PETTY, Sir William.
Reflections upon some persons and things in Ireland, by letters to and from Dr Petty: with Sir Hierome Sankey’s speech in Parliament.
First edition of Petty’s epistolary self-defence against Sir Hierome Sankey’s 1659 parliamentary defamation of Petty’s 1650s Survey of Ireland. In his capacity of Surveyor-general of Ireland, Petty’s work facilitated land redistribution of “8,400,000 acres … to new (and usually protestant) owners” (Oxford DNB). The sluggishness of the process sparked murmurs of discontent, fanned by suggestions that Petty had made considerable personal gains from the undertaking: he acknowledged benefiting by at least £9000. On 24 March 1659 whispers of suspected chicanery were publicised when “on behalf of the State” Sankey censured Petty as “a very beast of prey, full of fraud and rapine” before the Commons. In this account Petty declares “envy” to have been the root of Sankey’s allegations. The work is “a polemical essay on the Survey, which Petty had described in full and sober detail in The History of the Survey of Ireland [not published until 1851]. His Reflections was composed in the heat of the controversy and was the necessary means by which Petty might seek to justify himself in the eyes of his friends” (Keynes).
Octavo (149 95mm). Contemporary sprinkled calf, red morocco label, neatly rebacked. Corners lightly rubbed, free endpapers renewed. Slight crease to title, which is lightly soiled and has a small rust hole just touching one letter. A very good copy.
Bibliography: Keynes 5; Thomason E1915 ; Wing P1936.Don't understand our descriptions? Try reading our Glossary