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Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was a British pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, inventor, and intellectual. Author of Common Sense

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Thomas Paine


PAINE, Thomas, born in Thetford, Norfolk, England, 29 January, 1737; died in New York, 8 June, 1809. His father was a Quaker and stay-maker, and Paine was brought up to the trade. He left home before reaching his majority, and went to London, but soon moved to Sandwich, where he married the daughter of an excise man and entered the excise service. On the death of his wife, who lived but a year, he returned to London, and, after teaching, re-entered the excise service, in which he remained for some years, employing some of his leisure time in writing prose and verse and preaching from dissenting pulpits. He was selected by his official associates to embody in a paper their complaints and desires regarding the management of the excise: and on this work he displayed such ability as a writer that Benjamin Franklin, then the Pennsylvania colony's agent at London, suggested that America would be a more satisfactory field for the exercise of his special abilities. Naturally a republican and radical, and so persistent a critic of England's government and political customs that he seemed almost to hate his native land, Paine came to this country in 1774, and, through letters from Franklin, at once found work for his pen. Within a year he became editor of the "Pennsylvania Magazine," and in the same year contributed to Bradford's "Pennsylvania Journal" a strong antislavery essay. 

The literary work that gave him greatest prominence, and probably has had more influence than all his other writings combined, was "Common Sense," a pamphlet published early in 1776, advocating absolute independence from the mother country. In this little book appeared all the arguments that had been made in favor of separation, each being stated with great clearness and force, yet with such simplicity as to bring them within the comprehension of all classes of readers. The effect of this pamphlet was so powerful, instantaneous, and general that the Pennsylvania legislature voted Paine £500, the university of the state conferred upon him the degree of M. A., and the Philosophical society admitted him to membership. " Common Sense" soon appeared in Europe in different languages, and is still frequently quoted by republicans in European nations. His "Crisis," which appeared at irregular intervals during the war for independence, was also of great service to the patriot cause; the first number, published in the winter of 1776, was read, by Washington's order, to each regiment and detachment in the service, and did much to relieve the despondency that was general in the army at that time. 

Common Sense, First Edition


It has frequently been asserted that Paine was the author of the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, but the evidence offered is far from conclusive. After serving a short time in the army as aide to General Nathanael Greene, he became secretary of the congressional committee on foreign affairs, and losing this place in 1779, through charges against Silas Deane, commissioner to France, he became clerk of the Pennsylvania legislature. While holding this place Paine made an urgent appeal to the people in behalf of the army, which was in extreme destitution and distress, and he proved his earnestness by subscribing his entire salary for the year to the fund that was raised. 

In 1781 he was associated with Colonel Laurens in the successful effort to obtain loans from France and Holland. The nation was profoundly grateful for Paine's services, and endeavored to reward him. Soon after peace was declared congress voted him $3,000, the state of New York gave him a large farm in Westchester county, and Pennsylvania again made him clerk of her legislature The close of the war deprived him for a time of the intense mental stimulus that seemed necessary to his pen, and he turned his attention to mechanics, one of his inventions being an iron bridge, which he endeavored, in 1787, to introduce in Europe. Reaching France during the revolutionary period, he published, under an assumed name, a pamphlet advocating the abolition of royalty. 

In 1791 he published in England his " Rights of Man," in reply to Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution." For this he was outlawed by the court of king's bench, in spite of an able de fence by Lord Erskine. Escaping from England, he went to France, where he was received as a hero and elected a member of the National convention His republicanism, however, was not extreme enough to please the Jacobins; he opposed the beheading of the king, urging that Louis should be banished to America. The Jacobins finally expelled him from the convention on the ground that he was a foreigner, although he had become a French citizen by naturalization, and Robespierre had him thrown into the Luxembourg prison, where he spent nearly a year in anticipation of the guillotine. Released finally through the efforts of James Monroe, American minister to France, he resumed his seat in the convention, and gave lasting offence to the people of the United States by writing an abusive letter to President Washington, whom he accused of not endeavoring to secure his release from prison. He also alienated most of his American friends and admirers who were religiously inclined by his "Age of Reason " (2 parts, London and Paris, 1794:-'5), an attack upon the Bible, written partly while he was in the Luxembourg prison. 

