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Emphemeral Look at the Seed of Europe's Crises: Benjamin Vaughn - The Concert of Princes (1793)




[VAUGHN, Benjamin] Letters, on the subject of the concert of princes, and the dismemberment of Poland and France. (first published in the Morning Chronicle between July 20, 1792, and June 25, 1793.) With corrections and additions. By a calm observer. [ The second edition.] London : printed for G. G. & J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row, M.DCC.XCIII. [1793]


An ephemeral & contemporary look at the European struggles that would haunt the Continent (& world) for centuries.


In the long march of history, the 18th century set up a lot of pins, poised to fall in the subsequent two centuries, culminating (arguably) with World War I. In this second edition of “Letters, on the Subject of the Concert of Princes, and the Dismemberment of Poland and France,” published the same year as the first, a Calm Observer (ie Benjamin Vaughan) defends revolutionary rights, and, among other radical ideas, condemns the attacks on Poland and France. He also uses his pseudonym as a Calm Observer to criticize William Pitt (the younger).


Vaughan was instrumental in drafting the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War between the newly-founded America and the well-established Great Britain. Vaughan’s interest in politics helped foster a friendship with another important American Benjamin: Mr Franklin. Ultimately Vaughan immigrated to America where legend has Jamaica Plain (a suburb of Boston) is named to reflect his island home.


The book itself is the fact it’s not in a fine or even nice binding. It’s in a work-a-day, contemporary paper-board binding which tells the history of the intended, nearly-ephemeral circulation of this material. Bound just enough to keep the gatherings together and the paper protected, this item was the news-channel of its day. In fact, the first publication of this material was in a serial through the Morning Chronicle, between July 1792 and June 1793. A reader at some point (possibly the 19th century when such things were particularly in vogue) has used the book to press flowers and leaves.


ESTC T76534



Copies in the British Isles clustered in Oxford, the BL, John Rylands, National Trust, and UCL.


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