PRESENTED TO A FORMER PRIME MINISTER

Rural England being an account of agricultural and social researches carried out in the years 1901 & 1902 ...

London, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902.

2 vols, 8vo, pp. xxv, [1], 584, 40 (publisher’s catalogue), with 13 maps and 46 illustrations; viii, [2], 623, [1 blank], with 10 maps and 29 illustrations; very good in publisher’s dark blue cloth, spines lettered and ruled in gilt, preserved in red cloth clamshell box with gilt-lettered spine (joints worn); with ALS from Haggard to the Earl of Rosebery dated 27 Nov. 1902 to front flyleaf of vol. 1, armorial bookplates of Rosebery to front pastedowns, some pencil notes to half-titles, and a few marginal pencil marks.

£500

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First edition, author’s presentation copy, enclosing a letter from Haggard to the liberal politician Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929), who served as Foreign Secretary under Gladstone, and as Prime Minister in 1894 and 1895.

As well as being an enormously popular and influential novelist – famous for works such as King Solomon’s Mines and She – Haggard was an expert on agricultural and rural affairs. His travels throughout England and Wales in 1901 and 1902 fed into Rural England, ‘a survey that depicted the wretched condition of farming and proposed reforms’ (ODNB).

Haggard here writes to Rosebery: ‘I am venturing to send you ... my volumes Rural England which appear tomorrow. I trouble you thus in the hope that I may influence you, one of our first agriculturalists & a great leader of the nation’s thought in favour of the moderate reforms which I enumerate in my conclusions. My lord, you will I am sure understand how hard it is for a private individual to fight this battle for our countryside & agricultural industries all alone & unaided ...’ Rosebery evidently read Haggard’s work thoroughly, as his occasional pencil marks show.


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