Friday, June 15, 2007

John Jay: The Forgotten Federalist

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John Jay: The Forgotten Federalist

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a reply to “John Jay: the forgotten federalist.” You wrote, “although, in my humble opinion, Paine does not exactly qualify as a FOUNDING FATHER although he was an early American Patriot,” I take exception to that.

By E. Jakeman

Thomas Paine’s fingerprints are on all of our most important documents. Read the below, there is no doubt whatsoever whose pen wrote the original Declaration of Rights for the Pennsylvanian Constitution of 1776. Compare this with the US constitution’s Bill of Rights. See note later.

We, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

I. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, amongst which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

II. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding: And that no man ought or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against, his own free will and consent: Nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship: And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.

III. That the people of this State have the sole, exclusive and inherent right of governing and regulating the internal police of the same.

IV. That all power being originally inherent in, and consequently derived from, the people; therefore all officers of government, whether legislative or executive, are their trustees and servants, and at all times accountable to them.

V. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community; and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single man, family, or sett of men, who are a part only of that community; And that the community hath an indubitable, unalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish government in such manner as shall be by that community judged most conducive to the public weal.

VI. That those who are employed in the legislative and executive business of the State, may be restrained from oppression, the people have a right, at such periods as they may think proper, to reduce their public officers to a private station, and supply the vacancies by certain and regular elections.

VII. That all elections ought to be free; and that all free men having a sufficient evident common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to elect officers, or to be elected into office.

VIII. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expence of that protection, and yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent thereto: But no part of a man's property can be justly taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of his legal representatives: Nor can any man who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent, nor are the people bound by any laws, but such as they have in like manner assented to, for their common good.

IX. That in all prosecutions for criminal offences, a man hath a right to be heard by himself and his council, to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses, to call for evidence in his favour, and a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of the country, without the unanimous consent of which jury he cannot be found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; nor can any man be justly deprived of his liberty except by the laws of the land, or the judgment of his peers.

X. That the people have a right to hold themselves, their houses, papers, and possessions free from search and seizure, and therefore warrants without oaths or affirmations first made, affording a sufficient foundation for them, and whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded or required to search suspected places, or to seize any person or persons, his or their property, not particularly described, are contrary to that right, and ought not to be granted.

XI. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the parties have a right to trial by jury, which ought to be held sacred.

XII. That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing, and publishing their sentiments; therefore the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained.

XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

XIV. That a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, and a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty, and keep a government free: The people ought therefore to pay particular attention to these points in the choice of officers and representatives, and have a right to exact a due and constant regard to them, from their legislatures and magistrates, in the making and executing such laws as are necessary for the good government of the state.

XV. That all men have a natural inherent right to emigrate from one state to another that will receive them, or to form a new state in vacant countries, or in such countries as they can purchase, whenever they think that thereby they may promote their own happiness.

XVI. That the people have a right to assemble together, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the legislature for redress of grievances, by address, petition, or remonstrance.

Note: Nelson and some other writers have stated that Paine (the author) joined the militia on July 7, 1776, this is not so, he joined in august (day uncertain).

His (Conway) statements that Paine later in the revolution was asking for rewards is equally false. I downloaded a copy (all of them) from, Search The Muster and Pay Rolls of the War of the Revolution, 1775-1783, and U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 relating to Paine. (These are not complete.) Among them is a photocopy of a pay request dated in September (coinciding with the alleged, one of them, so-called begging for reward nonsense) for the months of February through October, he had asked for his back pay. This is in the letters of Thomas Paine, and is photocopy of a pay receipt authorized by congress.

I also discovered another fact; Paine was not that uncommon of a name. So caution needs to be taken, something Nelson in his book did not do when he stated that Paine (our author) joined the militia in July. This is another person named Thomas Paine (later to desert, while the author was in fact at that time with General Greene’s force), there was as I recall, in addition to this at least another one in Pennsylvania, one in Virginia, one in Connecticut, and one in Massachutcests, all named Thomas Paine. I did find three records of a Thomas Paine from Philadelphia, this is probably him, but can not be used without confirmation. In any event Paine in July 1776 was on the drafting committee for the Pennsylvania Constitution, Heart presiding, although not the president of this, these were public, the proceeding dominated by Franklin and Paine.

In August he joined the Pennsylvania Associators (as the militia called themselves) then in New Jersey, these were on short enlistment, on disbanding, he with his horse (carrying his provisions etc.) walked to Fort Lee enlisting as a private. Paine on the 26th of December 1776, crossed the Delaware, he was aid de camp to Greene, to assault Trenton. He was only there long enough to write the final version, Greene had given permission, realizing the importance, and had sent him to take care of some minor public business, we are not told what, but was something that a generals aide de camp would usually never take care of. There is a record of a reimbursement by Pennsylvania for 10 dozen copies of The Crisis (120).

Why was he considered a hero, he was many times over, he was at Trenton and Princeton, and faced the same bullets as the other solders. This event happened after congress fled the capital, Paine was appointed as the go between Washington and the congress and received a volunteer commission from General Greene. The Pennsylvania assembly also asked him to furnish more accurate intelligence about Washington’s army.

COL. ASA BIRD GARDENE: "The entire British fleet was then brought up opposite Fort Mifflin, and the most furious cannonade and most desperate but finally unsuccessful defense of the place was made. The entire works were demolished, and the most of the garrison killed and wounded. Major General Greene being anxious for the garrison and desirous of knowing its ability to resist sent Mr. Paine to ascertain. He accordingly went to Fort Mercer, and from thence, on Nov. 9 (1777), went with Col. Christopher Greene commanding Fort Mercer, in an open boat to Fort Mifflin, during the cannonade, and was there when the enemy opened with two gun batteries and a mortar battery. This very gallant act shows what a fearless man Mr. Paine was.”

What I will relate is research, of the kind it takes to write accurate history. Unfortunately no historian has ever written a Life of Paine. As for the “standard” biography tradition (actually slipshod at best, often with motives and agendas) most copy this rot without ever questioning the credibility of the original sources. This will show what is wrong with that. There are two entirely different stories; the usual ones constantly repeated, for it is the easiest to find, is easy to disprove. All based in part on Conway’s Life of Paine. This, work, hit job may be more accurate, has, at least in part, contaminated nearly every thing written since Conway (should be spelt Con-way), the so-called gold standard for those people.

Thomas Paine did not die an outcast, alone, without friends, or in Greenwich Village, even his funeral was quite different than usually portrayed, and he certainly did not die poor.

The Universal Magazine, July to December 1809, deaths.
“At New York, America, June 8, the celebrated Thomas Paine, author of the Rights of Man, Age of Reason &c. one of the founders of American Independence. He was buried with great funeral pomp at New Rochelle.”

There is conformation. Bernard Vincent investigated the question of, was Paine a Mason or not, he did not reach a definite conclusion, but thinks he was probably not. In any event he found the following.

