The Life and Works of Thomas Paine - Vol. 7

By Thomas Paine; William M. Van der Weyde | Go to book overview

LETTERS TO ONSLOW CRANLEY

Lord Lieutenant of the County of Surrey; on the subject of the late excellent PROCLAMATION:--or the CHAIRMAN who shall preside at the meeting to be held at Epsom, June eighteenth.

FIRST LETTER, DATED AT LONDON, JUNE 17, 1792.

SIR: I have seen in 600 the public newspapers the following advertisement, to-wit:

PERSISTENTLY Thomas Paine sought with every weapon of speech at his command to assure his critics that the "Rights of Man" was a protest against hereditary, as contrasted with elective, government. This, of course, being a direct blow at English royalty, was antagonistic to all the ministers and sycophants of the crown, including the Lord Onslow to whom these letters were addressed.

Paine was constantly fighting with his pen in behalf of the "tax-paying under-dog." In these letters to Onslow Cranley he makes no excuse for his attitude and principles, but, on the contrary, has the "honor and happiness to be the author" of the "Rights of Man."

Irony and sarcasm have seldom been wielded with such telling literary force as in the second of these letters, in which Paine condemns men like Cranley for "living in indolence and luxury, on the labors of the public."

To the Nobility, Gentry, Clergy, Freeholders, and other inhabitants of the County of Surrey.

At the requisition and desire of several of the freeholders of the county, I am, in the absence of the sheriff, to desire the favor of your attendance, at a meeting to be held at Epsom, on Monday, the eight- eenth instant, at twelve o'clock at noon, to consider of an humble address to His Majesty, to express our grateful approbation of His Majesty's paternal, and well-timed attendance to the public welfare, in his late most gracious Proclamation against the enemies of our happy Constitution.

(Signed.) ONSLOW CRANLEY.

Taking it for granted, that the aforesaid advertisement, equally as obscure as the Proclamation to

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