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About two years ago, I, being of Mr. Wilcet Hicks, an eminent then on Long Island, published my merchant, a man of excellent charac. intention of writing an account of the ter, a Quaker, and even, I believe, a life, labours, and death of Paine. Quaker Preacher. Mr. Hicks, a kind Soon after this, a Quaker at New and liberal and rich man, visited Mr. York, named Charles Collins, made Paine in his illness, and, from his many applications for an interview house, which was near that of Mr.. with me, which at last, he obtained. | Paine, little nice things (as is the I found that his object was to per practice in America) were sometimes suade me, that Paine had recanted. I sent to him; of which this servant, laughed at him, and sent him away. friend Mary, was the bearer , and this But, he returned again and again to was the way, in which the lying cant the charge. He wanted me to promise got into the room of Mr. Paine. that I would
" that it was said,” To “friend Mary," therefore, I that Paine recanted. “ No :" said I; went, on the 26th of October, last, " but, I will say, that you say it, with friend Charley's paper in my and that you tell a lie unless you pocket. I found her in a lodging in prove the truth of what you' say; a back-room up one pair of stairs. and, if you do that, I shall gladly I knew that I had no common cuninsert the fact.” This posed " friend niog to set my wit against. I began Cbarley,” whom I suspected to be a with all the art that I was master of. most consummate hypocrite. He had I had got a prodigiously broad-brima sodden face, a simper, and man med hat on. I patted a little child cuvred his features, precisely like that she had sitting beside her; I the most perfidious wretch that I have called her friend ; and played all the known or ever read or heard of. He awkward tricks of an undisciplined was precisely the reverse of my wheedler. But, I was compelled to honest, open, and sincere Quaker come quickly to business. She asked, friends, the Pauls of Pennsylvania. “what's thy name, friend ?" and, Friend Charley plied me with remon the moment I said William Cobbett, strances and reasonings; but, I always up went her mouth as tight as a answered him. “Give me proof; name purse! Sack-making appeared to be persons; state times ; state precise her occupation; and that I might not words; or, I denouuce you as a extract through her eyes that which liar." Thus put to his trumps, she was resolved I should not get out friend Charley resorted to the aid of her mouth, she went and took up of a person of his own stamp; a sack, and began to sew : and pot and, at last, he brought me a paper, another look or glance could I get containing matter, of which the above from her. statement of Mr. Burks is a garbled However, I took out my paper, edition! This paper, very cautiously read it, and, stopping at several points, and craftily drawn up, contained only asked her if it was true. Talk of the initials of names. This would the Jesuits, indeed! The whole tribo Dot do. I made him, at last, put of Loyola, who have shaken so many down the full name and the address kingdoms to their base, never posses. of he informer, “ MARY HINSDALE, se'l a millionth part of the cunning of No.10, Anthony-street, New York.” this drab-coloured little woman, whose I go this from friend Charley, some face simplicity and innocence seemed time ibout June last; and had po op- to have chosen as the place of their portunity of visiting the party till triumph! She shufied'; she evaded ; late in October, just before I sailed. she equivocated; she warded off; she
The’nformer was a Quaker woman, affected not to understand me, not to who, atthe time of Mr. Paine's last understand the paper, not to remem. illoess, vas a servant in the family Iber: and all this with so much seem
ing simplicity and single-heartedoess, ors, and many other geatlemen of and in a voice so mild, so soft, and so undoubted veracity had the same desweet, that, if the Devil had been sil. claration from his dying lips. Mr. ting where I was, he would certainly | Winter Hicks visited him to nearly have jumped up and hugged her to his the last. This gentleman says, that bosom !
there was no change of opinion intia The result was: that it was so long mated to him : and, will any man beago, that she could not speak posi- lieve, that Paine would have witheld. tively, to any part of the matter : that from Mr. Hicks, that which he was she would not say that any part of the
so forward to communicate to Mr. paper was true: that she had never
Hicks's servant girl.? seen the paper : am, that she had Observe, reader, that, in this tissue given “ friend Charley”' (for
of falshoods, is included a most foul so she called him) authority' to say and venomous slander on a woman of any thing about the matter in her virtue and of spotless honour. But, name. I pushed her closely upon the hypocrites will stiek at nothing. Ca.. subject of the.“ unhumpy French lielumny is their weapon, and a base male.” Asked her, wherber she should press is the hand to wield it, Mr. know her again.--"Oh, no! friend : Burks of Norwich will not insert this I tell ther, that I have no
article, nor will be acknowledgo his collection of any person or any thing error. He knows, that the calumny, that I saw at Thomas Paine's which he has circulated, has done wliat house.” The truth is, that the con- he intended it to do; and he and the sing little thing knew that the French genileman” for whose character ho lady was at hand; and that detection pledges himself, will wholly disregard WRS easy, if she hail said that she good men's contempt, so long as it slwould know her upon siglat!
