Paine was the son of a Quaker small farmer and staymaker in Norfolk, England, who always acknowledged the influence of Quaker principles on his political ideas. At thirteen he entered his father’s business, but after three years went briefly to sea. By the late 1750’s he was again working as a staymaker. In 1761 he was appointed a government excise-tax agent, only to be fired four years later for making fraudulent reports. A letter of apology got him reinstated, however, and he got a new position in Lewes. Paine’s pen first got him into trouble in 1772, when an organization of excisemen asked him to prepare a petition for higher wages. The pamphlet he wrote for them was distributed widely. In April, 1774, he was fired for being absent without leave, but the more likely explanation for his dismissal was his pamphlet.