COPLESTON, Edward, & others.

Four pamphlets on value, currency, and bullion:

A Letter to the Right Hon. Robert Peel, M.P. for the University of Oxford, on the Pernicious Effects of a Variable Standard of Value; [bound with:] A Second Letter.. on the Causes of the Increase of Pauperism and on the Poor Laws; [and:] HUSKISSON, William. The Question Concerning the Depreciation of Our Currency Stated and Examined; [and:] ROSE, George. Substance of the Speech delivered in the House of Commons... on the Report of the Bullion Committee.

Oxford [London for latter two tracts]: John Murray [fourth tract: printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies, and J. Hatchard], 1819-1819-1810-1811 Stock Code: 145014
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Post-Napoleonic War currency controversy

Four pamphlets on value, currency, and bullion, bound together in a contemporary pamphlet volume, comprising the first and second of Copleston's Letters to Peel (in first and second editions respectively), Huskisson on the Depreciation of our Currency (second, stated "New" edition), and Rose's opposition to the Bullion Committee (first edition); aptly representing the substantial polemical literature engendered by the unstable prices of the Napoleonic Wars and the aftermath, and the debate raging over paper and gold-backed currency.

Copleston's two Letters to Peel debate the gold standard and the poor laws. "In his First Letter he attributed the economic dislocation of post-Napoleonic war England to the depreciation of the currency, and urged the government to remove such obstacles as it was able to the self-correcting mechanism of nature. In his Second Letter, although he agreed with the evangelical John Bird Sumner (1780-1862) that economic life was one of the trials of man, and thus that governments should not effect by human laws what God had provided by the laws of nature, he did not concede that misery was the necessary consequence. He argued that it was possible to provide by law for the preservation, but not the propagation, of life. He thus tempered the apparent 'evil' of Malthus's natural check to population growth... However, Copleston's liberality in the face of demands for the abolition of poor-law relief should not be exaggerated: he opposed public works programmes and the purchase of land for cultivation by the poor, and approved of checks being imposed on the administration of relief by justices of the peace. The purpose of his support for relief was better to punish vagrancy and mendicity" (ODNB). The works proved popular, with the first undergoing three editions before the end of the year, and the second, two editions.

Huskisson's treatise on the currency drew praise from Ricardo. "Huskisson emerged as a leading bullionist, attacking the evils of depreciation of the currency following the wartime resort to paper money in 1797 and advocating the speedy resumption of cash payments. Huskisson believed that only convertibility would remedy the evils of inflation, which he regarded as not only ruinous to creditors but possibly revolutionary in its consequences. He played a major part in the proceedings of the famous bullion committee in 1810, and published his important pamphlet, The Question Concerning the Depreciation of our Currency Stated and Examined, in October 1810, which soon went through seven editions" (ODNB).

Rose's pamphlet prints his two-and-a-half-hour speech in Parliament opposing the report of the Bullion Committee, and defending paper currency. An authority in trade and finance, Rose had served as Secretary to the Treasury for most of the period 1782 to 1801 and joint paymaster-general from 1804 to 1806.He assisted Pitt with his fiscal reforms and wrote several influential tracts.

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4 works bound in 1 volume, octavo (204 x 122 mm). Contemporary half calf, black label, brown marbled sides, red marbled edges.


Contemporary manuscript contents list to front free endpaper, contemporary ink notation to half-title of first tract, note of date on third tract, occasional pencilled annotations in margins. Complete with half-titles other than in third tract; with advertisements in first tract which are not noted by Goldsmiths' or Kress; fourth tract with stab-holes in gutter as originally sewn. Front joint just beginning to split but still firm, very minor wear to tips, light browning to half-titles else contents fresh, signature I in third tract misbound but all present, half-title a little creased in fourth tract. In very good condition.


Goldsmiths' 22424, 22559, 20081, & 20340 respectively; Kress C270, C274, B5673 respectively, the fourth tract not in Kress.


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