Six years later, however, when he returned to the United States, he still stood so high in public esteem that President Jefferson allowed him, at his own request, to be brought home by an American sloop-of-war, and he was favorably received in society. He took no active part in politics after his return, and it is generally admitted that intemperance and other vices had weakened his mental abilities. 

In 1809 he died in New York, and by his own direction was buried on his farm at New Rochelle, where he had spent most of the seven last years of his life. A few years later William Cobbett, the English radical, removed Paine's bones to England, with the hope of increasing enthusiasm for the republican ideas of which Paine was still the favorite exemplar in print; but the movement did not produce the desired effect, and it is believed that the remains found their final resting-place in France. The monument for which Paine provided in his will still stands over his first grave, beside the road from New Rochelle to White Plains. 

In addition to the books that made him prominent as a republican, patriot, and unbeliever, Paine wrote many pamphlets, some published anonymously. Most of them were on political topics of the time ; but he also wrote largely on economics and applied science. Among his later works were suggestions on the building of war-ships, iron bridges, the treatment of yellow fever, Great Britain's financial sys-tern, and the principles of government ; he also formulated and published a plan by which governments should impose a special tax on all estates, at the owner's death, for the creation and maintenance of a fund from which all persons, on reaching twenty-one years, should receive a sum sufficient to establish them in business, and by which all in the decline of life should be saved from destitution Few men not occupying his official or ecclesiastical position have been as widely known as Paine, or subjects of opinions so contradictory. Abhorrence of his anti-religious writings has made many critics endeavor to belittle his ability and attribute his " Common Sense," " Crisis," and "Rights of Man" to the inspiration of other minds. It is known that " Common Sense" was written at the suggestion of the noted Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadelphia. But beyond doubt Washington, Franklin, and all other prominent men of the Revolutionary period gave Paine the sole credit for everything that came from his pen, and regarded his services to the patriot cause as of very high and enduring quality. His "Rights of Man," if the undenied statement as to its circulation (a million and a half copies) is correct, was more largely read in England and France than any other political work ever published. 

His "Age of Reason," although very weak as an attack upon the Scriptures, when compared with some of the later criticisms of the German school, and even of some followers of Bishop Colenso, was so dreaded in its day that more than twenty replies, by as many famous divines, quickly appeared; among these was Bishop Watson's famous "Apology for the Bible." Many of Paine's later acquaintances believed that the author of the "Age of Reason" was not proud of his most berated book. Paine admitted, on his return to this country, that he regretted having published the work, for, while he did not disavow any of the contents, he had become convinced that it could do no good and might do much harm. It is known that Benjamin Franklin, himself a doubter, counseled Paine not to publish the " Age of Reason," saying: 

"Burn this piece before it is seen by any other person, whereby you will save yourself a good deal of mortification from the enemies it may raise you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance." 

The fault of the book was not merely that it questioned cherished religious beliefs, but that it attacked them with invective and scurrility of a low order. Paine's apologists plead in extenuation that much of the book was written in prison, under circumstances that destroyed the faith of thousands more religious than the author of the "Age of Reason." It must be noted that Paine never was an atheist; born a Quaker, and roaming through the various fields of dissent from the established faith, he always believed in the existence of a God, and had high and unselfish ideals of the Christian virtues. Men who died not many years ago remembered that in the last few years of his life Paine frequently preached on Sunday afternoons in a grove at New Rochelle, and that his sermons were generally earnest and unobjectionable homilies. By nature Paine was a special pleader, and neither education nor experience ever modified his natural bent. He was a thinker of some merit, but had not enough patience, continuity, or judicial quality to study any subject thoroughly. 

