First American Edition of Part One with the Jefferson Extract in the Preface
PAINE, Thomas. Rights of Man. Being an Answer to Mr. Burke's Attack on the French Revolution. Second Edition. [First American]. [Together with] Rights of Man. Part the Second. Combining Principles and Practice. Philadelphia: Re-Printed by Samuel Harrison Smith , 1791.
[Together with]

PAINE, Thomas. Rights of Man. Part the Second. Combining Principles and Practice. Second Philadelphia edition. Philadelphia: Printed by and For Messrs. Printed by and for Messr. H. and P. Rice, no. 50, Market-Street, and S.H. Smith, 1792.

First American Edition of part one of Thomas Paine's famous work, Rights of Man, printed the same year as the first London edition. Second American edition, printed the same year as the first American of part two. Misunderstandings of which edition Part one is are common as the title-page states Second edition, although it is the first printing in America. "The full title of the first American printing, designated on the title-page as the 'Second Edition, reads Rights of Man. Being an Answer to Mr. Burke's Attack on the French Revolution, by Thomas Paine, Secretary for Foreign Affairs to Congress in the American War and author of the work intitled Common Sense. Philadelphia: Re-printed by Samuel Harrison Smith. M.DCC.XCI. While TJ ordered three or four copies of this edition, none owned by him is known to exist. See Sowerby, No. 2826." (“Editorial Note: Rights of Man: The “Contest of Burke and Paine ... in America” Founders Online, National Archives). It is our assumption that because Smith was a relatively new printer, he printed "Second Edition" on the title-page as this was it's second time being printed, even thought it was the first time it was printed in America. The second American edition states "Second Philadelphia edition, from fourth London edition, corrected and enlarged" and contains one less page. Octavo (8 1/8 x 4 7/8 inches; 206 x 123 mm). [1]-105, [1, blank]; viii,[1],10-96 pp. Part one is dedicated to George Washington as in Jordan’s London editions and part two is dedicated to the Marquis de Lafayette.

The last true first London edition to sell at auction (one of just about 100 copies that were sold before the run was recalled hours after release) which was a 1st edition of part one and a 2nd edition of part two, sold for $250,000. Here we have the first American first edition of part one. We could find no other copy besides this current copy at auction since 1911.

Two volumes bound together in full maroon morocco. Boards and spine elaborately tooled in gilt. Spine with black morocco spine label, lettered in gilt. All edges speckled red. Text block of part one with some minor toning and part two with some mild spotting as expected of American paper from this time. Minor corner stain to outer lower corner on pages 97-106. Overall a very good copy of both parts.

About 4 weeks after Jordan’s London edition was printed, a few copies arrived in Pennsylvania and one such copy landed in the hands of Thomas Jefferson by way of James Madison who had received it from John Beckley whom has initiated arrangements for publication in Philadelphia. Beckley requested Jefferson return the copy to J.B. Smith (the printer's father) when he had finished reading it. There was a bit of confusion to Jefferson as to the identity of JB Smith, thinking instead he was the printer's brother and therefore a stranger to Jefferson. Jefferson dashed off a note to accompany the book back to Smith and upon receipt of the published pamphlet just days later, Jefferson was "thunderstruck" to see excerpts from his note printed in the publisher's preface. Samuel Smith quoted Jefferson who stated "I am extremely pleased to find it will be reprinted here, and that something is at length to be publicly said against the political heresies which have sprung up among us. I have no doubt our citizens will rally a second time round the standard of Common Sense." Smith did not name Jefferson but rather identified him as Secretary of State. "In identifying the Secretary of State as the one who had transmitted 'a copy of this Pamphlet for republication' and omitting the explanation that this had been done at Beckley's desire, Smith permitted his readers the plausible inference that it was Jefferson who had sponsored publication of the pamphlet." (“Editorial Note: Rights of Man: The “Contest of Burke and Paine ... in America” Founders Online, National Archives). Jefferson's statement as published without approval no doubt sparked much conflict between those whos views sided with Jefferson and those who felt as if they were being accused of "heresy." "Thus introduced, Paine's Rights of Man fell like a thunderclap on the quiet capital. The expressions of the Secretary of State more than the pamphlet itself, we may be sure, took precedence in the political gossip of the boardinghouses, the taverns and the Philadelphia dinner tables." (“Editorial Note: Rights of Man: The “Contest of Burke and Paine ... in America” Founders Online, National Archives).

ESTC W36410, W36434. Evans 23664, 24654. Printing and the Mind of Man 241.

HBS # 68485 $17,500