As a newly elected delegate to the French National Convention, Thomas Paine praises the end of the monarchy: "In the midst of the joy this event has inspired, one cannot but sigh at the madness of our ancestors, who made it necessary for us to take so seriously the abolition of a phantom"
LS in French, signed “Thomas Paine,” one page, 6.25 x 7.75, October 27, 179 (misdated 1798, but correctly noted as "l'an 1er du la Republique," the first year of the republic). Letter to the President of the National Convention ("Citoyen President"), offering congratulations on the abolition of the French monarchy. In full (translated): "I have the honor to present to the National Convention, in the name of the deputies of the Pas de Calais, the felicitations of the General Consul of the Commune of Calais. In the midst of the joy this event has inspired, one cannot but sigh at the madness of our ancestors, who made it necessary for us to take so seriously the abolition of a phantom." In fine condition, with a mounting strip on the reverse. Accompanied by a first American edition of "A Letter from M. Condorcet, a Member of the National Convention, to a Magistrate in Swisserland, Respecting the massacre of the Swiss Guards...with A Letter from Thomas Paine, to the People of France, On his Election to the National Convention," printed in New York in 1793 (Evans 25327). Also includes a custom-made presentation folder with slipcase.
This was Paine's response to the National Convention's proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy, issued September 21, 1792, which ended the reign of Louis XVI and gave birth to the French First Republic. After fleeing England in the summer of 1792, Thomas Paine, an ardent supporter of the French Revolution, was made an honorary citizen of France. Despite his inability to speak French, he was elected delegate to the National Convention as the representative of the district of Pas-de-Calais. In that role, Paine was selected as one of nine deputies to be part of the convention's Constitutional Committee, who were charged with the task of drafting a suitable constitution for the French Republic.
Past sales history: Christie's, December 14, 1984.