LEWIS, Sir George Cornewall.

A Dialogue on the Best Form of Government.

London: Parker Son and Bourn, 1863 Stock Code: 127605
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First edition of "this provocative little book" (E. D. Steele, Palmerston and Liberalism, 1855-1865, CUP 1991, p. 373) - the final work of the prominent Liberal politician and author Sir George Cornewall Lewis (1806-1863); editions appeared in French, as Quelle est la meilleure forme de gouvernement? (Paris, 1867), and Italian, as Qual' è la migliore forma di governo? in a translation by the political economist Luigi Luzzatti (Padua, 1868). A Dialogue takes the form of a debate among Democritus, Aristocraticus, and Monarchicus, with Lewis, in the guise of Crito, concluding with the opinion that "it is the part of wisdom and prudence to acquiesce in any form of government, which is tolerably well administered, and affords tolerable security to person and property". The book's "academic guise permitted Lewis to enunciate political truths which were not for open discussion by a cabinet minister he served successively as home and war secretary under Palmerston. The imaginary debate took place between contemporary Englishmen. The participant expounding Lewis's own views held that the monarchy was politically dead, though still socially important" (ibid. p. 224).

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Octavo (185 x 116 mm). Contemporary dark green quarter morocco, spine lettered in gilt, green cloth sides, edges sprinkled red, green endpapers.


Spine ends and tips slightly rubbed, slight wear to tips, front hinge beginning to split, occasional spot of foxing to contents. A very good copy.


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