Whatever conscience he possessed was generally overborne by the impulse of a strong nature that never had practiced self-control. He lacked even the restraint of family influence; his first wife lived but a short time, from his second wife he soon separated, an irregular attachment to the wife of a Paris publisher did not improve his character, and he had no children nor any relative in this country. Although affectionate and generous, he was so self-willed and arrogant that none of his friendships could be lasting after they became close. Between improvidence and the irregularities of his life he frequently fell into distresses that embittered his spirit and separated him from men who admired his abilities and desired to befriend him. In spite of his faults, however, the sincerity of his devotion to the cause of liberty cannot be doubted, nor can the magnitude of his service to the United States be diminished.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM



Thomas Paine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was a British pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, inventor, and intellectual. He lived and worked in Britain until age 37, when he emigrated to the British American colonies, in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contribution was the powerful, widely-read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), advocating colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and The American Crisis (1776–1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series.

Later, he greatly influenced the French Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), a guide to Enlightenment ideas. Despite not speaking French, he was elected to the French National Convention in 1792. The Girondists regarded him as an ally, so, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy. In December of 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of The Age of Reason (1793–94), the book advocating deism and arguing against Christian doctrines. In France, he also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income.

He remained in France during the early Napoleonic era, but condemned Napoleon's dictatorship, calling him "the completest charlatan that ever existed".[1] In 1802, at President Thomas Jefferson's invitation, he returned to America.

Thomas Paine died, at the age of 72, at 59 Grove Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, on June 8, 1809. He was buried at what is now called the Thomas Paine Cottage in New Rochelle, New York, where he had lived after returning to America in 1802. His remains were later disinterred by an admirer, William Cobbett, who sought to return them to England. The bones were, however, later lost and his final resting place today is unknown.


  Early life

Thomas Paine's house in Lewes.

Thomas Paine was son of Joseph Pain, a Quaker, and Frances Pain (née Cocke), an Anglican, in Thetford, an important market town and coach stage-post,[2] in rural Norfolk. Born Thomas Pain, it is sometimes claimed that he changed his family name upon his emigration to America in 1774.[3] However, he was using the new spelling by 1769 whilst still in Lewes, Sussex.[4]

He attended Thetford Grammar School (1744-1749), at a time when there was no compulsory education.[5] At age thirteen, he was apprenticed to his stay-maker father; in late adolescence, he enlisted and briefly served as a privateer,[6] before returning to Britain in 1759. There, he became a master stay-maker, establishing a shop in Sandwich, Kent. On September 27, 1759, Thomas Paine married Mary Lambert. His business collapsed soon after. Mary became pregnant, and, after they moved to Margate, she went into early labour, in which she and their child died.

In July 1761, Paine returned to Thetford to work as a supernumerary officer. In December 1762, he became an excise officer in Grantham, Lincolnshire; in August 1764, he was transferred to Alford, at a salary of £50 per annum. On August 27, 1765, he was fired as an Excise Officer for "claiming to have inspected goods he did not inspect." On July 31, 1766, he requested his reinstatement from the Board of Excise, which they granted the next day – upon vacancy. While awaiting that, he worked as a stay maker in Diss, Norfolk, and later as a servant (per the records, for a Mr. Noble, of Goodman's Fields, and for a Mr. Gardiner, at Kensington). He also applied to become an ordained minister of the Church of England and, per some accounts, he preached in Moorfields.[7]

In 1767, he was appointed to a position in Grampound, Cornwall; subsequently, he asked to leave this post to await a vacancy, thus, he became a schoolteacher in London. On February 19, 1768, he was appointed to Lewes, East Sussex, living above the fifteenth-century Bull House, the tobacco shop of Samuel Ollive and Esther Ollive. There, Paine first became involved in civic matters, when Samuel Ollive introduced him to the Society of Twelve, a local, élite intellectual group that met semestrally, to discuss town politics. He also was in the influential Vestry church group that collected taxes and tithes to distribute among the poor. On March 26, 1771, at age 34, he married Elizabeth Ollive, his landlord's daughter.

From 1772 to 1773, Paine joined excise officers asking Parliament for better pay and working conditions, publishing, in summer of 1772, The Case of the Officers of Excise, a twenty-one-page article, and his first political work, spending the London winter distributing the 4,000 copies printed to the Parliament and others. In spring of 1774, he was fired from the excise service for being absent from his post without permission; his tobacco shop failed, too. On April 14, to avoid debtor's prison, he sold his household possessions to pay debts. On June 4, he formally separated from wife Elizabeth and moved to London, where, in September, a friend introduced him to Benjamin Franklin, who suggested emigration to British colonial America, and gave him a letter of recommendation. In October, Thomas Paine emigrated from England to America, arriving in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774.

