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Revisiting Tom Paine

Tom Paine features as one of the five busts adorning the facade of the Secular Hall - Why?

On the advice of Benjamin Franklin, Paine emigrated to America in 1774, where his book Common Sense (1776), and other writings arguing for republican government and independence were influential in the American revolution. Congress and the State of New York recognized his services by a grant of land.

He returned to England with a view to having his design for an iron bridge built, but the French revolution of 1789, and the writings of Burke against it, inspired his very influential book Rights of Man (1791-2). William Blake, the poet, warned him to escape to France before being charged with treason.

There, since he argued against the terror, he fell foul of Robespierre and while in jail wrote his anti-religious work the Age of Reason (1793-4).

He returned the United States in 1802. Scandalously his bones were dug up and brought to England by Cobbett in 1819, but were then lost.


Richard Johnson | talks


Date and Time:

25 January 2009 at 6:30 pm


2 hours



Leicester Secular Society
Secular Hall
75 Humberstone Gate
0116 292 1964

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Additional Information:

Except where stated, all meetings are free (a collection will be taken), open to the general public, and held at Secular Hall on Sundays at 6:30pm. If a lecture is cancelled a discussion meeting will be held instead, on topics proposed by those present.

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