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Thomas Paine Part One

by Robert Ingersoll, Secular Web

Re-printed by Al Bratton 10-09-11

“At the age of thirty-seven, Thomas Paine left England for America, with the high hope of being instrumental in the establishment of a free government. In his own country he could accomplish nothing. Those two vultures Church and State — were ready to tear in pieces and devour the heart of any one who might deny their divine right to enslave the world.”

“Upon his arrival in this country, he found himself possessed of a letter of introduction, signed by another Infidel the illustrious Franklin. this, and his native genius, constituted his entire capital; and he needed no more. He found the colonies clamoring for justice; whining about their grievances; upon their

knees at the foot of the throne, imploring that mixture of idiocy and insanity, George the III., by the grace of God, for a restoration of their ancient privileges. They were not endeavoring to become free men but were trying to soften the heart of their master. They were perfectly willing to make brick if Pharaoh would furnish the straw. The colonists wished for, hoped for, and prayed for reconciliation. They did not dream of independence.”

“Paine gave to the world his ‘Common Sense’ It was the first argument for separation, the first assault upon the British form of government, the first blow for a republic, and it aroused our fathers like a trumpet’s blast.”

“He was the first to perceive the destiny of the New World.”

“No other pamphlet ever accomplished such wonderful results. It was filled with argument, reason, persuasion, and unanswerable logic. It opened a new world. It filled the present with hope and the future with honor. Everywhere the people responded, and in a few months the Continental Congress declared the colonies free and independent States.”

“A new nation was born. It is simple justice to say that Paine did more to cause the Declaration of Independence than any other man. Neither should it be forgotten that his attacks upon Great Britain were also attacks upon monarchy; and while he convinced the people that the colonies ought to separate from the mother country, he also proved to them that a free government is the best that can be instituted among men.”

“In my judgment, Thomas Paine was the best political writer that ever lived. ‘What he wrote was pure nature, and his soul and his pen ever went together.’ Ceremony, pageantry, and all the paraphernalia of power, had no effect upon him. He examined into the why and wherefore of things. He was perfectly radical in his mode of thought. Nothing short of the bed-rock satisfied him. His enthusiasm for what he believed to be right knew no bounds. During all the dark scenes of the Revolution, never for one moment did he despair. Year after year his brave words were ringing through the land, and by the bivouac fires the weary soldiers read the inspiring words of ‘Common Sense,’ filled with ideas sharper than their swords, and consecrated themselves anew to the cause of Freedom.”