London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910. First edition. Paperback. This is the first edition of this early collection of Churchill's speeches. 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 respectable, intact and unrestored but suffering the usual depredations and minor loss. Second state of the first edition is confirmed by a second Appendix rather than an Index at pages 149-152 and lack of a pagination error at p.71. The illustrated wraps remain attached – albeit tenuously, with a split to the upper rear hinge of the rear cover. The covers and spine are dulled and show overall soiling with losses to extremities, the largest being at the lower right corner of the front cover and the lower right and left corners of the rear cover. The spine shows the usual wrinkling and chip losses at the spine ends and hinges. Nonetheless the spine color remains consistent with that of the covers and nearly all of the spine print remains legible. The contents are toned, as is inevitable with the cheap pulp paper, but nonetheless substantially complete, chipping confined to the edges of the text block, affecting only blank margins. We find no previous ownership marks and spotting appears confined to the half title. This copy is protected within a green cloth clamshell case with black and gilt spine label. The case shows superficial scuffing and wear.
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.b, Woods/ICS A16(aa), Langworth p.97. Item #006458