Lot 204: 1778 Rare Revolutionary War Period Book "The American Crisis" by Thomas Paine
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Part of "The American Crisis" Author Thomas Paine 1777-1778
1778, Revolutionary War Date, Rare Book Edition titled: "The American Crisis, and a Letter to Sir Guy Carleton, on the Murder of Captain Huddy, and the Intended Retaliation on Captain Asgill, of the Guards," by Thomas Paine, Choice Very Fine.
This copy of Thomas Paine's, "The American Crisis, and a Letter to Sir Guy Carleton, on the Murder of Captain Huddy, and the Intended Retaliation on Captain Asgill, of the Guards" was published in 1778 by Daniel Eaton, London, 293 pages, measures 5" x 8", also Signed in Print "Common Sense." An interesting early offer is made on the verso of the title page offering 10 guineas each for the two missing numbers of the 13 imprints written by Paine. This Book has been rebound in more modern hardcovers. The interior show only some light foxing and otherwise very nice overall condition. We have located several institutional copies, none show sales reported with prices realized.
Joshua Huddy was an American Revolutionary War Soldier who became renowned through his untimely death: he was hung by American Loyalists at Highlands in 1782, months after the Battle of Yorktown, the last major military engagement of the American Revolutionary War. Patriot outrage over Huddy's death almost scuttled the Peace talks with Britain, and nearly cost the life of a young British officer, whose hanging in retaliation was averted by last minute French diplomacy.
The American Crisis is a collection of articles written by Thomas Paine during the American Revolutionary War. In 1776 Paine wrote Common Sense, an extremely popular and successful pamphlet arguing for Independence from England. The essays collected here constitute Paine's ongoing support for an independent and self-governing America through the many severe crises of the Revolutionary War. General Washington found the first essay so inspiring, he ordered that it be read to the troops at Valley Forge.
Murder of Captain Huddy Related Information below is from an exhibition supported by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission.
This exhibition consists primarily of facsimiles of documents created during, or immediately after, the life of Joshua Huddy, a Revolutionary War Soldier who became renowned through his untimely death: he was hung by American Loyalists at Highlands in 1782, months after the Battle of Yorktown, the last major military engagement of the war. Patriot outrage over Huddy's death almost scuttled the peace talks with Britain and nearly cost the life of a young British officer whose hanging in retaliation was averted by last minute French diplomacy. Through making available primary source documents, it is hoped that the exhibit will increase public understanding of the Huddy story and improve the accuracy of future published interpretations.
Although Huddy's lynching and the subsequent furor are well documented and have often been addressed by historians, there are comparatively few records of Huddy's life. He was born in Salem County, probably on November 8, 1735, to a prosperous family; his grandfather, Hugh Huddy, was a well-known judge. In his youth, Huddy began to have problems with authority. He was expelled from the Society of Friends when he was in his early twenties for dissolute behavior and he lost substantial property, sold to satisfy debts. In Salem, Huddy also proved himself to have a robust constitution; he survived a boating accident in the Delaware, during which he had to swim for three hours to survive.
With his first wife, Mary Borden, a widow whom he married in about 1764, Huddy had two daughters, Martha and Elizabeth. In 1776, he joined the New Jersey militia and became a captain of artillery in 1777. That year, he gladly pulled the rope to hang Stephen Edwards, a New Jerseyan who had been spying for the British. After the Battle of Monmouth in 1778, he and his men harrassed the British after they left Freehold to make their way to Sandy Hook.
On October 27, 1778, Huddy married Catherine Applegate Hart, the widow of Levy Hart, a Jewish tavern keeper in Colts Neck who had died in 1775. Soon after his marriage, Huddy had to defend himself in a lawsuit (Van Brunt vs. Huddy, 1779) alleging that he had cast Catherine's children out of his house and sold her possessions without her permission. Huddy also was brought into Monmouth County court for assault in 1778 and for appropriating a horse carriage in 1781.
