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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

A Friend of Man

A Friend of Man,

and whoever is a friend of man is also a friend of God—if there is one. But God has had many friends who were the enemies of their fellow-men. There is but one test by which to measure any man who has lived:—Did he leave this world better than he found it? Did he leave in this world more liberty? Did he leave in this world more goodness, more humanity, than when he was born? That is the test. And whatever may have been the faults of Thomas Paine, no American who appreciates liberty, no American who believes in true democracy and in pure republicanism, should ever breathe one word against his name. Every American, with the divine mantle of charity, should cover all his faults, and with a never-tiring tongue should recount his virtues. He was a common man. He did not belong to the aristocracy. Upon the head of his father God had never poured the divine petroleum of authority. He had not the misfortune to belong to the upper classes. He had the fortune to be born among the poor, and to feel against his great heart the throb of the toiling and suffering masses. Neither was it his misfortune to have been educated at Oxford. What little sense he had was not squeezed out at Westminster. He got his education from books. He got his education from contact with his fellow-men, and he thought; and a man is worth just what nature impresses upon him. A man standing by the sea, or in a forest, or looking at a flower, or hearing a poem, or looking into the eyes of the woman he loves, receives all that he is capable of receiving; page 2 and if he is a great man the impression is great, and he uses it for the purpose of benefiting his fellow-man.

Thomas Paine was not rich. He was poor, and his father before him was poor? and he was raised a stay-maker, a very lowly profession; and yet that man became