Copyright 2007 New Jersey Newspaper Foundation.
All Rights Reserved.
Friends of Thomas Paine
People like Thomas Paine ...
an only child and a newly arrived immigrant to
America with no family here ... tended to make
good friends in their lifetime.
Because his ideas were so
radical and were written in the language of the
American colonists, he also made enemies.
Many people assume he had no
friends because few people attended his burial.
Not so. These were some of
(1706-1790) - Their friendship began when they
met in London, were Paine represented the
tax-collectors of Lewes and petitioned Parliament
on their behalf. At Franklin's suggestion and his
supporting letter of introduction to
Philadelphia, Paine decided to move to America.
Franklin served as a mentor and father-figure to
Paine all through their lives. Their friendship
(1743-1826) - Many, many letters between these
two inventors of many devices were exchanged
throughout their lifetimes. Even as President,
when Paine's reputation was questioned, Jefferson
welcomed him home from France in 1802. Their
friendship never changed.
(1723-1799) - Their strongest relationship
occurred during the Revolutionary War when
Washington needed crucial public support for the
Continental Army. Paine's writing aroused public
support as no other writer did at that time.
Washington appreciated that and when Paine turned
to him for compensation for his efforts,
Washington came through for him. At his
invitation, Paine accompanied Washington to his
Presidential inaugural in New York City.
(1742-1786) - A courageous and daring general, a
disavowed Quaker for taking up arms in the war,
Greene distinguished himself with his skills as a
quartermaster who found resources seemingly when
there were none to support the war effort. Paine
was with him through major battles of the war.
Peale (1741-1827) - A noted artist
during his lifetime, he was also an officer in
the war. They met as members of the Philadelphia
radical committee that pressured for
independence. In 1803, as head of the new museum
housed in the American Philosophical Society, he
accepted Paine's models of the iron bridge for
the museum. A lifelong friend.
(1737-1791) - A friend, patriot and neighbor of
the important Bordentown circle of friends who
included Paine into his family when he was in
town. A lifelong friend whose talents in writing
and in music Paine shared.
A publisher of the first sympathetic biography of
Thomas Paine, he was a lifelong friend whom Paine
cited as benefactor in his will. In London, Paine
stayed with Rickman. Then in Paris, where Rickman
escaped capture by the English for publishing
Paine's Rights of Man, they resumed
their close friendship that lasted through their
(1731-1803) - The person whose friendship was
responsible for Paine coming to and buying
property in Bordentown and living there
intermittently from 1778-1803. His family
"adopted" Paine and he them. The models
of Paine's iron bridge were made on Kirkbride's
property. A disavowed Quaker and zealous patriot,
Kirkbride's great friendship with Paine ended
when he died in 1803; Paine never returned to
Bordentown after that.
(d. 1828) - A French publisher and radical writer
who befriended Paine and included him as an
"adopted" member of his family in
Paris. Pained lived with the deBonnevilles for
five years before he left Paris for American in
deBonneville (1772-1846) - Wife to
Nicholas and deeply devoted to Paine. She
cherished her friendship with Paine, first as
hostess of her family and then as a dutiful
"daughter" when she became a protecting
caregiver who carefully presided over Paine's
last days. She translated Paine's articles into
French for her husband's newspaper. Paine cited
her as the predominant benefactor in his will.
Thomas Addis Emmet
(1764-1827) - An exiled Irish patriot, a
physician and lawyer, he befriended Paine during
his years in New York City. An intimate member of
Paine's caregiving group, Emmet assumed power of
attorney on Paine's behalf and sold Paine's
Bordentown properties in 1808 to pay for the
added expenses of caring for him during the last
months of his life.
(1758-1831) - As a soldier in Washington's army
that crossed the Delaware River on the way to the
Battle of Trenton, Monroe was acutely aware of
Paine's writings that boosted the morale of
soldiers in the field. He and his wife rescued
Paine from imprisonment in Paris. A lifelong
John Wesley Jarvis
(1780-1840) - ‰ New York City friend and artist
who is responsible for Paine's death mask, a
painting and the famous silhouette made of Thomas
Paine before he died.
(1754-1812) - An American poet responsible for
printing Paine's Age of Reason, part 1.
A patriot and a good friend among others in
Return to the Table of Contents