New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: As a reader of NewMars forum, we have opportunities for you to assist with technical discussions in several initiatives underway. NewMars needs volunteers with appropriate education, skills, talent, motivation and generosity of spirit as a highly valued member. Write to newmarsmember * gmail.com to tell us about your ability's to help contribute to NewMars and become a registered member.

#1 2004-03-02 10:00:24

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*A serial post (still in progress) at my "Age of Voltaire" group.  I proposed the idea of submitting these posts to New Mars to Adrian (due to the intense political nature of the topic material, various nations involved at the time, etc.); he gave his blessing.  The purpose of my serial post -isn't- to glorify or vilify any one particular nation; I'm simply relating the materials as provided in _Tom Paine:  America's Godfather_ by W.E. Woodward (published in 1945), as relates to Paine and the events which swirled around him, his reactions to these events, etc.  As you'll see, he came to face as much enmity and hostility from the American authorities (who owed him a bit of gratitude besides, but gave him little) as their English counterparts.

I'll post 1 new segment per week, at least.

By the way, you'll see that I occasionally quote Mr. Woodward directly; the copyright owner gives consent for brief quotes sans permission.  98% of the material, though, is summarized in my own words:

This gentleman has been near and dear to my heart for some time now,
and I recently had the good fortune of finding an old, out-of-print
book devoted to him, entitled _Tom Paine: America's Godfather_.
In our Links section is a web site which will take you to all the
major writings of Paine's, free for reading in their entirety at the
site.

As I go through the book I will (as has been my habit) summarize some
of the material, starting with this:

Paine has the distinction of having named the U.S.A. He was the
first to use the name "United States of America" in print, and it was
his own creation.

Of _Common Sense_ George Washington said, "The sound doctrine and
unanswerable reasoning contained in the pamphlet 'Common Sense' will
not leave persons at a loss to decide upon the propriety of
separation [from Great Britain]."

Regimental officers of the Continental Army read _Common Sense_
aloud to their soldiers, while they stood at attention.

John Adams said of Paine, "History is to ascribe the Revolution to
Thomas Paine." (The author gives an indication that John Adams
wasn't easily inclined towards complimenting others, so this was
indeed high praise coming from Mr. Adams).

Thomas Paine advocated the following:
1. The abolition of slavery.
2. Protection for animals, i.e. prevention of cruelty to animals.
3. Justice for women, and women's rights.
4. The education of children of the poor at public expense.
5. The purchase of the expansive Louisiana Territory.

He also suggested international copyright recognition.

--Cindy

::EDIT::  Here is the link to the major writings of Paine, which I mentioned above:

[http://www.ushistory.org/paine/]"Common Sense," etc.


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#2 2004-03-02 10:21:46

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Mr. Woodward says his primary objective in writing the book was
to tell the truth about Paine. Why this emphasis upon "the truth,"
relative to Paine? Because his name had been so greatly smeared
since before his death and in the decades following death. Mr.
Woodward tells us that certain elitists amongst the Founding Fathers
did not like Paine's strong and unwavering stand for the rights of
all people (including the common man, of course). Certain elitists
of the time wanted (like in Europe) only the wealthy (and hence
powerful) in control of the new nation. Paine refused to conform to
the desires of these particular individuals. One presumes his
unwavering opposition to slavery and calling for the abolition of
slavery also inflamed hatred against him by some persons. Mr.
Woodward tells us that he initially thought writing a fair and
balanced book about Thomas Paine would be a relatively simple matter,
i.e. be upfront and honest; tell of Paine's strengths and weaknesses,
successes and failures, positive and negative qualities. He found
the task much more difficult than he'd anticipated, due to the heavy
layer of extremely malicious deceit and lies to which Paine and his
reputation were wrongfully and unjustly subjected; also, many of
Paine's writings and words were deliberately twisted out of context
and fed to a gullible public, who believed the slander...and the
majority of whom never bothered to pick up a volume of Paine's
writings and discover the truth about his writings for themselves.

Mr. Woodward names two fellows, one of whom was present at the
Constitutional Convention of 1787 -- Gouveneur Morris (I first recall
encountering his name in the book _Miracle at Philadelphia_ by
Catherine Drinker Bowen) -- and another man named Fisher Ames (not
familiar to me), who actually hired experts in defamation of
character and slander to smear and discredit Paine. It was put about
(successfully, unfortunately) that Thomas Paine was a fallen-down
slobbering drunkard who was unkempt, disheveled and whose person and
clothing stank. Mr. Woodward says this is not true; that consumption
of liquor and beer by men in particular was the common custom of the
day, and that Paine didn't imbibe more than most of his fellow
citizens. Mr. Woodward states, "If Thomas Paine had drunk even half
the liquor that they said he drank, he never could have written
anything, but would have died of delirium tremens before he had
reached middle age."

There were, of course, other slanders as well...I'll comment on those
as well, as we commence.

