The Project. A Poem. Dedicated to Dean Tucker … by…

BURNING BOOKS

~ The Project. A Poem. Dedicated to Dean Tucker … London: Printed for T. Becket … 1778.

4to (234 × 195 mm) in half-sheets, pp. [4], 12; disbound.

First edition, rare, dedicated, ‘with some propriety and some humour’ (London Review), to the Welsh political writer Josiah Tucker, Dean of Gloucester. Three more editions appeared within the year.

‘The hint of this witty project is taken from Montesquieu’s notion of the influence of climate upon national character. Our Poet generally applies this principle to the temper and disposition of Britons, but, particularly, to our party contests, and parliamentary debates’ (Monthly Review). To counter the effects of winter in Parliament, Tickell proposes the installation of a vast stove called a ‘Buzaglo’, the flames to be fed with ‘inflammatory’ printed matter:

Almon, by contrast, shall provide
The libels vamp’d for either side,
And stipulate throughout the season
To furnish proper stock of treason.
How bright will the Buzaglo glow,
While heaps of Junius blaze below?
What ardours will Plain truth dispense
Fir’d with a page of Common sense?
Yet in a moment ’twill be slack’d;
By thrusting in Dean Tucker’s tract;
Again ’twill kindle in a trice,
Refresh’d with scraps of Dr. Price;
Now moulders slow with clumsy smoke,
While Johnson’s fogs each passage choak;
Now hiss, and sputter, and besmear
The house with brimstone of Shebbeare. Jackson, p. 65. ESTC locates 6 copies: BL, Bodley, ULL, Harvard, Newberry, North Carolina.

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