Tom Paine: America's Godfather, 1737-1809

By W. E. Woodward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
Outlawed in England

I

EARLY in May, 1792, J. S. Jordan, the printer who published the Rights of Man, was served with a summons to appear in court and face a charge of having printed and circulated seditious literature. He was scared out of his wits, as he had no idea when he took over the job that the book could be in any way objectionable.

Paine was staying just then at Bromley, Kent, with some friends. As soon as he got news of the legal proceedings he hastened to London and assumed the expense of Jordan's defense. But before anything could be done in the matter Jordan lost his courage--if he ever had any--and privately agreed to plead guilty. As the price of his freedom he turned over to the prosecutor's office all the data on Paine and his book that he had acquired during their relationship as author and publisher.

Jordan's status in the matter having become that of a King's witness, he was released and a summons was then served on Paine, at Rickman's home, requiring his presence in court on June 8. He received the summons on May 21, and on the same day a royal proclamation was issued against the writing, printing, selling and circulating of seditious publications such as Paine Rights of Man.

On May 25 there was some discussion of these doings in the House of Commons, and Henry Dundas, Secretary of the Home Office, said in the course of his remarks that the proceedings against Jordan had been instituted because Thomas Paine could not be found at that time. This statement inspired Paine to write a letter to the attorney-general in which he said: "Mr. Paine, Sir, so far from secreting himself, never went a step out of his way, nor in the least instance varied from his usual conduct to avoid any measure you might choose to adopt with respect to him. It is on the purity of his heart, and the universal utility of

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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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