Thomas Paine - The Rights of Man (1791-1792) - Notes
- The main and uniform maxim of the judges is, the greater
truth the greater the libel.
- Since writing the above, two other places occur in Mr.
pamphlet in which the name of the Bastille is mentioned, but in the
same manner. In the one he introduces it in a sort of obscure
question, and asks: "Will any ministers who now serve such a king,
with but a decent appearance of respect, cordially obey the orders
of those whom but the other day, in his name, they had committed to
the Bastille?" In the other the taking it is mentioned as implying
criminality in the French guards, who assisted in demolishing it.
"They have not," says he, "forgot the taking the king's castles at
Paris." This is Mr. Burke, who pretends to write on constitutional
- I am warranted in asserting this, as I had it personally
M. de la Fayette, with whom I lived in habits of friendship for
- An account of the expedition to Versailles may be seen
13 of the Revolution de Paris containing the events from the 3rd to
the 10th of October, 1789.
- It is a practice in some parts of the country, when two
travellers have but one horse, which, like the national purse, will
not carry double, that the one mounts and rides two or three miles
ahead, and then ties the horse to a gate and walks on. When the second
traveller arrives he takes the horse, rides on, and passes his
companion a mile or two, and ties again, and so on- Ride and tie.
- The word he used was renvoye, dismissed or sent away.
- When in any country we see extraordinary circumstances
place, they naturally lead any man who has a talent for observation
and investigation, to enquire into the causes. The manufacturers of
Manchester, Birmingham, and Sheffield, are the principal manufacturers
in England. From whence did this arise? A little observation will
explain the case. The principal, and the generality of the inhabitants
of those places, are not of what is called in England, the church
established by law: and they, or their fathers, (for it is within
but a few years) withdrew from the persecution of the chartered towns,
where test-laws more particularly operate, and established a sort of
asylum for themselves in those places. It was the only asylum that
then offered, for the rest of Europe was worse.- But the case is now
changing. France and America bid all comers welcome, and initiate them
into all the rights of citizenship. Policy and interest, therefore,
will, but perhaps too late, dictate in England, what reason and
justice could not. Those manufacturers are withdrawing, and arising in
other places. There is now erecting in Passey, three miles from Paris,
a large cotton manufactory, and several are already erected in
America. Soon after the rejecting the Bill for repealing the test-law,
one of the richest manufacturers in England said in my hearing,
"England, Sir, is not a country for a dissenter to live in,- we must
go to France." These are truths, and it is doing justice to both
parties to tell them. It is chiefly the dissenters that have carried
English manufactures to the height they are now at, and the same men
have it in their power to carry them away; and though those
manufactures would afterwards continue in those places, the foreign
market will be lost. There frequently appear in the London Gazette,
extracts from certain acts to prevent machines and persons, as far
as they can extend to persons, from going out of the country. It
appears from these that the ill effects of the test-laws and
church-establishment begin to be much suspected; but the remedy of
force can never supply the remedy of reason. In the progress of less
than a century, all the unrepresented part of England, of all
denominations, which is at least an hundred times the most numerous,
may begin to feel the necessity of a constitution, and then all
those matters will come regularly before them.
- When the English Minister, Mr. Pitt, mentions the French
again in the English Parliament, it would be well that he noticed this
as an example.
- Mr. Burke, (and I must take the liberty of telling him
that he is
very unacquainted with French affairs), speaking upon this subject,
says, "The first thing that struck me in calling the States-General,
was a great departure from the ancient course";- and he soon after
says, "From the moment I read the list, I saw distinctly, and very
nearly as it has happened, all that was to follow."- Mr. Burke
certainly did not see an that was to follow. I endeavoured to
impress him, as well before as after the States-General met, that
there would be a revolution; but was not able to make him see it,
neither would he believe it. How then he could distinctly see all
the parts, when the whole was out of sight, is beyond my
comprehension. And with respect to the "departure from the ancient
course," besides the natural weakness of the remark, it shows that
he is unacquainted with circumstances. The departure was necessary,
from the experience had upon it, that the ancient course was a bad
one. The States-General of 1614 were called at the commencement of the
civil war in the minority of Louis XIII.; but by the class of
arranging them by orders, they increased the confusion they were
called to compose. The author of L'Intrigue du Cabinet, (Intrigue of
the Cabinet), who wrote before any revolution was thought of in
France, speaking of the States-General of 1614, says, "They held the
public in suspense five months; and by the questions agitated therein,
and the heat with which they were put, it appears that the great
(les grands) thought more to satisfy their particular passions, than
to procure the goods of the nation; and the whole time passed away
in altercations, ceremonies and parade."- L'Intrigue du Cabinet,
vol. i. p. 329.
