"He had lived long, done some good, and much harm."

-- New York Evening Post, June 10, 1809.

"The eulogists of Paine in attempting to establish his claims on the bounty of Congress, forget to remember that the same person who was paid like Callendar for his writing (only more liberally) had been disgraced by Congress in '77, and dismissed from the office of secretary to the committe [sic] for foreign affairs, for drunkenness and falsehood. They draw a veil over his transactions while in Paris, and particularly over his hostile measures against this country in the war which he strove to imbitter between the two nations. This alone, independent of the renumerations of Congress, did away, they well know, all the claims upon the gratitude of Americans for his Common Sense, and his Crisis -- But his Age of Reason and his Infamous letter to Washington, setting aside his machinations against this country, will ultimately in the mind of every man, except possibly Mr. Jefferson, put him upon a par with the once gallant but traitorous Arnold."

-- New York Evening Post, November 12, 1802 and New York Herald, November 13, 1802.

Thomas Paine set the stage for much of what constitutes Skeptical arguments today. But it is less known that many wrote rebuttals to him in his own day, which are archived here. Responses to The Age of Reason came from many of Paine's contemporaries, including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Rush, John Jay and Elias Boudinot.

Adams, President John

American President. Read more about President Adams here. Disclaimer: Adams shifted from Congregationalist to Unitarian.

Adams, President John Quincy

Sixth American President. See here for discussion about Adams's faith. Read more about President Adams here, here and here.

Adams, Samuel

American patriot. Read about Samuel Adams here.

The Adviser, or Vermont Evangelical Magazine

Burton, Asa, 1752-1836. Hough, John; 1783-1861. Middlebury, Vt.: William G Hooker, Monthly, 1809-1814.

"American Minerva"

Analytical Review

Analytical Review, or History of literature, domestic and foreign, on an enlarged plan. London, England: Printed for J. Johnson. "Containing scientific abstracts of important and interesting works, published in English; a general account of such as are of less consequence, with short characters, notices, or reviews of valuable foreign books; criticisms on new pieces of music and works of art; and the literary intelligence of Europe, etc." v. 1-28, May 1788-Dec. 1798; new series, v. 1, Jan-June 1799; 29 v. 22 cm. New series v. 1 has imprint: London, Printed for the editor, and sold by T. Hurst.

Anketell, John
(b. 1750?)

Anonymous (1)

Anonymous (2)

Anonymous (3)

The Anti-Jacobin review and magazine

London: J. Whittle. Monthly.

Auchincloss, John
(d. 1800)

Basden, Henry
(Fl. 19th Century)

Belknap, Jeremy

Benjoin, George
(fl. 18th century)

Bentley, Thomas
(fl. 1775-1819)

Blakemore, Steven
(fl. 21st century)

Associate Professor, Department of English, Florida Atlantic University. Read about Blakemore here.


Boudinot, Elias

Bousell, John
(fl. 18th century)

Bradford, Ebenezer

Brann, Henry A. (Athenasius)

British Critic

London: Printed for F. and C. Rivington. Succeeding Title: British critic, quarterly theological review, and ecclesiastical record.

Broaddus, Andrew

Broughton, Thomas
(fl. 19th century)

Brown, James, D.D., of Barnwell, Northampton
(fl. 18th century)

Cadell, T.
(fl. 18th century)

Carroll, Charles

Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration, described Paine's work as "blasphemous writings against the Christian religion"; cf. Kate Mason Rowland, The life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, 1737-1832: with his correspondence and public papers, Volume 2. G. P. Putnam's sons, 1898. Also in Joseph Gurn, Charles Carroll of Carrollton. New York: P. J. Kennedy & Sons, 1932, p. 203.

(fl. 18th century)

Cobbett, William

Colvin, John B.

Connecticut Courant

George Goodwin (1757-1844), publisher. Published in Hartford, Connecticut, Printed by Hudson & Goodwin. Vol. 27, no. 1365 (Mar. 21, 1791)-v. 109, no. 542,085 (Jan. 3, 1874) ; v. 109, no. 2 (Jan. 10, 1874)-v. 149, no. 86 (Oct. 29, 1914).; v. ; 45-51 cm.


Connecticut Herald

Published in New Haven, Connecticut.

"C. T. S."

Dennie, Joseph

Drew, Samuel

Erskine Thomas, 1st Baron Erskine

Estlin, John

Disclaimer: Estlin was Unitarian.


European Magazine & London Review

London: Philological Society of London, Monthly.

Evangelical Magazine

London monthly. Succeeding Title: Evangelical magazine and missionary chronicle.

Evangelical Intelligencer

Farrand, William P. (William Powell), 1777-1839. Philadelphia : W.P. Farrand and Co., Monthly.

