"I OUGHT NOT TO HAVE SUSPECTED YOU OF TREACHERY": PAINE'S LETTER TO GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1817
PAINE, Thomas. Letter to George Washington, On the Subject of the Late Treaty… London: W.T. Sherwin, 1817. Slim octavo, period-style marbled wraps; pp. (1)-36, (i))-vii, (1). $650.
1817 English edition of Paine's bitter public attack on George Washington, accusing him of treachery and betrayal—"you folded your arms, forgot your friend, and became silent."
Once a "staunch supporter of Washington" (Fruchtman, 350), Paine, who felt much abandoned by America during his imprisonment in Paris, "wrote a reproachful letter to Washington (22 Feb. 1795), which he suppressed at Monroe's request. On 20 Sept. he wrote another, calling upon Washington to clear himself of the charge of 'treachery'; and, having received no answer to this, he wrote and published a letter, dated 3 Aug. 1796. It is a long and bitter attack upon Washington's military career, as well as upon his policy as president" (DNB). Paine "was convinced that Washington had connived at his imprisonment, and published this violent diatribe, first in America in 1796, and shortly afterward in England" (Gimbel-Yale104). First published in London in 1797: also issued under the titles: Letter to George Washington… On Affairs Public and Private; Letter from Thomas Paine to George Washington… Appendix containing "Memorial of Thomas Paine to Mr. Monroe." With tiny gutter-edge pinholes from original stitching. Publisher W.T. Sherwin, an admirer of Paine, authored one of the earliest biographies of him in 1819 titled, Memoirs of the Life of Thomas Paine. See Sabin 58224-58228; Gimbel-Paine:77-79; Evans 30951; Howes P24; Goldsmiths 17193.
A fine copy.