, and lecturer against Infidelity, and, at one time, the editor and publisher of The Christian Visiter, says: -
"no page in history, stained as it is with treachery and falsehood, or cold-blooded in difference to right or wrong, exhibits a more disgraceful instance of public ingratitude the net which Thomas Paine experience from an age and country jihad so faithfully served. As the Tyrtaeus of the Revolution, and it is no exaggeration to style him such, we owe it everlasting gratitude to his name and memory. Why, then, was he suffered to sink into unmerited silence in obscurity, - after having, in both hemispheres, so signally distinguished himself as the friend of liberty and mankind? Was his religion, or want of religion, the real or affected cause? Did not those who feared his talents, make his religion a pretext not only to treat him with cold neglect, but to strip him, if possible, of every laurel he had one in the political field, as the brilliant, undaunted and successful advocate of freedom? As to his religion, or no religion, God alone must be the judge of that. No human being, no human tribunal, can claim a right even to censure him for it, much less to make it for the pretext of defrauding him, either in life or death, of the reward due to his patriotism, or the legitimate fame of his exertions in the cause of suffering humanity. Had Thomas Paine been guilty of any crime, we should be the last to eulogize his memory. But we cannot find he ever was guilty of any other crime than that of advancing his opinions freely upon all subjects connected with public liberty and happiness. If he aired in any of his opinions, since we know that is intentions were pure, we are bound to cover his errors with the mantle of charity. We cannot say here all that we would wish to say. A brief note is insufficient to do justice to so important a subject. We may, however, safely affirm that Paine's conduct in America was that of a real patriot. In the French Convention he displayed the same pure and disinterested spirit; they are his humanity shone forth in his exertions to save, at the risk of his own life, the unfortunate Louis the XVI from the scaffold. His life, it is true, was written by a ministerial hireling, who strove in vain to blacken his moral character. The late James Cheetham, likewise, wrote his life; and we have no hesitation in saying, that we knew perfectly well at the time the motives of that author for writing and publishing a work, which, we have every reason to believe, is a libel almost from beginning to end. In fact, Cheetham had become tired of this country, and had formed a plan to return to England and become a ministerial editor, in opposition to Cobbett, and his "Life of Paine" was written to pave his way back again. We, therefore, presume that he acted upon the principle that the end justify the means.... Had Thomas Paine been a Grecian or Roman patriot, in olden times, and perform the same public services as he had did for this country, he would've had the honor of an Apotheosis. The Pantheon would have been open to him, and we should at this day regarded his memory with the same veneration that we do that of Socrates and Cicero. But posterity will do him justice. Time, that destroys envy and establishes truth, will close his character in the habiliments that justly belong to it.... We cannot resist the disposition to say, that is suffering the home of the author of "Common Sense," "The Crisis," and "The Rights of Man," to lie neglected, in the first place; and, secondly, in permitting it to be violated, and his bone shipped off to a foreign country, contrary to all the laws of decency and civilization, we have added nothing to the justice or dignity of our national character; and we shall rejoice if impartial history tax is not with the gross departure from both."
Who was, according to Thomas Jefferson, "one of the ablest man in America, and that in several branches of science," thus wrote: -
"I was in Paris at this time (1792), but previous to my going there, Mr. Paine, whom I had met with at Mr. Johnson's, My Bookseller, in St. Paul's Churchyard, gave me letters of introduction to M. DeCondorcet, and his wife, Mme. DeCondorcet, who read his book the English language with considerable facility. These letters introduced me to the interesting society of that very talented writer and his family. I found the letters of introduction of Mr. Paine honored with that attention which might be expected towards an estimable and distinguished man.... I have dined with Mr. Paine and literary society, that Mr.Tiffins's, a merchant in London, at least a dozen times, when his dress, manners, and conversation were such as became the character of an unobtrusive, intelligent gentleman accustomed to good society.... Paine's opinions on theological topics underwent no change before his death."
