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anticipated by the tenor of the following Decree, issued at Madrid, Oct. 13, 1823.
“ In casting my eyes (says his Majesty) on the Most High who had deigned to deliver me from so many dangers, and to lead me back as it were by the hand among my faithful subjects, I experience a feeling of horror when I recollect all the sacrifices, all the crimes which the impious have dared to commit against the Sovereign Creator of the Universe,
• The Ministers of Religion have been persecuted and sacrificed --the venerable successor of St. Peter has been insulted-the temples of the Lord profaned and destroyed - the Holy Gospel trodden under foot-lastly, the inestimable inheritance which Jesus Christ left us, the right of his Holy Supper, to assure us of his love, and of our eternal felicity, the sacred Hosts, have been trampled under foot. My soul cannot be at rest till united to my beloved subjects, we shall offer to God pious sacrifices that he may deign to purify by his grace the soil of Spain from so many stains' In order that objects of such importance should be attained, I have resolved that in all places in my dominion, the tribunals, the Juntas, and all public bodies, shall implore the clemency of the Almighty in favour of the nation, and that the Archbishops, Bishops and Capitular Vicars of vacant Sees, the Priors of Orders, and all those who exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction, shall prepare missions, which shall exert themselves to destroy erroneous, pernicious, and heretical doctrines, and shut up in the monasteries, of which the rules are the most rigid, those ecclesiastics, who have been the agents of an impious faction.
“ Sealed by my Royal hand!” A Royal hand bathed in blood; the witness of innumerable perjuries.- The pious sacrifices to be offered to God are human victims: the best blood of Spain--- Riego, &c. Good heavens ! is it possible that the enlightened reason of man will long submit to be imposed upon by the canting of such vile, infamous wretches as Ferdinand the Seventh? • In the opinion of such blotches on the human character, the belief in mysteries and miracles, and the performance of the idle ceremonies ordained by the Church, are sufficient to atone for all sins, and that morals, in comparison, are of no value.
Christianity, as taught and practised by theologians and their adherents, is so accurately described in a letter on superstition, addressed to the people of England, by the celebrated William Pitt, (afterwards Earl of Chatham, and Prime Minister of Great Britain,) that I am induced to give it entire. It was first printed in the London Journal in 1733. (This letter of William Pitt was copied into the first volume of the Republican and is consequently omitted here.)
R. C. . Against such a scheme of fraud and imposition, as faithfully delineated by Mr. Pitt, has Thomas Paine entered his protest;
and those who make a trade of the delusion, as well as those who are duped by it, denounce bim as an impius man! And he, in reply, mighi have exclaimed, in the language of Lequinio, before cited.
"I am an impious man, my dear reader; and I tell the truth to every mail, which is perhaps still worse. Four years are scarcely elapsed, since the follies of the Sorbonne, and the furies of despotism, might have raised a storin, which would have burst upon my head; they would have smitten me, like a destructive monster, an assassin of the buman race, a perturbator, a traitor! Each of those colossal phantoms has disappeared before the eve of reason, and the august image of liberty: however, an infinite number of prejudices, personal interest, and hypocrisy, all of ihein no less the tyrants, and the enemies of knowledge, still dwell among us.
“ There still remains at the bottom of rby heart, at the bottom of thy own heart, the prejudices of ihy intancy, the lessons of thy nurse, and the opinions of iby tirst instructors, which are the effects of that renunciation of thought which thou hast p.actised all the days of thy life, from the cradle upwards? In addition to this, it is the interest of every one to keep thee in total blindness. The rich and powerful man dreadls lest thou shouldst open thy eyes, and perceire that his strength and grandeur pro ceed from thy ignorance and submission. The rain inan, with equality in his mouth, but not in bis heart, tears lest thou shouldst discover the absurdity of his pretensions to superiority ; the hypocrite, who terms himself the representative of the divinity, and ihe messenger of heaven, trembles lest thou shouldst begin to reflect, tor, from that moment Iris credit and his authority are at :n end. . Ile eats and drinks at his leisure; he sleeps without care; he walks about in order to procure an appetite; h. enjoys the price of thy labours in peace; thou payest for his pleasures, his subsistence, and even for his sleep. But, wert thou to begin to reason, thou would soon perceive thiy error; thou wouldst touch the phantuin, and it would instanily vanish ;ibou woulust discover that he is an useless parasite and that all his authority reposes on thy foolish credulity, thy weakness, thy chimerical lears, and the ridiculous hopes which he has taken care to inspire thee with, ever since thou camest into existence. Perhaps thy very wife is interested to deceive thee, on purpose to sanctify her connections with the representative of the divinity, who renounces the holy laws of nature, because he spares himself, at one and the same time, the uneasiness and the duties of paternity!
“ These will excite thy passions, arm thy heart, and call up thy hatred against my lessons and my doctrine; for I am an impious being, who peither believe in saints nor in miracles; I am an impious being, who would drink wine in the midst of Turks at Constantinople, who would eat pork with the Jews, and the flesh of a tender lamb or a fat pullet among the Christians on a Friday, even within the palace of a Pope, or beneath the root of the ratican. I am an impious man, for I firmly believe that three are inore than one; that the whole is greater than one of its parts; that a body cannot exist in a thousand places at one and the same moment and be entire iu a thousand detached portions of itselt.
