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distance to go for an answer to his wisdom. But I have since seen it written, or heard it said, that it is a disputed point, which of the above-mentioned men, and most certainly distinguished charaeters, have contributed most to the benefit of society.
Candidly speaking, I do not know how it came to be a controverted point. They seem not to have any thing congenial or analogous between them. No coincidence of thought, action, or manners is visible in their deeds or writings. They appear separate in every thing. But I allow, without exhibiting any signs of ill-will or contradictions, and I will suppose this to proceed from the equal forbearance and prudence of both ; although I am authorized to think, if not to say, otherwise, and I could add, that the Doctor was a Citizen of America when Paine came there as a stranger,
The transactions, life, history, writings, and their consequence, are in part before the public. Those great men are no more. They have left their character in deeds and writings as a valuable legacy to posterity. And that mankind may reap a profitable harvest from the example of their worth and industry is my wish. But as I, among the rest of mankind, have something to say of both, I hope to find a place for my remarks and observations in the pages of “ The Republican." According to my information and understanding, I shall draw a parallel or comparison, after the manner of Plutarch; origin purposely omitted.
Was bold, open, and candid; Was cautious, close, and rather and wrote for the benefit of man- mysterious: anil wrote for the kind. Labouring for the bene- amusement of a few. Colfit of the poor and needy ; he leaghing with men of wealth, was hated by the rich and pow- power, and abstruse learning; erful, who sought to destroy him, submissively endeavouring to sought neither wealth nor gain fame, riches, and influence; power.
sanctioned by the great whom he courted, and regardless of the poor, to whom he thought proper to communicate great
saving knowledge. Was reasonable, affable, free, Was dogmatic and seemingly easy, and familiar; studied man morose and distant.
Studied kind; considered their wants; art and trifles. Self was always explained liberty; shewed what predssajnant. His undertakings it was, and where it was want:' andhe xertions were impelled by ing; displayed freedom on the sordid motives. He displayed clearest and most comprehen- neither boldness nor sagacity,
? To which may be added, that the Doctor sent Paine there.-R. C.
sive scale; detected abuses in in detecting falsehoods. His Church and State ; conceived shield was prudence. their defeat ; pointed to the serve himself, his first and last means of their extirpation, and duty. laid the foundation of human happiness.
His writings abound with His writings are dull and genuine wit, novelty, sense, pe- dry. No spark of genius apnetration, and judgment. Clear pears. He flounders at vain and perspicuous, they display a endeavours to be witty; aims thorough knowledge of the sub- often at humour without sucject-matter in question, are al cess; deals more in theory than ways strong and decisive, and practical knowledge; pretendrise into wisdom. Was the ing to wisdom, he sink into friend of truth, the advocate of puerility and vulgar buffoonery. freedom, and champion and His truth was confined to a “ Holy Apostle of liberty.” He narrow circle; his notions of was wise for the benefit of liberty were situated , between others. In Franklin's school, patriarchal despotism and arishe was far below mediocrity. tocratical pride. If avarice We do not find one sage ad- constitutes wisdom, and thirst vice or hacknied maxim (to my of gain makes a wise man, he recollection) in all his various was a sage. His works contain writings on laws, morals, men, nothing new, Old methods and manners. To obtain for newly revived of making and mankind freedom and general saving money. He lived as if happiness, his aim and unceasing he had come into the world for labour.
no other purpose than to accumulate wealth, and to instruct
others to do so. His private charaeter seems His private character seems to partake of the nature of Sa to be between the latitude of doc. and Zeno, or of that of the Epicurean and Puritan. Epictetus; or to speak plainer, How to live cheap and well, may with respect to personals, rather be learned from his works, first stoical, though not of the surly obtaining the means, school of Diogenes. · He was an original author. He was a barefaced plagiaHis works were his own. His rist; witness his celebrated thoughts always original, new, epitaph. His volume of old and interesting, and always sayings is Sancho Panza's projust. His language clear, often verbs without one new article nervous. No old sayings: but in the lot to evince thought or noble observations, plain, ob- to display observation. The vious, and satisfactory, though whole drivelling collection resimple, strong, forcible, and de- quiring nothing more than the
cisive; requiring genius, judg- miserable labour of compiling ment, penetration, and depth and tacking them together, and of thinking to produce them. this too done in such a weak,
slovenly manner, as to deprive
them of weight or interest. His was writing for the bene Was, with a boyish curiosity, fit of posterity, labouring with- playing at flying paper kites in out thanks for the present and a thunder storm, for the great future welfare of man, exposing edification and amusement of fraud ; decrying injustice; com the virtuosi, and the vanity of bating oppression, and offering writing useless and unprofitable his life on the altar of freedom; papers for the Philosophical investigating the nature of Transactions, for the benefit of truth; the cause of human nobody, impelled by the miseramisery, and divulging to the ble and vain propensity of being thoughtless world the iniquities deemed philosopher and of Church and State govern- adding to the worthless lumber ment, for the emancipation of of the Royal Society, the human race and the direct His character is here very benefit of the poor and op- doubtful. He was no enemy to pressed. He man of superstition ; and if a friend to undoubted veracity,the declared truth, certainly a very weak one. enemy of superstition. His belief At best, he was but a sceptic, in the being of a deity, seems
and whether from mental or real, and his sentiments on personal cowardice, he abstained that incomprehensible subject from religious controversy. It are the most noble, pure, and appears that he laboured under just that were ever delivered on a supernatural horror of offendthat head. A multiplicity of ing the church spiritual Idols, far more serious and interesting and the natural one of losing his matter prevented him from in credit with the public and the vestigating the imposing doc- old women of the Royal Society; trine of deism with his usual and whatever else he had, he judgment and critical acumen. had not fortitude to oppose
If we cast our eye back to the wide fraud of established 1790-1-2, or 3, we shall find falsehood. Selfishness
and that he did much more than fear are every where visible in could be expected, and it his life, conduct, and writings; required no common degree of yet the man was worldły wise resolution, courage, and in- and worshipped Plutus and trepid devotedness, to produce the Great * God of man,” that ablest, best of criticisms, prudence. I must observe, that the Age of Reason, which will the books of the sage Franklin be held in higher estimation as are rather on the decline. Few
* I pity the spite that could pen such a perversion of utility.-R. C.
