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ARNALL, William.

A Letter to a Freeholder on the Late Reduction of the Land Tax to One Shilling in the Pound.

London: Printed for J. Peele, 1732 Stock Code: 129252
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First edition. William Arnall (died 1736) was an extensive political pamphleteer, who took up writing for the government at Robert Walpole's personal request. At a government pension of 400 - making him the best paid government journalist in London - "Arnall provided a series of papers which challenged country whig allegations of a supposedly corrupt, immoral, and tyrannous ministry. By contrast Arnall exposed the anachronism of a country party unaware of the benefits of modern levels of commercial enterprise dependent on private expressions of self-interest. It was, Arnall believed, the government's obligation (and present achievement) to stimulate this passion to ensure the self-preservation of the greatest number of the populace" (ODNB). In the present tract Arnall defends the government's reduction in land taxation.

Arnall's Letter is bound with (despite the incongruity in size): The Honest Farmer's Politics and Religion: A Dialogue, published by F.C. and J. Rivington, for The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1820, duodecimo, (175 x 100 mm). This is the first edition of this anonymous tract, opposing the desires for radical reform which the author must have felt to be growing among farmers, and mounting a defence of the veracity of the bible. The dialogue is particularly notable for its lengthy rejection of Thomas Paine. Highly uncommon, with Library Hub listing three copies, with none added by WorldCat.

Provenance: The Lawes Agricultural Library, with their gilt stamp to front cover, ink stamps to title pages, and shelf marks. The library was assembled in the early 20th century by Sir John Russell, director of the Rothamsted agricultural research institution in Hertfordshire, and ranked as one of the finest English collections of agricultural material.

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Octavo (198 x 124 mm). 20th-century cloth, spine lettered in gilt.


Browned, very minor chipping and creasing around page extremities. A very good copy.


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