"I OUGHT NOT TO HAVE SUSPECTED YOU OF TREACHERY": 1797 ENGLISH EDITION OF PAINE'S OPEN LETTER TO GEORGE WASHINGTON
PAINE, Thomas. Letter to George Washington, President of the United States of America. London: H.D. Symonds, 1797. Slim octavo, disbound; pp. , 77. $1500.
Early English edition of Paine's bitter public attack on George Washington, issued the year following the American first edition.
Once a "staunch supporter of Washington" (Fruchtman, 350), Paine ultimately blamed the President "for not quickly interceding on his behalf when he was imprisoned by the French as an enemy alien. Moreover, while in prison he had contracted a serious illness, which he likewise now blamed on Washington's negligence… Paine had written Washington on September 20, 1794: 'Your silence in not inquiring into the cause of that imprisonment and reclaiming me against it, was tacitly giving me up. I ought not to have suspected you of treachery; but whether I recover from the illness I now suffer, or not, I shall continue to think you treacherous, till you give me cause to think otherwise.' When Paine did not receive any answer to this letter, he was convinced that Washington had connived at his imprisonment, and published this violent diatribe, first in America in 1796, and shortly afterward in England and other countries in many editions" (Gimbel-Yale, 430, 434). "The President himself barely responded and certainly not in public" (Fruchtman, 353). First published in Philadelphia in 1796; two other London editions were also issued in 1797 by Eaton and by Williams, no priority established. Sabin 58224. Gimbel, 78.
A few spots to title page, text clean and fine. Near-fine condition.