In his compendium of the "Life the Paine," (New York, 1837) Gilbert Vale says:
"In reply to a query which we recently put to Col. Burr, as to Mr. Paine's
alleged vulgarity, intemperance, and want of cleanliness, as disseminated
by those who wish to true, he remarked with dignity,
Sir, he dined at my
table.' Then, MIA to understand he was a gentleman?Certainly, sir,'
replied Col. Burr, `I always considered Mr. Paine a gentleman, a pleasant
companion, and a good-natured and intelligent man, decidedly temperate,
with a proper regard to his personal appearance, whenever I saw him.'"
REV. M. D. CONWAY,
In a sermon preached in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 29th of January, 1860, said: -
"All efforts to stain the good name of Thomas Paine have recoiled on those who made them, like poisoned arrows shot against a strong wind.... In his life, in his justice, in his truth, in his adherence to high principles, in his disk interestedness, I look in vain for a parallel in those times and in these times. I am selecting my words. I know I am to be held accountable for them. So disinterested was he, that when his works were printed by the ten thousand, and as fast as one addition was out another was demanded, he, a poor and pinched author, who might very easily have grown rich, would not accept one cent for them, declared that he would not calling his principles, and made to the States a present of the copyrights. His brain was his fortune - nay, his living; he gave it all to American Independence."
Wrote the following lines, had them printed, and distributed them himself, on his way to imprisonment at Fort George, in 1798: -
"The pump of courts and pride of kings,
I prized beyond all earthly things;
I love my country, - but the king,
Above all men, his praise I sing;
The royal banners are displayed
And may success the standard age.
"I fain would banish far from hence
The Rights of Man and Common Sense,
Confusion to his odious reign,
That foe to princes - Thomas Paine!
Defeat and Ruin seize the cause
Of France, her liberties and laws."
(Read the first line of the second verse immediately after the first line of the first verse - the second line of the second verse, after the second line of the first, and thus continue throughout to connect the corresponding lines of each verse - having previously read them in the usual manner. The two modes of reading will be found ingeniously to convey distinct opposite meanings.)
R. SHELTON MACKENZIE, D. C. L.,
An author, critic, and literary editor of great ability, in an article on Muir, the Scotch Reformer, published in the PhiladelphiaPress, said: -
"holding the belief that Paine's Theological works had much better never have been written, we cannot ignore the fact that he was one of the ablest politicians of his time, and that liberal minds, all over the world, recognized him as such. The publication of his `Rights of Man,' while the French Revolution was proceeding, had so greatly alarmed Pitt, and the other members of the British Government, that a state prosecution was commenced to crush himself and his book."
REV. JEDEDIAH MORSE,
In his "Annals of the American Revolution," says:
"a pamphlet, under the signature of `Common Sense', written by Thomas Paine, produced a great affect. While it demonstrates the necessity, the advantages, and the practicability of Independence, it treats kingly government with opprobrium, and hereditary succession with ridicule. The change of the public mind on this occasion is without a parallel."
In his political and Civil History of the United States, says: - "Common Sense" produced a wonderful effect in the different colonies in favor of independence.
In her "History of United States," says: -
"early in this year (1776) Thomas Paine, a recent emigrant to America, and editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, published a pamphlet, called `Common Sense,' which spoke at once the secret sentiment of the people. It went direct to the point, showing, in the simplest but strongest language, the folly of keeping up the British connection, and the absolute necessity which existed for separation. The cause of Independence talk, as it were, a definite form from this moment."
HON. SALMA HALE,
In his "History of the United States," says: -
"a pamphlet, entitled `Common Sense,' written by Mr. Thomas Paine, an Englishman, was universally read, and most highly admired. In language, plain, forcible, and singularly well fitted to operate on the public mind, he portrayed the excellencies of Republican institutions, and attacked, with happy and successful ridicule, the principles of hereditary government. The effect of the pamphlet in making converts was astonishing, and is probably without precedent in the annals of literature."
CHARLES JAMES FOX,
The English statesman, said of Paine's "Rights of Man": -
"It seems as clear and as simple as the first rule of arithmetic."
MARY L. BOOTH,
In her excellent "History of New York," alluding to the opposition to Independence manifested by the masses in the early part of the struggle, says: -
"at this juncture `Common Sense' was published in Philadelphia comment by Thomas Paine and electrified the whole nation with the spirit of Independence and Liberty. This eloquent production severed the last link that bound the Colonies to the mother country; it boldly gay speech to the arguments which had long been trembling on the lips of many, but which none before had found courage to utter; and, accepting its conclusions, several of the Colonies instructed their delegates, in the Continental Congress, to close their eyes against the ignis fatuus of loyalty, and fearlessly to throw off their allegiance to the Crown."