- There is a single idea, which, if it strikes rightly
mind, either in a legal or a religious sense, will prevent any man
or any body of men, or any government, from going wrong on the subject
of religion; which is, that before any human institutions of
government were known in the world, there existed, if I may so express
it, a compact between God and man, from the beginning of time: and
that as the relation and condition which man in his individual
person stands in towards his Maker cannot be changed by any human laws
or human authority, that religious devotion, which is a part of this
compact, cannot so much as be made a subject of human laws; and that
all laws must conform themselves to this prior existing compact, and
not assume to make the compact conform to the laws, which, besides
being human, are subsequent thereto. The first act of man, when he
looked around and saw himself a creature which he did not make, and
a world furnished for his reception, must have been devotion; and
devotion must ever continue sacred to every individual man, as it
appears, right to him; and governments do mischief by interfering.
- See this work, Part I starting at line number 254.-
the taking of the Bastille, the occurrences have been published: but
the matters recorded in this narrative, are prior to that period;
and some of them, as may be easily seen, can be but very little known.
- See "Estimate of the Comparative Strength of Great
by G. Chalmers.
- See "Administration of the Finances of France," vol.
- "Administration of the Finances of France," vol. iii.
- Whether the English commerce does not bring in money,
the government sends it out after it is brought in, is a matter
which the parties concerned can best explain; but that the
deficiency exists, is not in the power of either to disprove. While
Dr. Price, Mr. Eden, (now Auckland), Mr. Chalmers, and others, were
debating whether the quantity of money in England was greater or
less than at the Revolution, the circumstance was not adverted to,
that since the Revolution, there cannot have been less than four
hundred millions sterling imported into Europe; and therefore the
quantity in England ought at least to have been four times greater
than it was at the Revolution, to be on a proportion with Europe. What
England is now doing by paper, is what she would have been able to
do by solid money, if gold and silver had come into the nation in
the proportion it ought, or had not been sent out; and she is
endeavouring to restore by paper, the balance she has lost by money.
It is certain, that the gold and silver which arrive annually in the
register-ships to Spain and Portugal, do not remain in those
countries. Taking the value half in gold and half in silver, it is
about four hundred tons annually; and from the number of ships and
galloons employed in the trade of bringing those metals from
South-America to Portugal and Spain, the quantity sufficiently
proves itself, without referring to the registers.
In the situation England now is, it is impossible she can increase in money. High taxes not only lessen the property of the individuals, but they lessen also the money capital of the nation, by inducing smuggling, which can only be carried on by gold and silver. By the politics which the British Government have carried on with the Inland Powers of Germany and the Continent, it has made an enemy of all the Maritime Powers, and is therefore obliged to keep up a large navy; but though the navy is built in England, the naval stores must be purchased from abroad, and that from countries where the greatest part must be paid for in gold and silver. Some fallacious rumours have been set afloat in England to induce a belief in money, and, among others, that of the French refugees bringing great quantities. The idea is ridiculous. The general part of the money in France is silver; and it would take upwards of twenty of the largest broad wheel wagons, with ten horses each, to remove one million sterling of silver. Is it then to be supposed, that a few people fleeing on horse-back or in post-chaises, in a secret manner, and having the French Custom-House to pass, and the sea to cross, could bring even a sufficiency for their own expenses?
When millions of money are spoken of, it should be recollected, that such sums can only accumulate in a country by slow degrees, and a long procession of time. The most frugal system that England could now adopt, would not recover in a century the balance she has lost in money since the commencement of the Hanover succession. She is seventy millions behind France, and she must be in some considerable proportion behind every country in Europe, because the returns of the English mint do not show an increase of money, while the registers of Lisbon and Cadiz show an European increase of between three and four hundred millions sterling.
