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repaired to London a third time. Here charity supplied him with clothes, money and lodging; till he was on the 11th of July 1766, restored to the Excise, although not to immediate employInent. For support, in the mean time, he engaged himself for a salary of five and twenty pounds a year, in the service of Mr. Noble; who keeping an academy in Lemon-street, Goodman's
fields, wanted an usher to teach English, and walk •
out with the children. He won nobody's favour in this family: and, at Christmas, left the service of Mr. Noble for that of Mr. Gardner, who then taught a reputable school at Kensington. With Mr. Gardner he continued only three months.--He would now willingly have taken orders; but being only an English scholar, could not obtain the certificate of his qualifications previously necessary. Being violently moved, however, with the spirit of preaching, he wandered about for a while as an itinerant Methodist; and, as urged by his necessities, or directed by his spirit, preached in Moorfields, and in various; populous places in England.’ * * At length, in March 1768, he again obtained employment in his calling of an Excise-officer ; and was sent in this capacity, to Lewes in Sussex.--—He was now at the age of thirty-one, ambitious of shining as a jolly fellow among his companions; yet without restraining his sullen overbearing temper; although to the neglect of his duty as an Exciseman. By his intrepidity in water and on ice, he gained the appellation of Commodore. He had gone to live with Mr. Samuel Ollive, a tobacconist; and in his house he
continued till that worthy man's death. Mr.
Ollive died in bad circumstances; leaving a widow, one daughter, and several sons. For some dishonest intermeddling with the effects of W. Q. L., IV. G - ‘ his
his deceased landlord, Paine was turned out of the house by Mr. Attersol, the executor. But, being more favourably regarded by the widow and daughter, he was received again by them in 1770. He soon after commenced grocer; opening Ollive's shop in his own name. He, at the same time worked the tobacco mill on his own behalf; and, regardless of the regulations of the Excise, and of his duty as an Excise-officer, for several years continued this trade, engaging without scruple in smuggling practices, in order to render it lucrative.’ ‘In 1771, at the age of thirty-four, he again ventured on matrimony. Elizabeth Ollive, the daughter of his late landlord, whom he now married, was a handsome and worthy woman, eleven years younger than himself; and, had it not been for her unfortunate attachment to him, might have married to much greater advantage.—Upon the occasion of this second marriage, Thomas Paine thought proper to represent himself as a batchelor, although he must have known that he was either a widower, or, indeed, if his former wife was then alive, a married man;–and although the marriage aćt has declared it to be felony, without benefit of clergy, for a person thus wilfully to make a false entry on the register. In the same year, Paine first commenced author. —Rumbold, candidate for New-Shoreham, required a song to celebrate the patriotism and the conviviality of the occasion. Paine produced one, which was accepted, and rewarded with three guineas.-His poetical honours he seems to have afterwards forgotten ; for, in 1779, he asserted in the news-papers, that, till the appearance of his Common Sense, he had never published a syllable.”
* By a certain boldness and bustle of charaćter, although without the recommendation of honesty, he had become a sort of chief among the Excisemen. They began about this time to be dissatisfied, that their salaries were not augmented with the increase of the national wealth, of the public revenue, and of the price of the necessaries of life. Citizen Paine undertook to write their Case; and, in 1772, produced an octavo pamphlet of one and twenty pages, containing an Introduction : The State of the Salary of the Officers of Excise; ann Thoughts on the Corruption arising from the Poverty of Excise-Officers. Of this panphlet four thousand copies were printed. A contribution was made by the Excisemen, to supply the expenses attending the solicitation of their case. Paine bustled about, as their agent, in London, in the winter of 1773. But nothing was done; and although liberally paid by his employers, he forgot to pay his printer.’ * In his attention to the common cause of the Excisemen, he had neglected his own private asfairs. His credit failed. He sunk into difficulties and distress: and in this situation, made a bill of sale of his whole effects to Mr. Whitfield, a considerable grocer at Lewes, and his principal creditor. Mr. Whitfield, seeing no prospect of payment, took possession of the premises, and, in April 1774, disposed of them as his own. The other creditors thinking themselves outwitted by Whitfield, and cheated by Paine, had recourse to the rigours of law. Paine sought concealment for a time in the cock-loft of the Whitehorseinn.’ * About the same time, he was again dismissed from the Excise. His carelessness of the duties of his office—dealing as a grocer in exciseable articles—buying smuggled tobacco, as a so - G 2 * Q
of snuff—and conniving at others for the concealment of it himself—could no longer be overlooked or excused. His dismission took place on the 8th of April, 1774. He petitioned to be restored, but without success.” Reader, how often have I observed, that disappointment, and refusal of favours asked from government, are the great sources of what is now-adays called patriotism Here we are arrived at the cause of Tom Paine's mortal enemy to the British government. Had his humble petition been granted; had he been restored to his office, he might, and undoubtedly would have stigmatized the Americans as rebels and traitors. He would have probably been among the supplest tools of Lord North, instead of being the champion of American Independence. Who, after reading this, will believe that he was aćtuated by laudable motives, when he wrote against taxation ; when he called the Excise a hell-born monster He long was, you see, an advocate for this hell-born monster, and even one of its choice ministers, and such would he have been to this day, had not his petition been rejećted. What, Thomas : Petition to be one of the under-devils of a hell-born monster | Whatever may be the services which his vindictive pen rendered to the cause of the United States, the people of this country owe him no tribute of gratitude, any more than they do to the pretended friendship of the French court, or nation. Both had the same obječts in view: the furthering of their interests and glutting of their revenge. They looked upon the revolted colonists as their tools, and if America profited by their interference, it was owing to the wisdom of her councils, and not to their good-will.
When patriot Tom began his career in America, it was assuredly very necessary for him to assert, that, till the appearance of his Common Sense, he had never published a single syllable; for, it would have looked a little aukward to see that work coming from the pen of a discarded Excise-officer, who had petitioned for a reinstatement in his oppressive of. fice. Not a whit less aukward does it now appear, to hear clamours against the expenses of the British government coming from the very man who would willingly have added to those expenses by an augmentation of his own salary. He tells the poor people of Great Britain, that their “hard-earned pence “ are wrung from them by the king and his mini“ sters;” yet, we see, that he wished a little more to be wrung from them, when he expected a share. —Disinterested and compassionate soul |
The English Clergy, too, and the tithes they receive, have been considerable obječts of Thomas's outcry. Those battering-rams, called the Rights of Man, have been direéted against these with their full force. But what would the hypocrite have said, had he been able to slip within the walls of the church : Like Dr. Priestley, Tom looks upon tithes as oppressive, merely because he is not a rečtor.
How little his attempt to obtain Holy Orders (sacrilegious monster 1) and his Methodist preaching agree with the opinions expressed in his “Age “ of Reason” I shall notice, when I come to that epoch in his life, when he found it convenient to throw aside the mask, and become an open blasphemer; but I cannot quit him in this place, without observing on the remarkable similarity in the career of Tom and that of Old John Swanwick. Both had paid off their debts in England with a spunge, both had been field preachers, and both had been Excise-officers, when the American war broke
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