“ I am an impious man, for I never believe on the word of another whatever contradicts my own reason; and is a thousand doctors of the law sbould tell me, that they had seen a sparrow devour an ox in a quarter of an hour, or take the carcase in its bill, and carry it to its nest in order to feed its young, were they even to
swear by their curplices, their stoles, or their square bonnets, they would still find me inctedulous !
"I am an impions man, for I do not believe that anointing the tips of the fingers with oil, wearing the ecclesiastical tonsure, or cutting the bair, that the being cloathed in a black cassock, or a voilet robe, and carrying a mitre on the liead, and a cross in the band, can render an ignorant fellow able to work miracles.
“ In short, my brother, I must be an impious man, since my conduct has no other regulator than my conscience; since I myself have no other principle, than the desire of public happiness, and no other divinity than virtue. Thou must necessarily hate me, for it is a great crime to think and to believe otherwise than thyself!
“ Bnt have I committed murder or carnaçe, theft, rapine, evil speaking, calumny?', have I tanght the art of deceiving nien? bave 1 insinuated a spirit of vengeance have I inculcated despotism on the part of the great, and slavery on that of the humble ?
“ No--on the contrary, I have pointed out the road to truth; I have proved to thee that thy happiness consists in virtue ;l have proved to thee, that thou hast hithertoo been the dupe of those who fatten upon thy substance, and bathe themselves in thy sweat, and that all thy unhappiness arises from thy credulity, thy habitual haired to reflection, and thy pusilanimity. Are these crimes? I am not guilty of any other.
"Whoever thou art, thy friendship is precious to me ; whether thou be Christian Mahommedan, Jew, Indian, Persian, Tartar, or Chinese, art thou not a man, and am not I thy brother? Tolerate, therefore, an impious man, who has never laboured but for the goud of others and who now labours for thinc, at the very moment when thou wishest to persecute him."'*
As the character and halsits of Thomas Paine have been grossly misrepresented by those who either knew little or nothing of hini, or were utterly regardless of truth, I shall here introduce an extract of a letter on that subject from Joel Bara low' to James Cheetham, a nutrions libeller of Mr. Paine. Mir. Barlow must have been well acquainted with Mr. Paine in France as they were fellow-labourers in the great cause of human emancipation ; and his sound principles, his moral and literary standing, are sufficient guarantees for the correctness of his statement of facts that came under his immediate observation. It is, however, apparent that a part of his comniunication is founded on nisinformation ; which I shall endeavonr to demonstrate.
JOEL BARLOW TO'JAMES CHEETHAM. “SIR--I have received your letter, calling for information relative to the life of Thomas Paine. It appears to me, that this is not the moment to publish the life of that iau in this country.t His own writings are his best life, and these are not read at present.
After noticing the unfavourable impression wi:h fanatics and political enemies of Mr. P. had infused into the minds of a portion of the public towards him, Mr. Barlow proceeds.]
The writer of his life who should dwell on these topics, to the exclusion of the great and estiinable traits of his real character, might indeed, please the rabble of the age, who do not know him; the book miglit sell; but it would only tend to render the truth more obscure for the future biographer, than it was before.
But if the present writer should give us Thomas Paine completc, in all his character, as one of the most benevolent and disinterested of mankind, enciowed with the clearest perception, an uncommon share of original genius, and the greatest breadth of thought; if this piece of biography should analyse his literary labors, and rank him, as he ought to be rankéd, among the brightest and inost undeviating lumitaries of the age in which he has lived - yet with a mind assaillable by flattery, and receiving through that weak side a tincture of vanity which he was too proud to conceal; with a mind; though sirong envugh to bear
* Mr. Harford has called me impious. I adopt this excellent answer. I feel that it is mine at cvery point.
R. C. . America.
him up, and to rise elastic under the heaviest hand of oppression, yet unable to endure the contempt of his former friends and fellow laborers, the rulers of the country that had received his first and greatest services--a mind incapable of looking down with serene compassion, as it ought, on the rude scoffs of their imitators, a new generation that knows him not-if you are disposed and prepared to write his thus entire, to fill up the picture to which these hasty strokes of outline give but a rude skecth with great vacuities, your book may be a useful one.
The biographer of Thomas Paine, should not forget his mathematical acquire. ments, and his mechanical genius. His invention of the iron bridge, which led him to Europe in the year 1787, has procured him a great reputation in that branch of science in France and England, in both which countries his bridge has been adopted in many instances, and is now much in use.
You ask whether he took an oath of allegiance to France. Doubtless the qualification to be a member of the convention, required an oath of fidelity to that country, but involved in it no abjuration of his fidelity to this. He was made a French citizen by the same decree with Washington, Hamilton, Priestly, and Sir James Macintosh.
