Tom Paine (1737-1809)
From 18th Century Literary Anecdotes

SOON after the publication of Paine's Rights of Man, in 1791, before the work was declared libelous—the King [George III] was wandering about Windsor early on a summer morning, and was heard calling out `Knight, Knight!' in the shop whose shutters were just opened. My father made his appearance as quickly as possible at the sound of the well-known voice, and he beheld his Majesty quietly seated, reading with marked attention. Late on the preceding evening a parcel from Paternoster Row had been opened, and its miscellaneous contents were exposed on the counter. Horror! the King had taken up the dreadful Rights of Man, which advocated the French Revolution in reply to Burke. Absorbed Majesty continued reading for half an hour. The King went away without a remark; but he never afterwards expressed his displeasure, or withdrew his countenance. Peter Pindar's incessant endeavours to represent the King as a garrulous simpleton were more likely to provoke the laughter of his family than to suggest any desire to stifle the poor jests by those terrors of the law which might have been easily commanded.

From Charles Knight, Passages of a Working Life during Half a Century (1864), i. 37-8.

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