REV. WILLIAM GORDON,
In his "History of the Revolution," says: (vol. 2, p. 78, New York, 1794.)
"The publications which have appeared have greatly promoted the spirit of Independence, but no one so much as the pamphlet under the signature of `Common Sense,' written by Mr. Thomas Paine, an Englishman. Nothing could have been better time than this performance. It has produced most astonishing effects."
An American girl once observed of Mr. Paine, that "His head was like an orange - it had a separate apartment for everything it contained."
GEN. WM. A. STOKES,
A distinguished member of the Bar of Pennsylvania, and by no means an admirer of Paine, is obliged, like Cheetham, to confess that the author of "Common Sense" and the "Crisis" -
"Eagerly embraced the cause of the Colonies, and was soon to act in important and meritorious part. When `Common Sense' was published, a great blow was struck - it was felt from New England to the Carolinas, it resounded throughout the world.... He not only reasons, he flattered; he availed himself of prejudice, he dealt freely in invective. For this I do not censure him; for the TRIBUNE OF THE PEOPLE, WHOSE WORDS WERE TO DISMEMBER AN EMPIRE, might well resort to all the aides of art in accomplishing his stupendous task.... Paine's brawny arm applied the torch which set the country in a flame, to be extinguished only by the relinquishment of British supremacy, and for this, irrespective of his motives and character, HE MERITS THE GRATITUDE OF EVERY AMERICAN."
Sec. to Counsel of Sensors on Pennsylvania Constitution, 1776, said: -
"This book, `Common Sense,' may be called the book of Genesis, for it was the beginning. From this book sprang the declaration of Independence, that not only laid the foundation of liberty in our own country, but the good of mankind throughout the world."
In his "History of the American Revolution," says:
"Among the numerous writers on this momentous question, the most luminous, the most eloquent, and the most forcible, was Thomas Paine. His pamphlet, entitled `Common Sense,' was not only read, but understood, by everybody. It contained plain and simple truths, told in the style of language that came home to the heart of every man; and those who regard the independence of the United States is a blessing, will never cease to cherish the remembrance of Thomas Paine. Whatever may have been his subsequent career - in whatever light is moral or religious principles may be regarded, it should never be forgotten that to him, more than to any single individual, was owing to rapid diffusion of those sentiments and feelings which produced the act of separation from Great Britain."
ROBERT BISSET, LL. D.,
In his "Life of Edmund Burke," says: -
"A pamphlet, entitled `Common Sense', published by Thomas Paine, afterward so famous in Europe, contributed very much to the ratification of the independence of America."
In his "History of the Reign of George III," Bisset says: -
"Thomas Paine was represented (in England) as the minister of God, diffusing light to a darkened world."
In his "History of the United States," says: -
"No little excitement was produced by the publication, in Philadelphia, about this time (1776) of `Common Sense', a pamphlet by Thomas Paine.... It argued in that plain and convincing style, for which pain was so distinguished, the folly of any longer attempting to keep up the British connection, and the absolute necessity of a final and formal separation. Pitched exactly to the popular tone, it had a wide circulation throughout the Colonies, and gave a powerful impulse to the cause of Independence."
THOMAS CLIO RICKMAN,
Author of a number of poems, tales, and political pamphlets, says: -
"why seek occasions, surly critics and detractors, to maltreat and misrepresent Mr. Paine? He was mild, unoffending, sincere, gentle, humble, and unassuming; his talents were soaring, acute, profound, extensive, and original; and he possessed that charity which covers a multitude of sins."
