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    The Scarce Third Edition of Thomas Paine's Common Sense, with the Most Complete Contemporary Text

    [Thomas Paine]. Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America... The Third Edition. Philadelphia; Printed, and Sold, by R. Bell, [February 14,] 1776. [Bound With]: [Thomas Paine]. A Dialogue Between the Ghost of General Montgomery Just Arrived from the Elysian Fields; and An American Delegate, in a Wood Near Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Printed, and Sold by R. Bell, 1776. First edition of the Dialogue. [Also Bound With]: William Smith. An Oration in Memory of General Montgomery and of the Officers and Soldiers Who Fell with Him Dec. 11, 1775... Philadelphia: Printed by John Dunlap, 1776. Second edition. Small quarto. Approximately 8 x 6.25 inches. [1, half-title], [1, publisher's ads], [1, general title], [1, blank], [iv], 147, [3, ads]; 16; [iv], 44 pages. Bound with twenty-one blank leaves at rear. Bound in contemporary full calf, spine ruled in gilt, five raised bands, plain endleaves. Front board detached, rear hinge cracked, spine chipped and worn, boards worn, text toned with some intermittent foxing and soiling, ink "9" on spine, rear blanks have stab holes at margin, a few blanks with offsetting, one blank leaf with neat contemporary ink inscription quoting Common Sense and Rollins' A Hystory. Oval gilt red morocco bookplate of author and collector Richard Montgomery Gilchrist Potter on front pastedown. A good copy of the most complete text of Common Sense.

    One of the most important and influential texts that lit the flames of open rebellion, Common Sense was Paine's response to King George III's speech in Parliament in October of 1775 calling for military intervention in North America. The first edition of Common Sense was published on January 9, 1776 in pamphlet form, and was reprinted on January 20 of the same year. Then a controversy arose between Paine and the publisher of the first two editions, Robert Bell: Paine wanted all profits to go to provisioning the Continental Army for the winter and Bell claimed that all of the profits had gone to printing the first two editions. Paine then took the reprinting rights to Thomas and William Bradford. Not to be outdone, Bell published an unauthorized "Second Edition" (which was really just a third printing) on January 27, 1776. The Third Edition was published by Bell on February 14 and is the first with an appendix, pirated by Bell from the Bradford edition. It is ironic that this copy was bound with Smith's argument for appeasement of the British Crown. Howes P17, P22, S695. Sabin 58215, 84633.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th Thursday
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