Monday, October 1, 2018

Reading - 18C American Woman with a Book

1764 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Mrs. Samuel Hill, nee Miriam Kilby with books on the table beside her

Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, published on January 9, 1776, reached different continents. At the time Paine wrote “Common Sense,” most colonists considered themselves to be aggrieved Britons.  Paine fundamentally changed the tenor of colonists’ argument with the crown, when he wrote the following:  “Europe, & not England, is the parent country of America.  This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil & religious liberty from every part of Europe.  Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; & it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”  Most Congressmen were eager for it to be read & involved in the quick dispersal of the pamphlet. Many congressional delegates sent it through the public post or via privately paid couriers. One New Hampshire delegate promised as early as January 13, 1776 to send a copy an ally in Portsmouth, “Which you will please lend round to the people.”