Amicus letter

TPNHA Editor's Note

This article from the Pennsylvania Magazine is being listed as a possible Paine work from tests at the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies.

June 1775

Mr. Aitkin,

Although the present times are not favourable to plans of domestic utility, yet from the Continental union and wisdom on one side, and the distracted councils and disjointed orders and operations on the other, we may reasonably look forward to a period of happy conclusion. I presume I shall not be judged premature in furnishing the public through your Magazine, with some hints towards a plan for raising a fund for the purpose of portioning off young married people, with a reasonable sufficiency to begin the world with, who would otherwise have nothing, and that with very little expense to their parents, - and likewise for raising another fund for the purpose of supporting us in our old age, which, when the numberless vicissitudes of life are duly considered, and how frequently the pleasing prospects of today, are clouded with the misfortunes to-morrow, such a plan cannot fail of being considered as a necessary and valuable appendage to our present circumstances.

I believe the plan for portioning off young married people is entirely new, and if effected, would greatly tend to the improvement of America, by enabling them to settle on small plantations, or to occupy new, and at present uncultivated lands, or establish themselves in manufacturers.

Many funds have been raised in England for the support of old age, most of which have failed, because, in order to lure subscribers, they propose making a larger dividend to the incumbent members, then the fund could possibly support; neither did any of these societies ever published their calculations, on which only, if justly done, the probability of the fund being able to support itself could be grounded; but appear to have made their proposals at a venture. What I intend laying before the public is, a series of calculations, with explanations fitted to the meanest capacity, shewing the average probability which every person has to depend on, and the benefits he may justly expect therefrom.