Burke, Paine, and the Rights of Man: A Difference of by R R Fennessy

By R R Fennessy

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3 "There is not a more detestable character," he informed his American readers, "nor a meaner or more barbarous enemy, than the present British one". " 5 1 2 3 4 5 Letter to Abbe Raynal, The Writings, II, 122. Crisis V II, The Writings, I, 376. Crisis X II, The Writings, I, 362. A Supernumerary Crisis, The Writings, I, 357. Crisis XII, The Writings, I, 368. 38 THOMAS PAINE Paine's only loyalty was, in fact, to his own principles. When America adopted them, he was content to be an American citizen - in fact he considered himself to be one ipso facto.

5 Paine was quite mistaken in his estimate of English opinion, which was largely in favour of the war against the ungrateful American rebels. But he was not deterred when his invitation to rebellion produced no response: it was merely another proof of the power of the 1 2 3 4 5 Crisis VII, The Writings, I, 274. , 275. Letter to Abbe Raynal, The Writings, II, Crisis II, The Writings, I, 195. Crisis VII, The Writings I, 290. 120. 39 THOMAS PAINE London Gazette. The English people were being kept in darkness and ignorance; they could not see the truth, nor even where their own interest lay.

But as far as Paine was concerned, they had no excuse. The events of 1776 including the publication of Common Sense - had made the issue clear; henceforth it was a question of black and white, there was no middle ground for cowardly souls: It signifies nothing what neutral ground, of his own creating, he may skulk upon for shelter, for the quarrel in no stage of it hath afforded any such ground; and either we or Britain are absolutely right or absolutely wrong through the whole ... All we want to know in America is simply this, who is for independence, and who is not?

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