"IT WAS THE CAUSE OF AMERICA THAT MADE ME AN AUTHOR"
PAINE, Thomas. Thoughts on the Peace, And the Probable Advantages Thereof to the United States of America. A New Edition. London: J. S. Jordan, 1791. Slim octavo, period-style half tan calf and gray paper boards; pp. 22. $650.
First edition of Paine's Thoughts on the Peace, the first London edition of his American Crisis XIII (1783).
"On April 18, 1783, Washington announced that hostilities between England and America had ceased. The next day… Paine penned his penultimate Crisis paper… named in honor of the newly independent 13 states" (Frutchman, 149). On that day, "eight years to the day of the Battles of Lexington and Concord," Paine's Crisis XIII, his final numbered Crisis, opened with words that echoed the opening lines of the first Crisis of December 19, 1776: "The times that tried men's souls are over." Following the American and French Revolutions, "Paine's political vision broadened dramatically… a process that led him to revise his understanding of what happened in America" against the turmoil in Europe. In many ways, 1791 was another crucial turning point. In England, authorities now "thought Paine was more dangerous than just an ordinary radical writer" (Fruchtman, 248). His first part of Rights of Man, a response to Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), was published in early 1791 by radical printer J.S. Jordan, and by August Paine was completing his Rights of Man Part Two, which would put both Paine and Jordan in jeopardy. That same year Jordan published this first edition of Thoughts on the Peace, a "New Edition" of Paine's Crisis XIII. Here America's independence had renewed impact as a global force that "contributed more to enlighten the world, and diffuse a spirit of freedom and liberality… than any human event… that ever preceded it." Affirming "it was the cause of America that made me an author," Paine's closing words might have had renewed significance in 1791, echoing his "honest pride at the part I have taken… to be of some use to mankind." "New Edition" stated on title page. With half title. Bound without ten-page appendix. ESTC N26063. Gimbel, 118.
Text fresh with faintest foxing. A fine copy.