Thomas Paine Plaque (1923), 59 Grove Street, Greenwich Village, New York, New York

    Newer Older

    Plaque installed by Greenwich Village Historical Society reads:

    The world is my country
    All mankind are my brethren
    To do good is my religion
    I believe in one God and no more

    Thomas Paine (1737-1809) English political writer considered by some historians to be Father of the American Revolution because of Common Sense, pro-independence pamphlet published anonymously 10 Jan, 1776 • first 3 months 120K copies sold in American British Colonies (out of 2MM free inhabitants) • also wrote The Crisis pamphlet series (1776-1783), Rights of Man (1791) and The Age of Reason (1793-94), which argued against institutionalized religion and Christian doctrines

    condemned as an atheist and denied American citizenship, Paine, 72, died obscure and penniless in a rooming house on this site, 8 June, 1809 • after request for burial in Quaker graveyard denied, buried under a walnut tree on his farm, New Rochelle, NY • 6 persons attended funeral • journalist Wm. Cobbett later transported Paine's remains to England but was denied permission to bury them, remains subsequently lost • NY Citizen obituary stated Paine “lived long, did some good and much harm” • orator and writer Robert Ingersoll (1833 – 1899) wrote,

    Thomas Paine had passed the legendary limit of life. One by one most of his old friends and acquaintances had deserted him. Maligned on every side, execrated, shunned and abhorred – his virtues denounced as vices – his services forgotten – his character blackened, he preserved the poise and balance of his soul. He was a victim of the people, but his convictions remained unshaken. He was still a soldier in the army of freedom, and still tried to enlighten and civilize those who were impatiently waiting for his death. Even those who loved their enemies hated him, their friend – the friend of the whole world – with all their hearts. On the 8th of June, 1809, death came – Death, almost his only friend. At his funeral no pomp, no pageantry, no civic procession, no military display. In a carriage, a woman and her son who had lived on the bounty of the dead – on horseback, a Quaker, the humanity of whose heart dominated the creed of his head – and, following on foot, two negroes filled with gratitude – constituted the funeral cortege of Thomas Paine.

    recent biographies argue Paine was one of most important persons in modern history • the small wood framed house house in which he died replaced by building which now houses gay piano bar Marie's Crisis, name inspired by Paine's The Crisis • popular claim that parts of original house incorporated in current structure but Paine house actually stood where Grove St. now passes, was likely demolished in 1836 when street was widened • next door is Arthur's Tavern (1937), jazz nightclub known as "Home of the Bird" because Charlie Parker frequently performed there

    alstafford and Woodlanda added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Stack Six 39 months ago | reply

      How profoundly sad is the description of Paine's last days. How shockingly callous and hypocritical were the attitudes of those who professed themselves Christians but who made his life hell when he was dying, Paine wouldn't say it but I can. True, he was not an easy person to get on with - he didn't suffer fools gladly, and way he was treated when old and sick only goes to prove him right about most of those around him. Perhaps Ingersoll's account of the woman (Madame Bonnerville) and her son, the Quaker (probably the man who had to bring Paine the news that the Society of Friends had refused to allow his last request to be buried in thier cemetary), and above all the two grateful black men, gave a depth and meaning to the cortege that all the pomp and ceremony that was missing could not have done. Seamus McKenna ( http:\\ )

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts