PAINE, Thomas (1737-1809)
Opinion de Thomas Payne Député du Départment de la Somme, concernant le Jugement de Louis XVI, Précédée de sa lettre d'envoi au Président de la Convention ... [Bound With:] Opinion de Thomas Payne sur l'Affaire de Louis Capet, Addressé au Président de la Convention Nationale ... [Bound with 282 other works concerning the trial of Louis XVI]
Paris: Imprimerie National, 1792-1793. Together 284 works bound in 6 volumes, 8vo. (8 x 4 3/4 inches). The Paine items 10pp. and 8pp.
Early half calf and period pastepaper boards, flat spine in five compartments, red and black morocco labels.
A pair of rare works by Paine which would lead to his imprisonment in France: bound within an extraordinary collection of revolutionary pamphlets concerning the fate of Louis XVI.
With the French Revolution well underway, Edmund Burke published a sharp critique of the events in France. Taken aback and sharply disagreeing with his friend's views, Paine published the first part of Rights of Man , which would become among the most published works of the 18th century with upwards of 200,000 copies printed. His publication of the even more revolutionary second part of Rights of Man following the seizure of the French King and his family would lead the British government to charge Paine with libel, forcing him to leave England for Paris in September 1792, never to return.
In Paris, Paine was granted honorary citizenship and was elected to serve in the national constitutional convention. Before, during and following the trial of Louis XVI (aka Louis Capet), the opinions of Paine and his fellow deputies were separately published. Initially, the question was whether and how the monarch should be tried; and later, upon the verdict of guilty for high treason, what punishment should be sentenced. Paine believed that Louis XVI should receive a fair trial and if found guilty his sentence should be decided upon by the citizens of France. In his second Opinion , which followed the guilty verdict, Paine argued against the king's execution, favouring exile to America instead, so that the former King could see first-hand the benefits of democracy.
Although his democratic politics had long supported the revolutionary cause, his arguments against capital punishment for the French monarch would land him in prison, branded as a traitor during the terror. With the help of James Monroe, Paine would eventually be freed in November 1794 without ever having been tried.
Paine's Opinions are quite rare, and here bound with an extraordinary collection of French revolutionary pamphlets concerning the fate of Louis XVI.
Gimbel, Thomas Paine Fights for Freedom 79.