'The Age of Reason'
Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason - an attack on institutionalised religion from a Deist perspective - was published in pamphlet form in three parts, in 1794, 1795 and 1807. It was written in Paine's typically robust, irreverent style - and provoked a torrent of pamphlet rebuttals and ripostes. It's been described as "the anti-Bible of all lower-class nineteenth-century infidel agitators".
Richard Carlile was prosecuted in 1818 for republishing this title, and responded by reading out the entire work in court, ensuring it was part of the court record. In subsequent years he disseminated the work widely - though this edition remains scarce, especially with a publication date as early as 1819.
The wonderful cartoonist George Cruikshank turned his attention in October 1819 to the duo of Tom Paine (by now dead) and Richard Carlile, with wonderful effect - judge for yourself.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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