Paine's father was named Joseph, who was born in 1708. He was a
staymaker by trade, in his home village of Thetford, England. A
staymaker created women's corsets. When Joseph was 26 years old, he
married Frances Cocke, who was 37 years old. Apparently Frances had
a rather dour demeanor. She was a member of the Church of England,
whereas Joseph was a solid, somber Quaker. Thomas was born 3 years
later. Of his childhood home (comprised mostly of Quakers) Paine
said (in _The Age of Reason_), "Though I reverence their
philanthropy, I cannot help smiling at the notion that 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."

At approximately age 12, Thomas began an apprenticeship to his
father, in order to learn the craft of staymaking. He hated it. Mr.
Woodward tells us that Paine was an intensely masculine man who
believed women's garments (particularly undergarments) should be made
by women and not men. After 5 years of this, at age 17, Thomas ran
away from home for the first time. He was accepted as a shipmate on
a privateer named "Terrible," docked at the port of Harwich, which
was captained by a man who'd taken the ominous name of "Death" as his
name.Thomas had barely gotten a start out of Thetford when his father
discovered he'd run away. Somehow (not related by Mr. Woodward)
Joseph Paine discovered where Thomas had ran off to, and went after
him in hot pursuit. Thomas had barely finished a meal provided by
his shipmates when his father arrived and took him back home. This
actually proved fortunate for Thomas, for shortly thereafter
the "Terrible" encountered a French warship; of 200 sailors aboard
the "Terrible," 175 lost their lives in the encounter.

Two years later, in 1756, Thomas ran away again. He joined the
privateer "King of Prussia," commanded by Captain Mendez.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#3 2004-03-02 11:42:44

dickbill
Member
Registered: 2002-09-28
Posts: 749

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Thomas Paine advocated the following:
1. The abolition of slavery.

My comments about that, here he was just in the "air du temps" meaning the idea that slavery was unacceptable was already there.

2. Protection for animals, i.e. prevention of cruelty to animals.

Here he seems much in advance on his time. Today, such an idea seems obvious but 200 years ago, not so. I am surprised.

3. Justice for women, and women's rights.

Here also I think the idea of women rights was present already at his time.

4. The education of children of the poor at public expense.

Ouch ! here is an idea very very much in advance on his time. "at public expense " ? wow, even now, the issue is not settled.

5. The purchase of the expansive Louisiana Territory.

well, that made sense. Not a very premonitory opinion here.

Offline

#4 2004-03-02 11:54:22

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Thomas Paine advocated the following:
1. The abolition of slavery.

My comments about that, here he was just in the "air du temps" meaning the idea that slavery was unacceptable was already there.

*True. 

He wasn't the first opponent of African slavery, but "he was the first writer on the subject who was entirely outspoken before a fairly large audience" (a quote from the book); Paine published an article called "African Slavery in America" which was published in the Pennsylvania Journal in March, 1775. 

An upcoming post will share that information again, and more.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#5 2004-03-08 20:39:21

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Mr. Woodward, author of _Tom Paine: America's Godfather_, continues
to expose lies told about Paine, originally spread by his enemies
(refer to previous posts in this serial). A novelist named Howard
Fast carried on the habit of portraying Paine in a very negative
light including accusing Paine, in his novel "about him," of having
lived on Gin Row in the London slums and eating out of garbage
buckets until he "came to his senses and apprenticed himself to a
staymaker." As Mr. Woodward amply demonstrated via his research,
Paine learned staymaking from his father. He was never on Gin Row,
never lived like a bum, and didn't drink more alcohol than the
average man of his day.

Mr. Howard Fast, whom Woodward refers to as "the lying novelist,"
also attempts to portray Paine as having been brash, swaggering with
insolence, filthy, ragged and disrespectful to Benjamin Franklin,
upon their first meeting (in England). Mr. Woodward dismisses this
sort of scene and states emphatically "the facts are that his evenings
were spent in studying the sciences. He was a well-behaved, studious
youth." Also, "The fact is that Paine went to a great deal of
trouble to look well when he called on Franklin. He wore his best
clothes and was carefully shaved, combed and brushed. In conversing
with Franklin, his manner was respectful, and what he had to say was
so intelligent that Franklin was impressed."

Mr. Woodward tells us, to further dispell the lies woven around Paine
and his reputation for decades (and even over a century and a half),
that Paine didn't even hang around taverns after working. He states there
is "ample evidence" that Paine spent his free hours
acquiring knowledge. Paine himself said to a life-long friend, a man
named Rickman, "I have seldom passed 5 minutes of my life, however
circumstanced, in which I did not acquire some knowledge."

As soon as he was able with his wages, Paine wrote that he
"purchased a pair of globes, and attended the philosophical lectures
of Martin and Ferguson, and became afterwards acquainted with Dr.
Bevis, of the society called the Royal Society, then living in the
Temple, and an excellent astronomer." Paine was particularly
interested in astronomy, mathematics and philosophy.

In September 1759 Paine married a young lady named Mary Lambert, who
worked as a maid. It was a short-lived marriage, less than a year;
Mary died in 1760. Another lie is (in later life) spread about
Paine, concerning his wife's death: A Mr. Francis Oldys (whose real
name was George Chalmers) hints that Mary died from beatings/physical
abuse at the hands of Paine. Mr. Woodward says there is nothing
which backs up this hinted allegation; and given Chalmers' other
lies regarding Paine and his reputation, Chalmers has no credibility.