W. H. BARTLETT,
In his "History of the United States Of America," says: -
"it was at this critical period, while this feeling, though in operative,
yet lingered in the minds of the people, and when, although the thing
itself had become familiarized to most minds as equally necessary and
desirable, everyone held back from boldly pronouncing the word
INDEPENDENCE, that there appeared a pamphlet called
written by Thomas Paine, the celebrated author of theRights of Man,' who
had recently emigrated from England, and ardently embraced the American
cause. Perceiving the hesitation in the public mind, he set himself to the
work of dissipating it by a clear and convincing statement of the actual
position of affairs. He plainly exposed the impossibility of a lasting
reconciliation with England, and showed that Independence had not only
become the only safe and honorable course, but that it was as practicable
as it was desirable.... This pamphlet, written in a popular and convincing
style, and expressly adapted to the state of public feeling, produced an
indescribable sensation. The ice was now broken; those who, although
convinced, and hitherto held back, came boldly forward, all many who had
halted between two opinions now yielded to the force of necessity and
embraced the popular side."
JAMES THOMPSON CALLENDER,
In his "Sketches of the History of America," says (1798): -
"On titles, Thomas Paine has written with great success; and this is one reason why the friends of water hate him. Abuse of this author is now is naturally expected in a Federal newspaper as tea and chocolate in a grocer's store. To such things compared to resolutions of Congress of 26th of August and 3rd of October, 1785. In consequence of his `early, unsolicited, and continued labors in explaining and enforcing the principles of the late Revolution, by ingenious and timely publications, upon the nature of liberty and civil government', they direct the board of treasury to pay him three thousand dollars. This attestation outweighs the clamor of the six per cent. Orators. They dread, they revile, and, if able, they would persecute Thomas Paine, because he possesses talents encourage sufficient to rend asunder the mantle of speculation, and to delineate the rickety growth of our public debt."
DR. JOHN W. FRANCIS,
Of New York, said: -
"No work had the demand for readers comparable to that of Paine.
of Reason' on its first appearance in New York was printed as an Orthodox
book, by Orthodox publishers, doubtless deceived by the vast renown which
the author ofCommon Sense' had obtained."
BENJ. F. LOSSING
Says: "It (Common Sense) was the earliest and most powerful appeal in behalf of Independence, and probably did more to fix that idea firmly in the public mind than any other instrumentality." - (Field Book of Revolution, vol. ii., p. 274.)
"The flame of desire for absolute independence glowed in every patriot bosom at the beginning of 1776, and the vigorous paragraphs of `Common Sense,' and kindred publications, laboring with the voice of impassioned oratory at every public gathering of the people, uncapped the volcano." - (Ibid., p. 277.)
A prominent poet of the Revolution, and, of course, like Ramsay, Allen, Botta, Gordon, and others, cited in this little work, a contemporary of Thomas Paine, paste the following eloquent and glowing tribute to that remarkable man: -
"Long live the man, in early contests found,
Who spoke his heart when dastards trembled round;
Who, fired with more than Greek or Roman rage,
Flashed truth on tyrants from his manly page -
Immortal Paine! whose Penn surprised we saw,
Could fashion Empires while it kindled awe.
When first with awful front to crush her foes,
From thee our sons the generous mandate took,
As if from Heaven some oracle had spoke;
And when thy pen revealed the grand design,
`Twas done - Columbia's liberty was thine."
The notorious apostate, speaking of whose "Life of Paine", a Christian contemporary of his remarked, "We have every reason to believe IT IS A LIABLE ALMOST FROM BEGINNING TO END," is compelled to admit, speaking of Paine's "Common Sense", that: (see "Life of Paine,"pp. 45-6.)
"this pamphlet of 40 octavo pages, holding out relief by proposing
INDEPENDENCE to a oppressed and despairing people, was published in
January, 1776. Speaking a language which the Colonists had felt but not
thought, its popularity, terrible in its consequences to the parent
country, was unexampled in the history of the press. At first, involving
the Colonists, it was thought, in the crime of rebellion, and pointing to
a road leading inevitably to ruin, it was read with indignation and alarm,
but when the reader (and everybody read it) recovering from the first
shock, reperused it's, it's arguments, nursing his feelings and appealing
to his pride, re-animated his hopes and satisfied his understanding, that
Common Sense,' back by the resources and forces of the Colonies, poor and
feeble as they were, could alone rescue them from the unqualified
oppression with which they were threatened." "His pen was an appendage to
the army of Independence as necessary and as formidable as its cannon.
