Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thomas Paine

Monday was the 200th anniversary of the death of Tom Paine, the English Quaker's son, corset-maker, and revolutionary pain-in-the-ass, who was thrown out of England, imprisoned in France, and shunned in the America he helped inspire. Unlike most of the other "revolutionary" "Founding Fathers," (slaveholders, businessmen, would-be aristos) he was the true radical. He died on Grove Street in Greenwich Village, was buried in New Rochelle, then in 1819 disinterred by the radical William Cobbett, who, a bit too idolatrously, wanted to take the remains back to England for a memorial; the bits were lost, but the ideas remain...

These are the times that try men's souls; The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.

Let them call me rebel, and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul for swearing allegiance to one, whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.
[Uncanny how he so ably forecast King Bush II!]

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

1 comment:

amarilla said...

"...My own mind is my own church."

He must have had a lot of faith in himself, props to his Quaker parents. That's not so easy for some, after the external tyranny has taken root in the mind. What to do about the poison?

keyword, "matieu," Matthew!