March 2011 Archives

Reform Catechism

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Reform Catechism. To which is added the Important Clause in the Reform Act; inasmuch, as it tends to deprive Nine-tenths of the People of their Elective Franchise. [London] T. Birt, 39 Great St. Andrew Street, Seven Dials [1832 / 1833] [Call number: (Ex) Item 5987680]

This broadside evokes the term ‘imprint’ in two senses. On the one hand, there is the inky fingerprint adjacent to the printer’s name. Could this be Thomas Birt’s own? Reform_Catechism_detail.jpg
On the other hand, we are reminded of the fervor of democratic reform, nowadays appearing on the front pages of our newspapers. Even though the Reform Act of 1832 broadened representation in Parliament and enlarged the franchise, there was still discontent because of an exclusion clause. No vote was allowed to the many owning or tenant in properties valued under £10.

According to his other publications, Thomas Birt maintained a “wholesale and retail Song and Ballad Warehouse” and further declared “Country orders punctually attended to. Every description of printing on reasonable terms. Children’s books, battledores, pictures, &c.”

Reading endpapers • I

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Sixteen faces: pen sketches, 19th century, on verso of rear free endpaper of The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff Esq; Vol. I (London, Printed: And sold by John Morphew, near Stationers-Hall. MDCCX. [1710]) [Call number: RHT 18th-1087 oversize]


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