London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910. First edition. Paperback. This is a collector-worthy copy of the first edition, first state of this early collection of Churchill's speeches, housed in a handsome full green morocco Solander case. The People's Rights was most commonly issued in an exceptionally perishable form, in vividly hued, thin, yellow-orange paper wraps (with a halftone photo of Churchill on the cover) and contents printed on cheap, pulp paper. Consequently, few copies survive, and significant wear, losses, and general deterioration are common to those copies that endure.
Given the inherent fragility of the edition, this copy is quite well preserved, being both an exceptionally clean, bright example and substantially complete. This copy is the first state of the first edition, confirmed by an Index rather than a second Appendix at pages 149-152 and a pagination error at p.71. The illustrated wraps retain strikingly vivid color and show no significant soiling. Despite some creasing, both front and rear wraps are attached and largely complete. The front wrap shows a shallow chip at the upper fore edge and fractional loss to the corners. The rear wrap shows modest loss to the fore edge corners and a tiny hole at the upper left center, not affecting any text. The spine is especially good, with only fractional loss at the lower front hinge, unfaded color, and all print both intact and clearly legible. The contents are toned, as inevitable with the cheap pulp paper, but both less toned and less brittle than is typical. We find no previous ownership marks and spotting is confined to the half-title, title page, and the final page of the Index. The dark green goatskin Solander case features raised spine bands, blind-stamped compartments, and twin dark red spine labels gilt-bordered and printed. Condition of the Solander case is fine, with no appreciable wear or defects noted.
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 late 1909 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 for 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; the election gave the Liberals a slim majority and passage of their budget. The first edition is not only an important work, but also the only edition published in Churchill's lifetime.
Reference: Cohen A31.2.a, Woods/ICS A16(aa), Langworth p.97. Item #006033