- That part of America which is generally called
including New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island, and Connecticut,
is peopled chiefly by English descendants. In the state of New-York
about half are Dutch, the rest English, Scotch, and Irish. In
New-jersey, a mixture of English and Dutch, with some Scotch and
Irish. In Pennsylvania about one third are English, another Germans,
and the remainder Scotch and Irish, with some Swedes. The States to
the southward have a greater proportion of English than the middle
States, but in all of them there is a mixture; and besides those
enumerated, there are a considerable number of French, and some few of
all the European nations, lying on the coast. The most numerous
religious denomination are the Presbyterians; but no one sect is
established above another, and all men are equally citizens.
- For a character of aristocracy, the reader is referred
of Man, Part I., starting at line number 1457.
- The whole amount of the assessed taxes of France, for
present year, is three hundred millions of francs, which is twelve
millions and a half sterling; and the incidental taxes are estimated
at three millions, making in the whole fifteen millions and a half;
which among twenty-four millions of people, is not quite thirteen
shillings per head. France has lessened her taxes since the
revolution, nearly nine millions sterling annually. Before the
revolution, the city of Paris paid a duty of upwards of thirty per
cent. on all articles brought into the city. This tax was collected at
the city gates. It was taken off on the first of last May, and the
gates taken down.
- What was called the livre rouge, or the red book, in
not exactly similar to the Court Calendar in England; but it
sufficiently showed how a great part of the taxes was lavished.
- In England the improvements in agriculture, useful
manufactures, and commerce, have been made in opposition to the genius
of its government, which is that of following precedents. It is from
the enterprise and industry of the individuals, and their numerous
associations, in which, tritely speaking, government is neither pillow
nor bolster, that these improvements have proceeded. No man thought
about government, or who was in, or who was out, when he was
planning or executing those things; and all he had to hope, with
respect to government, was, that it would let him alone. Three or four
very silly ministerial newspapers are continually offending against
the spirit of national improvement, by ascribing it to a minister.
They may with as much truth ascribe this book to a minister.
- With respect to the two houses, of which the English
parliament is composed, they appear to be effectually influenced
into one, and, as a legislature, to have no temper of its own. The
minister, whoever he at any time may be, touches it as with an opium
wand, and it sleeps obedience.
But if we look at the distinct abilities of the two houses, the difference will appear so great, as to show the inconsistency of placing power where there can be no certainty of the judgment to use it. Wretched as the state of representation is in England, it is manhood compared with what is called the house of Lords; and so little is this nick-named house regarded, that the people scarcely enquire at any time what it is doing. It appears also to be most under influence, and the furthest removed from the general interest of the nation. In the debate on engaging in the Russian and Turkish war, the majority in the house of peers in favor of it was upwards of ninety, when in the other house, which was more than double its numbers, the majority was sixty-three.
The proceedings on Mr. Fox's bill, respecting the rights of juries, merits also to be noticed. The persons called the peers were not the objects of that bill. They are already in possession of more privileges than that bill gave to others. They are their own jury, and if any one of that house were prosecuted for a libel, he would not suffer, even upon conviction, for the first offense. Such inequality in laws ought not to exist in any country. The French constitution says, that the law is the same to every individual, whether to Protect or to punish. All are equal in its sight.
- As to the state of representation in England, it is too
to be reasoned upon. Almost all the represented parts are decreasing
in population, and the unrepresented parts are increasing. A general
convention of the nation is necessary to take the whole form of
government into consideration.
- It is related that in the canton of Berne, in
has been customary, from time immemorial, to keep a bear at the public
expense, and the people had been taught to believe that if they had
not a bear they should all be undone. It happened some years ago
that the bear, then in being, was taken sick, and died too suddenly to
have his place immediately supplied with another. During this
interregnum the people discovered that the corn grew, and the
vintage flourished, and the sun and moon continued to rise and set,
and everything went on the same as before, and taking courage from
these circumstances, they resolved not to keep any more bears; for,
said they, "a bear is a very voracious expensive animal, and we were
obliged to pull out his claws, lest he should hurt the citizens."
