“THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN’S SOULS”: Finely Bound Set of the Life and Writings of Thomas Paine
Life and Writings of Thomas Paine.
Item Number: 101982
New York: Vincent Parke, 1908.
Limited edition, number 15 of 500, signed on the limitation page by the editor, Daniel Edwin Wheeler of the works of Thomas Paine. Octavo, 10 volumes, bound in full morocco, covers and spine decorated in floral motifs in gilt with green and bright red inlays, gilt-ruled dentelles, inside covers inlaid with lily designs in green and white on a grey ground, silk endleaves. In fine condition. An exceptional set, most rare and desirable in full morocco.
Thomas Paine was a political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era ideals of transnational human rights. Historian Saul K. Padover described him as "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination". Born in Thetford in the English county of Norfolk, Paine migrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. Virtually every rebel read (or listened to a reading of) his powerful pamphlet Common Sense (1776), proportionally the all-time best-selling American title, which crystallized the rebellious demand for independence from Great Britain. His The American Crisis (1776–1783) was a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said: "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain". Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics.