To Thomas Jefferson September 18, 1789

To Thomas Jefferson September 18, 1789

LONDON, ENGLAND,

DEAR SIR:

I this moment received yours of 7, 13, and which being past night affords me the welcome opportunity of acknowledging it. I wrote you on the 13th by post, but I was so full of the thoughts of America and my American friends that I forgot France. The people of this country speak very differently on the affairs of France. The mass of them so far as I can collect say that France is a much freer country than England. The press, the Bishops etc., say the National Assembly has gone too far. There is yet in this country very considerable remains of the feudal system which people did not see before the revolution in France place it before their eyes. While the multitude here could be terrified with the cry and apprehension of arbitrary power, wooden shoe, popery, and such like stuff, they thought themselves by comparison extraordinary free people. But the bug-bear now loses its force, and they appear to me to be turning their eyes toward the aristocrats of their own nation. There is a new mode of conquering and I think it will have its effect.

I am looking out for a place to erect my bridge; within some of the Squores would be very convenient. I had thought of Lake Squore, where Sir Joseph Banks lives, but he is now in Lancashire. I expect it will be ready for erecting in London by the latter end of October. Whether I shall then sell it in England or bring it over to Paris and erect it there I have not determined in my mind. In order to bring any kind of contract forward for the Seine, it is necessary it should be seen, and as economy will now be a principle in the government it will have a better chance than before.

If you should pass through Bordentown in Jersey which is not out of your way from Philadelphia to N[ew] Y[ork], I shall be glad you would enquire out my particular friend Col. Kirkbride. You will be very much pleased with him. His house is my hearth in that part of the country, and it was there that I made the model of my bridge. If you can drop me a line when at the port to inform me by what vessel you sail, I shall be glad to receive it.

Your affectionate friend,

THOMAS PAINE.