The story of the bear of Berne was related in some of the French
newspapers, at the time of the flight of Louis XVI., and the
application of it to monarchy could not be mistaken in France; but
it seems that the aristocracy of Berne applied it to themselves, and
have since prohibited the reading of French newspapers.
- It is scarcely possible to touch on any subject, that
suggest an allusion to some corruption in governments. The simile of
"fortifications," unfortunately involves with it a circumstance, which
is directly in point with the matter above alluded to.
Among the numerous instances of abuse which have been acted or protected by governments, ancient or modern, there is not a greater than that of quartering a man and his heirs upon the public, to be maintained at its expense.
Humanity dictates a provision for the poor; but by what right, moral or political, does any government assume to say, that the person called the Duke of Richmond, shall be maintained by the public? Yet, if common report is true, not a beggar in London can purchase his wretched pittance of coal, without paying towards the civil list of the Duke of Richmond. Were the whole produce of this imposition but a shilling a year, the iniquitous principle would be still the same; but when it amounts, as it is said to do, to no less than twenty thousand pounds per annum, the enormity is too serious to be permitted to remain. This is one of the effects of monarchy and aristocracy.
In stating this case I am led by no personal dislike. Though I think it mean in any man to live upon the public, the vice originates in the government; and so general is it become, that whether the parties are in the ministry or in the opposition, it makes no difference: they are sure of the guarantee of each other.
- In America the increase of commerce is greater in
than in England. It is, at this time, at least one half more than at
any period prior to the revolution. The greatest number of vessels
cleared out of the port of Philadelphia, before the commencement of
the war, was between eight and nine hundred. In the year 1788, the
number was upwards of twelve hundred. As the State of Pennsylvania
is estimated at an eighth part of the United States in population, the
whole number of vessels must now be nearly ten thousand.
- When I saw Mr. Pitt's mode of estimating the balance of
in one of his parliamentary speeches, he appeared to me to know
nothing of the nature and interest of commerce; and no man has more
wantonly tortured it than himself. During a period of peace it has
been havocked with the calamities of war. Three times has it been
thrown into stagnation, and the vessels unmanned by impressing, within
less than four years of peace.
- Rev. William Knowle, master of the grammar school of
- Politics and self-interest have been so uniformly
the world, from being so often deceived, has a right to be
suspicious of public characters, but with regard to myself I am
perfectly easy on this head. I did not, at my first setting out in
public life, nearly seventeen years ago, turn my thoughts to
subjects of government from motives of interest, and my conduct from
that moment to this proves the fact. I saw an opportunity in which I
thought I could do some good, and I followed exactly what my heart
dictated. I neither read books, nor studied other people's opinion.
I thought for myself. The case was this:-
During the suspension of the old governments in America, both prior to and at the breaking out of hostilities, I was struck with the order and decorum with which everything was conducted, and impressed with the idea that a little more than what society naturally performed was all the government that was necessary, and that monarchy and aristocracy were frauds and impositions upon mankind. On these principles I published the pamphlet Common Sense. The success it met with was beyond anything since the invention of printing. I gave the copyright to every state in the Union, and the demand ran to not less than one hundred thousand copies. I continued the subject in the same manner, under the title of The Crisis, till the complete establishment of the Revolution.
After the declaration of independence Congress unanimously, and unknown to me, appointed me Secretary in the Foreign Department. This was agreeable to me, because it gave me the opportunity of seeing into the abilities of foreign courts, and their manner of doing business. But a misunderstanding arising between Congress and me, respecting one of their commissioners then in Europe, Mr. Silas Deane, I resigned the office, and declined at the same time the pecuniary offers made by the Ministers of France and Spain, M. Gerald and Don Juan Mirralles.