After Mary's death, Paine works alternately as an exciseman,
staymaker, and even a teacher.

Mr. Woodward tells us that Paine was 5 feet 9 inches tall.

"The most formidable weapon against errors of any kind is reason. I
have never used any other, and I trust I never shall." - Paine

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#6 2004-03-09 15:38:54

Paul
Banned
Registered: 2003-12-17
Posts: 4

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Liking this. Thanks Cindy,

Paul C

Offline

#7 2004-03-10 05:36:16

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

I'm with you, Paul C.   :up:

    Once again, we are indebted to Cindy for (at least in my case, and I suspect one or two others) expanding our horizons and enhancing our general knowledge.

    Thank you.      smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

Offline

#8 2004-03-16 06:14:26

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*Thanks Paul and Shaun; I'm glad you are enjoying the posts.  smile

While working as an exciseman at Lewes, England, Paine frequented a
gathering place which the author alternatively calls the "White Hart
Tavern" or the "White Hart Club." [Explanation for my foreign
members: A "hart" is a small deer-like animal]. Paine was a member
of the club, and was called by his club friends "Commodore," because
of his previous service at sea. The meetings revolved around
discussion and debate, political especially, and Paine was remembered
by his friends for his clever arguments and his tendency to take the
unpopular side of a debate in order to prolong the debate.

Rickman, a lifelong friend of Paine's, wrote this regarding Paine's
activities and interactions at the club: "In politics he was, at
this time, a Whig and notorious for that quality which has been
defined as perseverance in a good cause and obstinacy in a bad one.
He was teancious of his opinions, which were bold, acute and
independent, and which he maintained with ardor, elegance and
argument."

Paine disliked authoritarian opinions. He argued that a time-honored
assertion may not be correct; that although Francis Bacon and
Aristotle were profound and worthy thinkers did not mean they were
infalliable, nor should one refrain from questioning their words.

Mr. Woodward tells us that the disputes at the White Hart Club could
last for hours, but were always accompanied by good humor, good ale
and good food. They had a old Greek copy of _Homer_ which, for some
reason no longer known, the club members called "The Headstrong
Book." In a spirit of jollity, whoever was deemed to have argued and
debated the best was given "The Headstrong Book" to take home with
him and to return at the next meeting. Rickman, Paine's friend,
said "The Headstrong Book" went most often to Paine.

Another friend and member of the club, a Mr. Lee, wrote a poem in
honor of Paine's skill as a debator. The last 2 lines of this poem
struck me as somewhat "prophetic":

"Immortal Paine, while mighty reasoners jar,
We crown thee General of the Headstrong War;
Thy logic vanquish'd error, and thy mind
No bounds but those of right and truth confined.
Thy soul of fire must sure ascend the sky,
Immortal Paine, thy fame can never die;
For men like thee their names must ever save
From the black edits of the tryant grave."

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#9 2004-03-23 11:40:21

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Paine was down and out of luck in 1774. He had recently been sent by
his fellow excisemen to try and persuade Parliamentarians to consider
raising the pay of excisemen, and to ask for monetary assistance in
covering traveling expenses for them (as excisemen were required to
travel from village to village, they had to keep up a horse and also
pay for the expenses of inn lodging and food from their own
pockets). The Parliamentarians refused to listen. The overseers of
the excise office tagged Paine a troublemaker (although he had had
the support -- financial and otherwise -- of his coworkers, who had
nominated him to go and argue their cause to the Parliamentarians)
and drummed him out of excise work. Paine's 2nd marriage dissolved
into formal separation, and a business he attempted to run himself
failed.

In June 1774, Paine went to London. He visited with Benjamin
Franklin, who persuaded Paine to go to America and make a fresh start
in life. It is believed Franklin paid Paine's way aboard a ship
called "London Packet"; if Franklin did indeed pay for the voyage, he
was generous, for Paine was housed as a cabin passenger aboard the
ship. The "London Packet" set sail for Philadelphia in the last week
of September, 1774. The voyage took 9 weeks, reaching Philadelphia
on November 30.

In the ship's hold were other passengers as well; 120 indentured
servants, among whom a disease called "putrid fever" (perhaps known
today as typhoid fever) broke out. Five of these indentured servants
died from the disease, and were buried at sea. Paine also fell ill
from it, and when the ship docked at Philadelphia he was unable to
even arise from his berth. I had imagined, prior to reading this,
Paine emerging from the ship and looking around at his new
surroundings, walking onto American soil for the first time, trying
to imagine this experience for him, his impressions, emotions, etc.
Then I read that he was so very ill. He had a letter of
recommendation from Benjamin Franklin -- who, of course, was the most
famous American of the time, respected and etc. A Dr. Kearsley was
sent for, to aid and assist this friend of Franklin's; Paine was
carried to Dr. Kearsley's coach and spent 3 additional weeks in room
in a dwelling on Market Street, being nursed back to health.