does not diminish their gains. I had now nothing to do but to ligion. It is a question of moral truth,
This is not at all, a question of rebring friend Charley's nose to the Whether Mr. Paine's opinions were grindstone. But, Charley, who is a correct, or erroneous, has nothing to grocer, living in Cherry-street, near do with this matter. Pearl-street, though so pious a man,
WM. COBBETT. and, doubtless, in great traste to get to everlasting bliss, bad moved out of the city for fear of the fever, not liking, apparently, to go off to the
TO THE KING.next' world in a yellow skin. And
London, January 31st, 1820. thus he escaped me, who sailed from MAY IT PLEASE your MAJESTY, New Yark in four days afterwards :
I have this day witnessed the or, Charley should have found, that
ceremony of proclaiming your there was something else, on this side thie grase, pretty nearly as troubles Majesty King of the United King
dom of Great Britain and Iresome and as dreadful as the Yellov
land; to which had not unwise Ferer.
and evil councillors existed twen. This is, I think, a pretty good in. stance of the lengths to which hypo-ded the word France; a part of
ty years ago, would have been adcrisy will go. The whole, as far as the title which your Royal Father relates to recantation, and to the “un
inherited from his predecessors, happy French female,” is a lie, from the beginning to the er:d." Mr. and which, in my opinion, oight Paine declares, in his last. Will, that never to have been given up, behe retains all his publicly expressed cause, in the affairs of naions, opinions as to religion. His Exceut, particularly, honour ought o be
FEBRUARY 19, 1820.
valued as highly as existence it- point out the whole of these self.
changes with sufficient clearness, To subjects of more immediate and in language and manner suitimportance at this time, I take the able, on an occasion like the preliberty to endeavour to call your sent, would be a task 100 volumiMajesty's attention ; a liberty nous to be attempted at this mo
which I am compelled to take in ment. Yet, there is one change | this public manner, or to refrain or two, which, as they seem to
from doing that which I regard as present themselves with peculiar being my duty to do. Your Ma claims to aitention, I shall endeajesty ascends the Throne at a pe-vour to point out; and, as they riod of unexampled embarrass-relate to matters of someshat a ment, difficulty and distress. You personal nature, I put ing beforebecome the King of a great na- hand, an earnest request, that my tion, at a time when it is serious words may receive the most liberal ly doubted, by a great number of interpretation. persons of sound heads, great ex. I am sure I speak the sense of perience, great information and the people of this kingdom in gevery extensive views, whether neral, when I say that our having, this great nation bę or be nat des- of late years, been deprived of tined to experience a decline of the use of the right to Petition the weight and of power such as very King and the Regent, has producfew nations, of which we have any ed great injury with regard to the knowledge, have ever experienced. feelings of the people towards
Under such circumstances, an the Sovereign ; and also great inaccession to the Throne would jury with regard to the adminisappear, at first sight, to be an tering of the affairs of the coupelevation hardly to be envied. try. No human institution can But if we rightly consider the be perfect. Abuses will arise in matter, this is, perhaps, taking every such institution.
a man an entirely wrong view of it. may be unjustly treated by a conAs it is more glorious in an stable, by a justice of the peace, army to wear the laurels won on by a court of law. But, still he an occasion where there is every may petition the Parliament. The reason to expect its defeat : so it Parliament may turn, a deaf ear will certainly be more glorious to to him. Some wrong influence your Majesty, if you should, sol may prevail even there. Still, pray God you may, see, during however, he has the King to Per your reign, this harrassed and tition; and it is the king, whose miserable nation restored to tran- oflice it is at last to allord him requillity and happiness, and to the dress. enjoyment of that freedom, which There is something so mania our fathers enjoyed at the time festly just and reasonable in this, when his late Majesty ascended that I believe that there never yet the Throne.
was a nation in which it was not In order, however, that this re- the practice for any man to be storation may be effected, and able at any time to present a pethat your reign may be happy and tition to the Chief Ruler of such a glorious, great changes must take nation. In the Bill of Rights, place in the management of the this right of pelilioning the king áfairs of this nation. Merely to forms one of the items of the un
alienable rights of Englishmen|duct, or negligence of the Minisand, indeed, that a man should be try, or of some person in power unheld bound in ties of allegiance der them, it is obvious that there to one, to whom he is not per must be a natural disinclination mitted to put up even his prayers, on the part of the Ministry to sufis something too monstrous for fer the petition to meet the eye of common sense to conceive or com- his master; and the more true mon spirit to endure.
