Thomas Paine’s Birthday Celebrations

Thomas Paine’s Birthday Celebrations

“Paine’s Birth Day.” The Correspondent, 1:2-3 (Feb. 3-10, 1827): 26-29, 43-47. This report features addresses from Benjamin Offen, Mr. Carver and Mr. Slater delivered at the Bank Lodge, William Street, New York City. Offen asks Paine’s detractors, “[w]hat dreadful crime did Thomas Paine commit, that his name and memory should be so hateful to you, that he should be mentioned with so much horror from the pulpit, and be made, by bigoted priests, a scare-crow to frighten your children?”

“Paine’s Birthday.” The Correspondent, 3:2-3 (Feb. 2-9, 1828): 23-25, 42-46. This article features an address from Benjamin Offen delivered at the Academy, on the corner of Reed Street and Broadway, New York City; a letter from Joseph Lawton, and toasts, including “May revolutions never cease until tyranny is extinct.”

“Paine’s Birth Day.” The Correspondent, 5:3-4 (Feb. 7-14, 1829): 42-45, 56-59. Paine’s birthday was celebrated at the New York Coffee House in New York City. This summary of the events includes Benjamin Offen’s address, an “Ode to the Memory of Thomas Paine,” George Houston’s address commemorating the anniversary of the New York Free Press Association, and toasts, including from the chairman, “May Christians abandon slavery, though their founder had not the humanity to forbid it.”

“Celebration of Mr. Paine’s Birth-Day at New Hartford, Oneida County, New York.” The Correspondent, 5:5 (Feb. 21, 1829): 71-77. This article includes an address from James McElroy and toasts including the following, “Robert Owen, Francis Wright, George Houston, and Richard Carlile, who have faced the whole artillery of the superstitionists of Europe and America- may they continue the bold and undaunted champions of liberal principles” and to “Church and State – should they marry, before the bride conceives, may bigotry and superstition be their funeral pile, and the torch of liberal principles set fire to the heap.”

“Address.” The Free Enquirer, 2:17 (Feb. 20, 1830): 131-134. An address delivered at the village of New Hartford, Oneida Co., New York, on January 29, 1830, to commemorate the birth of Thomas Paine. The speaker recognizes Thomas Paine as the great champion of mental liberty for his “attacks on the master-tyrant of the human mind, Revealed Religion” and encourages the audience to, “Think for yourselves; you need not priests to think for you. Receive nothing as true, which is not susceptible of proof, of demonstration, and, above all, receive nothing as true, which contradicts both proof and demonstration-at the same time that it outrages reason. Do this, and you will be as truly mentally free as you already are politically so.”

“Anniversary of the Birthday of Thomas Paine.” The Working Man’s Advocate, 2:33 (Apr. 2, 1831): 2. This is a brief account of Paine’s birthday celebration at Tammany Hall, including toasts to, among other things, “our cause – The cause of reason, truth and benevolence – may it never want supporters to defeat the attempts of priests and fanatics to perpetrate mental slavery.”

“Birthday of Thomas Paine.” The Working Man’s Advocate, 3:25 (Feb. 4, 1832): 3. The 8th public celebration of Paine’s birthday, held at Tammany Hall, including a ball attended by over 400 people. The volunteer toasts included one to “science – may it spread through the world, and uproot every fable that has cursed the earth.”

“Paine Festival.” The Working Man’s Advocate, 4:26 (Feb. 9, 1833): 1. An account of the Paine festival celebrated at Tammany Hall featuring toasts, original songs, a “love letter” from Paine, and toasts, including to “The people of the several States – May they imitate the example of their fellow citizens of New York, by purging their legislative halls from the corrupting and unconstitutional influence of the clergy.”

“Sary of Thomas Paine’s Birthday.” The Working Man’s Advocate, 5:27 (Feb. 15, 1834): 4. Under this title appear the usual regular and volunteer toasts as well as poems, songs, and an excerpt from the Chairman’s address. Among the volunteer toasts was a toast to “the substitute for religion; practice for profession; morals and good conduct in the place of mystery and hypocrisy; and universal benevolence in the place of sects and illiberality.”

