Speech … On Economic Reform

Speech … On Economic Reform


Speech … On Economic Reform 1780 First Authorised Edition, First State

By Edmund Burke

Printed In London For J. Dodsley

The Volume is in Very Good Condition the volume is disbound, with generally clean, amply margined leaves, with some very small marginal tears and light toning on occasion.
The Volume is Complete Collecting first edition pamphlets by Edmund Burke is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. His most popular works went through multiple printings sometimes hours apart. Fortunately, bibliographical studies by Todd, Adams and others have distilled and presented the various edition points. One such pamphlet is his famous speech on Economical Reform, Feb 11, 1780. Indeed, this one pamphlet saw 2 pirated editions, four authorized editions and two reprints all in 1780. Of the First authorized edition, first impression there are four editions or states, the earliest three exhibiting in one section or another a common impression, the fourth an entirely new impression. In all there are 28 possible combinations of the First Edition, First Impression as identified by William Todd. The earliest variant, the first and earliest state, (Todd 33B-b) is notoriously difficult to find. Our copy contains all the points needed: Todd Variant 1(b); acquired (22.6) figure 30-5, The wise…In trust (24.34-37), duchy (25.27), figure 24-3. Title page reading Esq (line 3), double rule, PALL MALL, 20 mm dash. Some copies have had page 22 corrected in manuscript from “acquired” to “lackered”. Our copy does not. A very scarce edition of an important pamphlet. See below for pagination & dimensions.

Half Title - Speech ... On Economic ReformTitle - Speech ... On Economic Reform

Of Edmund Burke’s Speech

Edmund Burke, M.P. for Bristol, brilliant orator and opponent of the war with the American Colonies, here seeks to sway his constituents on fighting corruption by limiting the spending powers of the King, and english aristocracy. He speaks on the spending of the English nobility

“Our palaces are vast inhospitable halls. There the bleak winds, there “Boreas and Eurus and Caurus and Argestes loud,” howling through the vacant lobbies, and clattering the doors of deserted guard-rooms, appal the imagination and conjure up the grim spectres of departed tyrants—the Saxon, the Norman, and the Dane; the stern Edwards and fierce Henries—who stalk from desolation to desolation, through the dreary vacuity and melancholy succession of chill and comfortless chambers.”

The member is scornful and humorous, describing the corruption of the court and Lord Talbot’s efforts at reform with “the turnspit in the king’s kitchen was a member of Parliament.” His hyperbole gives way to a moving call to shed frivolities of wealth and work with each other towards common good

“Let us cast away from us, with a generous scorn, all the love-tokens and symbols that we have been vain and light enough to accept;—all the bracelets and snuff-boxes and miniature pictures, and hair devices, and all the other adulterous trinkets that are the pledges of our alienation, and monuments of our shame. Let us return to our legitimate home and all jars and quarrels will be lost in embraces…. Let us identify, let us incorporate ourselves with the people. Let us cut all the cables and snap the chains which tie us to an unfaithful shore, and enter the friendly harbour that shoots far out into the main its moles and jettees to receive us.”

In the face of the financial strains from the war in America, the point made by Burke carried over into real legislation. With The Civil List and Secret Service Money Act, the power over the expenditure in the King’s household was transferred to the Treasury, and branches of which were regulated. No pension over £300 was to be granted if the total pension list amounted to over £90,000. Thereafter, no pension was to be above £1,300 unless it was granted to members of the royal family or granted by Parliament. Secret service money employed domestically was similarly limited. A section of the act also abolished the existing Council of Trade and Foreign Plantations which, with the loss of the American War of Independence, had been dismissed earlier by King George III on 2 May 1782.

Pagination & Dimensions

The volume is paginated as follows: [iv], [1]-95, [1]. The volume collates as follows: [A]2, B-G8. Each leaf measures about 200 mm. By 120 mm.

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