Catalog Archive
Auction 180, Lot 781

Thomas Paine Defends His Rights of Man

"“Letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas, in Answer to His Speech on the Late Proclamation" [in] Columbian Centinel Whole No. 883 Wednesday, September 5, 1792. No 51, of Vol. XVII ",

Subject: Document - Thomas Paine

Period: 1792 (published)


Color: Black & White

10.8 x 17.3 inches
27.4 x 43.9 cm
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This letter from Thomas Paine takes up the majority of the front page of this issue of the Columbian Centinel. The publication of Paine’s most famous and influential work, Rights of Man, in England in 1791 and 1792 resulted in his conviction in abstentia for alien sedition, punishable by hanging. While remaining in France as an active participant in the French Revolution, Paine reiterates in this letter his argument that the monarchical government of England does not serve the people well and a representative form of government would be preferable. He praises the American democratic system and its leadership while calling for cutting the cost of the English government, especially the support for the monarchy and aristocracy and reducing the military budget with the savings used to eliminate poverty. While Paine is revered today as a visionary and founding father of the United States, when he died in New York City in 1809 only 6 people attended his funeral. Printed and published by Benjamin Russell.


Condition: B+

Even light toning with some minor staining. There is a manuscript notation in the top blank margin of the front page.

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $120

Closed on 11/18/2020