I had by this time so completely gained the ear and confidence of America, and my own independence was become so visible, as to give me a range in political writing beyond, perhaps, what any man ever possessed in any country, and, what is more extraordinary, I held it undiminished to the end of the war, and enjoy it in the same manner to the present moment. As my object was not myself, I set out with the determination, and happily with the disposition, of not being moved by praise or censure, friendship or calumny, nor of being drawn from my purpose by any personal altercation, and the man who cannot do this is not fit for a public character.
When the war ended I went from Philadelphia to Borden-Town, on the east bank of the Delaware, where I have a small place. Congress was at this time at Prince-Town, fifteen miles distant, and General Washington had taken his headquarters at Rocky Hill, within the neighbourhood of Congress, for the purpose of resigning up his commission (the object for which he accepted it being accomplished), and of retiring to private life. While he was on this business he wrote me the letter which I here subjoin:
"Rocky-Hill, Sept. 10, 1783.
"I have learned since I have been at this place that you are at Borden-Town. Whether for the sake of retirement or economy I know not. Be it for either, for both, or whatever it may, if you will come to this place, and partake with me, I shall be exceedingly happy to see you at it.
"Your presence may remind Congress of your past services to this country, and if it is in my power to impress them, command my best exertions with freedom, as they will be rendered cheerfully by one who entertains a lively sense of the importance of your works, and who, with much pleasure, subscribes himself, Your sincere friend,
During the war, in the latter end of the year 1780, I formed to myself a design of coming over to England, and communicated it to General Greene, who was then in Philadelphia on his route to the southward, General Washington being then at too great a distance to communicate with immediately. I was strongly impressed with the idea that if I could get over to England without being known, and only remain in safety till I could get out a publication, that I could open the eyes of the country with respect to the madness and stupidity of its Government. I saw that the parties in Parliament had pitted themselves as far as they could go, and could make no new impressions on each other. General Greene entered fully into my views, but the affair of Arnold and Andre happening just after, he changed his mind, under strong apprehensions for my safety, wrote very pressingly to me from Annapolis, in Maryland, to give up the design, which, with some reluctance, I did. Soon after this I accompanied Colonel Lawrens, son of Mr. Lawrens, who was then in the Tower, to France on business from Congress. We landed at L'Orient, and while I remained there, he being gone forward, a circumstance occurred that renewed my former design. An English packet from Falmouth to New York, with the Government dispatches on board, was brought into L'Orient. That a packet should be taken is no extraordinary thing, but that the dispatches should be taken with it will scarcely be credited, as they are always slung at the cabin window in a bag loaded with cannon-ball, and ready to be sunk at a moment. The fact, however, is as I have stated it, for the dispatches came into my hands, and I read them. The capture, as I was informed, succeeded by the following stratagem:- The captain of the "Madame" privateer, who spoke English, on coming up with the packet, passed himself for the captain of an English frigate, and invited the captain of the packet on board, which, when done, he sent some of his own hands back, and he secured the mail. But be the circumstance of the capture what it may, I speak with certainty as to the Government dispatches. They were sent up to Paris to Count Vergennes, and when Colonel Lawrens and myself returned to America we took the originals to Congress.
By these dispatches I saw into the stupidity of the English Cabinet far more than I otherwise could have done, and I renewed my former design. But Colonel Lawrens was so unwilling to return alone, more especially as, among other matters, we had a charge of upwards of two hundred thousand pounds sterling in money, that I gave in to his wishes, and finally gave up my plan. But I am now certain that if I could have executed it that it would not have been altogether unsuccessful.
- It is difficult to account for the origin of charter
corporation towns, unless we suppose them to have arisen out of, or
been connected with, some species of garrison service. The times in
which they began justify this idea. The generality of those towns have
been garrisons, and the corporations were charged with the care of the
gates of the towns, when no military garrison was present. Their
refusing or granting admission to strangers, which has produced the
custom of giving, selling, and buying freedom, has more of the
nature of garrison authority than civil government. Soldiers are
free of all corporations throughout the nation, by the same
propriety that every soldier is free of every garrison, and no other
persons are. He can follow any employment, with the permission of
his officers, in any corporation towns throughout the nation.
- See Sir John Sinclair's History of the Revenue. The
in 1646 was L2,473,499.
- Several of the court newspapers have of late made
mention of Wat Tyler. That his memory should be traduced by court
sycophants and an those who live on the spoil of a public is not to be
wondered at. He was, however, the means of checking the rage and
injustice of taxation in his time, and the nation owed much to his
valour. The history is concisely this:- In the time of Richard II. a
poll tax was levied of one shilling per head upon every person in
the nation of whatever estate or condition, on poor as well as rich,
above the age of fifteen years. If any favour was shown in the law
it was to the rich rather than to the poor, as no person could be
charged more than twenty shillings for himself, family and servants,
though ever so numerous; while all other families, under the number of
twenty were charged per head. Poll taxes had always been odious, but
this being also oppressive and unjust, it excited as it naturally
must, universal detestation among the poor and middle classes. The
person known by the name of Wat Tyler, whose proper name was Walter,
and a tiler by trade, lived at Deptford. The gatherer of the poll tax,
on coming to his house, demanded tax for one of his daughters, whom
Tyler declared was under the age of fifteen. The tax-gatherer insisted
on satisfying himself, and began an indecent examination of the
girl, which, enraging the father, he struck him with a hammer that
brought him to the ground, and was the cause of his death. This
circumstance served to bring the discontent to an issue. The
inhabitants of the neighbourhood espoused the cause of Tyler, who in a
few days was joined, according to some histories, by upwards of
fifty thousand men, and chosen their chief. With this force he marched
to London, to demand an abolition of the tax and a redress of other
grievances. The Court, finding itself in a forlorn condition, and,
unable to make resistance, agreed, with Richard at its head, to hold a
conference with Tyler in Smithfield, making many fair professions,
courtier-like, of its dispositions to redress the oppressions. While
Richard and Tyler were in conversation on these matters, each being on
horseback, Walworth, then Mayor of London, and one of the creatures of
the Court, watched an opportunity, and like a cowardly assassin,
stabbed Tyler with a dagger, and two or three others falling upon him,
he was instantly sacrificed. Tyler appears to have been an intrepid
disinterested man with respect to himself. All his proposals made to
Richard were on a more just and public ground than those which had
been made to John by the Barons, and notwithstanding the sycophancy of
historians and men like Mr. Burke, who seek to gloss over a base
action of the Court by traducing Tyler, his fame will outlive their
falsehood. If the Barons merited a monument to be erected at
Runnymede, Tyler merited one in Smithfield.
- I happened to be in England at the celebration of the
centenary of the Revolution of 1688. The characters of William and
Mary have always appeared to be detestable; the one seeking to destroy
his uncle, and the other her father, to get possession of power
themselves; yet, as the nation was disposed to think something of that
event, I felt hurt at seeing it ascribe the whole reputation of it
to a man who had undertaken it as a job and who, besides what he
otherwise got, charged six hundred thousand pounds for the expense
of the fleet that brought him from Holland. George the First acted the
same close-fisted part as William had done, and bought the Duchy of
Bremen with the money he got from England, two hundred and fifty
thousand pounds over and above his pay as king, and having thus
purchased it at the expense of England, added it to his Hanoverian
dominions for his own private profit. In fact, every nation that
does not govern itself is governed as a job. England has been the prey
of jobs ever since the Revolution.
- Charles, like his predecessors and successors, finding
war was the harvest of governments, engaged in a war with the Dutch,
the expense of which increased the annual expenditure to L1,800,000 as
stated under the date of 1666; but the peace establishment was but
- Poor-rates began about the time of Henry VIII., when the
began to increase, and they have increased as the taxes increased ever
- Reckoning the taxes by families, five to a family, each
pays on an average L12 7s. 6d. per annum. To this sum are to be
added the poor-rates. Though all pay taxes in the articles they
consume, all do not pay poor-rates. About two millions are exempted-
some as not being house-keepers, others as not being able, and the
poor themselves who receive the relief. The average, therefore, of
poor-rates on the remaining number, is forty shillings for every
family of five persons, which make the whole average amount of taxes
and rates L14 17s. 6d. For six persons L17 17s. For seven persons
L2O 16s. 6d.
