To James Monroe August 25, 1794

To James Monroe August 25, 1794

LUXEMBOURG,

MY DEAR SIR:

Having nothing to do but to sit and think, I will write to pass away time, and to say that I am still here. I have received two notes from Mr. Beresford which are encouraging (as the generality of notes and letters are that arrive to persons here) but they contain nothing explicit or decisive with respect to my liberation, and I shall be very glad to receive a line from yourself to inform me in what condition the matter stands. If I only glide out of prison by a sort of accident America gains no credit by my liberation, neither can my attachment to her be increased by such a circumstance. She has had the services of my best days, she has my allegiance, she receives my portion of Taxes for my house in Bordentown and my farm at New Rochelle, and she owes me protection both at home and through her Ministers abroad, yet I remain in prison, in the face of her Minister, at the arbitrary will of a committee.

Excluded as I am from the knowledge of everything and left to a random of ideas, I know not what to think or how to act. Before there was any Minister here (for I consider Morris as none) and while the Robespierrian faction lasted, I had nothing to do but to keep my mind tranquil and expect the fate that was every day inflicted upon my comrades, not individually but by scores. Many a man whom I have passed an hour with in conversation I have seen marching to his destruction the next hour, or heard of it the next morning; for what rendered the scene more horrible was that they were generally taken away at midnight, so that every man went to bed with the apprehension of never seeing his friends or the world again.

I wish to impress upon you that all the changes that have taken place in Paris have been sudden. There is now a moment of calm, but if through any over complaisance to the persons you converse with on the subject of my liberation, you omit procuring it for me now, you may have to lament the fate of your friend when its too late. The loss of a Battle to the Northward or other possible accident may happen to bring this about. I am not out of danger till I am out of Prison.

Yours affectionately,

THOMAS PAINE.

P. S. I am now entirely without money. The Convention owes me 800 livres salary which I know not how to get while I am here, nor do I know how to draw for money on the rent of my farm in America. It is under the care of my good friend General Lewis Morris. I have received no rent since I have been in Europe.