The Works in Verse and Prose

The Works in Verse and Prose

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The Works in Verse and Prose

The Works in Verse and Prose

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Excerpt

It is now somewhat more than eight months since proposals were issued for this edition of Mr. Paine's works. This interval, it is said, is unreasonably long; and it is sometimes intimated, in no very equivocal language, that the publication has been delayed, till the author and his writings are no longer of sufficient interest to retain their share of the general curiosity.

For this delay, had it been needless, the publick might certainly exact an apology. When however the causes, that have retarded the press, are recounted, the period of publication will not appear to have been wantonly protracted. Of these causes, too many and various to be distinctly enumerated, the principal were, the disorder of Mr. Paine's manuscripts, and the difficulties attending the search for his printed essays. The latter of these causes was of much more influence than the former.

The manuscripts required nothing but arrangement and selection; but the printed essays were often to be recovered from journals, which, having been long since discontinued, were not always remembered. Newspapers and Magazines for a series of twenty years were to be consulted. From this examination, though far from heedless or desultory, it is not improbable that many pieces have escaped.

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