Temple's Diary Temple's Diary
Episode 8. 1776: Year of the Revolution?

The Electric Franklin

February 8, 1776

People who thought at first that Grandfather had to be the author of Common Sense have heard him deny it so categorically that they are now inclined to believe that it may be the work of Tom Paine. And when they meet him in the various taverns he loves to frequent, they shout: "Hello, Common Sense, who wrote it? Is it you or John Adams?" Paine answers by quoting his own text:

"Who the author is, is wholly unnecessary to the public, as the object for attention is the doctrine itself, not the man. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say that he is unconnected with any party, and under no sort of influence, public or private, but the influence of reason and principle." And in the same breath, Paine asks: "Now, who buys me a beer?" Many — too many — hands are raised.

After a couple of beers, he volunteers another quotation:

"Let the names of Whigs and Tories be extinct! And let none other be heard among us than those of a good citizen, a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS OF MANKIND, and of the FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA!"

The information about the taverns, needless to say, comes from Uncle Richard. I would never be allowed into a tavern.