RARE PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION COPY OF REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE, 1790, INSCRIBED BY EDMUND BURKE TO HIS FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, BRITISH STATESMAN AND FINANCIER STEPHEN ADEY
BURKE, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France, And on the Proceedings in Certain Societies in London Relative to that Event. London: J. Dodsley, 1790. Octavo, contemporary full brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, marbled endpapers. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $16,500.
Rare third edition, published within weeks of the first edition, of Burke's important and controversial attack on the French Revolution, presentation/association copy, inscribed in Burke's hand "From the author" on the title page above the owner signature of prominent British statesman, financier and close Burke associate Stephen T. Adey, with Adey's owner signature also on the first text leaf. A handsome copy in contemporary calf.
"One of the most brilliant of all polemics… It is not to be wondered at that a man who desired justice for America but rejected Jefferson's doctrines would be deeply stirred by the events of 1789. To Burke an absorption with the end and neglect of the means was the most dreadful of sins. His anger and disgust were exacerbated by the dread that the aims, principles, methods and language which he detested in France might infect the people of England. This it was which provoked the Reflections" (PMM 239). "The effect of the Reflections was extraordinary. It created a reaction against the revolution; it divided Englishmen into two parties and did much to ruin the whigs… Abroad the Reflections created no less stir than at home, and Burke received the compliments of different foreign sovereigns" (DNB). Burke's "attack on the French Revolution… infuriated Paine, who was chagrined by these statements coming from his former friend, the great liberal. He rushed into print with his even more celebrated answer, The Rights of Man" (Gimbel-Yale 58-59). Third edition, second issue: "Published after 29 November 1790." With "Fourth Edition" stated on title page; catchwords as in third edition, first issue; Todd "g" and "h": with "187-x," "210-*" and "212-1." Todd 53g. ESTC T46577. Goldsmiths 14520. See Grolier 100 63. With the owner signatures of S[tephen] T[hurston] Adey on the title page and first text leaf. Burke was one of Adey's most "influential patrons" and the two often corresponded. As a member of Parliament and a prominent financier, Adey "was associated for most of his life with the house of Boldero, Kendall, Adey & Company…. [Burke] described Adey in 1780 as a Whig 'of worth and honour', with 'nothing of the banker in him'… their association continued to the end, Adey being present throughout Burke's last illness" (House of Parliament). Armorial bookplate.
Text generally fresh with faint occasional dampstaining, light rubbing to spine ends, dampstaining to rear board. An exceptional association copy.