London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910. First edition. 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 the 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 are common to those copies that endure. There are two states of this first and only printing. The first state features an 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 quite respectable condition, about very good minus for the edition with some of the typical aging and wear, but substantially complete nonetheless. The covers remain attached, the front cover firmly, the rear holding despite a 5.5 inch separation at the rear hinge. The color, which understandably often dulls, remains fairly bright on both covers, somewhat toned on the spine. The spine is more complete than many copies we see, with the usual wrinkling from the binding process, but with nearly all of the spine print intact despite modest overall chipping. Both covers show only minor chipping to the edges, with the illustrated front cover notably complete. The contents are browned and brittle as usual. We note no previous ownership marks and light spotting appears confined to the half title. There are modest triangular losses to the lower corners of the half title and title pages and some small edge chips to the Appendix and Index pages.
Reference: Cohen A31.2.a, Woods/ICS A16(aa), Langworth p.97. Item #002821