“In 1809, when Paine died, the Grand Loges of both Louisiana and Georgia honored his memory with solemn orations, while the Grand Lodge of South Carolina organized a morning procession in the streets.”

The last was public, and it was huge. Even Con-way presents evidence throughout his story that completely trashes it.

“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”. Conway

Why is it that this man hated by society, or so Con-way claimed, has large celebrations honoring him? The fact of the mater was that the republican victory in 1800 was so complete that it is often called the second revolution. Most of the gentry belonged to the federalist faction. New York had gone republican, and the city of New York was a bastion of the republican faction. In the years to come republican control of both the House and Senate rose to over 83%. To republicans Paine was a hero, regardless of his religious sentiments. It should be noted also that White Plaines was some eight miles from New Rochelle, to assume not a one of them came, those who were in that vast crowd, or none of his friends at New Rochelle, and he did have them is to assume to much.

Memoirs of the Rhode Island Bar, Page 302, 1842
Westerly, R. I., Oct. 25th, 1841

“Dear Sir, — I am in receipt of your letter of recent date, in which you request the particulars of a conversation with the celebrated Thomas Paine, in relation to Gen. Varnum, formerly a distinguished citizen of our state.”

“Also a description of Paine. The cause of his visiting Stonington, as well as some account of Nathan Haley (edited) to which it seems, from your remarks, I have, in our social intercourse, at some time alluded. As far as recollection may serve, I will briefly detail these particulars. They are but few, and to minds less eager of anecdote than yours, they must be of minor importance. In the summer of 1803, Thomas Paine was a sojourner in Stonington, Connecticut, on a visit to his friend Haley, a native citizen of that town. They had been intimate in France, and that intimacy conferred on Stonington the benefits of that visit. …Thomas Paine's arrival at Stonington; afforded meet occasion for the Democracy of that town to light up its altar. His political writings, which stimulated the American revolution, were in vivid recollection. The Federal administration had gone over to Democracy, while the fond hope of putting down the old Federalists of Connecticut, with whom they were then struggling in the spirit of revolution, awakened every kindred sympathy, and the advent of Paine seemed a favorable presage of that success. Dinner parties were made for him, and here I should be ungrateful did I not aver, that Stonington vies with the whole world for generous and noble hospitality. My local proximity was favorable to my connection with these festive boards. I had the honor to be introduced as a lawyer from Rhode-Island, which, as you naturally would suppose, gave me a ready passport to the respectful notice of the distinguished guest. His enquiries after Rhode-Island and her leading men, with whom he had once entertained intercourse, bespoke his kind regard for the state. On one occasion while at dinner, his enquiries were very particular after Gen. Varnum. I informed him that the General died at Marietta, on the Ohio. He said he had on many occasions listened to him as a public speaker with great delight. He characterized the style of his oratory even to the musical intonations of his voice. He said he had listened to many of the best speakers in America and Europe, and that in point of charming elocution, James Mitchell Varnum was the most eloquent man he ever heard speak, and he thought it strange that his name had not attained more celebrity. In relation to Mr. Paine, I have never expected that I should become his biographer, and of course have not gathered materials for that work. I can state to you only what fell under my own observation. He was a man about sixty-six years old, of middling stature, easy of access and free in conversation. His topics were national and political, on all of which he was sensible, though not eloquent. Sometimes he aimed at wit, and now and then slopt over a low jest or sarcasm on the bible and on the priesthood. But those irreverent jeers elicited no responses of congenial sentiment among those about him. They recognized him only in his political character. His speculations on theology were abstractions too remote and contingent for the practical worldly notions and business habits of Stonington. An elegant fish dinner, accompanied with exhilerating et ceteras, at that day, was void of offence, and with reverberating acclamations of Jefferson and liberty, seemed glory enough for those who entertained Tom Paine.”

With great respect your friend,
NATHAN F. DIXON. (U.S. Senator and Representative, respectively, from Rhode Island.)

There have always been two stories about where Paine died and nearly every other thing. From historical documents, real ones, we have a Thomas Paine, who was a man of some means, a gentleman, social, well respected in general (but not by every one) and well connected. On his deathbed the Secretary of Treasury, Albert Gallatin, visited him. Another friend was Robert Fulton, of steamboat fame. There have always been a number of things drastically wrong with the standard “biography” tradition. Unless that is you prefer a fictitious made up person who never existed. Any genuine research, as the truth is not to be found in the standard rot presented as such, totally disproves it. The real Tom Paine died popular (with the majority of the people), had many friends, some of who were the most prominent of citizens.

“In respect to Cheetham's fictions about the slovenliness of Mr. Paine, if there had been any truth in his assertions, would not his most intimate friends, such as De Witt Clinton, the mayor of New York, and Mr. Jarvis, have noticed it?” -Calvin Blanchard

"He dined at my table, I always considered Mr. Paine a gentleman, a pleasant companion, and a good-natured and intelligent man; decidedly temperate, with a proper regard for his personal appearance, whenever I have seen him." Aaron Burr

Dear Sir: It is over twenty years ago that professionally I made the acquaintance of John Hogeboom, a Justice of the Peace of the county of Rensselaer, New York. He was then over seventy years of age and had the reputation of being a man of candor and integrity. He was a great admirer of Paine. He told me that he was personally acquainted with him, and used to see him frequently during the last years of his life in the city of New York, where Hogeboom then resided. I asked him if there was any truth in the charge that Paine was in the habit of getting drunk. He said that it was utterly false; that he never heard of such a thing during the lifetime of Mr. Paine, and did not believe any one else did. I asked him about the recantation of his religious opinions on his deathbed, and the revolting deathbed scenes that the world had heard so much about. He said there was no truth in them…”—Yours truly, W.J. Hilton.

The New York Public Advertiser, June 9, 1809 said:

"With heart-felt sorrow and poignant regret, we are compelled to announce to the world that Thomas Paine is no more. This distinguished philanthropist, whose life was devoted to the cause of humanity, departed this life yesterday morning; and, if any man's memory deserves a place in the breast of a freeman, it is that of the deceased, for, Take him for all in all, We ne'er shall look upon his like again."

The first question is how is one a noted philanthropist without funds; this like the rest of the so-called standard story, after all he was, usually, supposed to be poor, makes absolutely no sense at all.

The Monthly Magazine - Page 350, 1812
Excerpt from the Portfolio of a Man of Letters

“A LATE author says, that he and three other gentlemen, induced by curiosity to see a man that had raised such storm in the political world, went to visit him a short time before his death. They found him setting behind a table, which was necessary to his support, as he had received a paralytic stroke, he was endeavoring to shave himself. (Actually he had had an epileptic seizure and a fall in which he was much injured.) After the usual compliments, the visitors drew their chairs and sat down. The usual inquiries were made, by Mr. Paine, about the news, &c. His appearance was that of superior mind. He had been tall man, and, as far as the writer could judge, well made. His blue eye was full, lucid, and indicated his true character. His conversation was calm and gentleman-like, except when religion or party politics were mentioned. In this case he became irascible. His intellect did not appear impaired. He died as he lived, a professed deist, and refused the conversation of any clergyman, and was said to be worth 7 or 8,000.”

