I intend this letter itself as a proof of my friendship. Of Paine’s views, John Adams wrote: The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard scoundrel, rogue Paine say what he will. In fact, when asked about several of Thomas Paine’s disciples coming to America, Adams replied:
The German letter proposing to introduce into this country a company of schoolmasters, painters, poets, &c., all of them disciples of Mr. Thomas Paine, will require no answer. I had rather countenance allow the introduction of Ariel and Caliban two evil spirits in Shakespearean plays with a troop of spirits. Samuel Adams wrote Paine a stiff rebuke, telling him: When I heard you had turned your mind to a defense of infidelity, I felt myself much astonished and more grieved that you had attempted a measure so injurious to the feelings and so repugnant to the true interest of so great a part of the citizens of the United States.
The people of New England, if you will allow me to use a Scripture phrase, are fast returning to their first love. Will you excite among them the spirit of angry controversy at a time when they are hastening to amity and peace? I am told that some of our newspapers have announced your intention to publish an additional pamphlet upon the principles of your Age of Reason. Do you think that your pen, or the pen of any other man, can unchristianize the mass of our citizens, or have you hopes of converting a few of them to assist you in so bad a cause?
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”; Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration, described Paine’s work as “blasphemous writings against the Christian religion”; John Witherspoon said that Paine was “ignorant of human nature as well as an enemy to the Christian faith”; John Quincy Adams accused Paine of having departed from the fundamental principles that produced strong representative government; and Elias Boudinot, President of Congress, even published the Age of Revelation a full-length rebuttal to Paine’s work.
David Barton – You are helping us in this process so that the church grows both smaller and larger at the same time. You are still playing but now you see the total package.