Having no property he fared as the army fared.... When the Colonists
drooped, he revive them with aCrisis'. The object of it was good, the
method excellent, and the language suited to the depressed spirits of the
army." - (Life of Paine, page 55.)
"His (Paine's) career was wonderful, even for the age of miraculous events he lived in. In America he was a revolutionary hero of the first rank, who carried letters in his pocket from George Washington, thanking him for his services; and he managed besides to write his name in large letters in the history of England and France." - (Atlantic Monthly, vol.4, p. 16.)
"The Democratic movement of the last eighty years, be it a `finality' or only a phase of progress towards a more perfect state, is the grand historical facts of modern times, And Paine's name is intimately connected with it." - (Ibid, p.17.)
HENRY S. RANDALL,
In his "Life of Jefferson," says: -
"We confess we have no sympathy with Mr. Paine's religious views. If his
personal character with what is commonly alleged to have been, (though it
is now said there has been a good deal of exaggeration, and even out and
out invention on this head,) there was much in it no man can admire. - But
concede all the allegations against him, and it still leaves him the
Common Sense,' and certain other papers, which are wrong like
clarions in the darkest hour of the Revolutionary struggle, inspiring the
bleeding, and starving, and pestilence-stricken, as the pen of no other
man ever inspired them. Whatever Paine's faults or vices, however dark and
crapulous the close of his stormy career, when he is spoken of as a
patriot, and especially as the Revolutionary
and pre-Revolutionary writer, shame resst on the pan which dares not to do
him justice! And shame, also, ought to rest on the most cursory narrator
of the events which heralded the Declaration of Independence, who should
omit to enumerate the publication ofCommon Sense' among them."
THE AUTHOR OF "THE ANALYST,"
Published by Wiley and Putnam, New York, 1840, says of Paine: -
"It is allowed by all liberal judges, that, in his
Common Sense' andThe
Crisis,' he strengthened in the American mind its aspirations after
liberty; gave them the right direction, manfully exhorted them in their
wavering hour; and acted the part of the freeman and an active friend to
THE NEW YORK ADVERTISER,
On June 9th, 1809, has the following notice: -
"MR. THOMAS PAINE. -
"'Thy spirit, Independence, let me share.' (Smollett)
"With heartfelt sorrow and poignant regret we are compelled to announce to the world that Mr. Thomas Paine is no more. This distinguished philanthropist, whose life was devoted to the cause of humanity, departed this life yesterday morning, and if any man's memory deserves a place in the breast of a freeman, it is that of the deceased, for
"'Take him for all in all,
We ne'er shall look upon his like again.'
"The friends of the deceased are invited to attend his funeral by 9 o'clock in the morning, from his late residence at Greenwich, from whence his corpse would be conveyed to New Rochelle for interment.
"'His ashes there,
His fame everywhere.'"
In his "Annals of Philadelphia," says: -
"In June, 1785, John Fitch called on that ingenious William Henry, Esq., of Lancaster, to take his opinion of his draughts, who informed him that he (Fitch) was not the first person whoever thought of applying steam to vessels, for that Thomas Paine, author of `Common Sense,' had suggested the same to him, (Henry) in the winter of 1778."
In a short narrative of Paine, says: -
"In his religious opinions he continued to the last as steadfast and tenacious as any sectarian to the definition of his own creed. He never, indeed, broached the subject first, but too intrusive and inquisitive visitors, who came to try him on that point, his general answer was to this effect: "My opinions are now before the world, and all have an opportunity to refute them if they can. I believe them unanswerable truths, and that I have done great service to mankind by boldly putting them forth. I do not wish to argue upon the subject now. I have labored this interestedly in the cause of truth." I shook his hand after his use of speech was gone; but, while the other organs told me sufficiently that he knew me and appreciated my affection, his eye glistened with genius under the pangs of death."
GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE,
Author of "The Trial of Theism," &c., And editor of the "London Reasoner," says: -
"Paine, like Defoe, was the personation of English common sense.... Paine was the Prophet of American Destiny- the great Pamphleteer of its Independence.... He was the Thinker for the People. He found out the obvious thoughts of the period, and showed them to the nation, and created those which were wanting.... Paine's merits and demerits were all popular. His errors were broad and his virtues hearty. There was nothing small or mean about him. He was a strong man all through. The man who was the confidant of Burke, (before the unhappy days when Berks reason failed him,) the counsellor of Franklin, and the friend and colleague of Washington, must've had great qualities.... If Paine was coarse, he had capacity and integrity; if the oak was gnarled, it had strength - if the order was rough there was gold in it.... Let us do justice to him."
