Tom Paine's Nightly Pest
James Gillray British
Publisher Hannah Humphrey British
Sitter Thomas Paine American, born England
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This satire comments on the British prosecution of Thomas Paine, who was then in France. On December 8, 1792 he was found guilty in absentia for libel in passages published in his "Rights of Man." Here, Paine sleeps wearing a cap of liberty, near a curtain decorated with fleur-de-lys. His headboard supports images of guardian angels Charles James Fox and Dr. Priestly, and the pillow is inscribed "Vive l'America." The author dreams of judicial wigs, a dungeon and a gibbet, and his coat pocket, lying across the bed, contains a copy of "Common Sense."