The Touchstone: a series of letters on social, literary, and political subjects. Originally published in the “Newcastle Daily Chronicle” under the signature of “Britannicus” …

Newcastle, R. Todd, 1863.

8vo, pp. [xii], [5]–189, [1] blank, [12] appendix, [1] advertisement, [1] colophon (complete); early ink inscription to the front free endpaper; light, even browning throughout, but still a good copy in the original printed wrappers, browned and soiled, spine perished but cords still firm.

£250

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The Touchstone: a series of letters on social, literary, and political subjects. Originally published in the “Newcastle Daily Chronicle” under the signature of “Britannicus” …

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First edition. Thomas Doubleday (1790–1870), the son of a Newcastle soap manufacturer, ‘was a radical of Cobbett’s stamp [and] of great influence during the agitation for the Reform Act of 1832’ (Palgrave I, 634). He had also indirectly attacked Malthus in The True Law of Population shewn to be connected with the food of the people (1841).

The 33 letters included in the present collection are divided up under five main questions: ‘Why is Strong Government now impossible?’; ‘Has not Indebtedness been the Great Cause of Revolution?’; ‘Is Aristocratic or Democratic Society most favourable to Mental Excellence?’; What are the Causes of the Great Increase of Crime? and is Education a Remedy?’; ‘Has the System of Paper Credit been Beneficial to those who have Adopted it?’. The whole is prefaced by a letter to James Paul Cobbett, ‘of whose father Doubleday was the most remarkable and cultivated disciple’ (DNB).

Not in Menger; only three copies are recorded in NUC (ICJ, IEN, CtY).

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