“Celebration of the Birthday of Thomas Paine.” The Working Man’s Advocate, 6:26 (Feb. 7, 1835): 3. Paine’s birthday was celebrated with a dinner at City Saloon and a ball at Tammany Hall. Featured is an invocation to Paine’s memory and volunteer toasts, including to, “Education free from superstitious thralldom: Its result, universal mental emancipation. May its universal accomplishment be as speedy as it is desirable.”

“Celebration of Thomas Paine’s Birthday at Boston.” The World as it Is, 1:35 (Apr. 2, 1836): 1. The following were among the volunteer toasts made: “By Dr. Knowlton, Ashfield. Abolitionists; whenever they are ready to open their churches to Infidel Lecturers with good faith we will join them in contending for Liberty of the Press, and Freedom of Discussion,” and “By Mrs. Stone, Townsend. Wisdom and virtue; the fruits of the tree of knowledge; may the daughters of Eve partake more freely thereof.”

“Celebration of the Anniversary of the Birth of Thomas Paine.” The World as it Is, 1:40 (May 7, 1836): 2. The celebration took place in Brecksville, Ohio, January 20, 1836 and features a reading of the “Declaration of Independence of the American Liberals” which states in part, “We hold these truths self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by Nature, with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the free exercise and expression of their opinions on religion. That to secure these rights, our Fathers shed their blood, and established our political Constitution; that whenever a part of society attempts to subvert these ends, it is the right of the oppressed to revolt from under such usurpations and to establish a system of conscientious liberty, for the dissemination of useful knowledge which shall to them seem most likely to secure to themselves, and their posterity, the blessings of a Republican government.”

“Supplement to The Beacon by order of the Committee of Arrangement for the Celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Birthday of Thomas Paine.” The Beacon, 1:15 (Feb. 11, 1837): 153-60.

“Centennial Anniversary of the Birth of Thomas Paine.” Cleveland Liberalist, 1:22 (Feb. 11, 1837): 172-73. This article briefly summarizes the proceedings of a celebration of Paine’s life held at Shalersville, Ohio on January 29, 1837 and features toasts and resolutions.

“Anniversary of Thos. Paine’s Birth Day.” Cleveland Liberalist, 2:22 (Feb. 17, 1838): 172. Reprinted from the Kentucky and Ohio Journal (Cincinnati); a brief summary of a commemoration of Paine’s Birthday at the Exchange Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio where Francis Wright delivered an address and the following toast, among others, was made: “Our state legislatures – may they soon discard the services of chaplains, and listen more attentively to the prayers of the unpaid people, than the paid prayers of priests.”

“Celebration of Thomas Paine’s Birth-Day in the City of Rochester.” Cleveland Liberalist, 2:23 (Feb. 24, 1838): 178-79. A summary of proceedings at the United States Hotel and featuring a series of adopted resolutions, including, “Resolved, that we have but one fixed and unalterable opinion of the divine authority of the Bible. The proof to us is irresistible that it is a mere combination of Pagan fables, loosely and ignorantly thrown together, without system or order, full of error, obscenity and contradictions; and therefore not entitled to the confidence and belief of a free and intelligent people, and to be cast aside amongst the rubbish and fabled legends of Paganism of a bye-gone world.”

“Celebration of Thomas Paine’s Birth-Day.” Cleveland Liberalist, 2:24 (Mar. 3, 1838): 188. This article provides a brief summary of the proceedings in Warrenville, Cook County, Illinois.

“Celebration of the Paine Anniversary.” The Beacon, 2:14 (Feb. 3, 1838): 110-12. Features volunteer and individual toasts, including, “Liberal Principles. May they spread over the habitable globe, and soon cause the great fabric of Superstition to fall prostrate at the feet of Reason.”

