Monday, January 29, 2007

Thomas Paine

Some months ago I read The Trouble with Tom, by Paul Collins. It is the fascinating story of what became of the bones of American Patriot, Thomas Paine. (You might want to read the book yourself to follow this odd tale.) In the course of reading I was reminded of what a fascinating person Thomas Paine was. The author of Common Sense, he was a man ahead of his times, and had a major influence on the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. He also wrote The Age of Reason, a forceful advocacy of Enlightenment principles and Deism.

Today is the two hundred and seventieth anniversary of Thomas Paine's birthday. Herewith are several of his quotes:

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather
strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.
'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose
heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct,
will pursue his principles unto death."

"If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my
child may have peace."

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier
and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from
the service of their country; but he that stands it now,
deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Paine also wrote "A New Song," [Hail Great Republic], sung to the tune of "Rule Britannia":
"Hail, Great Republic of the world,
The rising empire of the West,
Where famed Columbus, with a mighty mind inspired,
Gave tortured Europe scenes of rest.
Be thou forever, forever great and free,
The Land of Love and Liberty.

"Beneath thy spreading mantling vine,
Beside thy flowery groves and springs,
And on thy lofty, thy lofty mountains' brow,
May all thy sons and fair ones sing.

"From thee may rudest nations learn
To prize the cause thy sons began;
From thee may future, may future tyrants know
That sacred are the Rights of Man.

"From thee may hated discord fly,
With all her dark, her gloomy train;
And o'er thy fertile, thy fertile wide domain
May everlasting friendship reign.

"Of thee may lisping infancy
The pleasing wondrous story tell,
And patriot sages in venerable mood
Instruct the world to govern well.

"Ye guardian angels watch around,
From harm protect the new-born State;
And all ye friendly, ye friendly nations join,
And thus salute the Child of Fate.
Be thou forever, forever great and free,
The Land of Love and Liberty!"

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter chronicles the story of commercial fishing on Ocracoke, and tells of the efforts of the Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association to save the island's last remaining fish house. Click here to read the entire newsletter....and learn how to make a donation.

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