A New Plan to Save the State. Addressed to the Ladies.

WOMEN  (1779)

£1250.00  [First Edition]

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"THE FEMALE CHARACTER, 'TIS KNOWN, / HAS MIGHTY INFLUENCE ON OUR OWN"

By a Gentleman of the University of Cambridge.

 

First Edition. 4to (260 x 200mm). 20pp. A little dusty and with a couple of spots throughout. Modern marbled boards, paper label to the spine, old yellow edges.

 

London: for the Author; and sold by J. Dodsley...Messrs. T. and J. Merrill, at Cambridge,

Rare. Yale and Huntington only in the USA; BL, Cambridge and Rylands in the UK.

 

An anonymous privately printed student poem written against the turmoil of the American War of Independence and the war with Spain calling on the nation to follow the example of women and not be diverted by gaming, pleasure gardens and other "foppish" pastimes.

 

A long poem by a Cambridge University student which calls on women to set an example to the men of the country and lead them away from vice and "foppish arts" in order to secure national security and ensure that, "So shall Iberia dread afar / The terrors of a British war; / So shall we ride the stormy sea, / The scourge of Gallic perfidy" (p.20)

 

The young poet calls for an end to baseless social pleasures calling on women to ensure their men: "No more to meet at Play, or Bach's / Divine Festino, or Almack's: / From Ranelagh to be debarr'd, Nor suffer'd e'en to touch a card" (p.8-9)

 

The poem is full of easily identifiable censored names attacking, for example, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792) for his supposed failures as First Lord of the Admiralty and Lord North's handling of the American War of Independence. 

 

A clue to the identity of the author might be found in the praise for George John Spencer, second Earl Spencer (1758-1834), then styled Viscount Althorp, the future politician and famous bibliophile, who had graduated (with a nobleman’s MA) from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1778:

 

While A--th--pe bids the Spencer name

Stand foremost in the list of Fame,

Instructed on the noblest plan,

The scholar, gentleman, and man...(p.13)

 

The anonymous poet calls on the reviewers in his preface to this work not to "despise" the poem, but the review in the Monthly Review was less than glowing:

 

"This rhyming planner has attempted what, we apprehend, his strength is no way equal to. His project will not be much regarded by those to whom it is addressed, and the poetry will not greatly recommend it" (Monthly Review June 1779)

Stock Code: 248216

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