Monday, December 15, 2008

A nice title for a work

Spence, Thomas
1775 The Real Rights of Man. A lecture read at the Philosophical Society in Newcastle on November 8th, 1775, for Printing of which the Society did the Author the Honour to Expel Him.

This has got to be one of the best titles I've seen. Thomas Spence was a late eighteenth century social critic who believed that wealthy individuals should not be permitted to own large plots of land while the poor were landless (this was the age of enclosures). He argued for collective land ownership through local parishes. Spence was a tireless campaigner for his views, which, needless to say, were not popular among the wealthy and powerful of the time. His political activities had various consequences, from a stint in prison for sedition to his expulsion from the Philosophical Society. For more information on Spence, see:

Bonnett, Alastair
2007 The Other Rights of Man: The Revolutionary Plan of Thomas Spence. History Today 57(9):42-48.

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