Wha Wants Me

Isaac Cruikshank (1756–1811)
Colored engraving, published in London, December 26, 1792

Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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This British cartoon depicts Paine as a radical revolutionary for hire. “I am Ready & Willing to offer my Services to any Nation or People under heaven who are Desirous of Liberty & Equality,” he says, flourishing a scroll proclaiming “Rights of Man”/“Common Nonsense”/ “Equality of Property.” The bottle of ink is labeled “gall.”

Paine stands on the discarded scraps of the established British order—Protection [of] Property, Religion, National Prosperity, Magna Charta [sic], Loyalty, Obedience to the Laws, Morality, Happiness, Industry, Personal Security, Inheritance, Justice. In the quiver on his back, he offers all the vices of the French Revolution—Cruelty, Equality Madness, Anarc[h]y Murder, Treason Rebellion, Perjury, Atheism, Misery, Famine, National & Private Ruin, Ingratitude Idleness, Treachery, and Injustice.

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