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HARVARD COLLEG

JUN 23 1919

LIBRARY

Bright found (2)

BRIEF SKETCH

OF THE

LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE.

THOMAS PAINE was born in Thetford, county of Norfolk, England, January 29, 1737. His father was a staymaker by trade, and professed the Quaker system of religion. His parents were respectable though poor, which prevented their giving him a college education. All the learning which he possessed, was obtained at a common English grammar school.

He left school when he was about thirteen, and went to work with his father, at staymaking, where he continued two or three years. He then went to London, and afterwards to Dover, working at his trade a few weeks in each place. About this time he entered on board a privateer, but was prevented from going in her, as he says, "by the affectionate and moral remonstrances of his father." Dissatisfied, however, with his profession, he soon after entered and sailed in the privateer king of Prussia, captain Mendez. How long he was absent is uncertain.

In the year 1759, he settled at Sandwich, as a master-staymaker, and married Mary Lambert, who died the next year.

He obtained a situation in the excise in 1761, which he retained till 1774.

In 1771, he married Elizabeth Olive; he lived with her but a short time; a separation took place, the real cause of which, although a number have been assigned, as is usual in such cases, probably was never known to the public. After the separation from his wife, he went to London, where he procured an introduction to Dr. Franklin, who advised him to go to America; this advice he followed, and arrived in Philadelphia about the close of the year 1774. Here his political career commenced.

His first engagement was with Mr. Aitkin, a bookseller, who established the Pennsylvania Magazine in January, 1775, which

Paine edited for some time with great ability. His monody on the Death of Gen. Wolfe, and Reflections on the death of lord Clive, were first published in this magazine, and contributed much to its popularity. At this time he became acquainted with, and visited many people of the first rank; among whom were Franklin, Rittenhouse, G. Clymer, Dr. Rush, and others.

It was Dr. Rush who suggested to him the idea of writing Common Sense, which was published in January, 1776; and, as the doctor says, "bursted from the press with an effect which has rarely been produced by types and paper in any age or coun try." Before this work was published, it was submitted to the inspection of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Samuel Adams, and other distinguished patriots, who spoke in the highest terms of it.

In the summer and autumn of 1776, he served as a volunteer in the American army, under Gen. Washington, and associated with officers of the first class.

The first number of The Crisis was published in December, 1776, and had a most invigorating effect on the spirits of the army, of public bodies, and of private citizens. "These," said The Crisis, are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier, and the sunshine patriot, will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country, but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

66

Three numbers of The Crisis were published in the year 1777, with the same success as the first.

On the 17th of April, 1777, Paine was elected Secretary to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, which office he held twenty-one months. He also acted as clerk to the legislature of Pennsylvania about the year 1780.

Three more numbers of The Crisis were published in 1778; three in 1780, in which year he wrote the pamphlet entitled Pub lic Good, on the claim of Virginia to the Western Territory. The two last

In 1782, four numbers of The Crisis appeared. were written in 1783.

In February, 1781, Mr. Paine accompanied Col. Laurens to France, where they obtained for the United States a loan of ten millions of livres, and a present of six millions. On his return he published his Letter to the abbe Raynal.

When the army was about to be disbanded, in 1783, Washington used all his influence to obtain from congress some compensation for the services which Paine had rendered the country by his revolutionary writings. In August, 1785, Congress passed the following resolution: "Resolved, that 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

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