The average of taxes in America, under the new or representative system of government, including the interest of the debt contracted in the war, and taking the population at four millions of souls, which it now amounts to, and it is daily increasing, is five shillings per head, men, women, and children. The difference, therefore, between the two governments is as under:
England America L s. d. L s. d. For a family of five persons 14 17 6 1 5 0 For a family of six persons 17 17 0 1 10 0 For a family of seven persons 20 16 6 1 15 0
- Public schools do not answer the general purpose of the
They are chiefly in corporation towns from which the country towns and
villages are excluded, or, if admitted, the distance occasions a great
loss of time. Education, to be useful to the poor, should be on the
spot, and the best method, I believe, to accomplish this is to
enable the parents to pay the expenses themselves. There are always
persons of both sexes to be found in every village, especially when
growing into years, capable of such an undertaking. Twenty children at
ten shillings each (and that not more than six months each year) would
be as much as some livings amount to in the remotest parts of England,
and there are often distressed clergymen's widows to whom such an
income would be acceptable. Whatever is given on this account to
children answers two purposes. To them it is education- to those who
educate them it is a livelihood.
- The tax on beer brewed for sale, from which the
are exempt, is almost one million more than the present commutation
tax, being by the returns of 1788, L1,666,152- and, consequently, they
ought to take on themselves the amount of the commutation tax, as they
are already exempted from one which is almost a million greater.
- See the Reports on the Corn Trade.
- When enquiries are made into the condition of the poor,
various degrees of distress will most probably be found, to render a
different arrangement preferable to that which is already proposed.
Widows with families will be in greater want than where there are
husbands living. There is also a difference in the expense of living
in different counties: and more so in fuel.
Suppose then fifty thousand extraordinary cases, at
the rate of ten pounds per family per annum L500,000 100,000 families, at L8 per family per annum 800,000 100,000 families, at L7 per family per annum 700,000 104,000 families, at L5 per family per annum 520,000 And instead of ten shillings per head for the education of other children, to allow fifty shillings per family for that purpose to fifty thousand families 250,000 L2,770,000 140,000 aged persons as before 1,120,000 L3,890,000
This arrangement amounts to the same sum as stated in this work, Part II, line number 1068, including the L250,000 for education; but it provides (including the aged people) for four hundred and four thousand families, which is almost one third of an the families in England.
- I know it is the opinion of many of the most enlightened
characters in France (there always will be those who see further
into events than others), not only among the general mass of citizens,
but of many of the principal members of the former National
Assembly, that the monarchical plan will not continue many years in
that country. They have found out, that as wisdom cannot be made
hereditary, power ought not; and that, for a man to merit a million
sterling a year from a nation, he ought to have a mind capable of
comprehending from an atom to a universe, which, if he had, he would
be above receiving the pay. But they wished not to appear to lead
the nation faster than its own reason and interest dictated. In all
the conversations where I have been present upon this subject, the
idea always was, that when such a time, from the general opinion of
the nation, shall arrive, that the honourable and liberal method would
be, to make a handsome present in fee simple to the person, whoever he
may be, that shall then be in the monarchical office, and for him to
retire to the enjoyment of private life, possessing his share of
general rights and privileges, and to be no more accountable to the
public for his time and his conduct than any other citizen.
- The gentleman who signed the address and declaration as
of the meeting, Mr. Horne Tooke, being generally supposed to be the
person who drew it up, and having spoken much in commendation of it,
has been jocularly accused of praising his own work. To free him
from this embarrassment, and to save him the repeated trouble of
mentioning the author, as he has not failed to do, I make no
hesitation in saying, that as the opportunity of benefiting by the
French Revolution easily occurred to me, I drew up the publication
in question, and showed it to him and some other gentlemen, who, fully
approving it, held a meeting for the purpose of making it public,
and subscribed to the amount of fifty guineas to defray the expense of
advertising. I believe there are at this time, in England, a greater
number of men acting on disinterested principles, and determined to
look into the nature and practices of government themselves, and not
blindly trust, as has hitherto been the case, either to government
generally, or to parliaments, or to parliamentary opposition, than
at any former period. Had this been done a century ago, corruption and
taxation had not arrived to the height they are now at.