The Debate Upon the Corn Laws, Volume 2.
Office of the Society for the Protection of Agriculture and British Industry. No date, circa 1846.
With the signature of Robert Cecil, later prime minister and 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, in ink on the front-free endpaper and the name Robert Gascoyne Cecil written in a gothic script in the center of the pasted-down endpaper opposite. Above ‘Robert Gascoyne Cecil’ is an armorial consisting of three arrows pointing down and right, crossed by three arrows pointing down and left, surmounted by a hat (the arms of the Marquis of Salisbury). This armorial appears to be drawn freehand, although it might be an ink stamp. Above the signature on the free endpaper is a later owner’s name in pencil. A red ink stamp has been applied to the center of the title page; ‘Hatfield House Library’ : Hatfield House being the seat of the Marquess of Salisbury. Some off-setting from this stamp onto the blank page facing it.
This book was probably inscribed by Robert Cecil before he became Viscount Cranbourne, upon the death of his elder brother, in June 1865. In 1868 he succeeded to the title of Marquess of Salisbury and in 1886 became prime minister, forming three administrations between 1886 and 1900. This work is certainly of the kind that would have appealed to him; he read widely on social and political topics, had an untiring eye for detail and, in his earlier manhood, published substantial essays in these fields.
Large 8vo. (26 x 17 cm), xii + 790 pages. Bound in the publisher’s green cloth, worn, torn at the head and foot of the spine, the endpapers split along the hinges and the boards nearly detached, clean internally, a few pages with a small piece torn from the blank margin.
A wonderful association copy, forging a link between a great Victorian Prime Minister and a vital issue of the earlier Nineteenth Century.