Sunday, 6 May 2012

6th May 1812: Letter from "Thomas Paine" to Richard Wood, Manchester

Lancaster 6 May 1812

Richard Wood

You have been the cause of much bloodshed; you convened the people and did not meet them: you are therefore marked for punishment. Your childish excuse of Stairs! You might have adjourned to the Square called St Anns or to a field. The fact is; that there is a regular, general, progressive organisation of the people going forward. They may be called Hamdenites, Sidneyites, or Paineites. it has fallen to my lot to unite many thousands. WE for I speake in the name of multitudes. I say we deny and disavow all, or any connection with machine breakers, burners of factories, extorters of money, plunderers of private property or assasans. We know that every machine for the abridgment of human labour is a blessing to the great family of which we are a part. We mean to begin at the Source of our grievances as it is of no use to petition, We mean to demand & command a redress of our grievances. We have both the will & the power. What? must the industrious artisans or the humble cultivators of the soil, be always robb’ed of the rewards of their labours? must they be forever doom’d to behold their helpless infants unfed, uncloathed, untaught. in short deprived of every comfort that makes existance worth holding? must they see the Vultures of Oppressions legally robbing them to pay Sinecures, make loans, to other nations virtual fleets & armies: To give extravagant establishments to all the branches of what are called the ROYAL FAMILY, when other paupers are obliged to exist on 3 or 4 shillings p week? no not long. Tell Mr Ottiwell Wood, that his character character has travelled farther than his feet, that he is much esteemed & respected by our Society & if ever we have an opportunity we will reward him, request him to accept our best wishes for all his families Happiness & Comfort.

We mentioned you as being marked for punishment but as we Beleive you had no evil intention you rather erred for want of fortitude & experience than disrespect for the people; therefor your punishment shall be very easy it shall be light.

There appeared among the 154 names to you requisition SOME HONEST LAWYERS of We have taken p_a_r_t_i_c_u_l_a_r = n_o_t_i_c_e. honest useful upright Men. They shall he rewarded, Yes they deserve a recompence in proportion to their utility!



This letter can be found at HO 40/1/1.

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