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Observations on his writi:īgs,
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
SEVERAL OF MR. PAINE'S UNPUBLISHED PIECES.
W, T. SHERWIN.
PUBLISHED BY R. CARLILE, 55, FLEET STREET,
The principal motive which has induced me to undertake the Life of Mr. Paine, is the injustice which has been heaped upon his memory by those who knew nothing either of the man or his principles. It may with safety be affirmed, that there never existed a public character whose reputation has been assailed with more illiberality, or whose motives have been misrepresented with more virulence. To rescue his name from the undeserved reproaches which have been cast upon it by the panders of political infamy, and the partizans of cold-blooded superstition, to render that justice to his character which interested clamour has hitherto withheld,—and to shew that his works contain nothing that is dangerous to the happiness of mankind, either individually or collectively, are the principal objects of the following pages.—Whether I have succeeded, or not, must be left to the judgment of the reader; of this, however, I am certain, that if I have not, the failure rests with the biographer, and not with the subject.
Two lives of Mr. Paine have already appeared. The first of these was published about twenty-seven years ago, and purports to be the production of “Francis Oldys, A, M, of the University of Philadelphia.”. This work, though written with some ability, is filled with falsehoods which detect themselves, and which, con sequently, need no refutation.
It is, therefore, only necessary to state, that “ Francis Oldys," was a fictitious name, adopted with no other view than that of giving currency to the book; that the real author was George Chalmers, at that period one of the clerks of the Board of Plantation, and that he was employed by Lord Hawksbury (now called Earl of