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The Cabinet. By a Society of Gentlemen by A Society of Gentlemen - First Edition - 1795 - from Paul Haynes Rare Books (SKU: Biblio605)

The Cabinet. By a Society of Gentlemen

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The Cabinet. By a Society of Gentlemen

by A Society of Gentlemen

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  • hardcover
  • First
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About This Item

First editions. 3 volumes bound in 2. Printed and Sold for J March. Norwich & J S Jordan, Fleet Street. London. 1795. 8vo. Title pages bearing the spear and defiant cap of liberty, together with the insignia of Libertas. vi, 310, (2)pp; 318, (2)pp; (bl.), 41-318, (2)pp. Lacking b-f: 1-40 [On Habeas Corpus, which was censored due to the political intervention and government persecution known as the "gagging acts", the Seditious Meetings Act and the Treasonable Practices Act]. Recent quarter calf, marbled boards, spines in six compartments with raised banding and gilt lettering. Bookplates to ffep's. Small red ink inscription to titles. Occasional spotting, mottling to title page of Volume II, ink stain to index vol III. Published by Thomas Paine's publisher, J S Jordan. Contributors were identified only by initial or pseudonym to escape prosecution.

Rare. ESTC P2535

The Preface reads: "No work in the English language, perhaps, ever appeared to the world under circumstances more inauspicious and depressing than the Cabinet... the giant arm of a ferocious and unrelenting despotism threatened destruction to the defenders of liberty and truth". 1794 The British Treason Trials/French Revolution. The Cabinet was published by J S Jordan, Thomas Paine's publisher, (subsequently tried and imprisoned). It published articles taking an anti government stance. On January 31, Thomas Paine gave the manuscript of The Rights of Man to publisher Joseph Johnson. A visit by government agents dissuaded Johnson, so Paine gave the book to publisher J.S. Jordan, then went to Paris, on William Blake's advice. He charged three good friends, William Godwin, Thomas Brand Hollis, and Thomas Holcroft, with handling publication details. The Rights of Man continues to face challenges today for its "subversive" and "radical" ideas, and remains one of history's most banned political narratives.

Penelope Corfield and Walter Graham have identified a number of the contributors:

William Taylor (G?) (1765–1836), "often called William Taylor of Norwich, essayist, scholar and polyglot. A political radical, a member of the "Tusculan School" for political discussion, and the Speculative Society, founded by William Enfield for philosophical debate. Taylor became a leader of the Speculative Club."

Marsh, Charles (X) (c.1774–1835), barrister and politician.

Amelia Opie, née Alderson ("N") (12 November 1769 – 2 December 1853), "Miss Alderson had inherited radical principles and was an ardent admirer of John Horne Tooke. She was close to activists John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Amelia Alderson contributed fifteen poems to the first three issues of The Cabinet. Increasing revolutionary violence and warfare polarized public opinion, however, and a large show trial of leading 'English Jacobins', including the Aldersons' acquaintances Thomas Holcroft and John Horne Tooke, was scheduled for November 1794. A month earlier Amelia Alderson had told Susannah Taylor that she was pessimistic at the outcome, that The Cabinet was considered a 'dangerous' publication."

Equiano, Olaudah (OTHELLO) [Gustavus Vassa] (c.1745–1797), "author and slavery abolitionist. Equiano, the African by Vincent Carretta. "Equiano's association with the members of the Tusculan School may have continued beyond his stay in Norwich. The school debates evolved into the Cabinet. The author of the anti-war essay entitled "Mischievous Effects of War" used the pseudonym "Othello", which suggests that the writer was of African descent. Equiano may have been "Othello". Of the twenty known contributors to the Cabinet, all publishing pseudonymously, thirteen subscribed to Equiano's Norwich edition."

Mary Wollstonecraft (L.R. ?) Advocate of women's rights. Married to William Godwin.

William Youngman (Alcanor) d. 1836. "A wine merchant and member of the Independent Congregation at Norwich."

John Pitchford (Y) (1772-1839) "educated at Norwich under Samuel Parr and at St. Omer, he was a chemist and political radical in Norwich."

Taylor, John (CLIO + H.D.?) (1750–1826), "Surgeon and hymn-writer, and founder of the literary family of the Taylors of Norwich."

P. Meadows Taylor (P.S.R.)

William Dalrymple (O.O.O) Norwich surgeon

Thomas Starling Norgate (Z) (1772–1859) writer, journalist and newspaper editor

Henry Crabb Robinson (H.C.R.) (1775–1867), diarist and journalist.

Annabella [Bell] Plumptre (A.C., possibly also A.B.) (1769–1838)

Dr Edward Rigby

Sir William Jones Orientalist and jurist.

Edward Rigby (W) (1747-1821)

William Pattison (Rusticus) (1775-1848)

Thomas Drummond (G?) Presbyterian minister.

William Enfield (Homo) Unitarian minister.

The following contributors are as yet unidentified: I.L., Philolethes, A, P.P.A., Civis, D., P.E., C.G., H, Honorius, ONEIR, Gwilym Dyfed, C, O.S., S.S., U.S., Z.


Corfield, Penelope J. The case of The Cabinet: did Mary Wollstonecraft join the Norwich radicals? The Times Literary Supplement ISSN: 0307-661X 1997 Issue 4903.

Corfield, Penelope J & Evans, C. Youth and Revolution in the 1790's. Sutton. 1996.

Graham, Walter. The Authorship of the Norwich Cabinet 1794-5. Notes and Queries 162 (1932) pp294-5.

Thompson, Edward P. The Making of the English Working Class. Penguin. 1963.


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Paul Haynes Rare Books GB (GB)
Bookseller Inventory #
The Cabinet. By a Society of Gentlemen
A Society of Gentlemen
Book condition
Quantity available
Printed and Sold for J March & J S Jordan
Place of Publication
Date published
Liberty, Treason Trials, Politics, Tusculun School, Paine, "Rights of Man", French Revolution
Bookseller catalogs
History; Literature; Military History; Politics;

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About the Seller

Paul Haynes Rare Books

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This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2016
Hay on Wye, Herefordshire
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About Paul Haynes Rare Books

Paul Haynes has been an antiquarian bookseller since 1978. Based in Hay on Wye, he travels worldwide to buy and sell rare and old books. A member of the ABA, ILAB and PBFA. Paul Haynes Rare Books offers both antiquarian and scarce books in all subjects, with something of a bias towards the owner's passion for Travel and Exploration.


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