London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910. First edition, only printing. Paperback. This is the first edition, first state of this striking, scarce, and fragile early collection of Churchill's speeches. In 1904, Churchill quit the Conservative Party and joined the Liberals, beginning a dynamic chapter in his political career that saw him champion progressive causes and be branded a traitor to his class.
In 1910, when The People's Rights was published, Winston Churchill was a powerful political force and a member of the Cabinet. From December 3-11, 1909 Churchill was on the campaign trail on behalf of the Liberals. The People's Rights is a distillation of these nine days of speeches, criticizing the House of Lords (which had rejected Liberal Government's budget, thus precipitating the campaign) and championing Free Trade, a graduated income tax, luxury tax, and surtaxes on unearned income. Churchill's efforts were not wasted; as a result of the election, the Liberals would achieve a slim majority and passage of their budget.
The People's Rights was published in an exceptionally perishable form, in bright yellow-orange paper wraps (with a halftone photo of Churchill on the cover) and printed on cheap, pulp paper. Consequently few copies survive, and wear, losses, and general deterioration is common to those copies that endure. There are two states of this first and only printing. The first state features and Appendix and an Index (at pages 149-152), while the second replaces the Index with a second Appendix. Here is the desirable first edition, first state.
Given the inherent fragility of the edition, this copy is in very good condition - highly complete and unrestored. Notably, the spine remains almost fully intact, with the usual wrinkling, but with all lettering fully preserved and only trivial chipping at the spine ends and hinges. Both covers remain firmly attached and the binding remains square. The striking front cover is complete apart from a .75 x .5 inch loss at the lower corner, claiming only most of the second "N" in London. The rear cover is likewise highly complete, though with wrinkling at both corners. There is a .75 inch closed tear at the lower corner and some tiny closed tears along the edges. Both covers show modest overall soiling but remain bright. The contents are browned as usual, but complete.
Reference: Cohen A31.2, Woods/ICS A16(aa), Langworth p.97. Item #002328