Writings of Thomas Paine

Thomas PAINE

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PAINE, Thomas. The Writings of Thomas Paine, Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Congress of the United States of America, in the Late War. Albany, New York: Charles R. & George Webster, [1792]. Octavo, contemporary dark brown calf, red morocco spine label. Housed in a velvet-lined custom clamshell box.

First edition of the collected Writings of Thomas Paine, printed in Albany in 1792, with the important first collected American edition of The Crisis, this copy notably containing the rarely found general title page and list of Subscriber’s Names, including leaders such as James Madison, his future Vice-President, Elbridge Gerry, and Nathan Hale, in contemporary calf.

"For 230 years Americans have drawn ideas, inspiration and encouragement from Thomas Paine and his work" (Kaye, 249). This important early collection contains nine of Paine's most significant writings, each separately printed with its own title page. All of the individually printed works are the first Albany printings. Included is the 1792 first collected American edition of The Crisis. One of Paine's most seminal works, The Crisis consisted of 13 numbered articles, only five of which were issued in pamphlet form, the others appearing only in newspapers. "When Washington's troops floundered in the War of Independence to which Paine had given birth, he rejuvenated the dispirited soldiers" with The Crisis, "opening with the flaming watchword 'These are the times that try men's souls.' Washington was so impressed that he ordered it read to all the troops at Valley Forge" (Gimbel-Yale 405). This 1792 Albany printing of The Crisis is the first time the individual numbers were printed together in America. Also included are: the first Albany printing of Common Sense (1791); the second American edition of Public Good [1792]; Paine's letters to Abbe Raynal and others (all 1792); and the fourth American edition of Rights of Man [Part I] (1792). With general title page; individual title pages for Common Sense (1791), Crisis (1792), Public Good [1792], Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal [1792], Letters to Earl of Shelburne and others (1792), and Rights of Man, stated "Fourth American Edition" [1792]. Of the articles in The Crisis, only five were issued in pamphlet form, with the others appearing only in newspapers. "After publishing articles numbered I-IX, Paine did not assign number X, though in its place he published The Crisis Extraordinary, which was followed by number XI. He skipped number XII, and he called the final article in the series The Last Crisis, Number XIII" (Collected Writings, LOA, 854-55). Crisis as issued with page 180 misnumbered 178. Rights of Man with unsigned first gathering. Many works with separate pagination and signing. Advertisement leaf between general title page and "Subscriber's Names." Evans 24658. Howes P34. Gimbel CS-58. Gimbel-Yale 165. Sabin 58247. Owner ink signature to title page, dated 1814; penciled annotations to rear endpapers.

Some embrowning to a few signatures only, light rubbing to calf binding. A very good copy, scarce in contemporary calf.

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