THE UNIVERSAL MAGAZINE AND REVIEW
For April, 1793, concludes a review of "The Rights of Man," with these words: -
"and now, courteous reader, we leave Mr. Paine entirely to thy mercy; what
wilt thou say of him? Wilt thou address him?
Thou art a troubler of
privileged orders - we will taller and feather thee; nobles absorb thee,
and kings think thee mad!' Or wilt thou rather put on thy spectacles,
study Mr. Paine's physiognomy, purchases print, hang it over thy
chimney-piece, and, pointing to it, say: -this is no common man; this
is THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND!'"
In his "History of British Journalism," says:
"Soon after this "Thomas Paine's pamphlet, published that your regular periods, but all numbered and paged like newspapers, and named the `American Crisis,' appeared, and first pronounce the words which had been faltering upon so many blanched lips, and trembling tongues of men who shuddered as they saw the only alternative more plainly - Independence and Separation."
Author of the "Life of Stephen Girard," &c., says, in his "Lives of Washington and Jefferson with a parallel": -
"To these followed pamphlets and essays; among which stood in bold and
prominent relief, distinguished for its eloquence, patriotism, and energy,
Common Sense' of Thomas Paine; which, combining great force of
language and power of argument with an irresistible array of facts and
principles, too obvious to be denied, and too reasonable to be confuted,
carried conviction to every mind at the same time that they enlisted the
most ardent feelings in the cause of liberty and independence; agitating
the calm and temperate with a glowing love of country, and infusing
irresistible enthusiasm into the bosoms of the ardent champions of theRights of Man.' ... Lucid in style, forcible and his diction, and happy
in his illustrations, he threw the charms of poetry over the statue of
reason, and made converts to liberty as if the power of fascination
presided over his pen.... The writings of Thomas Paine have been admitted
to have had more influence in the accomplishment of the separation of the
Colonies from the mother country than any other cause.... To the genius of
Thomas Paine, as a popular writer, and to that of George Washington, as a
prudent, skillful, and consummate general, are the American people
indebted for their rights, liberties, and independence. The high opinion
of Paine, entertained by Washington, and publicly expressed by the latter,
sheds fresh lustre on that incomparable merits of the great leader of the
Army of the Revolution."
MARQUIS DE CHASTELLEUX,
Author of the work on "Public Happiness," and a cherished friend of Gen. Washington, the speaks of Paine in his "Travels in America": -
"I know not how it happened, that since my arrival in America, I had not yet seen Mr. Paine, that author so celebrated in America and throughout Europe, by his excellent work entitled `Common Sense,' and several other political pamphlets. M. De Lafayette and myself had asked the permission of an interview for the 14th, in the morning, and we waited on him accordingly with Col. Laurens. I discovered at his apartments all the attributes of a man of letters, a room pretty much in disorder, dusty furniture, and a large table covered with books, lying open, and manuscripts begun.... Having formerly held the post in Government, he has now and with it; and as his patriotism and his talents are unquestionable, it is natural to conclude that the vivacity of his imagination, and the independence of his character, render him more calculated for reasoning on affairs than for conducting them."
The celebrated Statesman and Orator, whose "Reflections on the French Revolution" called forth the "Rights of Man," speaks of "Common Sense" as "that celebrated pamphlet which prepared the minds of the people for Independence."
In his "History of England," says: -
"At this period the celebrated Thomas Paine had entered upon his career as
a public writer. In January, 1776, his pamphlet, entitled
appeared. That able production has been said to have been the joint
composition of Paine, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Samuel and John Adams. Paine,
however, denies that they in any way assisted him; to the two latter
gentleman he was not known at the time. He had been introduced to Franklin
in England.... Paine was originally a member of the Society of Friends,
and brought up as a stay maker at Thetford. Subsequently he obtained a
situation in the excise, but left it to become an assistant in a school.
