The publication of a pamphlet of essays by an immigrant 200 years ago contributed to the American Revolution. The book was "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. Immigrant's writing helps stir revolution My Sam Fogy I'nilcil Press International The publication of a pamphlet of essays by an immigrant E n g l i s h corsel m a k e r and King s tax collector 200 years ago transformed what might have lieen a minor colonial rebellion i n t o h i s t o r i c revolution. The book was "Common Sense". The author was 39-year- old Thomas Paine. The outcome was t h e D e c l a r a t i o n of Independence less t h a n six months later. Probably no olher written work in American history except for Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has had such compelling impact on national feeling. The four- part tract came off the presses in Philadelphia on Jan. 9, 1V76, and in a matter of weeks had been reissued throughout the 13 colonies. An estimated 150.000 copies were printed and passed from reader to reader in the backwoods c o m m u n i t i e s of t h e frontier, the seaboard cities and the villages from New England to Georgia. The message of Painc's hammerblow words was p l a i n : reconciliation with Ihe British was impossible and a separate nation must be born. He directly assailed Ihe monarchy of King George III who bad held the respect of most Americans who felt Ihcir quarrel was with P a r l i a m e n t . Paine, terming the King "the royal hrute of Great Britain." wrote in "Common Sense": "In England, a king halh little more to do Ih.-in to make war and give away places, which in plain terms is lo impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears." A hereditary monarchy, he declared, too often wound up "giving m a n k i n d an ass for a lion." In his call f o r a new nation. Ihe author who had a r r i v e d in America only 13 months before wrote "Ihe cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind" and sounded ihis balllccry: "0 ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of ihi; old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom halh been hunled round Ihe globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. F.uroptr regards her like P stranger, ami England halh given her w a r n i n g to dcparl. 0! receive t h e f u g i t i v e , ar.d prepare in lime an asylum for mankind." l.i'lle in Paine s hackernuml nvi;kr-! h--. Â· Â· . ' .- ,. -:,--\*: ul He was the son of a staymaker in Ihe Fnglish village of Thelford and after limited schooling followed in his father's profession, ran off lo sea briefly and finally landed a post as an excise tax collector. His first wife died in childbirth and he lost the tax collector job, tried his h a n d at leaching and p r e a c h i n g as well as cor- setmoking, then regained an appointment as a lax collector. His f i r s t p a m p h l e t e e r i n g came in preparing a petition to the throne lo raise the wages of Ihe excisemen. In thai cause, he neglected of his duties to the extent he was fired again. His resenlmenl against King George whom he laler called "the h a r d e n e d , s u l l e n - t e m p e r e d Pharoah of England," may well have stemmed from the monarch's rejection of the petition and his ouster. Painc's second marriage ler- minated in a legal separation. Al age37 wilh every sign of failure, he sailed for America, paying his passage from" a 35-pound settlement his wife paid to be rid of him. On his arrival in Philadelphia on Nov. 30, 1774. Paine brought wilh him a lelter of commendation from Benjamin Franklin. Ihe coloni.il representative in England who had been impressed w i t h his potential lalenls. It proved enough to gain him a partnership wilh a Philadelphia p r i n t e r , Koberl A i l k e n , i n pulling oul a new publication, Pennsylvania Magazine. As ils cdilor. he contributed some lighl verse and blar.d literary comm e n t a r y and began mingling w i t h the upper circles of Ihe city, i n c l u d i n g delegates to the C o n t i n e n t a l Congress. A slouching, unkempt figure with a pendulous nose. Paine was an affable tavern companion whose conversation sparkled as Ihe d r i n k i n g went on. The events at Concord and I.exinglon in April. 1774. turned him inlo a fiery revnlnlionisl. He began work on Common Sense in early November, 1774, encouraged by friends such as Franklin. Dr. Benjamin Rush. David Rittenhouse and Samuel Adams. The pamphlet hearing the tille "Common Sense: Addressed lo Ihe inhabitants of America" emerged from Ihe prinlshop of Kolwrl Hell who dared idenliiy himself wilh Ihe Iract whije 1 aulhorship was first attributed only as "wiitlen by an English- m a n . " The book quickly wenl inlo a second printing and copies were pirated by olhers throughout Ihe cntnni!.i. Of Ihe first .In pounds profil shared with Bell, Paine turned over his portion for Ihe purchase of miltens for use of American soldiers laving siege in freezing Canadian cold before Quebec. Not all readers were ad- m i r e r s . John Adams wrote Thomas Jefferson: "What a poor, ignorant, malicious, shortsighted crapulous mass is Tom Pame's 'Common Sense'." But the book was the catalyst thai led lo the final step of independence and it made Paine his reputation as a moving force of r e v o l u t i o n . He followed "Common Sense" with a series of 10 essays on "The American Crisis" which helped keep spirils from flagging in Ihe war years. Paine was rewarded wilh the gifl of acreage al New Hochelle. N'.Y.. and functionary jobs wilh Congress and minor missions abroad. He sailed for France in A p r i l , 1787. hoping lo interest both the British and French in an iron bridge he was promoting. In Paris, Paine became involved with his second revolulion - - (he uprising which cost Louis X V I his head. He was awarded h o n o r a r y French citizenship a f t e r publication of his book, "The Iligbls of M a n , ' a defense of Ihe French Revolution frorr an attack by England's Edmund liurke. On Ihe strength of t h a i , he was elected as a delegate to the N a t i o n a l Convention and sided w i t h Ihe m o d e r a t e s in Ihe ominous political maneuvcrings of Uobespierre, Danton and Maral. His vole against the guillotining of the king brought him under suspicion and in late December, 1793, Paine was thrown into prison. For 10 months and 9 days, his Kfe lay in the shadow of Ihe Terror u n t i l he was released. He found litlle more favor upon his return lo America. His anil- Biblical, deist w o r k . "The Age of licason," brought him extreme disfavor ;imong major segments of the new American society. A polemic aimed against George Wasb'njjlon incurred the enmity of olhers. licnuced to p o v e r t y and drinking heavily, Paine died little mourned ai New Kochclle on May 15, 18(12. He probably penned his own hesl epitaph in one of his Crisis papets wilh Ilicsc words: "Perhaps il may he said thai I live in America and wrile Ihis from inlerest. "To this 1 reply, lhai my principle is universal. Mj al- lacbmenl is lo all Ihe world, and not lo any pnrlicular p;irl, and if what I adviinre is riglii. im m a i l e r when 1 or who it comes from." The Idaho Free Press. Friday. 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