Series of ten printed handbills by Mrs. Humphry Ward, on behalf of the Unionist Party in the General Election of 1910, under the title 'The Coming Election | Letters to My Neighbours | by | Mrs. Humphry Ward'.

Mrs. Humphry Ward [ Mary A. Ward (1851-1920), novelist ] [ Jerome K. Jerome ]
Publication details: 
Addressed from 'Stocks, Aldbury, Tring.', and dating from between 10 and 17 January 1910. Published by Smith, Elder, & Co, London, and printed by Spottiswoode & Co. Ltd, London.
SKU: 18098

A total of 41pp., 4to. Complete run of ten issues (a second edition, expanded to 63pp., appeared in the same year). In black cloth binding, with manuscript note on front pastedown: 'George H M Ricketts - | Lent to Mr Blackman with a hope that he will read it & circulate it amongst his friends.' Eight of the ten numbers are of 4pp.; one (no.4) is of 6pp; and another (no.10) of 3pp. Uniform in design and all printed in blue ink. Written in a clear, forthright and combative style, attacking Lloyd George and the Liberals to great effect, while supporting the Tory cause ('No; we don't believe that men like Lord Brownlow and Lord Rothschild and the Duke of Bedford have been merely considering their own selfish interests in saying "This Budget must go to the country."'). A prefatory note to the first number, dated 10 January 1910, explains the background: 'Dear Mr. Reginald Smith, - These letters were originally written for my country neighbours living in the villages of West Herts, the parliamentary division for which my son Mr. Arnold Ward is standing as the Unionist candidate in this all-important General Election. It is by your kind suggestion that I have been led to entertain the idea that they might be helpful in other quarters also, so you must bear the responsibility of their wider distribution! | No one feels their defects more than I; but if they can do anything, however insignificant, in the country districts of England, during the next fortnight, to help a great party in a great fight, I shall not regret having let you have your way. | Yours sincerely, | Mary A. Ward.' 1, 'The Budget and the Lords'; 2, 'The Land Taxes and the Villages'; 3, 'The Land Taxes and Unemployment'; 4, 'Tariff Reform'; 5, 'Unemployment'; '6, 'Preference and Food Taxes'; 7, 'Old-Age Pensions and Back to the Land'; 8, 'Some Radical Absurdities'; 9, 'Remarks on a Radical Leaflet'; 10, 'More Radical Absurdities'. Of particular interest are numbers 8 and 9 which attack 'a speech made into a leaflet - a speech by Mr. J. K. Jerome, a writer of tales'. Ward's treatment of Jerome is indicative of the note she strikes: 'Now let me ask you to listen to what another writer of tales, who lives in your midst, has to say to it, a writer who also knows something about America and Germany, the countries of which Mr. Jerome tells you such extraordinary things. | Mr. Jerome writes amusing stories, and makes an excellent speech at a public dinner; but he seems to be in such a passion with the House of Lords that it has taken away all his power of seeing things straight. I certainly hope that nobody in Aldbury or West Herts will pay the smallest attention to these foolish statements. | Take, for instance, the story Mr. Jerome tells that 30,000 men, many of them skilled artisans, were sweeping the streets in Dresden, the last time that Mr. Jerome was there. [...]' Seven entries on COPAC, but now scarce.