You ask what company he kept-he always frequented the best, both in England and France, till he became the object of calumny in certain American papers, (echoes of the English court papers,) for his adherence to what he thought the cause of liberty in France-till he conceived bioself neglected by bis former friends in the United States. From that moment he gave himself very much to drink, and consequently to compani. ons less worthy of his better days.
It is said he was always a peevish inmate this is possible. So;was Laurence Sterne, so was Torquato Tasso, so was J. J. Rousseau, but Thomas Paine as a visiting acquaintance, and as a literary friend, the only points of view in which I knew him, was one of the most instructive men I have ever known. He had a suprising memory and brilliant fancy? his mind was a store house of facts and useful observations; he was full of lively anecdote, and ingenious original pertinent remark, upou almost every subject.
He was always charitable to the poor beyond bis means, a sure protector and friend to all Americans in distress that he found in foreign countries. And he had frequent occasions to exert his influence in protecting them during the revolution in France. His writings will answer for his patriotism, and his entire devotion to what he conceived to be the best interest and happiness of mankind:
And as to his religion, as it is that of most of the men of science of the present age, and probably of three fourths of those of the last, there can be no just reason for making it an erception in him. This, sir, is all I have to remark on the subject you mention. Kalorama, August 11, 1809.
REMARKS. Mr. Barlow seems to have entertained erroneous opinions in regard to the treatment of Mr, Paine in America. He was received by the ruler, or first magistrate of the country, Thomas Jefferson, with the utmost respect and friendship-Ile was invited by him to return to the United States; and ou being asked if he bad done so, replied, “I have, and when he arrives, if there be an office in my gift, suitable for him to fill, I will give it to binı; -I will never abandon old friends, to make room for new ones," A friendly correspondence between these two distinguished philanthropists was maintained till the close of Mr. Paine's life. I am also well assured, that the heads of departments and members of congress paid Mr. Paine the utmost respect, during his residence at the city of Washington : and, on his arrival in New-York, a public dinner was given to him, at which about one hundred respectable citizens attended. The most distinguished liter
ary characters paid him every attention, and the mayor of the city gave bim av unlimited invitation to visit hiin, whenever be found it convenient. But Mr. Paine secluded himself very much froin society; he courted no favours, and he never was in the habit of giving entertaininents, the means commonly employed to attract the attention of the fashionable world. A friend of his, about to accompany him on a visit to a gentleman of great scientific acquirements, took the liberty of suggesting to him the propriety of being more particular in his appearance; to which he replied, “ let those dress that need it." Shewing thereby his contempt of the art and management by which those of little or no merit acquire respect.
Mr. Paine, to be sure, was abused by editors of papers unfriendly to democracy. So was Dr. Franklin, so was Thomas Jefferson, so was Joel Barlow.--If Mr. Paine had been treated with respect, or even not abused by those editors, it would have been a sure sign, that he had abandoned the cause of liberty, and of man. But his political course has been marked by that bold and manly independence of character which has certaivly commanded, if not the approbation, at least the respect of his opponents.
Mr. Barlow himself, on account of his political opinions, had been treated with the most shameful neglect by his old friends and associates of the New-England States, and he felt vexed at it, and seems to take this opportunity to express his contempt, by lamenting that Mr. Paine should, as he supposed, have been mortified at similar treatment.
Mr. Barlow was a fashionable man, and had the means, as well as the inclination to make a show. Had Mr. Paine acquired (which he might have done if he had sold, instead of giving away his works) a sufficiency to purchase such an establishment as Mir. Barlow had, at Kalorama, and had been so disposed, he might have induced the first men in the country to eat his dinners and to sound his praise.
It was to be expected that religious bigots, who conceive themselves privileged to hate and persecute every man that does not believe in the mysteries and witchcraft, would shun aud speak evil of Mr. Paine as well as certain pharisaical politicians, whose consequence mainly depends on a supposed coincidence of sentiment with the foregoing. Such men would avoid coming in coutact with a man, the fire of whose genius they could not endure for a moment.
The opponents of Mr. Paine's political and religious writings have shewn great solicitude to fix upon him the charge of intemperance ; as thougli, this circumstance, if true, could invalidate, or in the least weaken, the moral force of his principles. The apostate, Cheetham, in his letter to Barlow, particularly alludes to this subject. And it appears that the latter, incautiously, has too readily acceded to the slander. The mind memo- . ry and fancy of Mr. Paine, as described by Mr. B. could not apply to a man who “ gave himself very much to drink.” But, as Mr. Barlow's authority is justly entitled to the highest consideration; and as great importance has affectedly been attached to this allegation against our author; for the satisfaction of those who revere his memory, I have made the Most rigid inquiries of persons who have been intimate with him, either in Europe or America, to ascertain the facts in this case. A friend of mine gives me the following account of a visit he made to Mr. Paine in the summer of 1806. He was then residing on his farm at New Rochelle, and this gentlemen remained with him for several days, during which time Mr. Paine's only drink was water, excepting one tumbler of spirits and water, sweetened, after dinner, and one after supper. Mr. Dean, who managed the farm, assured him that this was Mr. Paine's constant habit, and that one quart of spirits sufficed him for a week, including that given to his friends ;