and the more important the mat. Yet, may it please your Ma- ter of the petition may be, the jesty, it appears to me that this less likely it is that the Secretary right, if not absolutely denied to should be disposed to lay it before us in words, has been so much the King; nay, the Secretary now abridged, and the performance of seems to be relieved from all it reduced to so much uncertain chances of inconveniences on this ty, that the great mass of your score ; for according to a recent Majesty's subjects can with diffi- letter of his, it appears that wheculty look upon themselves as en-ther he shall lay before the King joying it at all. According to a or not, depends wholly upon his regulation, which has been adopt. own discretion. So that, it would ed of late years, our petitions to appear that to this it is come, at the King are to be delivered to last; an Englishman's right to the Secretary of State : or given to petition the King; a right, which, his Majesty, or, in his behalf, to at the revolution, was declared the Regent) at the levee. It is to be inherent and unalienable, is very well known that very few now reduced to a right to petipersons, indeed, comparatively tion the Secretary of State: though speaking, can gain admission to a it may happen that this Englishlevee. The great body of the man's complaint, as contained in people are, indeed, wholly ex- his petition, relates to some griev. cluded from it. It is a thing of ous oppression experienced at the which they know nothing except hands of that Secretary himself. bys hearsay. And, therefore the Petitions are not, like some Secretary of State is the only other modes of application, anchannel through which their pe-swered. No answer is given to titions can pass.
them, or, at least, no acknowIt is manifest that, under such ledgment of their being right; and circumstances, no person will con- no immediate assurance that the sider this mode of petitioning as prayer of them will be granted.coming up to what is properly The petitioner is, in all cases, left called the exercise of the Right to entertain the supposition that of Petition. The petitioner is by his petition will receive due attenno means certain that his petition tion and have its just weight.will ever reach the King. He When the prayer of it is not knows very well that his petition granted, no positive
refusal is will first be read and well ex-given ; and this, as far as relates amined by the Secretary of State: to petitions to the King, is the this Secretary is one of the Mi- most dignified and most gracious nistry; and, as every petition mode of proceeding. All that the will be likely to contain a com- petitioner can reasonably require plaint of some grievance or some in the first instance, is to know wrong, arising from the miscon-l for a certainty, that bis petition
has been received by the King ; something to do. For a King to but this he cannot now know; and say to his subjects, what this pro. therefore, he is as completely cut hibition, if fully expressed, seems off from all hope of redress, to be to say, would certainly be very received from the crown, as if little calculated to gain or to prethere was no crown in existence, serve the affections of any people,
One injurious effect of this re- and particularly of a people, who, gulation, so new to Englishmen, in spite of every thing that has and so contrary to all their settled been done, or that can be done, notions of liberty and justice, is to lower them in their own es. a diminution in the warmth of teem, are still a proud people, and their attachment towards the 80- a people always prone to resent vereign himself, whom they cease, every act and every word which by degrees, to regard as their last seems to imply contempt or dishold of safety. They have enough dain. As I am very well satisfied to remind them of his power and that this prohibition never did of their obedience to his authority. originate in the mind of your MaThey do not fail duly to receive jesty, and has not been continued his commands and to hear his in- by any particular desire of yours, junctions not to resist those com. I do not impute it to you; but, mands. They are warned upon certain I am that its effect upon occasions frequent enough, of the the minds of the people of this honour that they are to do bim; country has been very injurious, and they know well how numer. and that every day of its continuous and how great are the punish- ance, especially now, will add to ments inflicted in his name. And, an evil already gone to an extent if they are to be deprived, though far beyond what your Majesty can under the most grievous oppreso possibly imagine. sion, to make known to him the But there is another great evil wrongs which they suffer, it is to attending this prohibition. There expect more than human nature are grievances to be prevented as allows us to expect not to believe well as grievances to be redressed. that they will entertain towards Ministers, and other persons in the King less warmth of attach authority may be guilty of sins of ment than they would entertain, if omission as well as of commission. they could, at their pleasure, ap- There may be persons quite unpeal to his own justice for redress. known to your Majesty, whose God himself, if he were only a zeal and ability, though volun. God of terror, would not be ador- tarily exerted, may, upon pared, except by beings wholly un- ticular occasions, be of infinite worthy to live.
utility to the King, as well as to This prohibition to present pe- the nation. Yet such persons, for titions in person to the King has want of the power to make their the further disadvantage belong. representations to the King, may, ing to it, that (whatever may be with regard to him, and to the the fact) it is looked upon as a country, uselessly possess such prohibition coming from the King zeal and such ability. Many have himself, and, coming so closely been the occasions when I could in contact with bis very person, have rendered great service to the it must be supposed to be a mate country, had the channel of petiter with which he has personally Ition been open to me: of two