An Essay on the State of the Country, in Respect to the Condition and Conduct of the Husbandry Labourers, and to the Consequences likely to result therefrom.

London, Innes ‘not for sale’, [1831].

8vo, pp. 16; backfolds repaired; a very good copy in recent marbled boards, lettered directly in black.

£500

Approximately:
US $653€553

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First edition. The author, who has been identified as the social reformer Francis Place (1771-1854), concludes that, with current low profit margins, squeezed by a large variety of duties, tithes and taxes as well as rent, farmers were unable to increase labourers’ wages, and therefore a further increase to taxes levied on landlords would only generate the inevitable and lethal consequence of reducing their capacity for investment.

A breeches-maker who had led an unsuccessful strike in 1791-2, Place joined Hardy’s London Corresponding Society and, once prosperous, devoted his leisure to radical politics. In his youth, he moved through the essays of Hume and the works of Locke and Adam Smith to the teachings of Paine, Godwin, and others (from which he and other radicals had drawn their inspiration for universal education). This finally delivered him to the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill which provided the philosophic bridge between education and parliamentary reform.

Though slim, this pamphlet offers a coherent and exemplified view of Place’s understanding of economic dynamics, including wages, prices, rent, as well as illustrating contemporary social conditions and labour-related disputes.

Goldsmiths’ 26920; Kress C2910.

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