He barely survived the transatlantic voyage, because the ship's water supplies were bad, and typhoid fever had killed five passengers. On arriving to Philadelphia, he was too sick to debark. Benjamin Franklin's physician, there to welcome Paine to America, had him carried off ship; Paine took six weeks to recover his health.

In January, 1775, he became editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, a position he conducted with considerable ability.

Moreover, Thomas Paine was an inventor, who received a European patent for a single-span iron bridge, developed a smoke-less candle,[8][9] and worked with inventor John Fitch in developing steam engines. Mechanical aptitude and intellectual originality made him most highly revered by a devoted Thomas Edison. [10]


  American Revolution

Common Sense, published in 1776.

Thomas Paine has a claim to the title The Father of the American Revolution because of Common Sense, the pro-independence monograph pamphlet he anonymously published on January 10, 1776; it quickly spread among the literate, and, in three months, 100,000 copies sold throughout the American British colonies (with only two million free inhabitants), making it a best-selling work in eighteenth-century America.[11] Paine's original title for the pamphlet was Plain Truth; Paine's friend, pro-independence advocate Benjamin Rush, suggested Common Sense instead.

The strength of Common Sense was not in the originality of its ideas, but rather in the simplicity of its style.[12] Paine was a pioneer in a new style of political writing suitable to the kind of democratic society he envisioned.[12] Common Sense rendered complex ideas intelligible to average readers, with clear, concise writing unlike the formal, learned style favored by many of Paine's contemporaries. Many were shocked by Paine's undisguised hostility to the British monarchy; the pamphlet labeled King George III as "the Royal Brute of Great Britain."[13]

Common Sense was immensely popular, but how many people were converted to the cause of independence by the pamphlet is unknown.[14] Paine's arguments were rarely cited in public calls for independence, which suggests that Common Sense may have had a more limited impact on the public's thinking about independence than is sometimes believed.[15] The pamphlet probably had little direct influence on the Continental Congress's decision to issue a Declaration of Independence, since that body was more concerned with how declaring independence would affect the war effort.[16] Paine's great contribution was in initiating a public debate about independence, which had previously been rather muted.

Loyalists vigorously attacked Common Sense; one attack, titled Plain Truth (1776), by Marylander James Chalmers, said Paine was a political quack[17] and warned that without monarchy, the government would "degenerate into democracy".[14] Even some American revolutionaries objected to Common Sense; late in life John Adams called it a "crapulous mass." Adams disagreed with the type of radical democracy promoted by Paine, and published Thoughts on Government in 1776 to advocate a more conservative approach to republicanism.

In the early months of the war Paine published The Crisis pamphlet series, to inspire the colonists in their resistance to the British army. To inspire the enlisted men, General George Washington had The American Crisis read aloud to them.[18] The first Crisis pamphlet begins:

These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value." Thomas Paine, The Crisis

In 1777, Paine became secretary of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs. The following year, he alluded to continuing secret negotiation with France in his pamphlets; the resultant scandal and Paine's conflict with Robert Morris eventually lead to Paine's expulsion from the Committee in 1779. However, in 1781, he accompanied John Laurens on his mission to France. Eventually, after much pleading from Paine, New York State recognised his political services with an estate, at New Rochelle, and money from Pennsylvania and from the Congress, at Washington's suggestion. In the Revolutionary War, he served as an aide to General Nathanael Greene. His later years established him as "a missionary of world revolution."

Funding the American Revolution with Henry and John Laurens:

According to Daniel Wheeler's "Life and Writings of Thomas Paine," Volume 1 (of 10, Vincent & Parke, 1908) p. 26-27: Thomas Paine accompanied Col. John Laurens to France and is credited with initiating the mission. It landed in France in March 1781 and returned to America in August with 2.5 livres in silver, as part of a "present" of 6 million and a loan of 10 million. The meetings with the French king were most likely conducted in the company and under the influence of Benjamin Franklin. Upon return to the United States with this highly welcomed cargo, Thomas Paine and probably Col Laurens, "positively objected" that General Washington should propose that Congress remunerate him for his services, for fear of setting "a bad precedent and an improper mode." In addition, according to an appreciation by Elbert Hubbard in the same volume (p.314) "In 1781 Paine was sent to France with Colonel Laurens to negotiate a loan. The errand was successful, and Paine then made influential acquaintances, which were later to be renewed. He organized the Bank of North America to raise money to feed and clothe the army, and performed sundry and various services for the colonies."

