A "SYMBOL OF THE MODERN FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS": IMPORTANT TWO-VOLUME FIRST EDITION OF POLITICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS WORKS OF THOMAS PAINE, WITH ENGRAVED PORTRAIT OF PAINE
PAINE, Thomas. The Political and Miscellaneous Works of Thomas Paine. London: R. Carlile, 1819 [i.e. 1820]. Two volumes. Octavo, modern full paneled brown calf gilt, raised bands,russet morocco spine labels.Housed in a custom slipcase. $2800.
First edition of Paine's Political and Miscellaneous Works assembled by influential London publisher Carlile, who was chiefly “responsible for returning Paine to center stage in public politics" and issued his Life of Paine and preface to this edition while imprisoned for having published Paine's Age of Reason and other radical works, featuring Common Sense, American Crisis, Rights of Man (Parts I & II), Letter to George Washington and other major writings, with engraved portrait of Paine, handsomely bound in full calf.
Thomas Paine remains a powerful "symbol of the modern fight for the rights of citizens… To trace out the life and writings of Paine is thus to understand the roots of contemporary democracy" (Keane, x, xiv). A decade after Paine's death, outspoken London publisher Richard Carlile issued a timely assemblage of Paine's writings in this two-volume Political and Miscellaneous Works. At that time Carlile was one "the most influential radical voices in England" (Fink, Intellectuals and Public Life, 59). Even more importantly, "it was Carlile who was responsible for returning Paine to center stage in public politics. Self-appointed heir to the mantle or Paine, he embraced the principles of republicanism" (Epstein, 101). Featuring: Common Sense, American Crisis, Public Good, Letter… to the Abbe Raynal, Dissertations on Government, Prospects on the Rubicon, Rights of Man (Parts I & II), Letter… to the Addressers, Dissertation on First Principles, Agrarian Justice, Decline and Fall of the English System, Letter to George Washington, Letters to the Citizens of the United States, and Miscellaneous Letters & Essays. Also with a Life of Paine by Carlile, who was "one of Paine's earliest sympathetic biographers" (Fruchtman, 481n36). By late 1819 Carlile faced "two successive trials at the Guildhall for having published Age of Reason and [Palmer's] Principles of Nature" and ultimately served several years in jail (Epstein, 108). With Carlile's "Preface to the Present Edition" and his Life of Thomas Paine each dated in print, "Dorchester Gaol, November, 1820." Volume I with engraved frontispiece portrait "from original painting in England, 1791" (Gimbel CS-91). General title pages and separate 15 title pages each with Carlile's 1819 imprint; separately paginated. Sabin 58233. Goldsmith's 22314. Kress C599. Gimbel-Paine, 4. See Sabin 58234; Gimbel-Yale, 456-57; Gimbel-Paine, 130 (Life); Gimbel-Paine, 101 (Rights of Man Pt I); Gimbel CS-88 (Common Sense).
Interior very fresh with only lightest scattered foxing, expert repairs to a few joints. A handsome about-fine copy.