PROBITY IN PUBLIC LIFE

ID: 23433
250.00
A serious and impartial address, to all the independent electors of the United Kingdoms, upon the recent Middlesex election;

YATE, Walter Honywood, A serious and impartial address, to all the independent electors of the United Kingdoms, upon the recent Middlesex election; in which the proceedings & transactions of that extraordinary event are candidly and constitutionally discussed and investigated; the fatal tendency and destructive consequences of such a precedent considered; and the whole viewed as a grand national cause, in which that most invaluable privilege, the elective franchise, and the representative system itself, are most intimately involved. Glocester: printed by G.F. Harris. 1804.

8vo., viii + 47 + (1)pp., including the half-title, very small neat library inkstamp on blank verso of title, preserved in modern wrappers with printed title label on upper cover. A very good copy.

First edition.

After Burdett's election to Parliament for the Middlesex constituency in 1802 had been voided, in 1804 a new contest was called. In this election campaign Burdett stood on a platform of parliamentary reform. Narrowly defeated as a result of misconduct by the Middlesex sheriffs, the results were subsequently overturned and Burdett sat for Middlesex in 1805-06. The expense of the 1802 and 1804 campaigns to Burdett alone probably amounted to at least 60,000. He became in effect the parliamentary spokesman of the radicals. Walter Honywood Yate ('An independent freeholder of the counties of Glocester & Worcester') gives here a robust acclamation for Burdett, probity in public life and for careful parliamentary reform. On probity in public life he is very clear: 'Corruption destroys public and private virtue, by bestowing similar rewards upon the worthy and unworthy: it places adherence to private views or party, as the paramount principle of conduct, and sets integrity and talents at defiance. As it increases, they languish till they are extinguished' (pp.11-12). Moreover, Yate considers Burdett to be a man of 'superior integrity and talent' whose views were 'those of an honest and upright man'. His subsequent history was, of course, inextricably linked to both prison and parliamentary reform.