For Free Trade Browse current inventory of this title

By Winston S. Churchill
First published in 1906 by Arthur L. Humphreys, London

"There is another danger which we must not overlook.
Free Trade is a condition of progress; it is an aid to progress; it is a herald of progress;
but it is not progress. Something more than that is needed.
Free Trade will never be securely defended by a purely negative policy.
It is quite true that the combined influences of free imports and natural advantages
have produced in this country a much greater accumulation of wealth...
But we shall make ourselves ridiculous if we go about saying,
in a world with so much squalor and misery,
how happy, how wealthy, how contented, how luxurious we are.
We must produce, if we are successfully to defend Free Trade,
a positive and practical policy of social reform."

(For Free Trade, p.78)


For Free Trade is the second published collection of Churchill's speeches and is widely regarded as among the rarest of Churchill's first edition book-length works, second only to Mr. Brodrick's Army.  

Like Mr. Brodrick's Army, For Free Trade was bound in red card wraps by Arthur L. Humphreys of London.  Also like Mr. Brodrick's Army, it is a collection of speeches.  In this case, they are eight speeches by Churchill delivered at Manchester or in the House of Commons spanning 14 April 1902 to 8 March 1905.  And again like Mr. Brodrick's Army, For Free Trade was a perishable publication, likely produced in low numbers with less than robust sales.  The first edition commands a towering premium from collectors on the rare occasions one is available.

As the title makes abundantly clear, the subject of the speeches is free trade and Churchill was an advocate.  This was a critical issue at a critical time for Churchill.  Free trade was the policy issue that precipitated Churchill's decision to leave the Tory Party of his father.  In May 1904 Churchill made the fateful decision to "cross the aisle" and formally become a Liberal.  The 1906 General Election was Churchill's first as a Liberal, and he campaigned successfully for Manchester on the free trade issue.  

For Free Trade was published in March 1906, a month after the General Election, which proved a Liberal landslide.  Publication of For Free Trade was perhaps a bit of a victory lap; the first edition subtitle is "A Collection of Speeches delivered at Manchester or in the House of Commons during the Fiscal controversy preceding the late General Election."  Nonetheless, the issue would continue to influence Churchill's electoral fortunes and political philosophy and indeed continues in global politics today, lending enduring relevance to the volume.

No further publication of the book occurred until the U.S. first edition of 1977, issued 71 years after the British.  

The contents of this first U.S. edition include a true facsimile of the original 119-page work, plus a faithful reproduction of the original red card covers.  Preceding the facsimile is a three-page preface by Manfred Weidhorn and a one-page Publisher's Note.  The endpapers reproduce Churchill’s entry in Who’s Who.  The publisher - Dalton Newfield of the Churchilliana Company in Sacramento, California - produced the edition in two bindings: a "library binding" featured brick red cloth and a "collector's binding" featured a brown buckram spine over tan linen cloth covered boards.  Both bindings featured a gilt stamped spine and front cover.

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