The letter of introduction which Benjamin Franklin wrote on behalf of
Thomas Paine was addressed to his son-in-law, Richard Bache (who was
involved in an extensive import and export business, an influential
man with a good reputation), and reads:

"The bearer, Mr. Thomas Paine, is very well recommended to me as an
ingenious, worthy young man. He goes to Pennsylvania with the view
to settling there. I request you give him your best advice and
countenance, as he is quite a stranger there. If you can put him in
the way of obtaining employment as a clerk or assistant tutor in a
school, or assistant surveyor, all of which I think him very capable,
so that he may procure a subsistence at least, till he can make
acquaintance and obtain a knowledge of the country, you will do well,
and much oblige your affectionate father."

Thomas Paine soon landed a job as editor of a new magazine
called "Pennsylvania Magazine"; his wage was 50 pounds sterling a
year...which was good money.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#10 2004-03-29 21:30:11

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

I mentioned in the last post relative to this subject that Paine was
hired as editor of "Pennsylvania Magazine." Its proprietor was Mr.
Robert Aitkin. Paine was successful in his role as editor of this
magazine; within 3 months of the magazine's first edition, it had
1500 subscribers.

However, Aitkin and Paine soon became at odds. Aitkin objected to
the "outspoken radicalness" of Paine's articles. Paine resigned his
post as editor after 6 months with the magazine, mostly out of
differences of opinion with Aitkin, and also because he wanted to
devote himself to the cause for independence. Paine also would not
tolerate Aitkin's censorious mutilations of his articles.

Mr. Woodward tells us a man named Hesketh Pearson wrote a book
entitled _Tom Paine: Friend of Mankind_. Pearson said Paine
was "probably the first person to display an entirely civilized
attitude toward women." Pearson credits Paine as having started the
movement for women's emanicipation.

Paine anticipated the single tax theories of Henry George, and
foresaw Comte's "religion of humanity." Paine was an intense
individualist who viewed government (the state) as a "necessary
evil" -- and the less of it, the better.

Freedom, Reason and Kindness (which Paine called "Humanity") were the
three stars of his idealism.

In May 1775 Paine wrote an unsigned article ridiculing and condeming
the practice of dueling; this article caused quite a stir. He wrote
_Useful and Entertaining Hints_, wherein urged his readers to pursue
scientific pursuits and foster inventive genius. It was in this
writing that he suggested ways of making soil more productive, and
advocated the use of labor-saving devices.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#11 2004-04-05 16:16:34

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

In March 1775, Paine wrote an article he entitled _African Slavery in
America_. This was published in the "Pennsylvania Journal" (not to
be confused with the "Pennsylvania Magazine," which he had worked
for -- they were two entirely different publications).

Paine proposed the ABOLITION OF SLAVERY ALTOGETHER.

Though he was not the first opponent of African-American slavery, he
was the first person whose views reached a larger audience.

Within a month of Paine's article being published and distributed,
the first anti-slavery movement was started in Philadelphia.

Paine called slavery a monstrous evil. He wrote:

"Certainly one may, with as much reason and decency, plead for
murder, robbery, lewdness and barbarity, as for this practice."

He pointed out the hypocrisy of the American Colonies; how they
resented the attempts of the English to enslave the colonies and yet:
"with what consistency, or decency, do they complain so loudly of attempts
to enslave them while they hold so many hundred thousands in slavery,
and annually enslave many thousands more..."

Americans in the southern states did not like his opinion; neither
did some in the northern states. Slavery was, unfortunately, a
lucrative business and slaves were considered property. Paine's
opinions were generally considered the rantings of an insane man.

However, there were folks who agreed with him. I was surprised to
read that Thomas Jefferson (who, as most people know, did have slaves
and is considered a hypocrite in this regard) wrote an anti-slavery
paragraph for the Declaration of Independence! I am quite certain I
have never known of this before; if I had know of this previously, I
had forgotten it. However, the leaders (unnamed by Mr. Woodward) of
the movement for independence had the paragraph omitted (they were
afraid it would antagonize the Southern members so much they would
refuse to sign it) -- despite Jefferson's efforts to keep it in the
Declaration of Independence.

[:edit:  I'm not, at this point in time, very familiar with Thomas Jefferson's life, etc.]

In 1775, shortly after Paine's anti-slavery article appeared,
opponents of slavery in Philadelphia, inspired by Paine, formed the
American Antislavery Society; it was the first association ever
organized for the purpose of abolishing slavery in this nation. We
have discussed this detail previously, but it merits repeating.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#12 2004-04-15 07:36:11

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*A few folks have given feedback that they'd prefer shorter weekly segments, so I thought I'd "halve" the longer posts originally made starting now.  Thanks for letting me know.  smile

***
We know the American colonists were generally unhappy and disgruntled
with the British government; however, many Americans wished to remain
attached to the "mother country." Mr. Woodward theorizes (probably
correctly) that had the Parliamentarians (in particular the Tories)
been willing to *listen* to the colonists' many complaints and been
willing to compromise and deal intelligently with the colonists, the
Revolutionary War may never have occurred.

The Tories were the elite class. They were comprised of wealthy
businessmen, landowners, etc. They could have cared less about the
general colonial populace and referred to them as "illiterate trash."

Contrary to the popular image of the U.S. Founding Fathers being
composed of a group of malcontent rebels straining at the collar and
longing to to kick England's ass, many of them were reluctant towards
the thought of separating from England -- for sentimental as well as
practical reasons.