it and the world grows older, buy them; in a word, his being a complete antidote for doctrines tend to narrow the the pernicious poison of the mind, and the human mind will holy scriptures.
not be confined. His philosophy was truly His philosophy was trivial, rational, consisted of the ele- vain, and metaphysical, fit for ments of the first class of useful nothing but to speak about, sciences, and was every moment useless to man; unserviceable ready for practice and the advan- to society; incapable of practice, tage of the public, exhibited and fit only to amuse the drones directly for the benefit of the of unconnu unicable learning. poor man and the country, for The only thing he inculcated the support of freedom, the was the way to wealth, the extension of liberty; in aid of science of individual gaia, and the forlorn and the distressed; the virtues of avarice. Whatever proudly used in direct opposition he studied, vanity, self, and and open defiance of powerful money, were the motives; these tyranny, insatiable oppressors, were the base and apex of all long established injustice, and his labours. hereditary arrogance and slavery.
Was dreadless of urrdeserved Was cautious and sly; his calumny; carelesss of offending wisdom was only cunning, with where to offend was a virtue, an ostentatious regard for indea and fearless to declare open pendence, and a secret thirst opposition and express indigna- for celebrity and place. He tion, although doing so might was careful not
to expose lead to ruin and death. Norbimself to danger, calumny, was this the case in one solitary reproach, or censure, from instance; but the repeated bigotry, grandeur, wealth, titles, lesson and practice of his life. or power. He paid the same
With unostentatious . virtue, kind of adulation, or rather he persevered in dignified re- adoration, to wealth, which Dr. tirement to promote human Johnson did to an Archbishop. bappiness, while vile, lying He coveted and courted with unscandal vilified him, atrocious ceasing solicitude the vapoury infamy sought his life, and evil fame of unmeaning epithets and report and vile reproach were bandied praise of literary fops. his wages
and reward. He nor He sought by chicane to gain courted nor. coveted the fame the honours of sagacious wisdom which bas pursued his worth. and wished to be called a sage, His whole long life was and to be enrolled in the inane continued series of public good, list of virtuosi. He affected to good surrounded with danger. despise what he inwardly Adorned and supported with dreaded, and to shun danger; truth and integrity, he persevered only acted openly when covered in right to the last moment of with a diplomatic shield, sanc
his existence. Were we endued tioned by courts, which insured with the common cant, hypocrisy him impunity. and superstition of the day, we A Churchill alone could blazon should, at least, insinuate the his pomposity, exhibit to the life hand of a guardian. providence, his true character, and give it to protecting and miraculously the world in striking and preserving his valuable life from durable colouring. the snares of his enemies, to exalt its own glory. A Plutarch alone could do justice to the 'solid virtues and universal benevolence of this great, firm, unassuming good man, and cosmopolite.
What I have here written is without any dread of censure or hope of reward; perhaps it deserves neither. Let those who chuse to censure Paine do so, I find, fault where there is much to approve. Let those who please write the thunder Doctor's eulogy. It never offends me to hear a man praised. But let those who do either, examine the life and writings of these two celebrated men. They must then be compelled by truth and experience to give an unqualified preference to Paine, and leave Franklin as he stands; at least, a dubious character. I must beg leave to revert, though not by way of answer, nor wishing, nor expectiog any reply from Mr. R. T, C, E. S., to his insulting letter to “ Shebago " and his friends. The gentleman spoke to me with the huuteur and air of a French aristocratical emigrant of the old school, silencing a poor miserable sansculotte in the streets—" Don't be in a passion, Shebago.”—No, pride and arrogance only raise my contempt; injury and injustice only can move me to anger or resentment; and I hope Mr. R. Ř. C. E. $. is incapable of either of these, even if provoked.
My sentiments of the two men, I have here compared, it is impossible for time or argument to alter. I have long thought as I have here written. People may differ from me in opinion, whom I esteem and would be sorry to offend: but I must observe, that it was in America, in the State of Massachusetts, that I was first taught these sentiments and learned to estimate the worth of these two extraordinary men. More than two-thirds of that province entertain the opinions which I have here freely given. · Among those indepeudent republicans, Washington was not quite deified, Frauklin was understood to be more of a Jew than a pbilosopher; and would you believe it? Thomas Paine was considered and acknowledged as the first agent and instrument of American freedom and independence:
They tritely observe, that Franklin was a plodder, Washington at the commencement of the war was a poor soldier, and the richest man in America at the peace ; John Hancock, the richest when the war began, the poorest when it was over. And of Thomas Paine, to whom they owe their freedom, he raised their drooping spirits by the matchless power of his pen ; extracted from the earth the means of their defence ; saw their freedom established, and experienced their ingratitude.