Henry Laurens (father of Col. John Laurens) had been the ambassador to the Netherlands but was captured by the British on his return trip there. When he was later exchanged for Cornwallis (late 1781) he proceeded to the Netherlands to continue loan negotiations. There remains some question as to the relationship of Henry Laurens and Thomas Paine to Robert Morris as Superintendent of Finance and his business associate Thomas Willing who became the first president of the Bank of North America (Jan. 1782). They had accused Morris of profiteering in 1779 and Willing had voted against the Declaration of Independence. Although Morris did much to restore his reputation in 1780 and 1781, the credit for obtaining these critical loans to "organize" the Bank of North America for approval by Congress in December 1781 should go to Henry or John Laurens and Thomas Paine more than to Robert Morris.


  Rights of Man

In Fashion before Ease; —or,— A good Constitution sacrificed for a Fantastick Form (1793), James Gillray caricatured Paine tightening the stays of Britannia; protruding from his coat pocket is a measuring tape inscribed "Rights of Man".

Having taken work as a clerk after his expulsion by Congress, Paine eventually returned to London in 1787, living a largely private life. However, his passion was again sparked by revolution, this time in France, which he visited in December 1790. In response to the criticisms of the revolution authored by Edmund Burke in Reflections on the Revolution in France, Paine wrote Rights of Man, an abstract political tract critical of monarchies and European social institutions. He completed the text on January 29, 1791. On January 31, he gave the manuscript to publisher Joseph Johnson for publication on February 22. Meanwhile, government agents visited him, and, sensing dangerous political controversy, he reneged on his promise to sell the book on publication day; Paine quickly negotiated with publisher J.S. Jordan, then went to Paris, per William Blake's advice, leaving three good friends, William Godwin, Thomas Brand Hollis, and Thomas Holcroft, charged with concluding publication. The book appeared on March 13, three weeks later than scheduled, and sold well.

Undeterred by the government campaign to discredit him, Paine issued his Rights of Man, Part the Second, Combining Principle and Practice in February 1792. It detailed a representative government with enumerated social programs to remedy the numbing poverty of commoners through progressive tax measures. Radically reduced in price to ensure unprecedented circulation, it was sensational in its impact and gave birth to reform societies. An indictment for seditious libel followed while government agents followed Paine and instigated mobs, hate meetings, and burnings in effigy. The authorities aimed, with ultimate success, to chase Paine out of England and then try him in absentia.

In summer of 1792, he answered the sedition and libel charges thus: "If, to expose the fraud and imposition of monarchy . . . to promote universal peace, civilization, and commerce, and to break the chains of political superstition, and raise degraded man to his proper rank; if these things be libellous . . . let the name of libeller be engraved on my tomb".[19]

Sketch by Jacques-Louis David of the French National Assembly taking the Tennis Court Oath.

Paine was an enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution, and was granted, along with Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others, honorary French citizenship. Despite his inability to speak French, he was elected to the National Convention, representing the district of Pas-de-Calais. He voted for the French Republic; but argued against the execution of Louis XVI, saying that he should instead be exiled to the United States: firstly, because of the way royalist France had come to the aid of the American Revolution; and secondly because of a moral objection to capital punishment in general and to revenge killings in particular.

Regarded as an ally of the Girondins, he was seen with increasing disfavour by the Montagnards who were now in power, and in particular by Robespierre. A decree was passed at the end of 1793 excluding foreigners from their places in the Convention (Anacharsis Cloots was also deprived of his place). Paine was arrested and imprisoned in December 1793.