J.U. “Celebration of Paine’s Birthday in Cincinnati, Ohio.” The Beacon, 2:17 (Feb. 24, 1838): 132-33. Reprinted from the Boston Investigator, the author begins, “The anniversary of the birthday of Thomas Paine had never been celebrated in the Queen of the West; and when the proposal was made, alarm and consternation seemed to have seized the enemy’s camp. The bankocrats stirred in their corruption and their foulness dirtied the pages of their journals. The craft of the mystifiers caused its votaries to make strenuous exertions to bewilder and terrify all who are not wise enough to rely on their own experience as to the common course of events.”

“The Paine Celebration- Standing Toasts.” The Beacon, 3:12 (Feb. 2, 1839): 89. Among which was a toast to “Universal education – The proper basis of universal suffrage. The common right of man, a check to aristocratic insolence, and an antedote to superstition and bigotry.”

“Volunteer Toasts. At the late Paine Celebration” and “Individual Toasts, handed to the Chairman at the late P.C. for Presentation.”  The Beacon, 3:13 (Feb. 9, 1839): 99-101. Among the volunteer toasts were the following two sent by a lady: “The rights of woman – May the spread of liberal opinions destroy all opposition to her just claims to their enjoyment,” and to “Paine’s Common Sense and American Rifles. May the former never be out of print and the latter ever primed for the cause of liberty.”

“Paine Celebration at New Harmony, Ind.” The Beacon, 3:16 (Mar. 2, 1839): 125-26. This article includes a brief account of the proceedings, regular toasts and volunteer toasts.

Richard Owen. “Address Delivered on the Anniversary of Paine’s Birthday, January 29, 1839.” The Beacon, 3:17 (Mar. 9, 1839): 129-30.

“Thomas Paine Celebration” and “The Late Paine Celebration in New-York.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:11-12 (Feb. 1-8, 1840): 88, 91-94. This article includes a summary of proceedings, toasts, song by John Lawton and a poem by J.E. Webb. Among the toasts was the following, “Commerce – A source of national wealth and intelligence under proper regulations, but when inflated by the blow-pipe of the bankers gas-works, like a patient in a dropsy, the more rapid the swelling the quicker the dissolution.”

“Celebrating of Paine’s Birth-Day at Philadelphia.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:14 (Feb. 22, 1840): 108-09. This article features mostly toasts including “The Boston Quarterly Review, Boston Investigator, New York Beacon, New York Watchman, and all public prints faithfully engaged in promoting mental and moral improvement; May they jog on harmoniously, their object being one; and may their paying subscribers efficiently sustain them whilst refuting error and diffusing truth, regardless of the oppressor or bigot’s cry of “stop my paper.”

“Paine Anniversary at Cincinnati.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:14 (Feb. 22, 1840): 111-12. This article features mostly toasts including, “Our trinity – free enquiry, democracy and liberty: “These three are one, the same in substance, equal in power and glory,” “Legislative chaplains – church and state in practice – a stain on America’s escutcheon – an insult to the Constitution,” and “geology – “an ever blooming garden” to the disciples of mental freedom – a quagmire to priests and bigots: the more they struggle the quicker they sink.”

The Introduction to an Address, by Mr. Jas. Underwood, at the Cincinnati Paine Anniversary.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:15 (Feb. 29, 1840): 113-15.

“The Anniversary of Thomas Paine.” The Beacon (New Series), 2:12 (Feb. 6, 1841): 94-96. This article features a summary of the proceedings, the president’s address, and regular and volunteer toasts.

“Paine’s Celebration at a Private Residence in Tennessee.” The Beacon (New Series), 3:16 (Mar. 5, 1842): 121-24. This article reports that more than 60 persons gathered to commemorate Paine’s birthday, features an address by Robert W. Thomas and regular and volunteer toasts including this toast from John Long, “The laboring classes all over the world; like the industrious bee; they are robbed of their stores by idle moths and cockroaches, and in return are promised treasures in an unexplored country.”