He became exciseman again, and the pamphlet which he wrote caused him to
be noticed by Franklin, who advised him to visit America. -Common Sense'
opened with reflections on the origin and design of government, and it
then proceeded with a vigorous hand to expose the abuses which had crept
into the English system.... The clear and powerful style of Paine made a
prodigious impression on the American people.... He was treated with great
consideration by the members of the Revolutionary Government, who took no
steps of importance without consulting him."
Rights of Man' had much been read in this country. EvenThe Age of
Reason' had obtained an immense circulation from the great reputation of
the author. - (Atlantic Monthly, Vol.4, p. 9.)
And Italian patriot, historian, and physician, who fought for American Independence, and you must have been a good judge of the influence and merits of Paine's writings, says: -
"At this epoch appeared a writing entitled `Common Sense.' It was the production of Mr. Thomas Paine, born in England, and arrived not long before in America. No writer, perhaps, ever possessed, in a higher degree, the art of moving and guiding the multitude at his will. It may be affirmed, in effect, that this work was one of the most powerful instruments of American Independence. The author endeavored, with very plausible arguments, to demonstrate that the opposition of parties, the diversity of interests, the arrogance of the British Government, and its ardent thirst of vengeance, rendered all reconciliation impossible. On the other hand, he enlarged upon the necessity, utility, and possibility of Independence.... The success of this writing of Paine cannot be described."
In his "History of the United States," after acknowledging the merits of Dickinson, Bland, Franklin, Nicholas, Lee, Jefferson, and others, who supported the cause of the colonists with their pens, says:
"But the most powerful writer was the celebrated Thomas Paine, of London, who resided for some time in America, and, in a work entitled Common Sense, roused the public feeling to a degree unequaled by any previous appeal."
Who, like Gordon, was contemporary with Paine, says, in his "History of the Revolution," alluding to Common Sense, (see vol. 1, pp. 136-37, London, 1793): -
"In union with the feelings and sentiments of the people, it produced surprising effects. Many thousands were convinced, and were led to approve an long for a separation from the mother country; though that measure, a few months before, was not only foreign to their wishes, but the object of their abhorrence, the current suddenly became so strong in its favor that it bore down all before it."
BAINES, THE HISTORIAN,
In his "Wars of the Revolution," says, speaking of the influence of Paine's political writings in England:
"As the current of popular opinion did not flow in the same direction as
the favor of the Court, a pamphlet entitled the
Rights of Man,' in which
sentiments of an opposite kind were maintained with peculiar asperity and
an animadversion, was rated circulated in such a manner as to alarm the
administration. The dishes were multiplied in every form and size; it was
alike seen in the hands of the noble and the plebeian and became, at
length, translated into the various languages of Europe. The Cabinet
Council soon after issued a proclamation againstwicked and seditious
libels,' prosecutions were commenced with a zeal unknown under the
government of the reigning family; and it was reserved for the singular
fortune of an unlettered man, after contributing by one publication to the
establishment of a transatlantic republic in North America, to introduce,
with astonishing effect, the doctrines of democratic government into the
first states of Europe."
LORD EDWARD FITZGERALD,
The noble, but unfortunate, Irish patriot, thus wrote to his mother, from Paris, in 1792, of the abused Thomas Paine, showing clearly that the more closely the habits of that great man were studied, the more great and resplendent did they shine forth:
"I lodge with my friend Paine; we breakfast, dine, and sup together. The more I see of his interior, the more I like and respect him. I cannot express how kind he has been to me; there is a simplicity of manner, a goodness of heart, and a strength of mind and him that I NEVER KNEW A MAN BEFORE TO POSSESS."
FRANCIS OLDYS, (George Chalmers)
In his "Life of Pain," says: -
"Notwithstanding the reviews of criticism, our author received the
applause of party. Nay, Philology came, in the person of Horne Tooke, who
found out his retreat, after some inquiry, to mingle her cordial
congratulations with the thanks of greater powers.
You are,' said he,like Jove, coming down upon us in a shower of gold.'"
HENRY G. WATSON,
In his "History of the United States," says: -
"A pamphlet, entitled `Common Sense,' written by Thomas Paine, arguing, in plain language, the advantage and necessity of Independence, effected a complete revolution in the feelings and sentiments of the great mass of the people."
And English barrister, poet, and miscellaneous writer, made use of the following language, in a letter to T. C. Rickman, in 1795, after strongly criticizing the "Age of Reason": -
"I am glad Paine is living; he cannot be even wrong without enlightening mankind; such is the vigor of his intellect, such the acuteness of his research, and such the force and vivid perspicuity of his expression."
An English Surgeon, who was confined in the Luxembourg prison in Paris, at the same time Paine was, and who disagreed with him and both political and theological matters, asserts that:
"Mr. Paine, while hourly expecting to die, read to me parts of his `age of reason That,' and every night, when I left him to be separately locked up, and expected not to see him alive in the morning, he always expressed his firm belief in the principles of that book, and begged I would tell the world such were his dying opinions. He often said that if he lived he should prosecute further that work and print it."
In his "Lectures on Modern History," speaking of the "American Revolution," says:
"You will now observe the arguments that were used; you will see them in the very celebrated pamphlet - his `Common Sense' - a pamphlet whose effect was such that it was quite a feature in this memorable contest. You may now read it, and wonder how a performance not marked, as you may at first sight suppose, with any particular powers of eloquence, could possibly produce the effects so striking.... The pamphlet of Paine was universally read and admired in America, and is said to have contributed most materially to the vote of Independence, passed by Congress in 1776."
REV. ABIEL HOLMES,
In his "Annals of America," says: -
"A pamphlet under the signature of `Common Sense', written by Thomas Paine, produced great effect. While it demonstrated that the Cecily, the advantages, and the practicability of Independence, it treated kingly government with opprobrium, and hereditary succession with ridicule. The change of the public mind on this occasion is without a parallel."
GUILLAUME TELL POUSSIN,
In his work entitled "The United States; its Power and Progress," says of the influence of Paine's writings:
"The condition of affairs day by day assumed a graver aspect. The unequal struggle between England and the still growing Colonies gave a decided preponderance to ideas of Independence. Several remarkable productions seem to favor this enthusiasm. That of Thomas Paine, entitled `Common Sense,' exerted an overpowering influence. It rendered the sentiment of Independence national; and Congress, being the organ of public opinion, soon prepared to adopt this sentiment. By the resolution of 8th of May, 1776, each Colony was requested to reject all authority emanating from the British Crown, and to establish a form of government that would accord with a particular interest of each State, and with that of the whole Confederation."
"Paine also wrote a series of political pamphlets called `The Crisis,' which were admirably adapted to the state of the times, and which did much toward keeping alive the spirit of determined rebellion against the unjust the government of Great Britain." - (Benjamin F. Lossing, in his Field Book of the Revolution, Vol.II. p. 274, Note.)
"Washington's retreat to Trenton was a compulsive one.... I do not believe that even a number of `The Crisis' could have saved the American army and cause from annihilation, if Howe has been an active and persevering, and enlightened in energetic commander." - (Cheetham's Life of Paine)
"Appleton's Cyclopedia of Biography" says: -
"He (Paine) then published his celebrated pamphlet,
Common Sense', which,
being written with great vigor, and addressed to a highly excited
population, had a prodigious sale, and undoubtedly accelerated the famous
Declaration of Independence.... He arrived in Calais, in September, 1792.
The garrison at Calais were under arms to receive thisfriend of
liberty,' the tri-colored cockade was presented to him by the mayor, and
the handsomest woman in the town was selected to place it in his hat.
Meantime Paine had been declared in Paris worthy the honors of
citizenship, and he proceeded thither, where he was received with every
demonstration of extravagant joy."
"The last `Crisis' was published in Philadelphia April 19th, 1783. Peace was now substantially concluded, and the Independence of the United States acknowledged. He who, if not the suggester, was the ablest literary advocate of Independence, could do no less, when Independence was acquired, then salute the nation on the great event." (Ibid.)
The author of "The Religion of Science," in his introduction to his Life of Paine, published by Calvin Blanchard, of New York, says:
"There needs but to have the light of truth shines fully upon the real character of Thomas Paine, to prove him to have been a far greater man than his most ardent admirers have hitherto given him credit for being."