London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910. First edition, only printing, the Sheffield Independent binding. Paperback. This may be the sole surviving copy of the first edition variant binding of this early collection of Churchill's speeches. This book is from the personal collection of Churchill's bibliographer, Ronald I. Cohen and is the same copy used to identify entry A31.5 (Vol. I, p.180) in his authoritative Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston S. Churchill. Neither we nor Ron have ever encountered or heard of another copy.
The People's Rights was most commonly issued in an exceptionally perishable form, in vividly hued, thin, yellow-orange paper wraps with a striking 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.
In addition to the normal wraps copies, some were issued in partnership with various regional newspapers. “There are also no fewer than five local newspaper issues in paper wrappers (of the Daily News, Sheffield Independent, North Mail, Yorkshire Observer, and Liverpool Daily Post & Liverpool Mercury).” (Cohen, Vol. I, p.176, A31) All five are quite scarce. But only this single surviving copy of the Sheffield Independent binding variant is known. This is it. On the lower front cover, the author and publisher are moved higher and the price lower, leaving a gap between, in which is printed "The Sheffield Independent Edition".
The Sheffield Independent of its namesake city in South Yorkshire, England, was established in December 1819 and published for more than a century. The newspaper long maintained the liberal political and commercial principles upon which it was established, run under four successive generations of the Leader family, who purchased the paper in 1829. The Sheffield Independent was incorporated with the Sheffield Telegraph in 1938.
Mere survival of this sole known copy of the Sheffield Independent issue of The People’s Rights eclipses normal considerations of condition. Nonetheless, condition is good plus, substantially complete and intact despite depredations endemic to a notoriously fragile pulp paperback well over a century old. The wraps remain attached and all spine print remains legible. The binding shows overall wear, toning, and soiling. We note a small front cover abrasion at the right edge of Churchill’s framed image on the front face and fractional chipping to hinges and extremities, but no significant loss, the only noteworthy example being a .75 x .5 inch (1.9 x 1.3 cm) chip at the upper right rear cover. The contents are toned, as is inevitable with the cheap pulp paper, but nonetheless nearly complete, with only trivial chipping to the edges of the first and final leaves. Further, we find no spotting and no previous ownership marks. Second state of the wraps issue is confirmed by a second Appendix rather than an Index and no mispagination at p.71. The book is in an oatmeal cloth Solander case with inset, gilt-printed, dark red labels on the spine and front cover. Condition of the case is fine, with no wear or soiling.
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-early 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 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.
Reference: Cohen A31.5, Woods/ICS A16(aa), Langworth p.97. Item #006933