A man named Boucher testified that George Washington, as late as May
1775, had said the following to him, regarding the occasional talk of
separating from England: "that if ever [he] heard of his
[Washington's] joining in any such measures he [Boucher] had his
permission to consider Washington as everything wicked."

Benjamin Franklin tried for years to smooth the wrinkles between
England and her colonies. In March 1775, while in London, he stated
he'd never heard an American colonist, "whether drunk or sober,"
speak a word in favor of independence. Of course, we must keep in
mind that Mr. Franklin was away from the colonies for great periods
of time.

The catalyst was Thomas Paine's _Common Sense_. He spent the entire
autumn of 1775 writing, then revising, this pamphlet. It contains
25,000 words. The two vital principles of Paine's writings were
simplicity and forcefulness. Paine reasoned that if an argument
didn't contain a level of forcefulness it was a waste of time
writing, much less printing, it.
***

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#13 2004-04-22 07:06:36

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Mr. Woodward points out that much of the literature in the 18th
century was "pompous," and that most authors referred to Classical
characters (Plato, Aristotle, Catullus, Cicero) out of vanity and in
order to gain respect, even if writing about something so simple as
the right to catch fish in a pond. Paine refused to go that route;
he wrote so that anyone who was literate and halfway intelligent
could read and understand _Common Sense_. He refused to quote or
refer to any figure from the Classics; he used everyday terms,
speaking to his reader as a friend might speak to a friend in the
comfort of one's home.

Paine hated monarchy, and he pulled no punches in making it known.
Here is a brief quote: "Male and female are the distinctions of
nature. Good and bad are the distinctions of heaven. But how a race
of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and
distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into -- and
whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind...One
of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary rights is
that nature disproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn
it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion...In England the
king has little more to do than to make war and give away places;
which, in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it
together by the ears. A pretty business, indeed for a man to be
allowed 800,000 sterling a year, and worshipped into the bargain! Of
more worth is one honest man to society, and in the sight of God,
than all the crowned ruffians whoever lived."

In Mr. Woodward's opinion, one of the most effective features of
_Common Sense_ is its measured, quiet tone. He points out that Paine
never flies into a rage, never scolds or threatens; also, that Paine
avoided addressing specific incidents such as the Stamp Tax or the
Navigation Act, which served to prevent the reader from getting side-
tracked away from the main issue.

Paine's style was, as we know, extremely effective. After reading
it, George Washington had this to say about it on April 1, 1776: "My
countrymen, I know, from their form of government and steady
attachment heretofore to royalty, will come reluctantly to the idea
of independence...I find Paine's _Common Sense_ is working a
wonderful change there, in the minds of men." And we know Washington
threw his hat into the ring in the cause for independence from
England.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#14 2004-04-26 15:24:07

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

The Tories, apparently also called Loyalists, recognized _Common
Sense_ for the genuine threat it was to their lifestyle of privilege
and wealth in the Colonies. According to Mr. Woodward, it was the
Tories who began speading the malicious lies about Paine, i.e. that
he was a drunken lout, dirty and vile, who was merely being paid a
pittance to write trash for an unknown group of cowardly malcontents,
etc., etc. The Tories were so effective in their character
assassination of Paine that, at the time of the publication of this
book (May 1945), Mr. Woodward tell us the lies and distortions about
Paine and his character were still alive and well. Again, as I
pointed out in the first few posts relative to this serial post, Mr.
Woodward's chief reason for writing this book was to DISPELL the
vicious lies and smear campaign against Paine, which had persisted
through the centuries -- and to set the record straight, hopefully
for once and for all.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#15 2004-04-26 15:25:03

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

He tells us that, in response to _Common Sense_, the Loyalist/Tories
wrote, published and distributed their own pamphlets (many of them),
and even subsidized newspapers and hired public speakers to rail
against Paine and his pamphlet.

A man named Samuel Seabury wrote: "If I must be enslaved, let it be
by a King at least, and not by a parcel of upstart, lawless
Committeemen. If I must be devoured, let me be devoured by the jaws
of a lion and not gnawed to death by rats and vermin."

A man named Jonathan Boucher (I'm not sure if this is the same man
referred to in the previous post, i.e. relative to George
Washington's comment) declared: "A rebel is worse than the worst
prince, and rebellion worse than the worst government of the worst
prince that has hitherto been [ever lived]."

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#16 2004-04-26 15:26:12

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

A Tory pamphlet called _Plain Truth_, authored anonymously, said
this: "Independence and slavery are synonymous terms." About this
Mr. Woodward retorts: "A startling idea! If that be true, it would
certainly be intersting to have the writer's definition of freedom,
which he failed to give."

Another pamphlet: "God is a God of order and not of confusion, and
he commands you to submit to your rulers, and to be obedient to the
higher power for conscience sake."

Reverend John Bullman ("a Tory divine"...of course), preached a
sermon against the Whigs and the movement for independence: "Every
idle projector, who perhaps cannot govern his own household or pay
the debts of his own creating, presumes he is qualified to dictate
how the state should be governed, and to point out the means of
paying the debts of a nation. Hence, too, it is that every silly
clown or illiterate mechanic will take upon him to censure the
conduct of his prince or governor..."