“Paine Celebration at Cincinnati.” The Beacon (New Series), 3:17-18 (Mar. 12-19, 1842): 129-33, 143-44. This article features an address from M.R. Miller.

“Paine Celebration at Camptown, N.J.” The Beacon (Third Series), 1:13 (Feb. 11, 1843): 101. Among the “sentiments” read aloud was “Science & Education – The compass to freemen, the anchor of truth- the foe to fraud and craft, spiritual, physical, and political.”

“Boston Celebration of Thomas Paine’s Birth Day.” The Beacon (Third Series), 1:13 (Feb. 11, 1843): 102-03. Among the regular toasts were the following, “The day we celebrate- Expunged from the calendar of despots, but engraved on the hearts of freemen” and “Our cause- The cause of civil, political, and religious freedom: may no private bias, or selfish motive, prevent any honest man from faithfully serving and openly avowing it.”

“Paine Celebration at Philadelphia.” The Beacon (Third Series), 1:15 (Feb. 25, 1843): 119. Among the regular toasts were the following, “Religion- an immaterial compound of Credulity, Ignorance and Fraud- a compound with which animated matter, guided by Reason, has no affinity,” and “Chaplains- We are told the prayers of the ungodly, and those who receive pay for making long prayers shall not be heard: yet is this system of robbing the public continued, compelling them to reward hypocritical parasites. May the evil soon be abolished.”

“Paine Celebration at Philadelphia.” The Beacon (Third Series), 2:18 (Mar. 16, 1844): 137-40. Delivering the oration on the night, Mr. Campbell described Paine as a “destroyer of monarchy- the architect of Republicanism- the annihilator of Burke- the hope of the oppressed- the terror of tyrants- the companion of Franklin- the denouncer of Superstition- the defender of philosophy- the associate of Washington and Jefferson- a consistent politician- the hater of anarchy, and the friend of mankind.”

Benjamin Offen. “Origin of the Paine Celebration in New York.” The Beacon (Third Series), 2:39 (Aug. 10, 1844): 309-11.

“Paine Celebration in New York.” And “Paine Celebration at Camptown, N.J.” The Beacon (Third Series), 3:8 (Feb. 8, 1845): 59-62. These articles feature the toasts from the celebrations and a letter from Benjamin Offen.

“The Paine Celebration in New York.” The Beacon (Fourth Series), 1:7 (Feb. 7, 1846): 53-55. This article features the chairman’s address and regular and volunteer toasts, including “Liberty- A firebrand stifled under the atmosphere of European aristocracy; may the wind of Revolution arouse its energy, and discretion guide its flame, until it destroys the baubles of Monarchy, and the emblems of superstition.”

“Paine Festival.” Monthly Beacon, (Mar. 1848): 134-41. This article features an address from Dr. Hull and a series of regular and volunteer toasts among which were the following: “A scientific education- The sovereign antidote to every degrading superstition; good for the bee, but inimical to the drone” and “Truth- May all honest Infidels, male or female, feel the debt of kindness they owe to their fellow beings, and fearlessly step forth to teach unbought truths, and hazard unpopular opinions.”

“The Paine Celebration.” Monthly Beacon, 2:7 (Feb. 1849): 91-92. This short account features several toasts, including, “Priestcraft and the Asiatic Cholera. The first an artificial, the latter a natural scourge, the one a severe bluster for an hour, the other a sticking plaster for an age.”

“The New-York Paine Celebration on the 29th January, 1850, by Ball and Supper, at the Superb Chinese Rooms.” Independent Beacon, 1:13 (Feb. 1850): 415-18. During this celebration it was announced that the Paine farm would serve as an asylum for infirm liberals and provide a cemetery.

Boston Celebration of Paine’s Birth-Day.” Independent Beacon, 1:14 (Feb. 1850): 433-42. Reprinted from the Boston Investigator, this article features pages of toasts, including from J.P. Mendum, “The memory of Abner Kneeland, Thomas Herttell, and Benjamin Offen – master spirits who nobly stood forth as the energetic and benevolent champions of the intellectual, moral, political, and religious rights of the people.”