This, the above sum mentioned, was in British pounds, or between 31,000 and 43,000 dollars, a small fortune in those days, and presumably did not include his properties at New Rochelle or Bordentown (plural).

The Universal Magazine‎, Page 114, 1804

“BY late intelligence from America, it appears that this extraordinary man is still distinguishing himself in the political world. It is well known that he was a delegate to the French Convention; that he voted against the death of the French King; that he was imprisoned during the reign of Robespierre and terror, and was released on the destruction of that system, and was afterwards conveyed to America by a frigate, commissioned by the President to receive him. His arrival in America occasioned no small alarm: the numerous newspapers, in that extensive country from New Hampshire to Georgia, were daily filled with attacks on or defenses of his character. he had been absent nearly fifteen years, and in that time the attempts made to introduce the European system of politics had very nearly overset the constitution, for which he had been so great a champion. In the President he found not only a private friend, but one who concurred with him in all-his political measures; and as the elevation of this gentleman to office had checked the' career of the European party, the arrival of Thomas Paine was soon signalized by zealous cooperation with him in the great features of his government, and in measures which threaten to annihilate the small remains of the opposite party.”

(Note: Actually Paine finally arrived on a private commercial ship the London Packet, made possible by the Peace of Amiens, at his own expense.)

“The party is known, in general, by the name of Federalists, a name not very intelligible; but it may be better understood by us, if we consider them as oligarchies, or men who wished that the whole influence of government should rest with themselves, to the exclusion of all who did not enter into their views; and to support their system it was necessary to introduce a standing army, and an intricate system of taxation. Thus, by increasing the number of their dependants, they expected to overthrow all the obstacles placed in the way to their ambition by the representative system. The late President was the head of the federalists, and his reelection was the grand point on which their success depended: they considered him as a fit tool for all their purposes, though they found him too prudent to declare his unfeigned assent and consent to all the measures which they intended to introduce. Their defeat in the attempt to make him again their President, and the re-election of a roan decidedly adverse to their whole system, declared very strongly the feelings of the bulk of the people in the United States; and Thomas Paine was welcomed on the political stage, when he came forward to expose the schemes of what he calls the junta, and to point out the dangers to which the constitution had been exposed.

(Note: Paine published a number of very influential “Letter To The American People” shortly after his arrival, the last in 1807. Even the federalist papers were forced to publish them as part of the news, a fact that must have gulled them.)

“The Americans are a religious people; and the most strenuous abettors of their revolution are the least likely to embrace that wild opposition to revelation, by which the religious writings of Mr. Paine are distinguished. He might therefore expect on this account to meet with a great degree of coolness from his former friends: but the raising odium was much softened on two accounts; first, because he had not entered into the schemes of the European atheists and infidels, but retained his belief in a supreme Governor of the world, and a Providence; the second, because he was a strenuous assertor of that toleration which the Americans conceive due to those of a different religious opinion, and which makes them as little curious to know the chapel or meeting which each other frequent on a Sunday, as the coffee-house or tavern where they may choose to spend the evenings on the other days of the week. Hence, Mr. Paine's free, and we might say ridiculous, opinions, since many of them are founded on total ignorance or misconception of the book which he professes to attack, have not excited that degree of malevolence which is apt to prevail on the fame subject on this fide of the Atlantic; and they who abominate his religious opinions still look up with reverence to the apostle, as they think him, of their political liberty.”

“Thus, in the evening of his life, this extraordinary man may be said to have arrived to an enviable post. After suffering every species of distress for his political opinions; being burnt in effigy in every village of one kingdom, and confined eleven months in the dungeons of its neighbour, he is at last in a land, where the majority think with him, and where he is at full liberty to form what sentiments and to express them as he pleases…. To add to the singular events of his life, he is now a rich man: his friends in America had taken good care of his property, so that, on his return, he found himself worth fix thousand pounds, which in that country will produce him four hundred a year. This income is more than competent to all his wants, and he has full employment for his leisure time”

Here is a description of his last years; this is not to be found in biographies.

“The White House was then owned by Colonel Varick, and rented by him to a Mrs. Hedden, who at his solicitation gave lodging to his old Revolutionary comrade. (This would be Aaron Burr.) Mrs. Hedden was a gentlewoman in reduced circumstances, and it is a most curious coincidence that once before in her life she had been the housekeeper of another famous and much maligned man, Thomas Paine, then living in the little house on Columbia Street, where he died.”

“The dwelling was very near the park of the Lyons Hotel, and had a fine situation. From its front windows a view of the panorama of passing merchantmen, frigates, and sailing craft was ever before the eye; and on fair days the inmates only needed to gaze from them to learn the hour from St. Paul’s church clock, that antique mediator of the affairs of men, which was consulted alike by the merchant prince and the poorest clerk in his counting-house, the gay Broadway gallant and the beautiful belle of “ North River Society;” in fact, all the world of old New York. Hudson Street was then a leafy thoroughfare like Grand Street, and there on sunny afternoons a stately figure in an old Continental blue coat could be seen walking to and fro, taking his constitutional, seemingly lost in thought. An interested audience of children, quaint little figures in nankeen suits and cotton print gowns, curiously watched.”

This does not sound like an outcast. Notice also that this is old New York. Not Greenwich Village, at the time a very small and very separate place. For one, St. Paul’s could not be seen from Greenwich, let alone its clock. The old village was also centrally located on Manhattan Island; the only view of things moving would have been the farm animals. There was no Columbia street in Greenwich, once a short stretch of lane, this had been renamed Cozine before Paine’s return to America. A note added by the editor, not the author, was wrong in this. All letters written after June 1803 were from the city of New York or New Rochelle, not a one from Greenwich. In fact, except when staying at Carver’s, upscale neighborhoods. There are two stories, but people usually look to biographies without questioning the credibility.

Only one somewhat major biographer did not take license, or use material copied from someone who did, Cleo Rickman and Rickman was almost the only biographer who seemed to have enough sense to know that Paine died with a considerable amount of property. Other sources also give mostly accurate descriptions, usually containing minor mistakes, such as the age Paine left home. He would say that he was not much more than sixteen, that is, just after his seventeenth birthday. But they are really in the nature of sketches. In the first place forget the notion that he tried to join the privateer Terrible at sixteen, it was later than that, it was in 1756, war being declared on the 18th of May, Paine was 19.

Will of Captain Death of the Terrible 1756

“In the Name of God Amen I William Death of the parish of Saint George in the County of Middlesex captain of the private ship of line called the Terrible and intending soon on a cruise against our common enemy the French being of sound mind memory and understanding..."

(Sorry, have only the excerpt.)

Raynods wrote the following in 1822.

“Paine had many consolations in his old age. His pecuniary (financial) circumstances, were comfortable and prosperous; he enjoyed the friendship and confidence of the best men of the age in which he lived, and the consciousness of having acted a useful part in life, and having always maintained the integrity of his political principles as a republican, and the purity of his character as a philanthropist.”

Calvin Blanchard is probably the next best source after Rickman, however it contains some mistakes, he speculated on some points and accepted at least one rumor. The last work is mostly important, as it is in largest part, as rant against the social conditions in the North just prior to, and after the Civil War. He does however clarify some important details. Although he fell in error on some points by accepting the story of there being a discussion with others before the writing Common Sense, etc. However Mendon, an investigator made the same mistake. (Dr. Rush, nor any other had anything to do with it, Paine did not know John Adams yet and Franklin had not returned from England when Paine drew up his outline, regardless of a later claim.) However on other maters Blanchard did his own research, for this we are thankful.

“To oblige his friends, Mr. Paine after a while left his farm at New Rochelle, and went back to Carver's to board; where he remained till he took up his residence at the house of Mr. Jarvis, the celebrated painter…”

“In 1807, Mr. Paine, now in the seventieth year of his age, removed to the house of Mr. Hitt, a baker, in Broome-street, street. Whilst here, he published " An Examination of the Passages in the New Testament, quoted from the Old, and called Prophecies of the Coming of Jesus Christ."

“Mr. Paine lived in Partition-street successively; and afterwards, in Greenwich Street… in May, 1809, hired for his accommodation a small house in Columbia-street, where she attended on him till his death.”

Greenwich Street was not in Greenwich Village, nor connected with it. This last is inaccurate, Mrs. Hedden, his housekeeper became alarmed in January when his heath declined and asked Dr. Romaine to increases the dose of stimulants that had been cut back on, his health seemed to rebound, but in the middle of May took a turn for the worse. Also it is probable that the list of places he stayed at in the city of New York have been to far compressed in time frame. Even when staying at New Rochelle Paine had frequent need to visit New York.)

“Mr. Paine had moved from house to house, as we-have seen, not because he had not ample resources, but, partly to oblige his friends, and partly for the variety it afforded, partly because it suited his plain and simple habits, and partly because, like most old people, he had become a little too frugal.”

This is one he missed, “Among the literary folk were the Irvings, who lived at 17 State Street, facing the Battery; William Dunlap, Thomas Paine, James K. Paulding, Josiah Ogden Hoffman and Philip Hone.” As for stay with Carver, this was off and on. If you look at the people who stayed at his cabin at New Rochelle, Col. Fellows, Captain Pelton, etc. this seems to have been a receptacle type thing.

Ingersoll also deserves a mention, however he also tends to sometimes play things up, but overall is generally accurate. He proved over a hundred years ago that Paine did not die alone. An outcast without friends, above all he correctly pointed out that the man was not a pauper, and that he died in the city of Old New York, not Greenwich Village. “The man was not a pauper.” As did Blanchard, but Ingersoll put up $1,000 in gold and an additional $2,000 in securities, an enormous sum in his day, and printed his challenge about his main points in the newspapers nationwide. No one succeeded in answering his challenge. For the record, Paine was born in a brick house. While Ingersoll’s verse, "Born among the poor, where children are burdens" may be stirring it is not accurate. Paine was born among the lower middle class as was his sister Elizabeth. Ingersoll got the part about the funeral (burial) completely wrong. But apparently that was not important to him. He said in effect, assuming that almost no one was there as usually reported, so what. However it does matter, it matters a great deal. The funeral as you can see, from real records, was much larger than portrayed.

This paper’s purpose is to expose the “standard” biography tradition, if it even deserves that tittle. Now the importance of this can not be understated. As for the biography tradition, most copy this rot without ever questioning the credibility of the original sources. We are all supposed to believe he died a social outcast. (He certainly did not die poor.) Some letters to congress allegedly begging for money, used as proof, do not in fact exist in the original, or in the minutes of any session of congress or its committees. Just how ludicrous this is will be explained later. The first one, first appearing in Cheat-em's book, the alleged letter to Jefferson, is beyond mere suspicion, this supposedly private letter, which Cheat-em would not have access to, in any way, never existed, except in Cheat-em's work. The letters of Jefferson, in their entirety, are fully searchable on the National Archives web site. These would appear later in publications as if they were credible.

In the first place the stories that he had to live in cheap housing are insane. After all he owned a farm of almost 300 acres (originally 320) with houses (plural) on it; the society at New Rochelle owns one. (This is not this one, "On this estate was an elegant stone house, 125 by 28 feet." (At two stories, at least 7,000-sq. feet.) The stone house is mentioned by several, it is not the cottage; which was a replacement for a building that had burnt down. Pain did not stay at the mansion, but at the mentioned cottage. Col. Fellows, his friend, said that Paine like to live simply but comfortably. It is a shame no one has looked into land sales and transfers on what was his farm. That the stone house more likely than not still exists.

There is confirmation on this point. Three Years in North America, Page 508 by James Stuart, 1833

Preface “a faithful and candid representation of the facts which the Author observed and noted… in those parts of the United States which he visited, than can be found in any similar publication.”

“Consisting of above 300 acres of well-cultivated soil, with a good stone house.” He knew; he saw it on his visit.

In Paris, although he spent considerable time with the Bonnevilles he had an apartment, that Nicolas let him. (Rented, this in the use of the term of the day was usually referred to as a boarder, meant tenant although not even always under the same roof. It was also used in the same way as latter. This has caused confusion, as the archaic use of the term had gone out of usage by Ingersoll’s and Blanchard’s day). The Bonneville’s address was 4, the apartment, 1.

Second, he had tenants. Calvin Blanchard makes clear that there were extensive out buildings on this. In a letter to Jefferson after selling 60 ½ acres for $4,020, nearly $67 an acre, his farm was of 300 acres. When Blanchard wrote in 1860 there was still a memory of what had been on the farm. How many tenants he had is a question, but there were more than just Purdy and the Deans. Dean occupied the north part, alone, but Paine had said that 1/3 of his land was “village land,” that is, it had houses on it. One third he described as woodland, but this is somewhat of a misnomer, we know he had orchards. The other part described as meadows (under cultivation). This farm was also commercial operation of which Mr. Paine had a part in the proceeds. Instead of staying in New York City (not Greenwich) if he was tight on cash, he could have simply moved back to his cottage at New Rochelle. (Paine did not live at the mansion, as Col. Fellows said, who knew him well; Paine liked to live simply, but conformably.) After all he owned the whole damned place, lock, stock, and barrel, free and clear. The story that he tried to sell it for only $10,000 is senseless. The 60-½ acres were sold to a Mr. Coles. (Mostly unimproved, Paine had firewood cut for the New York market shortly before the sale.) That orchard was worth far more than $66 an acre, as was the “village land” and the stone house was also very valuable.

In the third, if really strapped for money, as mentioned in his Will, he had some $1,500 in interest paying insurance stock (roughly at least $133,000 in 2007 dollars).

We are all told that Paine stayed in The City Hotel when he fist came to New York, and that a dinner was given to him there. All of this is made up. ("In 1802, Mr. Paine was honored with a public dinner in the city of New York. He was called upon and treated with kindness and respect by such men as DeWitt Clinton." At, of course The City Hotel, or so it was said.) I did not know the truth of this until recently.

From, Talking Broadway, "The City Hotel was built in 1806 at the corner of Cedar Street. It stood on the site of the old De Lancey House, which had been the scene of the first "Inauguration Ball" in Washington's time. In this hotel it was considered that the acme of luxury and magnificence had been reached.”

As to the City Hotel in 1802, it wasn’t built till 1806. The old De Lancey House was never a hotel, or for that matter a boarding house. Shortly after acquiring the property, this house built in the 1600s and used by several governors was demolished and the hotel built. (Paine arrived in New York in May 1803, a dinner may have been given but not at the City Hotel.) As to a Lovett’s Hotel before this, one did exist; however, it was in Washington DC, not New York. Several, Letter(s) to the Citizens of America, to the newspapers, even federalist papers were forced to print them as a part of the news, said, City Of Washington, Lovett's Hotel, several public dinners were given. Even then dishonesty has not stopped, several have tried to change this to Lovels Hotel, again speaking volume as to credibility. Paine in fact did stay shortly at the City Hotel, but this was not until it opened, in 1806.

Dr. N. Romaine, at that time the most eminent physician of New York, was Paine’s physician. Not Dr. Manly, if Ingersoll is carefully read, it seems he was there but twice, the last told not to come back.

“As to the personal habits of Mr. Paine, we have the testimony of William Carver, with whom he lived; of Mr. Jarvis, the artist, with whom he lived; of Mr. Staple, with whom he lived; of Mr. Purdy, who was a tenant of Paine’s; of Mr. Burger, with whom he was intimate; of Thomas Nixon and Captain Daniel Pelton, both of whom knew him well; of Amasa Woodsworth, who was with him when he died; of John Fellows, who boarded at the same house; of James Wilburn, with whom he boarded; of B. F. Haskin, a lawyer, who was well acquainted with him and called upon him during his last illness; of Walter Morton (the Paris Banker), a friend; of Clio Rickman, who had known him for many years; of Willet and Elias Hicks, Quakers, who knew him intimately and well; of Judge Herttell H. Margary, Elihu Palmer, and many others. All these testified to the fact that Mr. Paine was a temperate man. Mr. Lovett, who kept the City Hotel where Paine stopped, in a note to Caleb Bingham, declared that Paine drank less than any boarder he had.”

(Notice, that instead of using the term boarder, today they would say guest.)

As for the refusal of Paine’s right to vote and the allegded court action that followed. Thomas Scoble a prominent attorney in 1946 searched all the records, including the first District then including New York and Westchester counties, and state records no such case ever existed, if anything had been filed there would be a record. There is none. Nor the originals of the alleged letters referring to this. Likewise William Cobbett’s son, a man who is on record as disliking Paine, supposedly handed the letter of M. de Bonneville to Con-way. In one edition he said that the following was with notes by Cobbett’s son, which parts, and showing up as it did nearly a hundred years after Paine’s death is any part real. After all else everyone that knew him, excepting the letter, said he died in old New York, not Greenwich Village. Perhaps a poor choice, but a Judge Judy show repeatedly says “if it doesn’t make any sense its not true.”

My calculation on the New Rochelle estate was roughly 2.7 million. How I arrived at this. A recent PBS program on the first voyage of captain Cook mentioned that one of his crew had put up 10,000 pounds to help finance and join the voyage, they said today that would (roughly) equal 2,000,000 pounds (roughly 4 million US). I saw that the exchange rate in 1805 was 4.5 dollars to the pound, his estate at that time was valued at $30,000, so I did the math. His yearly income from his properties, 400 pounds, on his return is roughly $160,000 in 2007 dollars. With no income tax, this would be the equivalent of after tax income. He was also receiving royalties from many of his writings. No Bill Gates, but hardly a pauper.

Paine was as astonishingly productive, about everything from yellow fever to iron bridge construction. Although he wrote countless articles and pamphlets during his life, his core works are four powerful, sometimes beautifully written, flaming-with-indignation essays. Common Sense, an argument for independence, helped spark the American Revolution. The Rights of Man, an essay attacks hereditary monarchies and called for universal democracy and human rights. The Age of Reason challenges the logic behind organized religion’s grip on much of the Western world, and Agrarian Justice calls for radical reforms in the world economy. The first three constitute the three best-selling works of the 18th century. Three of his works forever changed the world almost in an instance, Common Sense, the first of the American Crisis papers, and the Rights of Man. “In 1804, he published an essay on the invasion of England, and a treatise on gunboats, full of valuable maritime information, in 1805, a treatise on yellow fever, suggesting modes of prevention.”

Paine continued to write pieces for newspapers, many of these were against the Federalist Party that he saw as becoming dominated by men with darker ambitions. His suspicions were later confirmed by the Hartford Convention in which treason was almost surely committed but not proven. After this convention because of the odium the Federalist Party succeeded in destroying itself.

Above all it is generally ignored that Paine, besides being a author, was both a landlord, from which he had a steady income, and a businessman, besides the rents the farm, again had proceeds.

The above is a very conservative estimate, the farm, with extensive out buildings, including houses was valued at $30,000 when given to him. He tells us how much more in value it (all of it) had increased, but he also had at least two properties in Bordentown, so it can not be applied directly.

Con-way (the Reverend Con-way) held by some to be a gold standard, is full of lies, of easy proof. Now Con-way began this joke by repeatedly saying “according to Oldys.” Oldys” was really George Chalmers, a clerk in the Pitt government paid 500 pounds to write an attack biography. It had been known for almost a century when Con-way wrote just who Oldys was. Chalmers had claimed to be from the University of Philadelphia, a lie. Chalmers claimed to have a degree from the University of Philadelphia. Which was also phony, to compete with Paine’s real one, Master of Arts (MA). Chalmers couldn’t even get this right, his fake degree was as AM, whatever that was supposed to be (no AMs were ever handed out by the University of Philadelphia). How far after this are we supposed to trust Con-way’s story? “According to Oldys,” really. The more that is known the worse it gets. What is more he knew this was contaminated material, later he quotes Cheetham a number of times, a man who was sued for slander at least 30 times, it, his story, has no credibility.

As to Vale, I will say to his credit he rejected the poverty nonsense, he mainly used Sherwin. Now Sherwin’s “life” was in part based on Cheetham’s. A convicted libeler, Sherwin may or may not have been aware of this, he may not had lifted it directly from it. Or perhaps thought by portraying Paine as a man who had to struggle in his last years would be more appealing to the laboring class in England. Where social condition had greatly deteriorated, in fact the average height of most of the population had declined after 1800, and death by starvation was common.

Con-way says should not be taken seriously. This is hardly the only one, for far more than a hundred years it has been proven that this is nonsense, it applies to John Keane and Greg Nelson. Far from being scholars they simply copied disproved material, and in fact made up things as they went, they wrote novel, not history, and were not even honest enough to label it what it really was, fiction. As historical fiction perhaps expectable but it needs to have a disclaimer.

I would like to bring attention to this; it should be noted they had published several articles and reviews that had been hostile and mocking, at least in part on some of his ideas, to Thomas Paine. Remember Conway, “according to Oldys.” To wit:

The European Magazine and London Review
Containing the literature, history, politics, arts, manners, and amusements of the age.

First some comments appearing about Paine, written earlier than the review on The Life of Pain by Oldys.

Paine’s pamphlet, Prospects on the Rubicon
“Not withstanding the good-natured prophecy of Mr. Paine, we do not despair but England may yet survive even to, what he thinks She will never reach, the end of the year 1788.”

“ The Author appears to labour under a kind of Taxafobia: Taxes, Taxes, nothing but Taxes, is his cry. A Tax is to be laid on shoes and boots, for the service of the Stadtholder of Holland (George III).” “If a Tax were laid upon all blundering politicians and miserable pamphleteers, poor Mr. Paine might with justice raise this outcry.” “But it is not to our pockets only that - this Genius in politic! Appeals.” “After this pathetic infusion of philanthropic wisdom, we hope, that henceforward contention will be dumb.”

But although containing those remarks, another review later labeled The Prospects on the Rubicon an Octavo pamphlet of 57 pages that dealt honestly with the affairs of Holland, notwithstanding most gentlemen’s view on the tax part. The reason for the change was that the events in the Netherlands threatened to involve other European nations, particularly England, France and Prussia in a war that would have benefited no one, the pamphlet helped cooler heads to prevail.

Therefore when they slammed, throughout, the first addition to “Oldys’” (George Chalmers) Life of Paine, it should be taken seriously. “Unfortunately, however, for the reputation of Mr. Oldys, or whoever is the real writer of this partial life of Thomas Pain, he gives us the following narrative of the family.” This was when he implied that Paine had mistreated his wife, and pointed out that his father-in-law would hardly had welcomed him if he had, after his wife had died.

Not far into the review they said, “Once for all we must reprobate and bid adieu to the numerous malignant reflections of the same kind, which are met with in almost every page, but are so equivocally worded as just steer clear of being actionable (that is, sued). The review’s view was that the book was ridiculous nonsense. But it is a fact that almost every biography has in part been constructed with parts of this.

This “Oldys Life” said his first father in law died in bad circumstances, on the 4th of Мaу, 1753. “But at page 19 he rises again, shelters his son-in-law in July 1761, who, after fourteen months of study and trials with this resurgent father-in-law, is established in the Excise, December 1762.”

When Paine was dismissed from office, in 1754, although we can not state it was the cause as a fact, he had published several letters in the papers. This is an account.

"Paine had made note of the fact that England collected taxes from Jews but that Jews were not allowed to vote, because they were not "Christians," it being assumed that Jews were neither as fit intellectually or morally to pass on questions of state as members of the "Church." In 1771 in a letter to a local paper he used the phrase, "The iniquity of taxation without representation … he called attention to the fact that the Christian religion was built on the Judaic, and that the reputed founder of the established religion was a Jew and his mother a Jewess, and to deprive Jews of the right of full citizenship, simply because they did not take the same view of Jesus that others did was a perversion of the natural rights of man. This expression, "The natural rights of man," gave offense to a certain clergyman of Thetford who replied that man had no natural rights, only privileges, all the rights he had: were those granted by the Crown. Then followed a debate at the coffee-house followed by a rebuke from Paine's superior officer in the Excise, ordering him to cease all political and religious controversy on penalty."

"Paine felt the smart of the rebuke; he thought it was unjustified, in view of the fact that the excellence of his work for the Government had never been questioned. So he made a speech in a dissenting chapel explaining the situation. But explanations never explain, and his assertion that the honesty of his service had never been questioned was put out of commission the following week by the charge of smuggling. His name was dropped from the official pay-roll until his case could be tried, and a little later he was peremptorily discharged. The charge against him was not pressed - he was simply not wanted, and the statement by the head exciseman that a man working for the Government should not criticize the Government was pretty good logic, anyway. Paine, however, contended that all governments exist for the governed, and with the consent of the governed, and it is the duty of all good citizens to take an interest in their Government and if possible show where it can be strengthened and bettered."

As his first post was as a “supplementary” officer he could be gotten rid of, it is hard not to think that this may have had something to do with it. “Oldys” claimed it was for dishonesty.

The review pointed out; “here again we must notice the uncharitable disposition of his biographer. If detected dishonesty had been the cause of his dismission, how came he to be reinstated, and sent as Excise-offercer to Lewes in Suffix, in March 1768? In no office under Government is any man employed again, who has been discharged for dishonest practices.”

“This is the language of his biographer,” was the remark to “Oldys” (Chalmers) on his description of Paine’s “model” bridge at Paddington that couldn’t be disagreed with more. Just about everybody who was anybody in London had visited this bridge or knew someone that had. “Oldys” said the bridge was behind the Yorkshire Stingo. Now this place was a public roadhouse on the south side of the road to Paddington. Lisson Green was to the north and east, so his description is not possible. Now Paine had set up his bridge on the edge of Lisson Grove, to the north of Paddington, of which it was a part, this area was a favorite with artists and was being used at this time for exhibitions of various kinds. Lisson green on the other hand was to the east, and a somewhat different kind of place. Part of the confusion is both terms were used interchangeably, as no clear boundary existed, but both were in the Parish of Paddington. The Yorkshire Stingo was in the parish of Marylebone.

Gentlemen were advised to check their firearms before entering the green, although this is somewhat of an exaggeration. The main road through the place was described as having dips in it. Now it was said that the bridge was “on a close” (not in a close). Two meanings of this word are one, a road. Roads in those days were sometimes what we would now only use the word pathway or trail, or in national parks, a fire trail, another was an enclosed area, usually by a hedge, but a fence of any kind, again “on a close” meaning a road. It was not, as the readers of this review were well aware of, fenced in. Nor was admission charged, this charge wouldn’t make sense as “Oldys” claimed he fenced it in the fall then charged admission, the greatest traffic would have been just after it was erected in June. Again, the readers of the review knew this to be false. The interesting thing the review revealed, and Paine would have good reason to look for a dip in the landscape so people could pass underneath, erected five feet above a spring (that fed a brook). This would give it about ten feet of clearance in the middle of the arch above the spring, as well as conveying the idea of its use.

“But if ever there was an instance of genius deriving from the very obscurity and low occupation so much derided in Paine (Oldys’ Life), it is this bridge in question. It might have been the invention, and have done honor to the talents of a Marlborough or a Saxe; being an arch constructed of iron, one hundred and ten feet in the span, five feet from the spring (note, not above the chord line), and twenty two feet in breath. On the same principle that pieces of whalebone of the proper length for stays are run up between the stitched tabby or jane, iron bars pass up through pieces of shaped iron, not above a foot long, resembling the representation of an hour-glass, when drawn on a flat surface; of these pieces, the sides, balustrades, and the whole compact union of the bridge are formed; the iron rods passing through the centers, are fastened by iron keys: it may be thrown over a river for an army to pass, and afterwards be taken to pieces and packed up with the military chests or camp wagons. The model could not demonstrate the practicability and use, so much as the bridge itself; of this circumstance, however, Mr., Oldys chose to be ignorant.”

This is another review, unfortunately very near all so-called biographers have included known contaminated material, so what is the truth in their stories, and stories they are, not fact. The New annual register, or General repository of history, politics, and ... - Page 249 1792

The Life of Thomas Paine, the Author of the Rights of Man, By Frances Oldys, with a defense of his writings

“Instead of being a defense of the writings of Paine, it is, chiefly, an attack on his offences against grammar, and propriety of language, which will not weigh much in the finale against the principles for which that author contends. What is titled the Life of Thomas Paine, attempts to throw much abuse and dirt on that obnoxious character”…

“If it were of any importance to the public to obtain an accurate knowledge of the private affairs of Mr. Paine, they should not rely on the authenticity of the information in this pamphlet.”

Some other errors also need to be exposed. Camden New Journal letters to the editor, Published: 7 February 2008 “Paine’s first wife did not die in childbirth, nor did the child she bore, a daughter, but both died later, the child some time before its mother.”

Is there any truth to this? Hazel Burgess an Independent Scholar researched this, Paine’s daughter, Sara died when 9 months old.

He was twenty-seven years of age when he met Ben Franklin, at a coffeehouse in London. This was when he was a teacher, between employment as an excise officer. George Lewis Scott, a noted mathematician, who also happened to be a commissioner of the excise, made the introduction.. Scott who was a teacher to George III gave Paine a true character of the man. At some point Paine was convinced that reform was impossible under the system as then existed. Later having seen his Case of the Excise Officers (1774), Franklin sought out Paine while he was in London. It may be then when the suggestion to immigrate to America was made; in any event he took up the offer and would arrive in Philadelphia with Franklin’s letters of introduction.

When not yet 21 Paine had joined a society, the great or world council, this group’s goal was to bring about reform, both socially and politically in the European governments as they then existed. Paine had served on the city council at Lewes, and had been an ardent Whig. Instead any improvement what he saw was a steady deterioration, and especially economic. By 1774, his career ruined and his marriage in shambles Paine had it.

Without going into it all when Paine throughout the time Pain was in England he was financially solvent. First, in 1774 Paine With the sudden loss of employment at being dismissed from the excise office Paine sold his (his) furniture and some other effects, these paid off his debts, with some extra. (It paid for his voyage; Paine shared a cabin with five others.) The tobacco mill listed among furniture items to be sold was of the hand-operated type. As to the sale of a tobacco mill, usually taken as selling the shop. "Snuff was made by pulverizing "cured" tobacco leaves, which had been allowed to ferment in their own juices for several years. Initially, snuff was ground by using a mortar and pestle or hand-operated grinders”... Snuff-grinding was largely a rural industry." The tobacco/grocery shop was not a mill.

The tobacco shop, of which he had an interest, did not go bust. Esther, Ollive’s widow, and his mother in law, enjoyed part ownership (and Elizabeth his wife a part) until her (Esther’s) own death, in I800, when a division among the heirs became necessary. Ollive had made Paine a partner before his death for managing the affairs of the shop; and named him in his will, he would give away his share.

As to the separation, this is what Pain filed in court, in part. "Thomas Pain had agreed that the said Elizabeth should have and take her share of the said Monies of the said House when the same should become due and payable and that he would give any discharge that should then be required to and for the use of the said Elizabeth. …The said Thos. Pain did covenant to permit the said Elizabeth to live separate from him and to carry on such Trade and Business as she should think fit." In short Paine had filed a quitclaim.

This house had not belonged to the Ollives, but to Paine, for which she got the equity he had put in. it was not the one in Lewes with the plaque, that had Ollive’s shop downstairs, that was Esther’s, and as said operated until her death in 1800. The only charge actually brought against him was that he had contracted debt, today we call this a mortgage. Elizabeth received the equity.

It takes very little research to learn that the Age of Reason part one was a best seller in America, going through some 17 editions, as were parts 2 and 3 (1807). A special addition of part three, combined with other tracts was released in 1810, part four was released (date uncertain, but first printed in England in 1811), I know I downloaded it, and a bound addition with parts 1,2,3, and 4. In addition to some other minor works, and reprints, Thomas Paine was earning money from beyond the grave. A fact, no doubt, that irritated his distracters.

According to the historian, Robert T. Handy, "No more than 10 percent, probably less, of Americans in 1800 were members of congregations."

Again there is conformation of this. We find confirmation on this point. From Quiver of Arrows, being characteristic sermons of David James Burrell, D. LL.D delivered in the Marble Collegiate Church of New York City.

"Only four Christians were found in Yale College when the first Dwight was inaugurated president (of Yale, 1795), and only one in Bowdoin (collage) at the same era.... In 1800 Yale College had but three professing Christians among its students."

He went on to say that at this time a great wave of infidelity swept over America, he of course meant Unitarian, Universalism, and the Millenialism movement as well.

The truth is the attacks on Paine’s character in America began not after The Age of Reason was written. It was when the Rights of Man was published, this upset the “gentry,” who were federalists.

Most Paine “scholars” have defined him as a skeptical, enlightened man of reason. This view is complicated by observing that skeptical philosophy was often used to support the economic “conservatism” of the rising mercantilism class by discrediting “any hopes or values that might conflict with things as they are.” That is, in England the prosperous members of the 18th century society ranging from parasitic Lords and country “gentlemen” to holders of monopolies who owned, and owned they did, and operated the government and controlled society for their own ends often professed Christianity. But at the same time proclaimed deist ideas as a means to justify their actions as operating perfectly according to God’s plan. DiSalvo chillingly summarizes these problems: poverty became an inescapable “fact.” Wages could not be raised; hours could not be shortened; death from starvation was the working-out of the laws of population. “The statistics of human suffering were collected in utilitarian blue books and where, it was shown, compared favorably with statistics on expansion of trade.”

The Millenialist rhetoric of the dissenting Protestant faiths and the Great Awakening promotion of “inner light” theology helped to fuel political resistance to bring about a new way of life for those who were not benefiting and in fact were oppressed by the then current system. Moreover, Millenialism provided an explanation for the revolutionary uprisings going on in the world in the late1700s, uprisings that threatened the status quo and a parasitic way of life. A positive explanation of revolutionary movements would have been welcome to members of working classes, who were drawn to evangelical religious groups, sometimes simply for economic reasons. Evangelical egalitarian rhetoric offered these struggling people a voice in a social system that was unresponsive to their needs. It was only a short step from religious conversion to political activism, and many millenarians joined the secular groups which commonly attracted a motley group of “the insecure and declining, the casualised, pauperized and criminalised” artisans and laborers of middle and low classes whose troubles Paine knew all to well. Paine’s writings, including The Age of Reason attracted this politically concerned, Millenarian Christianity, which saw Paine as instrumental in ushering in a new age. These evangelical Millenialists were actually drawn to such deist expressions in Paine’s work as “My own mind is my own church,” as apt articulations of their own dissenting faiths, which emphasized individualism.

On his arrival in New York (1803-4) Paine joined with Palmer in founding a Theistic Church, and wrote for ‘The Prospect.’ These two men founded in New York the first purely Theistic Society in America. This survives in the freethinking Fraternity; they have halls in New York City and Boston, and preserve the spirit though not the Theism of their founders. This outraged many of the orthodox clergy, the more so because he had a following, and some dissenting sects accepted much of what Paine said. Paine's book led to the formation of deistic and rationalist societies (the last contained Christians who were not of the opinion that the bible was the literal work of god).

The rationalists who gathered around Elihu Palmer in New York were called the “Columbian Illuminati.” Their numbers were considerable, but they did not belong to fashionable society.”

The famous English artist, poet, and author William Blake throughout his works stated: “There is no natural religion” and “He never can be a Friend to the Human Race who is the Preacher of Natural Morality or Natural Religion, he is a flatterer who means to betray, to perpetuate Tyrant Pride.” Blake saw Deism as a very dangerous tyrannical movement, because it was so often used to defend the status quo and as an excuse to claim that nothing could be done to alleviate injustice and human suffering. Yet when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Watson, wrote a refutation of Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, Blake said that Thomas Paine was a Saint, and bitterly denounced the Bishop’s motives to be tyrannical and called Paine a “Worker of Miracles.”

Ask most “orthodox” Christians if Paine believed in a Supreme Being and they will tell you that he did not.

“The wonderful structure of the universe, and every thing we behold in the system of the creation, prove to us, far better than books can do, the existence of a God, and at the same time proclaim his attributes. It is by the exercise of our reason that we are enabled to contemplate God in his works, and imitate him in his ways. When we see his care and goodness extended over all his creatures, it teaches us our duty towards each other, while it calls forth our gratitude to him.”

“Do we want to contemplate his power? We see it in the immensity of the Creation. Do we want to contemplate his wisdom? We see it in the unchangeable order by which the incomprehensible WHOLE is governed. Do we want to contemplate his munificence? We see it in the abundance with which he fills the earth. Do we want to contemplate his mercy? We see it in his not withholding that abundance even from the unthankful… It is comfortable to live under the belief of the existence of an infinite protecting power; and it is an addition to that comfort to know that such a belief is not a mere conceit of the imagination”…

Thomas Paine in his early 20s became aquatinted with astronomy, knowing all the stars were suns he was convinced that they all had planets and on at least some had life and that this existed throughout the universe. The orthodox view centered on earth only. To him the immensity of the creation was a fact.

One of the most interesting things of this period was that his discourse to the Society of Theophilanthropists was circulated as a pamphlet entitled “Atheism Refuted.” The publisher had omitted his name and took out the reference to the society. This was widely circulated in England as a nonsectarian religious tract. The same clergy condemning him from the pulpit often used it in sermons having no idea that Paine was the author.

A note- Paine and the Quakers: Paine, Franklin, and Voltaire although Deists were great admirers of the Quakers and saw their beliefs as closely allied to theirs, especially the Doctrine of the Inner Light. This attracted certain Dissenting Protestant faiths such as the Unitarians. (His enemy, the pro-monarchist John Adams, excepted) who denied the divinity of Christ and the Trinity, essentially the same as the Arian sect of early Christianity. . As well as those groups (Millenialists, more mainstream) that later became known collectively as modernists who believed that Bible stories were allegory saw in Paine a Champion of many things they also believed in. The following is of interests because it mentions a few facts not generally known. From the Prospect papers:

“The Quakers, who are a people more moral and regular in their conduct than the people of other sectaries, and generally allowed so to be, do not hold the Bible to be the word of God. They call it a history of the times”…
(When Paine wrote this was the majority view. It also explains his relationship to the Hicks.)

“That the belief of the Bible does no good in the world, may be seen by the irregular lives of those, as well priests as laymen, who profess to believe it to be the Word of God, and the moral lives of the Quakers who do not.”

The Quakers declining his burial may have had nothing to do with his religious beliefs. The Quakers in Paine’s day, although there were differences, did have some deistic leanings. He wanted nothing to do with the other orders, as he knew what had happened to Hamilton, known for deistic sentiments, as he lay dying. This was a spectacle. Nor, did he want words he did not believe in said over his grave. It may have been because of his involvement in the revolutionary war, Paine had blood on his hands. Moreover as one pointed out they were afraid a monument might be put up, which is against their beliefs.

Joe Barlow would state that it was not his religious beliefs that made him so many enemies, it was his politics.

This began very early with his essays against slavery (1775), proposals for the emancipation of slaves (1780), and rights for women (1775). His Rights of Man, with its call for universal suffrage, including women’s suffrage, a thing that would not come about for over a hundred years after he wrote. In May of 1776 the laboring class of Pennsylvania overthrew the State’s landed proprietary government. Pennsylvania with the help of Franklin and Paine produced the most democratic state constitution of the revolution; John Adams, Benjamin Rush, and others denounced it. All of this horrified the “conservative” element in this country. Dorr’s rebellion in Connecticut (1842) grew out of dissatisfaction with the existing state constitution, which restricted suffrage to landholders or their eldest sons. Millions in this country are old enough today they can remember a time in the south when blacks were segregated from society and denied the right to vote.

It was this “fashionable” society, and allies, “orthodox” clergy that throughout the years that have presented a picture that wasn’t so. The bigots, liars, extremists, and frauds in Paine’s day have succeeded in distorting the truth to this day. The federalist faction united with “conservative” religious factions. Paine considered it an unholy alliance, and said so. Walt Whitman, repeating John Fellows, in early manhood adverting to the Paine calumnies, said:

“It was a time when, in religion, there was as yet no philosophical middle ground; people were very strong on one side or the other; there was a good deal of lying, and the liars were often well paid for their work.”

How many Americans know that Tom Paine inspired the Declaration of Independence? Not many, you may be sure. Tom Paine was the forerunner of Abraham Lincoln. He called for the abolition of Negro slavery in 1775, long before Lincoln was born. Paine stood for universal education and for free schools for all children. Paine believed that women should be classed as men’s equals in human affairs as early as 1775. He was born a century before the world was prepared to accept and cherish his conceptions of human freedom and the rights of mankind. That is why his name has been blackened all these years.” —W.E. Woodward