To the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives March 7, 1808
From the records of the Annals of Congress, 10th Congress, 2nd Session.
NEW YORK, March 7, 1808.
I wrote you a week ago, prior to the date of this letter, respecting my memorial to Congress, but I have not yet seen an account of any proceedings upon it.
I know not who the Committee of Claims are, but if they are men of younger standing than “the times that tried men’s souls,” and, consequently, too young to know what the condition of the country was at the time I published Common Sense (for I do not believe independence would have been declared had it not been for the effect of that work) they are not capable of judging of the whole of the services of Thomas Paine. The President and Vice President can give you information on those subjects, so also can Mr. Smilie, who was a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature at the times I am speaking of. He knows the inconveniences I was often put to, for the old Congress treated me with ingratitude, they seemed to be disgusted at my popularity, and acted towards me as a rival instead of a friend.
The explanation I sent to the committee respecting a resolve of the old Congress while they sat at New York should be known to Congress, but it seems to me that the committee keep everything to themselves, and do nothing. If my memorial was referred to the Committee of Claims, for the purpose of losing it, it is unmanly policy. After so many years of service my heart grows cold towards America.
Yours, in friendship,
Hon. Speaker of the House of Reps.
P. S. I repeat my request, that you would call on the Committee of Claims to bring in their report, and that Congress would decide upon it.