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#17 2004-05-05 16:08:36

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*I've mentioned before that Paine is recorded as having been 5 feet,
9 inches tall. He was slender, with a slightly large head and narrow
shoulders. His hands and feet were a bit small for his overall body
size. He had a good posture, standing very straight. His eyes were
recorded by those who knew him as being large, and dark blue in
color; even if other facial and body features faded from his
acquaintance's minds with time, they never forgot the piercing,
blazing quality of his eyes.

*He spoke clearly and crisply, enunciating each syllable distinctly.

*His ideas and opinions were straightforward and to the point. He
was impatient with other folk who wrote or spoke with doubt or
hesitation.

*Paine didn't wear flashy clothing and refused lace, frills
or "foppish ornaments". However, he was always as well dressed as
his finances would allow (within reason, of course); he dressed in a
neat manner, "staid and sober."

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#18 2004-05-05 16:09:45

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*Paine liked horseback riding; he is recorded as having been a good
horseman. He liked taking walks (sometimes long distances over
country roads), and skating. Mr. Woodward doesn't specify what kind
of skating...I presume ice-skating, as rollerskates were very new to
that time and Mr. Merlin, the inventor of rollerskates, didn't fare
very well on them (refer to Archives; search for "Merlin"). He was
considered a "graceful skater."

*He seldom played cards in the evenings, preferring chess or
checkers. However, Paine was first and foremost an intellectual, and
he didn't really give himself over to "amusements."

*Paine's enemies spread rumors (which were successful, even to the
time of the publication of this book in 1945) that he hated women.
Mr. Woodward states emphatically, "There is not a word of truth in
it." As has been seen previously in this serial post, Paine
respected and genuinely liked women; he wrote in defense of women and
encouraged greater freedoms for them. Some of his most cherished
friends were female...and not in a sexual manner, either; Mr.
Woodward states Paine didn't seem, to his contemporaries, greatly
concerned with sexual pursuits and certainly wasn't a womanizer (in
fact, he sometimes became so engrossed in his intellectual pursuits
that he forgot to eat his meals!). He was courteous and pleasant to
women.

*Paine didn't like dirty stories, or those which might even be
mildly "off color." If able, he would leave the company in which
such stories were being told without making a fuss or giving
offense.

*He had an aversion to profanity. His contemporaries said they never
heard him utter a curse word, nor even a "mild oath."

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#19 2004-05-12 07:07:07

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*This one is a bit longer than what I've lately been submitting, but is the last portion connected with the 2 posts above:

Though Paine was highly esteemed by many of the leaders of the
Revolutionary War, he was invited into the homes of only a few.
Recall that the leaders of the Revolution were composed of the upper
class; wealthy landowners, etc. Though they respected Paine and
appreciated his contributions to the cause, he was still considered
a "common workman." General Nathanael Green and his family, along
with General Roberdeau and his family, did invite Paine into their
homes as their guest. After the British evacuated New York City,
some other wealthy and powerful families received him into their
homes. However, Paine preferred a more practical existence; Mr.
Woodward tells us that Paine disliked "the elegant life" with its
etiquette and social rules. Instead, he preferred the cheerful,
lively banter of pubs; he preferred a furnished room with a neat bed,
a desk and bookcase by a window, and a washbowl and water pitcher by
the closet.

In 1781, however, Paine was under a cloud. As has been discussed
previously, Paine wanted all profit from "Common Sense" to be turned
over the Colonial Army, to purchase mittens and other clothing goods
for the soldiers. His publisher cheated him and the Army out of the
profits. Paine expected an immense level of gratitude by the
American public for his writings, especially "Common Sense." He
said, "I have arrived at an eminence in political literature, the
most difficult of all lines to succeed and excel in, which
aristocracy, with all its aids, has not been able to reach or to
rival." However, by 1781 what money he'd earned from work (not
related to his literary writings) was running out. A high-ranking
member of the French government had offered Paine one thousand
dollars per year if he would write articles praising France and
encouraging pro-French propoganda. Mr. Woodward tells us that Paine
declined and apparently gave no reason for it, other than that he
(Paine) wished only for the "esteem" of the French. I'm certainly no
authority on the subject, but at this point I'm supposing 1) Paine
didn't want to be a tool in the hands of a foreign government and 2)
he felt his work in the interests of America was far from done. But
money continued to be a problem; he sometimes had to borrow money
from friends -- which he paid back as quickly as possible. By 1781,
George Washington was received at Congress and hailed as the hero he
was. Paine looked around and saw his contemporaries receiving their
well-deserved accolades...while he went without them. Paine was a
man with a healthy sense of pride, so we can imagine how difficult it
was for him, in November of 1781, to write to General Washington,
asking for financial assistance. He outlined his financial
difficulties to Washington, including willingly foregoing profit
from "Common Sense," etc. He was in despair, very despondent, and
even wrote that he was considering moving to Holland or France.
Washington, Robert Morris and Robert Livingston met and agreed to
give Paine $800.00 per year, paid from the Secret Service Fund. They
weren't required to report on the granting of this money, and
didn't. Also, this was NOT charity money. Paine was expected to
comment (in written form or otherwise) on public affairs
occasionally, and also to perform special duties when called upon to
do so. I believe Paine certainly deserved this position and the
money it paid; in fact, he should have been paid MORE.

