"THE PATRIOT WAS CALLED FOR BY MY POLITICAL FRIENDS ON FRIDAY, WAS WRITTEN ON SATURDAY" (JOHNSON): 1774 FRIST EDITION OF THE PATRIOT, ONE OF ONLY 500
(JOHNSON, Samuel) . The Patriot. Addressed to the Electors of Great Britain. London: T. Cadell, 1774. Slim octavo, period-style half brown calf, red morocco spine label, marbled boards; pp. 33. $1100.
First edition, one of only 500 copies, of Johnson's anonymously published political pamphlet supporting his friend Thrale, the Ministerial candidate for Southwark.
"The decision to write these [political] pamphlets was perhaps the most purely surprising of Johnson's life. For at least ten years he had been on a pedestal as the great lexicographer and moralist, the lawgiver on letters and on experience, above every conceivable battle. Now, suddenly, he descended into the arena and began laying about him… Quite probably a large part of the motivation was sheer enjoyment, the love of a free-for-all. Controversy, after all, is quite enjoyable, to write as well as to tread… Certainly, if the pamphlets of the 1770s had never been written, we should lack some of his most vigorous and exhilarating prose… In 1774 came a third pamphlet [after The False Alarm of 1770 and Thoughts on Falkland's Islands of 1771], a straight piece of opposition-bashing" (Wain, Samuel Johnson, 281-83). As issued without half title. This popular pamphlet went through three editions by the following year. Fleeman's 74.10P/1. Courtney & Smith, 117. With one manuscript correction to p. 24 ("just" to "first").
A fine copy, handsomely bound.