Before his arrest and imprisonment, knowing that he would probably be arrested and executed, Paine wrote the first part of The Age of Reason, an assault on organized "revealed" religion combining a compilation of inconsistencies he found in the Bible with his own advocacy of deism. In his "Autobiographical Interlude," which is found in The Age of Reason between the first and second parts, Paine writes, "Thus far I had written on the 28th of December, 1793. In the evening I went to the Hotel Philadelphia . . . About four in the morning I was awakened by a rapping at my chamber door; when I opened it, I saw a guard and the master of the hotel with them. The guard told me they came to put me under arrestation and to demand the key of my papers. I desired them to walk in, and I would dress myself and go with them immediately."

Paine protested and claimed that he was a citizen of America, which was an ally of Revolutionary France, rather than of Great Britain, which was by that time at war with France. However, Gouverneur Morris, the American ambassador to France, did not press his claim, and Paine later wrote that Morris had connived at his imprisonment. Paine thought that George Washington had abandoned him, and he was to quarrel with Washington for the rest of his life. Years later he wrote a scathing open letter to Washington, accusing him of private betrayal of their friendship and public hypocrisy as general and president, and concluding the letter by saying "the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any."[20]

While in prison, Paine narrowly escaped execution. A guard walked through the prison placing a chalk mark on the doors of the prisoners who were due to be sent to the guillotine on the morrow. He placed a 4 on the door of Paine's cell, but Paine's door had been left open to let a breeze in, because Paine was seriously ill at the time. That night, his other three cell mates closed the door, thus hiding the mark inside the cell. The next day their cell was overlooked. "The Angel of Death" had passed over Paine. He kept his head and survived the few vital days needed to be spared by the fall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794).[21]

Paine was released in November 1794 largely because of the work of the new American Minister to France, James Monroe. [22] In July 1795, he was re-admitted into the Convention, as were other surviving Girondins. Paine was one of only three deputees to oppose the adoption of the new 1795 constitution, because it eliminated universal suffrage, which had been proclaimed by the Montagnard Constitution of 1793.[23]

In 1800, Paine purportedly had a meeting with Napoleon. Napoleon claimed he slept with a copy of Rights of Man under his pillow and went so far as to say to Paine that "a statue of gold should be erected to you in every city in the universe."[24] Paine discussed with Napoleon on how best to invade England and in December 1797 wrote two essays, one of which was pointedly named Observations on the Construction and Operation of Navies with a Plan for an Invasion of England and the Final Overthrow of the English Government,[25] in which he promoted the idea to finance 1000 gunboats to carry a French invading army across the English Channel. In 1804 Paine returned to the subject, writing To the People of England on the Invasion of England advocating the idea.[26]

On noting Napoleon's progress towards dictatorship, he condemned him as: "the completest charlatan that ever existed".[27] Thomas Paine remained in France until 1802, returning to America only at President Jefferson's invitation.


  Later years

Thomas Paine's monument on North Avenue in New Rochelle, New York.

Paine returned to America in the early stages of the Second Great Awakening and a time of great political partisanship. The Age of Reason gave ample excuse for the religiously devout to dislike him, and the Federalists attacked him for his ideas of government stated in Common Sense, for his association with the French Revolution, and for his friendship with President Jefferson. Also still fresh in the minds of the public was his Letter to Washington, published six years before his return.

Paine died at the age of 72, at 59 Grove Street in Greenwich Village, New York City on the morning of June 8, 1809. Although the original building is no longer there, the present building has a plaque noting that Paine died at this location. At the time of his death, most American newspapers reprinted the obituary notice from the New York Citizen, which read in part: "He had lived long, did some good and much harm." Only six mourners came to his funeral, two of whom were black, most likely freedmen. The great orator and writer Robert G. Ingersoll wrote:

Thomas Paine had passed the legendary limit of life. One by one most of his old friends and acquaintances had deserted him. Maligned on every side, execrated, shunned and abhorred – his virtues denounced as vices – his services forgotten – his character blackened, he preserved the poise and balance of his soul. He was a victim of the people, but his convictions remained unshaken. He was still a soldier in the army of freedom, and still tried to enlighten and civilize those who were impatiently waiting for his death. Even those who loved their enemies hated him, their friend – the friend of the whole world – with all their hearts. On the 8th of June, 1809, death came – Death, almost his only friend. At his funeral no pomp, no pageantry, no civic procession, no military display. In a carriage, a woman and her son who had lived on the bounty of the dead – on horseback, a Quaker, the humanity of whose heart dominated the creed of his head – and, following on foot, two negroes filled with gratitude – constituted the funeral cortege of Thomas Paine.[28]

