To Joel Barlow May 4, 1807

From the original letter now in private hands.

New York Broome Street May 4th, 1807 -

Old Friend

I will first explain the direct occasion of my writing this letter and reserve meums and tuums to follow after.

I have a law suit coming on in this State (New York) the 20th of this month, May, The occsion of it is as follows.

Four or five men who had lived within the british lines in the revolutionary war got in to be inspectors of the election at New Rochelle where I lived on my Farm. These men refused my vote saying to me “You are not an American Citizen.” Upon my beginning to remonstrate with them, the chief of them (Ward, Supervisor, whose father and all his brothers had joined the british, but himself not being then old enough to carry a musket staid at home with his mother) got up and calling out for a Constable said to me “I commit you to Prison,” He chose however to sit down and go no farther with it. I have prosecuted the board of inspectors for disfranchising me.

I have written to Mr Madison for copies of Mr Monro’s letter to Mr Randolph in which Mr Monro informed Government of his having reclaimed me and my liberation in consequence of it, and of Mr Randolph’s answer in which he says “The president approves of what you have done in the case of Mr Paine.” These are necessary in order toprove falsehood on the inspectors, for the ground they went upon is this - “Our Minister at Paris Governeur Morris would not reclaim you when you were imprisoned in the Luxemburg and General Washington refused to do it.” — Morris dod reclaim me but his reclamation did me no good, and the probablility is that he did intend it should.

You and other Americans in Paris went in a body to the Convention to reclaim me and I want a certificate from you properly attested, of this fact. If you consult with Governor Clinton he will, in friendship, inform you who to address it to -

Having now done with business I come to meums and tuums. What are you about? You sometimes hear of me but I never hear of you. It seems as if I had got to be master of the feds and the priests. The former does not attack my political publications; they rather try to keep them out of sight by silence, and as to the priests they act as if they would say, let us alone and we will let you alone.

My examination of the passages called prophecies is printed and will be published next week. I have prepared it with the essay on dream. I do not believe that the priests will attack it for it is not a book of opinions but of facts. Had the Christian Religion done any good in the world I would not have exposed it however fabulous I might believe it to be. But the delusive Idea of having a friend at court whom they call a redeemer who pays all their scores, is an encouragement to wickedness.

What is Fulton about? Is he “taming a whale” to draw his submarine boat?

I wish you would desire Mr. Smith to send me his Country National Intelligencer. It is printed twice a week without advertisement. I am somewhat at a loss of want of authentic intelligence.

Yours in friendship

Thomas Paine