Huddy served as captain of the Monmouth militia from March to December 1779. In 1780, he sued Elizabeth Pritchard for almost 2,000 pounds for illegal British goods he claimed she owed him; whether or not he ever got the money is unknown. In August 1780, he was issued a commission to operate a gunboat, The Black Snake, as a privateer. A month later, he was captured at his house in Colts Neck after a prolonged gun battle in which, assisted by a servant, Lucretia Emmons, he held off dozens of Loyalist attackers led by the escaped black slave known as Colonel Tye, who soon after died of tetanus from a wrist wound. Huddy surrendered only after the British set fire to the house and he offered to give himself up if they would extinguish the blaze. Huddy's captors attempted to take him across the bay to New York but, when Patriots on the shore fired at the Loyalists, Huddy's boat capsized and, despite being shot in the thigh, Huddy swam to shore and escaped. Later in 1780, Huddy went to the New Jersey Supreme Court to force the return of a large quantity of his possessions that had been seized from him by a wealthy landowner.
On February 1, 1782, Huddy was given command of the blockhouse at Toms River that was built to protect the local salt works. On March 24, a large party of Loyalists overwhelmed Huddy's forces and burned the village. Huddy was captured and taken to New York, where the leader of the Board of Associated Loyalists, William Franklin (the last Royal Governor of New Jersey), approved Huddy's execution. On April 12, under the direction of Richard Lippincott , Huddy was taken to Highlands and hung on the beach after dictating and signing his will. His executioners left a note on his breast, "Up Goes Huddy for Phillip White," in reference to a Tory who had recently been killed while in Patriot custody. It was reported that Huddy died calmly and bravely, and even shook hands with Lippincott.
Huddy's body was brought to Freehold and he was buried at Old Tennent Church. More than 400 people gathered to protest his murder and a petition was sent to George Washington demanding retribution. A young British officer, Charles Asgill, was selected by lot to die unless Lippincott was turned over to the Patriots. The British delayed by holding their own court-martial of Lippincott, who was found not guilty on the basis that he was just following orders. The unfortunate Asgill was freed in November by an Act of Congress after Asgill's mother persuaded the French foreign minister to plead his case to Washington, who was grateful for a way to spare Asgill while saving face for himself and Congress. Lippincott emigrated to Canada, where the British gave him 3,000 acres as a reward for his services.
In 1836, Huddy's surviving daughter, Martha Piatt, wrote to Congress that the nation had never expressed its gratitude to Huddy and asked for money and land for herself and her late sister's children. Although some published accounts state that she was successful, the bill was tabled and never acted upon. Huddy was largely forgotten until the Bicentennial Celebration in the 1970s renewed interest in Monmouth County's fascinating history during the Revolutionary War.
History comes alive through the documents in this exhibit, which reveal Huddy to be in some ways a prototypical, red-blooded American whose last years were marked by violent episodes. The records indicate that he was certainly strong, courageous, and willing to fight for the Patriot cause. He also was ambitious and willing to take risks to get ahead financially, as seen by his property losses in Salem (for unknown reasons, but probably as a result of risky investments or overspending), his marriages to two widows, his seizure of Loyalist property, and his commission as a privateer. Huddy's expulsion from the Quakers and his court appearances, especially the occasion prompted by his attempt to sell his second wife's property and kick her children out of the house, indicate that he was hardly a saint. He seems to have been a rough-and-tumble type of character, endearing to his friends and respected by his enemies--a man hardly suitable as a member of the Quakers. The only documented quote by Huddy--in prison shortly before his death, he boasted to his captors about his role in hanging Stephen Edwards--suggests his forthright personality and confidence, as well as perhaps a fatal flaw in not weighing the consequences of his actions and words.
Huddy's story is a reminder that the Revolutionary War continued in Monmouth as a civil war for many months after the armies stopped fighting. Patriots and Loyalists continued to attack each other, in part to retaliate for previous killings. Huddy's death, in fact, was one of the last that occurred before the Treaty of Paris in 1783. By dying, he became a hero and secured William Franklin's reputation as a villain. In the larger scope of history, Huddy's death was a tragic example of a regrettable and continuing pattern of extralegal acts of revenge that nurture enduring enmities.