Evening Post

Published in New York, New York.

Fairfax, Baron Bryan

Federal Galaxy

Brattleborough, Vt.: B. Smead, for Dickman and Smead, Weekly. "Brattleboro's first newspaper." Cf. Hemenway, A. Vt. historical gazetteer, v. 5./ Motto: "God said, 'let there be light', and there was light."

Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette

Published in Baltimore, Maryland. The Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette (Country edition) began publication April 24, 1809 [v. 2, no. 127] and ceased in 1812[?]. It was published triweekly. It assumed the numbering of the concurrent edition. It was suspended with the June 20, 1812 issue and resumed with the July 27, 1812 issue. It was also published as the Federal Republican and Commercial Gazette. Other editions include the Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette (Baltimore: 1808). The newspaper absorbed the North American and Mercantile Daily Advertiser (Baltimore: triweekly), October 5, 1809.

Fennell, James

Fisher, Miers

Fox, Frederick
(Fl. 19th century)

Franklin, Benjamin

Fraser, Donald

Freemason's Magazine

London: 1796. Succeeding Title: Scientific magazine, and Freemasons' repository.

Fuller, Andrew

Gahan, William

Gemmil, John

Gentleman’s Magazine

London weekly. "Sylvanus Urban" is a pseudonym. Edward Cave, who earlier used the name, died in 1754.

Gentz, Friedrich von

Gudel, Joseph
(1952- )

Hagen, Friedrich Wilhelm
(Fl. 18th Century)

Hall, Samuel
(Fl. 18th Century)

Helton, John

Henry, Patrick

American Founding Father. Read about Henry here.

Hexham, Irving, and Karla Poewe
(Fl. 20th Century)

Hincks, Thomas Dix

Holding, James Patrick
(FL. 21ST Century)

Horry, Charles Lucas Pinckney.

Humphreys, Whitehead
(Fl. 18th Century)

Hunt, Henry, of Cappagh, County Tipperary
(fl. 1795)

Jackson, William

Jay, John

John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers and the original Chief-Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, was comforted by the fact that Christianity would prevail despite Paine's attack,"I have long been of the opinion that the evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds." William Jay, The Life of John Jay (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833) Vol. II, p. 266, to the Rev. Uzal Ogden on February 14, 1796.
On the disgrace of Paine: "Mr. Deane published a paper in the Philadelphia Gazette, containing strictures on the delays of Congress respecting his affairs, and heavy accusations against Mr. Arthur Lee, to whose machinations he attributed the conduct of Congress towards him. This publication caused a ferment throughout America, and very great heats in Congress. The public papers teemed with publications for and against Mr. Deane and Mr. Lee. Among the writers for the latter was a Thomas Paine, an Englishman, who had been a hackney writer in London, and on his arrival in America was employed by Aikin in compiling and correcting papers for his Magazine. In this capacity his attachment to the American cause became suspected. He struck out several passages in papers composed by Dr. Witherspoon, as being too free. He afterward became attached to some leading men who were most zealous for American independence. He published a pamphlet on that subject, called Common Sense, and obtained much credit with the people for it. He was afterward made secretary to the Committee for Foreign Affairs; and when General Washington was retreating before the enemy in Jersey, and the minds of many were filled with apprehensions, he was again so suspected as that Congress became uneasy lest the committee's papers in his custody should fall into the enemy's hands, and took their measures accordingly. The success at Trenton gave things a new aspect, and new courage to Paine."
"On the present occasion his zeal for his employers carried him too far. The official papers had brought him acquainted with the state of American affairs at Versailles; and in his paper of the 2d January he very imprudently inserted the following paragraph:—' If Mr. Deane, or any other gentleman, will procure an order from Congress to inspect an account in my office, or any of Mr. Deane's friends in Congress will take the trouble of coming themselves, I will give him or them my attendance, and show them in a handwriting which Mr. Deane is well acquainted with, that the supplies he so pompously plumes himself upon were promised and engaged, and that as a present, before he even arrived in France,' &c.
"The minister of France, Mr. Gerard, being aware of the consequences which would result from these assertions, and feeling very sensibly how much the honour of France was wounded by a supposition of her having given gratuitous aid to America, contrary to her assurances to Britain, did, on the 5th of January, 1779, present a memorial to Congress referring to this publication, denying the assertions they contained, and representing the propriety of their being disowned by Congress. The day following, the memorial was considered, and various debates, not proper to be specified here, ensued. Paine and the printer were ordered to attend at the bar of the House. The former confessed himself the author, and the latter the publisher of the papers in question. Many motions were made, debated, and rejected before the House adopted the resolutions which finally took place. The subject was interesting to the public, to the House, and particularly to the friends of the parties in difference, as well as Mr. Paine's patrons; and, as is always the case on such occasions, more warmth than prudence took place. The majority, however, were of opinion, that Paine had prostituted his office to party purposes, and therefore ought to be discharged. This did not long remain a secret to him, and to avoid that disgrace he resigned."

