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BENTHAM, Jeremy.

Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the Form of a Catechism, with Reasons for each Article, with an Introduction, shewing the Necessity of Radical, and the Inadequacy of moderate Reform.

London: R. Hunter, 1817 Stock Code: 101511
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First edition of Bentham's important work, advocating parliamentary reform. Written in 1809, the Catechism is an example of the concern Bentham developed for representative democracy and, in Holdsworth's words, is the work that "signalized his conversion to the creed of the radical reformers" (History of English Law). Bentham advocates here the holding of annual elections, secret voting, uniform electoral districts, suffrage for all who pay a certain amount of taxes and the exclusion of placemen from the House of Commons. Bentham offered the paper, anonymously, to William Cobbett for inclusion in the latter's Political Register. Insertion was declined and Bentham never forgave Cobbett: the references to him in subsequent writings are usually abusive.

"By 1817 Bentham had become a much firmer believer in reform and he now prefaced his original tract of fifty-two pages with a new introduction of 337 pages showing The Necessity of Radical, and the Inadequacy of Moderate Reform. He also reprinted at the end, without permission, a sixteen-page sketch by Mr. Meadley On Various Proposals for a Constitutional Reform in the Representation of the People introduced into the Parliament of Great Britain from 1770 to 1812." (Muirhead).

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Octavo (211 x 123 mm). Contemporary blue straight grained morocco, gilt double-rule border to covers, rebacked, red morocco labels, marbled endpapers and edges.


Without the final advertisement leaf; a very fine copy.


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