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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

"These are the Times That Try Men's Souls."

"These are the Times That Try Men's Souls."

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

To those who wished to put the war off to some future day, with a lofty and touching spirit of self-sacrifice, he said—"Every generous parent should say, 'If there must be war let it be in my day, that my child may page 3 have peace.'" To the cry that Americans were rebels he replied—"He that rebels against reason is a real rebel; but he that, in defence of reason, rebels against tyranny, has a better title to 'Defender of the Faith' than George III."

Some said it was to the interest of the colonies to be free. Paine answered this by saying—"To know whether it be the interest of the colonics to be independent we need only ask this simple, easy question: Is it the interest of a man to be a boy all his life?" He found many who would listen to nothing, and to them he said that "to argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead." This sentiment ought to adorn the walls of every orthodox church.

There is a world of political wisdom in this—"England lost her liberty in a long chain of wrong reasoning from right principles;" and there is real discrimination in saying—"The Greeks and Romans were strongly possessed of the spirit of liberty, but not the principles; for at the time that they were determined not to be slaves themselves they employed their power to enslave the rest of mankind."

In his letter to the British people, in which he tried to convince them that war was not to their interest, occurs the following passage, brimful of common sense:—"War never can be the interest of a trading nation, any more than quarrelling can be profitable to a man in business. But to make war with those who trade with us is like setting a bulldog upon a customer at the shop-door.

The writings of Paine fairly glitter with simple compact, logical statements that carry conviction to the dullest and most prejudiced. He had the happiest possible way of putting the case, in asking questions in such a way that they answer themselves, and in stating his premises so clearly that the deduction could not be avoided.

Day and night he laboured for America. Month after month, year after year, he gave himself to the great cause, until there was "a government of the people and for the people," and until the banner of the stars floated over a continent redeemed and consecrated to the happiness of mankind.

At the close of the revolution no one stood higher in America than Thomas Paine. The best, the wisest, the most patriotic were his friends and admirers; and had he been thinking only of his own good he might have rested from his toils and spent the remainder of his life in comfort and in ease. He could have been what the world is pleased to call "respectable." He could have died surrounded by clergymen, warriors, and states-men; and at his death there would have been an imposing funeral, miles of carriages, civic societies, salvos of artillery, a nation in mourning, and, above all,