“THE CLEAREST OF ALL EXPOSITIONS OF THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY”: PAINE’S RIGHTS OF MAN, PARTS I & II, 1817-1819
PAINE, Thomas. Rights of Man: Being an Answer to Mr. Burke's Attack on the French Revolution. BOUND WITH: Rights of Man, Part the Second. Combining Principle and Practice. London: W.S. Sherwin, 1817, 1819. Octavo, period-style marbled wrappers, uncut; pp.(i-v), vi-vii, (1) 2-98 (1); (i-v), vi-xi, (12-13) 14-118, (i) ii-iv.
1817-1819 London editions of Paine’s revolutionary classic, Parts I & II in one volume, issued posthumously by controversial London publisher Sherwin, uncut.
Hoping Rights of Man "would do for England what his Common Sense had done for America," Paine answered Burke's attack on the French Revolution with his "celebrated answer, The Rights of Man" (Gimbel-Yale 59). Written "with a force and clarity unequalled even by Burke, Paine laid down those principles of fundamental human rights which must stand, no matter what excesses are committed to obtain them… The government tried to suppress it, but it circulated the more briskly… [Rights of Man is] the textbook of radical thought and the clearest of all expositions of the basic principles of democracy" (PMM 241). Rights of Man, Part I, was dedicated to Washington and first published on his Febrary 22, 1791 birthday by London publisher J. Johnson, but was immediately suppressed. With difficulty Paine was able to secure London publisher, J.S. Jordan. "The book was a sensation" (Gimbel-Yale 60). Rights of Man, Part II, was first published in London by Jordan on February 16, 1792, "dealing an even stronger blow for a change of government in England. While the first part of the Rights of Man was relatively mild… Part the Second fully developed his great political philosophy" (Gimbel-Yale 66). Part I with page 42 correctly numbered; Part II without rear publisher's ad. Gimbel-Paine: 93. See Howes P31-P32; Gimbel-Yale 59-61.
Text fresh and crisp.