After his financial crunch was over, Paine resumed writing
his "Crisis" series of pamphlets.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#20 2004-05-24 09:56:26

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*Paine's financial status improved, for a while. He continued to
receive the financial stipend from the Secret Service Fund; also, he
received money from articles and literary work. He saved this money
and bought a cottage at Bordentown, New Jersey, approximately 35 miles
north of Philadelphia, on the Delaware River. Mr. Woodward says
there is no description of this property, except it consisted of a
small plain cottage on 1/10th an acre of land [40 x 100 feet].

Mr. Woodward tells us the reason Paine purchased this particular
cottage and bit of land is because his good friend, Colonel Joseph
Kirkbride, lived next door. Paine frequently ate meals with Colonel
and Mrs. Kirkbride. He lived at Bordentown for years. He might
leave on business or other for weeks or even months, and often
rented the place to tenants in his absence; the lease price he
requested was $25.00 per year.

The people of Bordentown held Paine in esteem. They were apparently
generally affable, friendly folk, and Paine didn't miss the malice and
snobbery of Philadelphia.

Paine had a horse he enjoyed riding; the horse's name was "Buttons."

Bad news. In January 1783 Mr. Robert Morris resigned as
Superintendent of Finance; payments from the Secret Service Fund quit
being made to Paine. Mr. Woodward does not tell us precisely why.
In June 1783, Paine wrote to Elias Boudinot, President of Congress,
requesting salaried work. Mr. Woodward says if there was a reply
from Mr. Boudinot, it's been lost to history. Paine, meanwhile,
managed to scrape out an existence on his continuing literary
efforts.

George Washington proved to be a loyal and active friend to Paine,
at least to this point in my studies [mid-1780s]; I hope to find that
the friendship lasted through to Washington's death in 1799 -- we'll
find out, of course. On September 10, 1783, Washington wrote to Paine
from Princeton, as Congress was in session and he [Washington] had
taken up a residence nearby. He invited Paine to visit him, and
wrote the following: "Your presence may remind Congress of your past
service to this country; and if it is in my power to impress them,
command my best services with freedom, as they will be rendered
cheerfully by one who entertains a lively sense of the importance of
your works and who, with much pleasure, subscribes himself your
sincere friend." Paine replies, informing Washington of his
impoverished condition and need for salaried work. He states he is
disappointed in the lack of gratitude toward him from the United
States, for his efforts on behalf of the Revolution. This is
absolutely understandable, in my opinion.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#21 2004-06-09 11:08:38

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*Though Congress didn't assist Paine with employment, in
1784 the State of New York awarded, with an admission of immense
gratitude, a farm to Paine. This farm was near the town of Rochelle;
it was 270 acres in size, with a beautiful home on it. It had
previously belonged to a Mr. Franklin DeVoe -- a confessed Tory who'd
been convicted, and whose possessions had been confiscated. When
George Washington heard this wonderful news, he wrote to some leading
members of the Virginia Legislature, encouraging that Virginia also
recognized Paine and his successful literary efforts with a gift of
gratitude. Washington wrote the following to James Madison: "His
writings certainly have had a powerful effect on the public mind --
ought they not then to meet an adequate return? He is poor! He is
chagrined! And almost if not altogether in despair of relief. New
York, it is true, not the least distressed nor the best able state in
the Union, has done something for him...His views are moderate -- a
decent independency is, I believe, all he aims at. Should he not
obtain this? If you think so, I am sure you will not only move the
matter but give it your support." However, many Virginians were
angry with Paine for a pamphlet he'd written and had published in
1780, wherein he called upon Virginia [and some other states] to give
up their bogus claims of land to the west of them; also, he suggested
this claimed land be managed by the Continental Congress. On June
28, 1784, James Madison put the proposal before the Virginia
legislators that a piece of land in Northampton County be sold and
2000 pounds of money taken therefrom and invested in a farm for
Paine, as a gratitude. Most legislators thought the vote against
Paine would be overwhelming; actually, it was not -- the vote went
against Paine by only a small number. Mr. Woodward speculates that
the unexpected large number of votes in favor of Paine probably was a
complimentary gesture toward Washington, who was known to be Paine's
friend and sponsor. However, the proposal was indeed voted against.

--Cindy

-*-


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#22 2004-06-23 19:47:05

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*In December 1784 the State of Pennsylvania awarded,
in recognition of gratitude to his services, 500 pounds to
Paine. On October 3, 1785, Congress instructed its treasurer to pay
Paine $3000.00 as compensation for his services during the Revolution
[I don't understand why both pounds and dollars are mentioned as
currency]. Congress issued this statement: "The early, unsolicited,
and continued labors of Mr. Thomas Paine, in explaining and enforcing
the principles of the late revolution by ingenious and timely
publications upon the nature of liberty and civil government, have
been well received by the citizens of these states, and merit the
approbation of Congress; and that in consideration of these services,
and the benefits produced thereby, Mr. Paine is entitled to a liberal
gratification from the United States."

