Common Sense; addressed to the Inhabitants of America. Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by W. and T. Bradford, 1776
8vo (8 x 4 7/8 in.; 204 x 124 mm); some light soiling on title, a few small paper faults in lower outer corner of six leaves. Modern boards, printed paper label on spine, in a green half-morocco portfolio.
A beautiful copy of Bradford's second 99-page edition with a few variants, and significant for the publisher's introduction.
The impact of Common Sense on the course of American independence can scarcely be exaggerated. Paine's stirring renunciation of the sovreignty of George III, whom he termed a hardened, sullen-faced Pharoah, found a remarkable reception among his new countrymen. Published on 10 January 1776, Common Sense urged an immediate declaration of independence and led to Paine's clandestine employment as official propagandist of the insurgent colonial government.
A dispute with his original publisher, Robert Bell, about proceeds from the pamphlet led Paine to give his expanded edition to the printer William Bradford. In a postscript to the author's introduction, Bradford wrote that "The Publication of this new Edition hath been delayed, with a View of taking notice (had it been necessary) of any Attempt to refute the Doctrine of Independence: As no Answer hath yet appeared, it is now presumed that none will, the Time needful for getting such a Performance ready for the Public being considerably past. Who the Author of this Publication is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the Doctrine itself, not the Man. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle."
Gimbel's points given for the second 99-page edition differ slightly in the present example: the hiatus "k___" on pages 47, 48, and 49 are all lowercase "k", and on page 79, line 3 from the bottom, we find "christians" (i.e. lowercase "c"), all others remaining the same.
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