First Edition of his Final Work

Paine, Thomas. The Cause of Yellow Fever; and the Means of Preventing it in Places not yet Infected With it: Addressed to the Boards of Health in America.

London, Clio Rickman, 1807.

13 pp. Disbound.


First edition of Thomas Paine's final work: his essay on the cause of yellow fever, written during the summer of 1805 while Paine was at New Rochelle. "As he explained, 'the fever breaking out in the city prevented my sending it for publication'. Although he had intended to let his house in New Rochelle 'to some New Yorker for the summer', the outbreak of fever in New York led to his spending most of the latter half of 1805 and the first half of 1806 at home" (Speck, A Political Biography of Thomas Paine, p. 190f.). Paine held that the illness (now known to be transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito) was generated by "the impure air or [pernicious] vapour [issuing] from the [...] new made earth, raised on the muddy and filthy part of the river".

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Paine in 1776 authored the electrifying pamphlet "Common Sense", inspiring Americans to declare independence from Britain. The present treatise, first published in newspapers in 1806, bears witness to the strong scientific interests that Paine maintained beyond his many political activities. He died in 1809, his health having been failing for some time.

Very rare: WorldCat records only eight copies worldwide (seven in the U.S. and one in the National Library of Australia); no copy in British Library or COPAC. This copy removed from the Norwich & Norfolk United Medical Book Society (their stamp on title page), inscribed in a contemporary hand above the title: "Presented by the Hospital Medical Board".

Sabin 58232. Not in Wellcome, Waller or Osler.

Stock Code: BN#45757 Tags: , ,