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(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1776.) Paine, Thomas. No. 1. The American Crisis, by the Author of Common Sense. 8 pages. 12mo (6 3/4 x 4 inches), early plain wrappers with light dampstaining; moderate foxing, light horizontal fold, small chip on fore-edge of final leaf; light pencil inscriptions by early owner on front wrapper and front page. [Fishkill, NY: Samuel Loudon], "23 December 1776" (but probably early 1777)
Paine's famous call to arms was first published in the Philadelphia Journal on 19 December 1776, and then appeared in pamphlet form four days later, soon circulating through the major cities. It begins with the immortal words "These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly." This edition is dated "December 23, 1776" in type at the foot of the final page. It was advertised in printer Samuel Loudon's newspaper, the New-York Packet, on 6 February 1777 as "just published," and a thousand copies were ordered by the New York Constitutional Convention then in progress. Loudon had been a ship's chandler before launching his newspaper in January 1775. He fled the British army to Fishkill (in what is now Beacon) in mid-1776 and served as official state printer in addition to other projects. This copy was owned by Jonathan Thompson (1773-1846) of Islip, NY, who inscribed it in 1819. He later went on to be the customs collector for the Port of New York. See R.W.G. Vail, "A Pair of Peripatetic Printers: The Up-State Imprints of John Holt and Samuel Loudon," in Essays Honoring Lawrence C. Wroth, page 397; Bristol B4323. 3 copies in ESTC.