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* lished in the Pennsylvania Journal, the first num
ber of the Crisis, intended, like the former ' work, to encourage the Americans in their opposiition to the British government.- The Crisis, he
continued to publish in occasional numbers, till
the 13th, and the last appeared on the same day on ¢ which a cessation of 'hostilities between America • and Britain was proclaimed at Philadelphia, the
Igth of April 1783.'
Thus, we see, that he was hardly arrived in Ainerica, when he set about digging up saltpetre for the destruction of his countrymen, the servants of that king whom he himself had served, and whom he would still have served, had he not been dismissed in disgrace. And can any one have the folly to believe, or the impudence to say, that this man was acuated by a love of liberty and America ?
The unprincipled, or silly, admirers of Paine, when they hear their hero attacked, never fail to stigmatize bis enemies as enemies of the American cause. Their object in doing this is evident enough: but, in the name of common sense, what has the justice or injustice of that cause to do with an inquiry into the actions and motives of Paine? Is a man to be looked upon as regretting that America obtained its independence, merely because he detests a cruel, treacherous, and blasphemous ruflian who once wrote in favour of it? Are the characters of the men who effected tlie separation from Britain so closely united with that of Paine, that they must stand or fall together? Are the merits of the revo. lution itself at last to be linked to all that is base and infamous ? you would like
No one, not even Congress itself, ever attempted to justify the colonists in their revolt against their sovereign upon any other ground than this: that they were an oppressed people, unable to obtain a redress of their grievances, without appealing to arms.
Seeing them in this light, we must be careful to exclude from this justification all those subjects of the king, who assisted them without having partaken of the oppression of which they complained. Among the Americans themselves a difference of opinion might, and did, prevail. Some looked upon themselves as oppressed, others did not; both parties were fully justified upon the supposition that they acted agreeably to their consciences: but a man like Paine, just landed in the country, could have no oppression to complain of, and, therefore, his hostility against his country admits of no defence. He was a traitor, as were the Priestleys, the Prices, and all others of the same description. No good man, however zealous he might be in the revolution, ever respected Paine, of which the coldness and neglect he experienced, as soon as order was relestablished, is a certain proof. The faithful citizen, or subject, naturally detests a traitor : it is an impulse that none of us can resist: however we may differ in opinion in other respects, we all agree (to use one of Tom's own expressions) that “a traitor " is the foulest fiend on earth.”
' In 1777, he was appointed by the Congress, • secretary to their committee for foreign affairs. · When Silas Deane, commercial agent for the Con
gress in Europe, was recalled, to make room for • William Lee, once an alderman of London, a con- tention ensued between Deane and the fainily of " the Lees; and Paine took part in the contro• versy, by attacking Deane. He took occasion to ' involve in the dispute the famous Robert Morris,
financier of the United States. Morris interfered against him. And Paine was inadvertently provoked to retail, through the channel of the newspapers, information which had been cnmmunicated to him in his office of secretary. This information betraying intrigues of the French court, their am
- bassador complained to Congress. Paine being
interrogated, confessed himself the author of the
newspaper correspondence in question, and was ' in consequence dismissed from his office.'
What remarks I have to make here, I shall preface by an extract from Swift's excellent work, lately published, on the laws of Connecticut, book V. chap. vii. Speaking of Paine's " baseness in “ his attack on Christianity by publishing his Age “ of Reason," Mr. Swift observes: “this work is « said to be written by Thomas Paine, secretary for
foreign affairs to Congress in the American war. “ Now, the truth is, that during some period of “ the American war, Congress appointed a com“ mittee for foreign affairs, to which Paine was se
cretary, but he had no power, and performed no duty, but that of clerk to the committee; with
out any portion of the authority afterwards an“ nexed to the office of secretary for foreign affairs. " From the post of secretary to the committee for “ foreign affairs, he was dismissed for a scandalous “ breach of trust.
What must we think of a man “ who is capable of such a pitiful artifice to gratify “ his vanity, and render himself important ?”
These are not the words of an Englishman, but of a native American, a learned and elegant writer, and a tried friend and servant of his country.
The account given by Mr. Swift of Tom's dismission confirms that which is given of it in his life. Both accounts, however, are silent as to the nature of the intrigues which he divulged. As I have heard this matter often spoken of by my old bookseller and others, I will just repeat what I have heard, without pledging myself for the truth of it.
While Silas Deane was agent under the plenipotentiary administration of Doctor Franklin, at the court of Versailles; these intriguing patriots had the address to procure a present of 200,000 stand of
condemned arms from the King of France to the American Congress : but, as this was done at a time when the French court had solemnly, though treacherously, engaged not to interfere in the dispute, the present was to be kept a secret among the immediate agents. The condemned arms, given as a present, were, by the faithful agents, charged as good ones, and paid for by the United States. Who pocketed the money, was then, and is still a question ; but there seems to have been but little doubt of its laring undergone a division and a subdivison, as the secret had extended far and wide, before poor Tom was silenced. I have heard more than one American, reputed democrats, curse Dr. Franklin for having misapplied the money of the country, and I imagine this must be what they allude to. He must certainly have found the philosopher's stone, if he thus possessed the gift of turning old iron into gold; and, as I do not see, in his will, to whom he bequeathed this precious stone, I would thank his grand-child to inform us, in the next number of his polite and patriotic paper, who the happy mortal is.
After having heard these accounts of this dismission, which all agree, let us hear what Thomas says about it himself, in the second part of his Rights of Man. " After the declaration of inde
pendence, Congress unanimously appointed me secretary in the foreign department. But a mis
understanding arising between Congress and me, “ respecting one of their commissioners then in Europe, Mr. Silas Deane, I resigned the office.”
Was there ever a more pitiful attempt at acquiring reputation than this ? He was in England when he wrote thus; he would not have dared to write this passage in America. He calls himself secretary in the foreign department, thereby giving to understand that he was a secretary of state in
America, as Lord Grenville or the Duke of Portland is in England, and as Mr. Jefferson then was in the United States. Secretary to the committee for foreign affairs would have sounded small; it would have made a jingle like that of halfpence, whereas secretary of state rang in the ears of his emptyheaded disciples, like guineas upon a hollow
“. But a misunderstanding arising between Congress and me.” Here is another fetch at import
“ Between Congress and me !” How the London Corresponding Society and affiliated mobs stared at this, I dare say. If his misconduct ever became a subject of discussion before Congress, that was all. A complaint was lodged against him, and Congress dismissed him ; but his offence was exposing what should have been kept secret, in writing for the Lees against Silas Deane. How does he twist this into a misunderstanding between Congress and him? As well may the criminal say, he has had a misunderstanding with the judge who condemns him.
“ And so I resigned the office.” Mr. Swift says, and every one in America knows, that he was dis“ missed for a scandalous breach of trust;" but this would not have been so convenient for the purpose of those infamous combinations of men who had undertaken to spread his works about the three kingdoms. In the courtier's vocabulary, resigned has long been synonimous with dismissed, discarded, and turned out, and we see that Thomas, though he rails against courts and courtiers, did not scruple to employ it in the same way.
But there was another reason for substituting resigned for turned out. He had every reason to believe that his life would be published, and he wisely foresaw, that his having been turned out of the Excise, and again turned out in America, would stagger