The Reading Room

A Dissertation upon Parties: From the Liberty Fund Rare Book Room

I should be clear. I am aware that Bolingbroke's Dissertation Upon Parties has nothing to do with the kinds of parties we are all anticipating as 2022 begins to transform into 2023. That said, I was entirely unable to resist posting about this title from Hamburger's collection in the Liberty Fund rare book room
Dating from 1749, this well thumbed copy of Dissertation Upon Parties cocks an elegant eyebrow at Burke's famous sneer, "Who now reads Bolingbroke? Who ever read him through? ... I do not often quote Bolingbroke, nor have his works in general, left any permanent impression on my mind. " The owner of this volume, at least, read Bolingbroke and read him often.

That owner, I'm pleased to report, was Captain Duberly, of the 11th Light Dragoons. Sufficiently interested in the topic of parties to buy and read Bolingbroke, he also cut and pasted (in the old fashioned way) a brief comment on political parties and divisions  from a magazine or newspaper into Bolingbroke's book,

Captain Duberly also left a bit of additional commentary for the future.

He writes, as best as I can make out, "Bolingbroke was a Tory, but not such a Tory as those who [???] in 1881, the inviolability of rotten boroughs."

And so we have an answer to Burke's sneering question, a fine title to consider any time of the political year and to make us a little merry at the New Year. And an author who gives us a bit of fine advice to carry forward into 2023.
What higher station, to what greater glory can any mortal aspire, than to be, during the whole course of his life, the support of good, the controul of bad government, and the guardian of public liberty?