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A LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, ON THE - [Shebbeare, John] - 1757. 
London, 1757. ,58; ,56; ,[5-]64; ,111; ,99,; ,121pp. Six volumes. Dbd. Light staining to outer leaves of two volumes, some light tanning throughout. Three volumes lacking half-titles, one lacking errata slip. Very good. In a cloth clamshell box. An excellent set of Shebbeare's six letters on sundry political and economic issues, including the first and the fourth, which are of special American interest. The proposed seventh letter was seized in the press, and the only known fragment is at the John Carter Brown Library. Four letters are true first editions, and one, though a stated second edition, is a first edition, second issue. This series of letters was written by Shebbeare relatively early in his career as a political writer. "As the international crisis of 1755-6 developed into war between Britain and France, Shebbeare's political commitment increased, inspiring the composition of a series of pamphlets condemning the Newcastle ministry's management of the conflict, beginning with A LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, published in the autumn of 1755. Shebbeare accused the ministry of sacrificing British maritime and colonial interests in North America by slavishly pandering to the Hanoverian partialities of George II....Admiral John Byng's failure to save the Mediterranean island of Minorca from capture by the French in July 1756 precipitated an intense political controversy over the responsibility for the defeat. Shebbeare's FOURTH LETTER, published in August, formulated a scathing review of the Newcastle administration's European diplomacy and conduct of the war in North America, and blamed the loss of Minorca upon the neglect and incompetence of the ministers" - DNB. The second, third, and fifth letters focus on the use of money to employ foreign mercenaries, the general misuse of public funds, and the government's perceived disregard for the constitution, respectively. The sixth, most incendiary letter, attacked the House of Hanover for its alliance with Prussia in 1757, and compared it to the apocalyptic pale horse of Revelation. This last letter led to Shebbeare's conviction on charges of seditious libel, and earned him a sentence of three years in prison and an appearance in the Charing Cross pillory. Upon his arrest, Shebbeare's seventh letter was suppressed while in production. Letters one, two, four, and six in this set are first editions, letter five a first edition reissue, and letter three a third edition. An important group of English polemical pamphlets with significant material on colonial America, and quite difficult to obtain as a set, particularly in the first editions. HOWES S369, S368. SABIN 80052, 80056, 80061, 80046, 80045, 80060. ESTC T38302, T47319, T75119, T40119, T35524, T48406. GOLDSMITHS 9066, 9068, 9195 (ref), 9197, 9292, 9294.
[Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
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