Title: Letters to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, occasioned by his Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1791
Author: Joseph Priestley; Edmund Burke
A first edition of Priestly’s Letters to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, occasioned by his Reflections on the Revolution in France. This work was written as a response to William Pitt and Edmund Burke’s Parliamentary decisions to argue against the repeals of the Test and Corporation Acts, an act which inflamed Priestly and his colleagues. As such, he wrote this series of letters in an attempt to persuade them otherwise, but these publications only further aggravated the public against his dissenting views and support of the French Revolutionaries, on top of his already controversial religious views at the time.
Of Priestly himself, he was an English chemist, natural philosopher, separatist theologian, grammarian, multi-subject educator, and liberal political theorist who published over 150 works. While he has historically been credited with the discovery of oxygen, several others have staked a claim to that find as well.
Priestley's constantly tried to fuse Enlightenment rationalism with Christian theism, which was expectedly shocking for the time. Believing in the free and open exchange of ideas, he advocated toleration and equal rights for religious Dissenters, which led him to help found Unitarianism in England. The controversial nature of Priestley's publications, along with his outspoken support of the French Revolution, stirred public and governmental suspicion, and he was eventually forced to flee in 1791, and eventually settled in the USA after his home was burned down during the Birmingham riots.
One disbound pamphlet in octavo, 73 pages
On note of condition, this pamphlet is in good shape, with the text block holding together well, and foxing throughout. There are two stains on the last leaf obscuring several letters.