Synopses & Reviews
Excerpt from The Life of Thomas Paine, Vol. 1: With a History of His Literary, Political, and Career
At this table the Quaker chieftain, whom Danton rallied for hoping to make revolutions with rose water, unsheathed his pen and animated his Round Table of Reformers for a conﬂict free from the bloodshed he had witnessed in America, and saw threatening France. This little table was the field chosen for the battle of free speech its abundant ink-spots were the shed blood of hearts transfused with humanity. I do not wonder that Rickman was wont to show the table to his visitors, or that its present owner, Edward Truelove - a bookseller who has suffered imprisonment for selling pro scribed books, - should regard it with reverence.
The table is what was once called a candle-stand, and there stood on it, in my vision, Paine's clear, honest candle, lit from his inner light, now cov ered by a bushel of prejudice. I myself had once supposed his light an infernal torch now I sat at the ink-spotted candle-stand to write the first page of this history, for which I can invoke nothing higher than the justice that inspired what Thomas Paine here wrote.
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