Mr Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas by Thomas Paine, 1792
This 1st. Edition, 16 page Pamphlet was Printed and distributed gratis by the Society for Constitutional Information.
The Society for Constitutional Information, which was a British activist group founded in 1780 by Major John Cartwright, to promote parliamentary reform.
The Society flourished until 1783, but thereafter made little headway. The organisation actively promoted Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man” and other radical publications, After the British Government repression and the 1794 Treason Trials in October, in which the leaders were acquitted, the society ceased to meet. The Title-Page has no date but the page after the Title -Page has a printed note
“ At a Meeting of the Society for Constitutional Information, held at the Crown and Anchor, Friday June 15th. 1792. ——Resolve, That Twelve Thousand Copies of Mr. Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas, be printed, for the purpose of being distributed to our Correspondents throughout Great Britain”
This very rare Pamphlet has a few Contemporaneous notes hand-written names to the Title -Page, plus Thomas Paine’s name inked in, almost like a signature to the last page, page16, bottom right. The Contemporary hand-written name of John Jones, three times written, as a signature of one, John Jones, and two dates 1792 and 1799. (maybe Captain John Paul Jones) 1792? and his Son 1799?? A few slight tears but no damage to the text, page 9 and page 10 top centre of the pages.
The 2nd Edition of Mr. Paine’s letter to Mr. Secretary Dundas by Thomas Paine was published by J. Parsons, London 1792
Major John Cartwright wrote The English Constitution, which outlined his ideas including Government by the people and legal equality which he considered could only be achieved by universal suffrage, the secret ballot and equal electoral districts. He became the main patron of the Radical publisher Thomas Jonathan Wooler, best known for his satirical journal The Black Dwarf, who actively supported Cartwright's campaigning. Major John Cartwright had sent a copy of The English Constitution to former President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote back to Cartwright in July: "Your age of eighty-four, and mine of eighty-one years, ensure us a speedy meeting. We may then commune at leisure, and more fully, on the good and evil, which in the course of our long lives, we have both witnessed; and in the mean time, I pray you to accept assurances of my high veneration and esteem for your person and character".
A Pamphlet or Tract is a small booklet or leaflet containing information or arguments about a single subject. A Pamphlet or Tract is also an unbound sheet of paper without a hard-cover or binding It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths, called a leaflet, or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddled stabled (staples into the spine ) at the crease to make a simple booklet. The pamphlet form of literature has been used for centuries as an economical vehicle for the broad distribution of information. Also due to their low cost and ease of production, Pamphlets have often been used to popularise political or religious ideas. Ephemeral (Pamphlets or Tracts) and to wide array of political or religious perspectives given voice by the format's ease of production, Pamphlets are prized by many Book Collectors, Research Libraries, Private Institutions such as Universities. Substantial accumulations have been amassed and transferred to ownership of academic Research Libraries around the world. Also Pamphlets or Tracts were printed on scarce paper at the time, so when finished were more often then not used as toilet paper, (toilet paper at the time was non existent,) or also used to start a home fire, so paper Pamphlets or Tracts rarely survived, hence there greater value.