Tom Paine: America's Godfather, 1737-1809

By W. E. Woodward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
Paine Comes to America

I

THOMAS PAINE became spokesman for all the excise officers of England in 1772 in their plea for an increase in wages. It was an early labor movement in effect, though not in name. These minor officials were paid fifty pounds a year from which they met their own expenses. Most of them were mounted offcers, as they had to carry on their inspections over several villages and towns. This meant that each men had to own a horse and pay for its keep, and also his own expenses at inns when he was away from home, which was most of the time. The movement was along time getting under way, for although the excise men were unanimous in wanting higher pay, ther were many different opinions among them as to the best way of bringing it about. Finally it was decided to appeal directly to Parliament. The chief promoter of this plan was Thomas Paine, and the campaign was placed in his hands. A fund of five hundred pounds for expenses was raised by a voluntary contribution of three shillings from every excise officer in the kingdom.

During the summer of 1772 Paine spent many weeks in writing and revising a paper entitled The Case of the Officers of Excise, and in the winter of 1772-73 he was in London for months trying to influence members of Parliament and others in favor of his cause. He did not give up his position in the excise department while engaged in this project, but got an extended leave of absence. The paper thet he had written was printed, but not published. It was distributed to the members of Parliament and to others who migth be interested.

Paines' chief argument was that those who ewre entrusted with so much resposibilty, and therefore subject to so many

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Tom Paine: America's Godfather, 1737-1809
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 7
  • Illustrations 9
  • Chapter I - The Little Quaker Boy 13
  • Chapter II - A Life Without Motive 33
  • Chapter III - Paine Comes to America 50
  • Chapter IV - Paine Writes a Best Seller 66
  • Chapter V - A Restless Intellectual 85
  • Chapter VI - The Silas Deane Controversy 97
  • Chapter VII - The Revolution's Financial Crisis 118
  • Chapter VIII - Paine as a Propagandist 133
  • Chapter IX - Iron Bridges and Tallow Candles 152
  • Chapter X - The Rights of Man 173
  • Chapter XI - More Books--More Trouble 199
  • Chapter XII - Outlawed in England 222
  • Chapter XIII - The Age of Reason 251
  • Chapter XIV - Monroe Rescues Paine 275
  • Chapter XV - The Last Sad Years 304
  • Bibliography 342
  • Index 345
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