I have a great opinion of Thomas Paine, and of all his productions. I remember his having been one of the Committee for forming one of their annual Constitutions, I mean the admirable Constitution of 1793—after having been a Chamber Counsel to the no less admirable Constitution of 1791. This pious patriot has his eyes still directed to his dear native country, notwithstanding her ingratitude to so kind a benefactor. This outlaw of England, and lawgiver to France, is now, in secret probably, trying his hand again; and inviting us to him by making his Constitution such, as may give his disciples in England some plausible pretext for going into the house that he has opened. We have discovered, it seems, that all, which the boasted wisdom of our ancestors has laboured to bring to perfection for six or seven centuries, is nearly or altogether matched in six or seven days, at the leisure hours and sober intervals of Citizen Thomas Paine.
But though the treacherous tapster Thomas
Hangs a new Angel two doors from us,
As fine as daubers' hands can make it,
In hopes that strangers may mistake it;
We think it both a shame and sin
To quit the good old Angel Inn.
Indeed in this good old House, where every thing, at least, is well aired, I shall be content to put up my fatigued horses, and here take a bed for the long night that begins to darken upon me. Had I, however, the honour (I must now call it so) of being a Member of any of the Constitutional Clubs, I should think I had carried my point most completely. It is clear, by the applauses bestowed on what the Author calls this new Constitution, a mixed Oligarchy, that the difference between the Clubbists and the old adherents to the Monarchy of this country is hardly worth a scuffle. Let it depart in peace, and light lie the earth on the British Constitution!
|« Maxims »||« Classical Works »||« Library »||« Home »|