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 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 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. The illustrated wraps remain bright and firmly attached. The front cover is notably complete, with only fractional loss to the corners and trivial edge wear. The rear cover shows a .5 x .75 inch loss at the lower left corner but is otherwise complete. The spine shows some loss at the heel to a maximum depth of .75 inch, minor chipping at the head, and an abrasion just above and partially impacting the price. All title, author, and publisher print remains intact and clearly legible. The contents are toned, as inevitable with the cheap pulp paper, but both less toned and less brittle than we often see. First state is confirmed by a single appendix, an index, and p.71 numbered '1'. We find no previous ownership marks. Light spotting appears confined to the half title, title, and final Index pages. The final Index page shows a 2 inch closed tear. An original folded four-page leaflet advertisement and order form titled "Trade List of The Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels" is laid in.
Reference: Cohen A31.2.a, Woods/ICS A16(aa), Langworth p.97. Item #003238