To Mr Claypoole (Pennsylvania Packet) January, 1786

From the original letter at the American Philosophical Society.

Mr. Claypoole

I send you a head piece with my name to it to be prefaced to the piece I send you for publication.

You told me that those pieces were contrary to your opinion — but as your opinion is perhaps contrary to that of the majority of the people of this City & of the State and to a very great number who take your paper you must see the impropriety of setting your own opinion up, as a Judge in the first instance of what shall be suppressed. — If the freedom of the press, is to be determined by the Judgment of the printer of a News paper, in preference to that of the people, who when they read will judge for themselves, the freedom is on a very sandy foundation. If you do not chuse to publish the piece tomorrow you will please return it to me, and I will publish it in a handbill with any reason you shall assign for that refusal or without it as you chuse.

I am Sir your Humble servt

Thomas Paine

If you publish it you will please to send me a proof as soon as you can in the afternoon, as there are two or three words which on account of you not publishing it this morning must be altered

TP —

As no other paper comes out before Wednesday and as it is necessary the piece should appear tomorrow — the public cannot have an opportunity of seeing the piece tomorrow thro any other public paper than yours —