“Mrs. Rose’s Speech at the Late Paine Celebration in New-York.” Independent Beacon, 1:14 (Feb. 1850): 442-48. Rose declared, “The most cowardly usurper of her rights, dare not say that the heroic and devoted women of Rome, and Mademoiselle Jagello, who bravely fought by the side of the Hungarian heroes were out of their sphere. I mention this not, my friends, because I would wish to see woman thus engaged; for I deplore the necessity for it, alike in man or woman. To my mind the whole state of things is wrong.  Society is based on falsehood, force, and fraud, instead of truth, kindness, and a well directed union of men: and I trust that the time will come, when the causes that transform our fair earth into one great battlefield and carnage house, will be removed – when the present state of slavery and violence will be superseded by freedom based on human rights, without distinction of sex, class, party, country, or color.”

“The Late Paine Celebration.” Vale’s Citizen of the World, 1:13 (Feb. 9, 1851): 97-101. This article features notes of Vale’s speech on “honors given to T. Paine while living,” and regular and volunteer toasts including, “The clergy and other spiritual knockers – may the time soon come when humbug will be unprofitable,” and “fun and philosophy – the best antidotes to theological poison.”

“The Boston Paine Celebration.” Vale’s Citizen of the World, 1:14 (Feb. 15, 1851): 109-12. This report features the lyrics of songs sung during the celebration and regular toasts made, including, “The friends of freedom in England, Ireland, Germany, and throughout the world – May the “Rights of Man” be their battle cry in resisting the legions who bind them in slavery; and may crowns, scepters, and mitres, form the bonfire that shall light them on to victory over the thrones of prostrate tyrants.”

“Celebration of Thomas Paine’s Birthday. At the City Assembly Rooms, New York.” The Boston Investigator, 1081 (Feb. 11, 1852): 1. Featured here is an address by James Thompson, and speech by Ernestine L. Rose in which she criticizes the United States policy of non-intervention.

“Celebration of Thomas Paine’s Birthday. At the City Assembly Rooms, New York.” The Boston Investigator, 1134 (Feb. 16, 1853): 1. Ernestine L. Rose presided and delivered a speech which she concluded, “let us remember the millions of our fellow beings who still groan under the heavy burden of oppression, the noble martyrs daily sacrificed on the altar of monarchical despotism and spiritual corruption . . . . The clouds that hang on the horizon of European freedom are darker than ever; but let us hope that the very intensity of the darkness is an omen of the approaching dawn of the day of freedom.

“Celebration in New York of the 118th Anniversary of Paine’s Birth-Day.” The Boston Investigator, 1238 (Feb. 14, 1855): 1. This summary features an address by Oliver Hull and extended remarks from Gilbert Vale and Ernestine L. Rose.

“Thomas Paine’s Birth-Day – 119th Anniversary, Centreville, Michigan.” The Boston Investigator, 1293 (Mar. 5, 1856): 1. Featured here is a summary of an address by S.C. Chandler and toasts, including to “the liberal cause in the west – may it progress with the rapidity of its emigration, and our principles take root and grow in the hearts of the people as luxuriantly as the grain crops on its prairies.”

“The Paine Celebration.” The Boston Investigator, 1343 (Feb. 18, 1857): 4. This celebration was held at the City Assembly Rooms in New York City and featured addresses from Oliver Hull and Ernestine L. Rose who remarked that “Democracy as understood by Thomas Paine, is for the protection, security and rights of all, without distinction of sex, country or color; and were that democracy carried out, this republic would not now groan under the yoke of slavery, and woman would need no conventions to plead for her rights.”

