Sabin calls this "singular book...the rarest of Allen's publications." It "is remarkable as being the first work published in America in direct opposition to the Christian religion..." Allen told a friend in 1785, "I Expect that the Clergy, and their devotees, will proclaim war with me, in the name of the Lord, his Battles they affect to fight... But I am a hardy Mountainnear, and have been accustomed to the ravages, and horrors of War, and Captivity, and Scorn to be intimidated by threats, if they fright me, they must produce some of their tremendous fire, and give me a sensitive scorching."
A fire in the publisher's shop destroyed most of the 1,500 copies printed. Mr. Haswell reportedly took the fire as a sign of divine disfavor and committed the remainder of the run to the flames, soon thereafter converting to Methodism. Scarcely any copies have survived. Only three copies have appeared at auction in the last 38 years. A copy of this Deist treatise was, of course, in Thomas Jefferson's library.
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