To Elihu Palmer February 21, 1802, since the Fable of Christ

To Elihu Palmer February 21, 1802, since the Fable of Christ.



I received, by Mr. Livingston, the letter you wrote me, and the excellent work you have published.1 I see you have thought deeply on the subject, and expressed your thoughts in a strong and clear style. The hinting and intimating manner of writing that was formerly used on subjects of this kind, produced skepticism, but not conviction. It is necessary to be bold. Some people can be reasoned into sense, and others must be shocked into it. Say a bold thing that will stagger them, and they will begin to think.

There is an intimate friend of mine, Colonel Joseph Kirkbride of Bordentown, New Jersey, to whom I would wish you to send your work. He is an excellent man, and perfectly in our sentiments. You can send it by the stage that goes partly by land and partly by water, between New York and Philadelphia, and passes through Bordentown.

I expect to arrive in America in May next. I have a third part of the Age of Reason to publish when I arrive, which, if I mistake not, will make a stronger impression than anything I have yet published on the subject.

I write this by an ancient colleague of mine in the French Convention, the citizen Lequinio, who is going [as] Consul to Rhode Island, and who waits while I write.

Yours in friendship,


1..Elihu Palmer, militant deist, founded the “Society of Druids,” and worked closely with Paine after the latter’s arrival in the United States. Paine is referring to Palmer’s Principles of Nature; or, a Development of the Moral Causes of Happiness and Misery among the Human Species, published in 1802. Like the Age of Reason it became a text-book of the deistic societies.-Editor.