"In the summer of 1803 the political atmosphere was in a tempestuous condition, owing to the widespread accusation that Aaron Burr had intrigued with the Federalists against Jefferson to gain the presidency. There was a Society in New York called "Republican Greens," who, on Independence Day, had for a toast "Thomas Paine, the Man of the People", and who seem to have had a piece of music called the "Rights of Man". Paine was also apparently the hero of that day at White Plains, where a vast crowd assembled".

The burial location of Thomas Paine in New Rochelle, New York.

A few years later, the agrarian radical William Cobbett dug up his bones and shipped them back to England. The plan was to give Paine a heroic reburial on his native soil, but the bones were still among Cobbett's effects when he died over twenty years later. There is no confirmed story about what happened to them after that, although down the years various people have claimed to own parts of Paine's remains, such as his skull and right hand.[29][30]


  Political views

Thomas Paine developed his natural justice beliefs in childhood, while listening to a mob jeering and attacking the town folk being punished in the Thetford stocks.[citation needed] He may also have been influenced by his Quaker father.[31] In The Age of Reason – the treatise supporting deism – he says:

The religion that approaches the nearest of all others to true deism, in the moral and benign part thereof, is that professed by the Quakers . . . though I revere their philanthropy, I cannot help smiling at [their] conceit; . . . if the taste of a Quaker [had] been consulted at the Creation, what a silent and drab-colored Creation it would have been! Not a flower would have blossomed its gaieties, nor a bird been permitted to sing.

He was an early advocate of republicanism and liberalism, dismissing monarchy, and viewing government as a necessary evil. He opposed slavery, proposed universal, free public education, a guaranteed minimum income, and other ideas then considered radical.

In the second part of The Age of Reason, about his sickness in prison, he says: ". . . I was seized with a fever, that, in its progress, had every symptom of becoming mortal, and from the effects of which I am not recovered. It was then that I remembered, with renewed satisfaction, and congratulated myself most sincerely, on having written the former part of 'The Age of Reason'". This quotation encapsulates its gist:

The opinions I have advanced . . . are the effect of the most clear and long-established conviction that the Bible and the Testament are impositions upon the world, that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty; that the only true religion is Deism, by which I then meant, and mean now, the belief of one God, and an imitation of his moral character, or the practice of what are called moral virtues – and that it was upon this only (so far as religion is concerned) that I rested all my hopes of happiness hereafter. So say I now – and so help me God.

About religion, The Age of Reason says:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

He also wrote An Essay on the Origin of Free-Masonry (1803-1805), about the Bible being allegorical myth describing astrology:

The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun, and pay him the adoration originally payed to the sun.

He described himself as deist, saying:

How different is [Christianity] to the pure and simple profession of Deism! The true Deist has but one Deity, and his religion consists in contemplating the power, wisdom, and benignity of the Deity in his works, and in endeavoring to imitate him in everything moral, scientifical, and mechanical.

Paine was once often credited with writing "African Slavery in America", the first article proposing the emancipation of African slaves and the abolition of slavery. It was published on March 8, 1775 in the Postscript to the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser (aka The Pennsylvania Magazine and American Museum).[32] Citing a lack of evidence that Paine was the author of this anonymously published essay, some scholars (Eric Foner and Alfred Owen Aldridge) no longer consider this one of his works.[12] By contrast, John Nichols speculates that his "fervent objections to slavery" led to his exclusion from power during the early years of the Republic.[33][dubious ]

His last, great pamphlet, Agrarian Justice, he published in winter of 1795, further developing the ideas in the Rights of Man, about how land ownership separated the majority of people from their rightful, natural inheritance, and means of independent survival. Contemporarily, his proposal is deemed a form of basic Income Guarantee.

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