See more of Jay's comments.

E. Johnson's British Gazette and Sunday Monitor

Published in London, England.

Jones, John

Keatinge, George
(d. 1811?)

Kenneday, J.

Kennedy, Patrick
(Fl. 18th Century)

Knox, Vicesimus

Lady's Monthly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement & Instruction

[London]: Verner & Hood. Monthly.

(Fl. 18th Century)

Levi, David

Lloyd's Evening Post

Published in London, England. Sold by W. Nicoll.

"Looker On"
(Fl. 18th Century)

Maison, Peter R.
(Fl. 18th Century)

Malham, John

Marsom, John
(Fl. 18th Century)

McIlvane, Charles Pettit

McMaster, John Bach

American historian. Civil engineer. Read about McMaster here.


M'Neille, Daniel
(Fl. 18th Century)

Meek, Thomas
(Fl. 18th Century)

Middlesex Gazette

Published in Middletown, Connecticut.

Monthly Review

London" Printed for R. Griffiths, by A. Strahan.


More, Hannah

English religious writer. Slavery abolitionist. Read about More here and here

Morris, Gouverneur

American statesman, delegate of Pennsylvania to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and author of large sections of the Constitution of the United States. Read about Morris here, here, and here. President John Adams on Morris, June 22, 1779. John Adams diary 29, 12 March - 31 July 1779: "In the Evening I fell into Chat with the Chevalier. He asked me, about Governeur Morris. I said it was his Christian Name -- that he was not Governor. The Chevalier said He had heard of him as an able Man. I said he was a young Man, chosen into Congress since I left it. That I had sat some Years with his Elder Brother in Congress. That Governeur was a Man of Wit, of and made pretty Verses -- but of a Character trs legere."


Muir, James

Nash, Michael
(fl. 1791–1798)

Nelson, David

New York Post

Published in New York. Began publication Nov. 16, 1801.

Newburyport Herald

Published in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Ogden, Uzal

O'Connor, William
(Fl. 18th Century)

Oracle and Public Advertiser

Published in London, England; Printed for J. Bell.

Oracle and Daily Advertiser

Published in London, England; London: J. Mackenzie.

Osborne, J.
(Fl. 18th Century)

Padman, John
(Fl. 18th Century)

Paine, Thomas

The Dictionary of American Biography says of Paine, "He died in New York on June 8, 1809. There is no evidence of a death-bed repentance, though naturally enough such stories were industriously circulated (Conway, Life, II, 420). Since consecrated ground was closed to the infidel, he was buried in a corner of his farm in New Rochelle. In 1819 William Cobbett [q.v.], to atone for his bitter attacks on Paine in the nineties, had the latter's bones dug up, and took them back to England, intending to raise a great monument to the patriotic author of the Rights of Man. The monument was never erected, and on Cobbett's death in 1835 the bones passed into the hands of a receiver in probate. The court refused to regard them as an asset, and, with the coffin, they were acquired by a furniture dealer in 1844, at which point they are lost to history."

See more of the judgment of history upon Paine here [Word file].

Palfrey, John Gorham

Panoplist, & Missionary Magazine United

Vol. 4-13. New series, vol. 1, etc. [The numeration of the vols. as forming part of a new series is dropped after vol. 5, and the old numeration from the commencement resumed.]. Boston.

Paterson, William

Signer of the Constitution and a Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court. Read more about Paterson here and here.

Patten, William

The Pennsylvania Packet, and General Advertiser

Philadelphia, Pa.: D.C. Claypoole. Vol. 13, no. 1607 (Oct. 14, 1783)-v. 13, no. 1754 (Sept. 18, 1784)

Portland Gazette and Maine Advertizer

Published in Portland, Maine.

Priestley, Joseph

Disclaimer: Priestley was Unitarian.

Reid, William Hamilton
(d. 1826)


Published in Boston, Massachusetts.

Riland, John

Rush, Benjamin

Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration, wrote to his friend and signer of the Constitution John Dickinson that Paine's Age of Reason was "absurd and impious"; Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951, Vol. II, p. 770, to John Dickinson on February 16, 1796.

The Scientific Magazine, and Freemasons' Repository

London [England]: printed and published by George Cawthorn, British Library, No. 132, Strand; and sold by Symonds, Paternoster-Row; and may be had of all the booksellers and newscarriers in town and country. Monthly.

Scott, Thomas

Simpson, David

Snyder, G. W.
(Fl. 18th Century)

Stilwell, Samuel

Stokes, Whitley

Summers, Thomas O.

