To the Chairman of the Society for Promoting Constitutional Knowledge

Knowledge Slug: to-the-chairman-of-the-society-for-promoting-constitutional-knowledge

To the Chairman of the Society for Promoting Constitutional Knowledge

LONDON, May, 1792.

It is now upwards of eight years since I was a resident inhabitant of the town of Lewes. My situation among you as an officer of the revenue, for more than six years, enabled me to see into the numerous and various distresses which the weight of taxes even at that time of day occasioned; and feeling, as I then did, and as it is natural for me to do, for the hard condition of others, it is with pleasure I can declare, and every person then under my survey, and now living, can witness the exceeding candor, and even tenderness, with which that part of the duty that fell to my share was executed. The name of Thomas Paine is not to be found in the records of the Lewes justices, in any one act of contention with, or severity of any kind whatever towards, the persons whom he surveyed, either in the town or in the country; of this Mr. Fuller and Mr. who will probably attend the meeting, can, if they please, give full testimony. It is, however, not in their power to contradict it. Having thus indulged myself in recollecting a place where I formerly had, and even now have, many friends, rich and poor, and most probably some enemies, I proceed to the import of my letter. Since my departure from Lewes, fortune or providence has thrown me into a line of action which my first setting out in life could not possibly have suggested to me. Many of you will recollect, that while I resided among you, there was not a man more firm and open in supporting the principles of liberty than myself, and I still pursue, and ever will, the same path.

THOMAS PAINE