Some words from Tom Paine

On accepting a knighthood:

Titles are but nick-names, and every nick-name is a title. The thing is perfectly harmless in itself; but it marks a sort of foppery in the human character, which degrades it. It reduces man into the diminutive of man in things which are great, and the counterfeit of woman in things which are little. It talks about its fine blue ribbon like a girl, and shows its new garter like a child … When we think or speak of a Judge or a General, we associate with it the ideas of office and character; we think of gravity in the one, and bravery in the other: but when we use a word merely as a title, no ideas associate with it. Through all the vocabulary of Adam, there is not such an animal as a Duke or a Count; neither can we connect any certain idea with the words. Whether they mean strength or weakness, wisdom or folly, a child or a man, or the rider or the horse, is all equivocal. What respect then can be paid to that which describes nothing, and which means nothing? Imagination has given figure and character to centaurs, satyrs, and down to all the fairy tribe; but titles baffle even the powers of fancy, and are a chimerical nondescript.

On Elizabeth Windsor:

If we inquire into the business of a king, we shall find that in some countries they have none; and after sauntering away their lives without pleasure to themselves or advantage to the nation, withdraw from the scene, and leave their successors to tread the same idle round.

On the British Constitution:

The continual use of the word constitution in the English Parliament, shows there is none; and that the whole is merely a form of government without a constitution, and constituting itself with what powers it pleases. If there were a constitution, it certainly could be referred to; and the debate on any constitutional point, would terminate by producing the constitution. One member says, This is the constitution; and another says, That is constitution — Today it is one thing; and tomorrow, it is something else — while the maintaining the debate proves there is none. Constitution is now the cant word of Parliament, turning itself to the ear of the Nation.

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