An Inquiry Into the Rights of the British Colonies [Limited Reprint]
Richmond, Virginia: Appeals Press, Inc., 1922. Limited edition reprinting (No. 24 of 190). Quarto. Brown linen boards with paper label to front cover. Printed on laid paper with fore-edge untrimmed; uncut. Minor scuffing to front board, else fine. Item #44
Richard Bland (1710–1776) was an American planter and statesman from the State of Virginia who played a prominent role in the American debates that led to the Revolutionary War. He was an outspoken advocate for colonial self-determination and was opposed to British taxation and governance policies. He was active in state and colonial government, serving as a representative in the Virginia House of Burgesses, a member of the Virginia Committees of Correspondence and Safety, a delegate to five Virginia conventions, and an elected representative in the First and Second Continental Congresses. Bland studied law and history at the College of William and Mary before serving as a justice of the peace in Prince George County and as a militia officer in 1739. Bland began his political career upon his election to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1742 where he later rose to prominence as a careful student of Virginia and British law and history. After Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765, he wrote An Inquiry Into the Rights of the British Colonies, which was published in Williamsburg in 1766 and thereafter republished in England. Bland’s pamphlet examined the relationship between the colonies and Parliament and concluded that Parliament could not justify plenary authority over the colonies, including the right to taxation and legislation. Although the popular refrain “no taxation without representation” is often attributed to his contemporary, James Otis, it was Bland’s pamphlet that laid the framework for the colonists’ revolutionary argument. Bland would publish numerous pamphlets in the years leading up to the American Revolution, but none was perhaps as influential as his Inquiry. As a result of his efforts on behalf of the colonies, Bland’s illustrious cousin, Thomas Jefferson, recognized him as the most learned and logical leader of his generation. This edition of Bland’s momentous pamphlet was edited by Earl Gregg Swem, librarian of the College of William and Mary, and specially published in 1922 by the Appeals Press, Inc. in Richmond, Virginia for William Parks Club Publications No. 1 on beautifully produced laid paper. This limited-edition copy is numbered 24 of 190.