Gratitude and compensation -- finally!  smile

Mr. Woodward tells us that, for the first time in his life, Thomas
Paine was financially secure in 1785 -- when he was 48 years old. In
the fall of 1785 he went to New York, to visit friends and kick up
his heels. The farm in Rochelle was leased to a tenant farmer.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#23 2004-06-28 15:47:22

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

*As mentioned previously, many of the "upper echelons" of the new
American government and Revolutionary leaders did not like Thomas
Paine. Mr. Turner asks: "What reason was there for anyone in
[George] Washington's circle to dislike a patriot who had
accomplished so much in the aid of the American cause?"

We know Washington esteemed Paine highly; they were friends. Mr. and
Mrs. Washington were a few of the "upper crust" who invited Paine to
formal dinners. As alluded to above, many of Washington's other
friends were not so happy about Paine's occasional mingling with them.

Mr. Turner tells us the "answer to that question [above] involves so
many half-understood feelings and wordless antagonisms that it is
hard to express in the clear-cut precision of nouns and verbs."

We are reminded that American society at that time was still an
aristocracy, not a democracy. In fact, most of the Founders hoped it
wouldn't be a democracy. Why? Because they looked down their noses
at common laborers, who they called "the mob"...and most of the
Founders wished to keep the lower classes in their places. So great
was their snobbery that the following tidbit of information surprised
me: Thomas Jefferson was ostracized from Philadelphia society in the
1790s...although he, too, was an aristocrat; and with superior intellect,
achievements and abilities as compared with most of his critics --
AND while he was Vice President of the United States! What was
Jefferson's "social offense"? He had faith in democracy and in the
common people.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#24 2004-07-15 09:00:58

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Mr. Turner informs us that the U.S. aristocrats believed Thomas
Paine was not one of theirs; he was just the son of a staymaker
(working class), with some talent and skill at "literary tricks."
They believed his place was right down there with the mechanics,
tailors, innkeepers, etc. -- and he needed to remain there. The
snobs didn't dare criticize George Washington, so to him they didn't
say anything about his friendship and interaction with Paine
(including those dinners); between themselves, however, they believed
Washington was making a mistake by being Paine's friend.

Also, the aristocrats disliked Paine because he was not
born on American soil; he was an Englishman, just recently
immigrated. They questioned what Paine thought he could possibly
know about the American heart, the inner lives and souls of
Americans? [Well, talk about jealousy; he apparently knew quite a
bit, didn't he? <smile>] The snobs especially resented the fact that
this "foreigner" had become *the* leader of American revolutionary
propoganda. So powerful was Paine's influence that he was hated by
the American aristocrats -- even when they agreed with his political
philosophy. They were suspicious of why he -- of all people, this
foreigner, this staymaker working-class nobody -- should take an
interest in American affairs on his own initiative? They wondered if
he had an ulterior motive?

Mr. Turner then spells out again, albeit briefly, the campaign on the
part of the Tories to assassinate Paine's name and reputation. We
are told that many British Loyalists fled to Canada, but many of them
remained in the U.S., working to discredit Revolutionary leaders,
create strife and disunity among the soldiers and patriots, and did
all that was in their power to make the Revolution a complete failure. 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#25 2004-07-30 07:35:01

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809]

Here is one thing about Paine I didn't know: He invented the iron
bridge. I found this particularly fascinating! smile

Mr. Turner speculates that Paine's interest in making an iron bridge
stemmed from this fondness for geometry; he liked to lay out designs
of circles and triangles, and to calculate imaginary stresses.

The Schuylkill River was west of town and needed a new bridge. The
only way to cross it was via ferry, which in the winter time was made
hazardous by the river's being clogged with frozen ice. Also, the
population in the area was growing and the ferry was quickly
becoming incapable of handling the numbers of carriages and wagons
which demanded passage.

In Paine's day the general method of building a bridge consisted of
setting up a mid-river pier. This was accomplished by sinking loads
of stones into the river until an island was formed and building
piers on it. However, this too was dangerous, because there was very
little way of predicting, much less of ensuring, that the base of the
pier was firm and solid, and wouldn't shift. Also, the pier's
foundation was often so wide that it caused river waters to divert
their courses and overflow their banks.

Paine hit upon the idea of a pierless bridge -- an iron bridge. He
proposed his bridge be supported by iron girders; no mid-river pier
or piers. This was a startling concept in its time, first because
iron had limited uses in those days and also the iron-smelting
industry in the New World was definitely in its infancy. Iron was
regarded as something useful for kitchen utensils, cannons and
muskets. The idea of no mid-river pier(s) to a bridge was even more
astonishing. When questioned Paine answered that the iron girders,
if arranged in criss-cross fashion (like a spider's web), would
distribute the bridge's weight and carry the burden to the piers at
each end of the bridge. I presume many of my readers are familiar
with steel bridges; the girders are *above* the bridge itself.
Paine's iron bridge was even more unique -- it was designed for the
girders to be *under* the bridge.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB