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a ruined trade, and tremendous armies gathering round, men were confounded, and waited for some one to point with the finger of hope to a better state of things. Paine, although a stranger in the country, felt this, and his brain was the first in which the idea of the great American Republic ever existed. With the alacrity which characterised all his proceedings, he gave utterance to the thought which was big in his heart, and the doubting, trembling, and bewildered colonists became a great nation. An unfriendly pen (Cheetham) thus describes the appearance of Common Sense

*This pamphlet, of forty-seven octavo pages, holding out relief by proposing independence to an oppressed and despairing people, was published in January, 1776; speaking a language which the colonists had felt, but not thought of. Its popularity, terrible in its consequences to the parent country, was unexampled in the history of the press. At first involving the colonists, it was thought, in the crime of rebellion, and pointing to a road leading inevitably to ruin, it was read with indignation and alarm; but when the reader (and everybody read it), recovering from the first shock, re-perused it, its arguments, nourishing his feelings and appealing to his pride, reanimated his hopes, and satisfied his understanding that “ Common Sense,” backed by the resources and force of the coionies, poor and feeble as they were, could alone rescue them from the unqualified oppression with which they were threatened. The unknown author, in the moments of enthusiasm which succeeded, was hailed as an angel sent from heaven to save from all the horrors of slavery, by his timely, powerful, and unerring councils, a faithful but abused, a brave but a misrepresented people.'

In this hour of his success, with the true pride and joy of an author, he writes :—'I gave the copyright to every state in the Union, and the demand ran to not less than one hundred thousand copies.' The doctrine of independence having thus found an efficient preacher, the spirit was breathed into the whole nation. The dead became quick; the living had found a voice. On the 1st of January, a word was spoken by a poor vagrant staymaker ; by the 4th of July, it had been repeated from Vermont even to Georgia; on that day the independence of thirteen states was proclaimed

; a home and rallying place was established for freedom, and a mighty nation born which is destined to leave a noble history in the annals of the human race.

Once having taken the pen in the cause of independence, Paine is often called upon to exercise it; and, accordingly, we next find him writ. ing a pithy and sarcastic reply to a testimony' of the Quakers. But, conceiving that he who had done so much to provoke to deadly conflict with the mother country should be amongst the first to share its dangers, he entered the army, where he fought or wrote as circumstances required. It was whilst a soldier that he published the first of his interesting works, the Crisis'--thirteen numbers of which appeared. In 1777 he left the army, being appointed by Congress "Secretary for Foreign Affairs. An attempt being made by one Dean to obtain some of the public money to which he was not entitled, some of the committee were in favour of paying the demand as hushmoney, but Paine wrote in the newspapers, and thus appealing to the public, exposed the attempted imposition. Dean's claim was rejected with contempt, but this breach of official confidence' led to his resig



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nation ; and in 1779 he was again a free man upon the world. Having received but a small salary during his term of office, and having always refused to sell the copyright or receive any profit for his writings, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs was obliged to be a lawyer's clerk. He is not long, however, in the lawyer's office, for in February, 1781, he is in Paris along with Col. Laurens, where they negotiate a loan for the young republic. He seems, after this, to have retired to a little estate which he had near Border Town, on the east bank of the Delaware, where he received the following letter :

* Rocky-Hill, September 10, 1783. 'I have learned, since I have been at this place, that you are at Border Town. Whether for the sake of retirement or economy, I know not. Be it for either, for both, or whatever it may, if you will come to this place and partake with me, I shall be exceedingly happy to see you in it. Your presence may remind Congress of your past services to this country, and if it is in my power to impress them, cominand my best exertions 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,

G. WASHINGTON.' That Congress was not altogether unmindful of the services which Paine had rendered to the cause of American independence, is seen from the following extract from its journal :

Friday, August 28, 1785. 'On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr. Gerry, Mr. Petit, and Mr. King, to whom was referred a letter of the 13th from Thomas Paine :

• Resolved, that the early, unsolicited, and continued labours of Mr. Thomas Paine, in explaining 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.'

Monday, October 3, 1785. On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr Gerry, Mr. Howell, and Mr. Long, to whom were referred sundry letters from Mr. Thomas Paine, and a report on his letter of the 13th of September :

* Resolved, That the board of treasury take order for paying to Mr. Thomas Paine, the sum of three thousand dollars for the considerations mentioned in the resolution of the 28th of August last.'

In the same year, the state of Pennsylvania, where he first published his ‘Common Sense,' and the Crisis,' presented him with 5001., and New York gave him the confiscated estate of a royalist. It is impossible for us to enumerate the services which he rendered to the American nation, but it is quite certain that rewards were never better merited.

In 1787, Paine returned to England, and hastened to his native place, Thetford, where he found his mother in penury-his father having been dead for some years. Relieving his parent from want he commenced carrying out those schemes of political reform in England of which his native country had so much need. There can be no doubt

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whatever in some of his demands he went too far; but those of us who live now when many of the reforms which he proposed have been accomplished, or are being daily realized, can afford to express our gratitude to a man who, sixty years ago, scattered the seed of that liberty which we enjoy.

Hitherto we have only seen Paine as a politician riding upon the political storms, and directing patriotism to the haven of liberty; but on his return to England he displayed a mathematical and mechanical genius of the very highest order. It was at this time that he constructed the first iron bridge that was ever built, and made also some models of machinery which, for simplicity and utility, have hardly ever been exceeded; but during this time his cherished idea—the progress of liberty, was never abandoned, of which he soon gave proof by printing the first part of his “Rights of Man,' which was read with the same avidity here as his 'COMMON SENSE' had been in America. Government was enraged, and commenced a prosecution, but before it could lay hands on him Paine had been elected by two departments of France to represent them in the National Assembly, and deeming it better to spend his time in the councils of the Great Republic than waste it here with lawyers who were predetermined to convict him, he embarked for France, and took his seat in the Assembly as the representative of Calais.

As yet the career of Paine has been one of triumph, and one of which he might be justly proud. We found him a poor staymaker at Thetford—we saw him depart with the reckless activity of youth to brave the perils of privateer warfare-met him again a poor journeyman in London—saw him enter to be expelled, and re-enter to be dismissed again from the Excise—went with him to the New World, and saw him take his proper place there among men second to none in the political history of nations—watched his return to his native country, and blessed his anxiety to reach his paternal roof and relieve his mother from want-a noble trait in the character of a great man; and, whilst here giving consolation to an aged parent, we have seen him develop a mathematical and mechanical genius which, so far as the use of iron is concerned, may be said to have formed a new era in architecture; here also we have seen him discharge the artillery of his brain until corruption trembled. It is said, and upon good authority, that the ministers of state even bribed the printer for proofs of his · Rights of Man’ that they might alter their budget so as to falsify his statements, and enormous sums were offered for the copyright, that it might be wholly suppressed, and in the midst of all this we have seen a foreign nation anxious to do him homage, and in the councils of France we now see him hazarding his life in pleading for humanity. Paine was the victim, but in no case the advocate, of the excesses of the National Assembly. Those who have spent their time in abusing him by representing him as a sloven and a drunkard will hitherto find little food for scandal ; friendly and unfriendly writers have borne testimony to the simplicity of his manners and the temperance of his life. And if they had not done so we could hardly believe that the friend and


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intimate companion of Franklin. Priestley, Washington, and numbers of the best men of his age, could have been anything

but a man of strict outward propriety; indeed, this is clear enough from what followed, for when Paine himself changed, the magic of his power ceased, and one of his most devout disciples speaks of him as the abandoned.'

Although it is evening we must get one more glimpse of the setting sun, for dark clouds are gathering near it, and a clear eye may already discern spots upon its disc. Rickman thus describes him :

• Paine was about five feet ten inches high, and rather athletic; he was broadshouldered, and latterly stooped a little. His eye was full, brilliant, and singularly piercing; it had in it the “ muse of fire.” In his dress and person he was generally very cleanly, though careless, and wore his hair queued, with side curls, and powdered, like a gentleman of the old French school.

•His manners were easy and gracious, his knowledge was universal; among friends his conversation had every fascination that anecdote, novelty, and truth could give it. In mixed company and among strangers he said little, and was no public speaker. The power of his memory was so great that he could repeat at will any passage from any of his writings. The only book that he had studied was the Bible, with every part of which he was familiar.'

If our sketch of Paine could have ended here, or if we could add an old age of peace and piety, then he would hold a foremost place in the illustrious ranks of those who are reckoned eminent for the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties. But he attacked the Bible with the same impetuosity that he had attacked the State, expressing his belief that the institutes of religion might be as easily changed as the political condition of a nation remodelled. This was his grand mistake, and betrayed an utter misconception of the real influence and position of the sacred volume.

Civil and political institutions must of necessity be the reflex of the national character. They are sometimes in advance of the popular culture, and sometimes behind it; but they are always human, and therefore imperfect, and requiring reconstruction. Hence the necessity for revolutions or changes, and the honour which we accord to the men who have adapted the institutions of the State to the wants of

their age,

But the Bible is the common property of mankind, and is unchangeable. Kingdoms have arisen and fallen. Empires have passed away, and every form of government been born and died, but the vitality of the Bible is as fresh and full of vigour now as it was ten centuries ago. A popular writer, noted for the freedom of his sentiments, thus expresses his feeling upon this subject :

* This collection of books has taken such a hold on the world as no other. The literature of Greece, which goes up like incense from the land of temples and heroic deeds, has not half the influence of this book from a nation alike despised in ancient and modern times. It is read of a Sabbath in all the ten thousand pulpits of our land. In all the temples of Christendom is its voice lifted up, week by week. The sun never sets on its gleaming page. It goes equally to the cottage of the plain man and to the palace of the king. It is woven into the literature of the scholar, and colours the talk of the street. The bark of the merchant cannot sail upon the sea without it: no ship of war goes to the conflict but the Bible is there. It enters men's closets; mingles in all the grief and cheer.

fulness of life. The affianced maiden prays God in Scripture for strength in her new duties; men are married in Scripture. The Bible attends them in their sickness, when the fever of the world is on them. The aching head finds a softer pillow if the Bible lies underneath. The mariner escaping from shipwreck clutches this first of his treasures, and keeps it sacred to God. It goes with the pedlar in his crowded pack: cheers him at eventide, when he sits down dusty and fatigued : brightens the freshness of his morning face. It blesses us when we are born: gives names to half Christendom: rejoices with us: has sympathy for our mourning: tempers our grief to finer issues. It is the better part of our sermons. It lifts man above himself: our best prayers are uttered in its storied speech, wherewith our fathers and the patriarchs prayed. The timid man, about awakening from this dream of life, looks through the glass of Scripture, and his eye grows bright: he does not fear to stand alone, to head the way unknown and distant, to take the death-angel by the hand and bid farewell to wife and babes at home. Men rest on this their dearest hopes. It tells them of God and of his blessed Son -of earthly duties and of heavenly rest. Foolish men find in it the source of Plato's wisdom and the science of Newton, and the art of Raphael. Men who believe nothing else that is spiritual believe the Bible all through: without this they would not confess, say they, even that there was a God.

•Now for such effects there must be an adequate cause. That nothing comes of nothing is true all the world over. It is no light thing to hold with an electric cbain a thousand hearts, though but an hour, beating and bounding with such fiery speed: what is it then to hold the Christian world, and that for centuries? Are men fed with chaff and husks? The authors we reckon great whose word is in the newspapers and the market-place, whose articulate breath now sways the nation's mind, will soon pass away, giving place to other great men of a season, who in their turn shall follow them to eminence, and then oblivion. Some thousand famous writers came up in this century to be forgotten in the next. But the silver cord of the Bible is not loosed, nor its golden bowl broken, as Time chronicles his ten centuries passed by. Has the human race gone mad? Time sits as a refiner of metal: the dross is piled in forgotten heaps, but the pure gold is reserved for use, passed into the ages, and is current a thousand years hence as well as to-day. It is only real merit that can long pass for such: tinsel will rust in the storms of life: false weights are soon detected there. It is only heart that can speak deep and true to heart: a mind to mind, a soul to soul: wisdom to the wise, and religion to the pious. There must then be in the Bible, mind, heart, and soul: wisdom and religion: were it otherwise, how could millions find it their lawgiver, friend, and prophet? Some of the greatest of human institutions seem built on the Bible: such things will not stand in heaps of chaff, but on mountains of rock.'*

It was upon this rock of adamant that Paine was wrecked. He did not perceive that the Bible had been incorporated with the very life of Europe; that in every cottage there was some true soul who would resign wealth, station, pleasure, and, if need be, life, rather than part with the Word of God. One king might be put down and another crowned, and the new and old be so much alike that common people may fail to perceive the difference; but dethrone the Bible, and who could give us anything better in exchange? It is very easy to say, with some of our modern sceptics, Nature and science should take the place of the Revelation and Bible; but leaving out of the question the fact that there never has been, and is not likely to be, a scientific people, as science is now taught—especially by the sceptical portion of the community, they can never satisfy the soul. Science may enable us to conquer this world- to subdue the elements—to make the desert

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