The Sun

Published in London, England; Printed by B. Millan.

Suter, A.
(Fl. 18th Century)

Swift, Zephaniah

American jurist, author, and politician from Windham, Connecticut. Author of the first legal text in the United States, A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut, Windham: John Byrne, 1795. Read about Swifthere and here.


Talleyrand, Maurice / Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Perigord

French diplomat. Read about Talleyrand here and here.


Taylor, Thomas

(Fl. 18th Century)

Theological Magazine

New York, N.Y. : Printed for Cornelius Davis. Bimonthly.

Thomas, Isaiah

Founder of the American Antiquarian Society. Publisher of Massachusetts Spy, or, Worcester Gazette. Published in Worcester, Massachusetts; Vol. 17, no. 783 (Apr. 3, 1788)-v. 39, no. 1957 (Oct. 10, 1810).
The first time the Declaration of Independence was read in Massachusetts was at Worcester by Isaiah Thomas, Esq., who ... participated in the late celebration. It was read from the top of the Portico of the S. Meeting-house "New England Palladium," Boston, July 7, 1826. A bronze tablet in front of the City Hall now marks this spot.
Read about Thomas here.

Thomas, Robert
(D. 1811)

Thomson, Robert
(Fl. 18th Century)

The True Briton

Published in London, England.

Turner, Daniel

Tyler, Royall

Tytler, James

United States Christian Magazine

Printed by T. and J. Swords.

Wakefield, Gilbert

Wakefield is said to be a Unitarian. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography calls him a biblical scholar and religious controversialist who was employed as a rector and then a vicar, then a fellow of Jesus College of Cambridge: Wakefield spent the years of his fellowship dedicated to biblical studies, acquiring several oriental languages as he did so. In 1778 he was ordained deacon, in spite of growing doubts about matters of doctrine and scruples about the practice of subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles (several Jesuans, including Tyrwhitt, had recently resigned their fellowships over this practice). It was, he later wrote, ‘the most disingenuous action of my whole life; utterly incapable of palliation or apology’ (Memoirs of the Life, 1.121). His clerical life lasted just over a year: he served as curate in Stockport, Cheshire, under a Mr Watson, then successively at St Peter's and St Paul's in Liverpool, all the while hoping to find employment as a schoolmaster. In Liverpool he crusaded against the slave trade and British privateering, and denounced both practices from the pulpit, angering many parishioners.

Wait, William
(Fl. 18th-19th Century)

Walker's Hibernian Magazine

Dublin: Printed by Thomas Walker, 1785-1811. Monthly, May 1785-Dec. 1811.; 27 v. : ill., map, ports.

Wallace, Elijah
(Fl. 18th Century)

Wallis, James

Pastor of the church in New-Providence, in Mecklenburg County, North-Carolina.

Wardrop, James
(Fl. 18th century)

Waring, Jeremiah of Alton, England
(fl. 18th century)

Warren, Mercy Otis

American author, historian and playwright. Read more about Warren here and here.

Watson, Richard

Watson was bishop of Llandaff and served in numerous academic posts. The Oxford biography says of him: "A student of mathematics before he turned his hand to chemistry, Watson came fresh to the study of religion on his appointment as regius professor of divinity in 1771. He then applied himself not to theology or patristics but to biblical study of the New Testament....In his six volumes of Theological Tracts (1785), which reprinted twenty-four extracts from nineteen writers for 'young persons of every denomination' (1.v), he included works by a number of dissenters, even some Unitarians, insisting that he 'did not at all consider the quarter from whence the matter was taken, but whether it was good, and suited to my purpose' (1.xix). His aim was to establish the truth of Christianity and defend his young readers 'from that contagion of Infidelity which is the disgrace of the age' (1.ix); his target was deists not dissenters...Twice in his career he came forward as a defender of the Christian faith: in 1776 his Apology for Christianity addressed Gibbon's sceptical account of the growth of Christianity in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; twenty years later his Apology for the Bible (1796) responded to the second part of Thomas Paine's deist Age of Reason, published in 1795. While his rejoinder to Gibbon was relaxed and courteous that to Paine was urgent and anxious; the debate was no longer an intellectual exercise but a crucial defence of the political and social order."

The Weekly Register

Published in London, England. Printed and published by T. Gillet.

Webster, Daniel

American statesman. Read more about Webster here and here and here.

Williams, Thomas

Wilmer, James Jones

Wilson, David

Winchester, Elhanan

Minister. Read about Winchester here. There are some claims, which we so far doubt, that Winchester was a Unitarian; he also seems to have been a Universalist.

Witherspoon, John

Wyche, William
(Fl. 18th Century)

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