“The Paine Celebration in New York.” The Boston Investigator, 1395 (Feb. 17, 1858): 1. Reprinted from the New York Herald, this brief summary includes toasts and an extended response to a toast from Ernestine L. Rose in which she states that, “The Declaration of American Independence, if rightly celebrated, not by riot and confusion worse confounded, but in a rational, social, and intellectual manner – by holding it up before the public mind – by inquiring into its true significance – by analyzing the basis upon which it rests, and the means by which alone it could be carried into practice – might teach the people a useful lesson, by rousing them to the conviction that as long as justice and humanity are trampled underfoot – as long as woman was forced to pay taxes without the right to representation – as long as colored man is transformed into a piece of chattel, because his face is darker than that of his owner; and as long as an honest, conscientious avowal of disbelief is stigmatized as a crime, the equality of the race and perfect freedom of conscience remain a dead letter.”

“Paine Celebration in Philadelphia.” The Boston Investigator, 1448 (Feb. 23, 1859): 4. This summary of events features a lengthy oration by Thomas Eastman which the editors of The Boston Investigator commend for “his many historical reminiscences, of a rare and curious nature.”

“The Anniversary of Thomas Paine. Festive Celebration at the City Assembly Rooms.” The Boston Investigator, 1499 (Feb. 15, 1860): 339. Reprinted from the N.Y. Herald, this summary features an address from Francis Pares, and extended remarks from Ernestine L. Rose, who remarked that “His was not he patriotism which, while fighting for its own fireside, lends a deaf ear to humanity’s call out of its narrow sphere; his patriotism was a philanthropy as broad as the universe; he carried out in practice his noble motto, “The world is my country, and to do good my religion.””

“The Birthday of Thomas Paine. Anniversary Celebration at the City Assembly Rooms.” The Boston Investigator, 1552 (Feb. 20, 1861): 347. Here featured is an address from Francis Pares and a speech from Ernestine L. Rose who contended that, “There never yet was a true Union, for there was no equality between the free and slave States. The slaveholder could come here and say what he pleased – expatiate on the beauties of “our peculiar institution;” but the free man could never go South and say his soul was his own, without the risk of being lynched. Ask those who have been tarred and feathered, whipped, expelled and imprisoned for the crime of belonging to a free State, and you will learn the value of such a Union. No, freedom and slavery cannot live in harmony; the one must destroy the other; the last feeble threads which gave it the appearance, reckless hands have snapped asunder. South Carolina set up an independent empire! For my part, I would give her a passport to Heaven to keep away from us. But whether the South is allowed to drift to her downward destiny or forced into submission, let the watchword be, “No more compromise!””

“Paine Celebration in Boston.” The Boston Investigator, 1602 (Feb. 5, 1862): 307. This article features regular and volunteer toasts, including this toast mailed to the celebration from Ernestine L. Rose, to “The President, Cabinet, and Commander-in-Chief- The captain, mates and pilot of the National Ship Republic – May they soon awaken from the lethargy in which the opiate of slavery has so long kept them, to the consciousness of the facts . . . . that no lasting peace and prosperity can be secured, until the primary cause of this civil war is removed, and as slavery like a curse has for years silently but steadily undermined the healthful action of the Republic, until it has broken out into the most wicked rebellion that ever disgraced the annals of human history – whose diabolical aim is to destroy human rights – to trample the declaration of equality in the dust, and engulf the nation in irretrievable ruin, the voice of reason, justice, and humanity demand the eradication of the cause of this war, by directing against the Rebels the Battery of Freedom, and hurling at them the Edict of Emancipation.”

“Thomas Paine’s Birthday.” The Boston Investigator, (Feb. 3, 1864): 307. This celebration included a ball, supper, music, speeches and toasts, including one to the “Union Army – the advance guard in the grand army of Liberty and Humanity, now displaying its plumes in support of the Government and the Union. We honor them for their patriotic devotion to a Union which was baptized in the blood and fire of Bunker Hill, and consummated by heroes whose laurels shall bloom forever in unfading freshness may it never lay down its arms till the object of the Revolution is thoroughly accomplished, and man everywhere is free.”

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