A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...

London: Printed for T. Dormer, 1732.

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A cutting satire on get-rich-quick schemes, including marriage

(Item #6120) A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing. Economics of Marriage, Anonymous, Get Rich Quick.

A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...

London: Printed for T. Dormer, 1732. First edition. Modern quarter morocco over cloth with gilt to spine. Measuring 180 x 111mm and collating complete including frontis, folding game board, and concluding woodcut: [2], 62, [2]. Bookplate of the Ricky Jay Collection to front pastedown. Top margin trimmed close with consistent loss to running headers and occasional loss to page numbers, with no other text effected. Pages somewhat toned with minor marginal chips, but otherwise unmarked. A scarce satire playing both on the rising popularity of get-rich-quick schemes and on the economics of the marriage market, the present is the only example to appear in the auction record. In the abscence of ESTC, we have used OCLC, which identifies only 12 institutional copies. The present is the only example currently in trade.

A Scheme for a New Lottery satirically warns readers against the dangers posed by get-rich-quick schemes, targeting large-scale scams like the recently burst South Sea Bubble and the pawn-broking swindle of the so-called Charitable Corporation. It also takes its shot at the everyday "Methods of Change-Alley Brokers, or Jockies...at the Hiring of which many middling Tradesmen run off many Thousands of Pounds in small sums, for which they now labour under great Necessities for want of it." More than the developers of scams, A Scheme places blame on the lack of critical thinking and the resulting gullibility of those who participate. Unrealistic and large-scale promises to rapidly improve peoples' financial lives and assist them in changing social classes were appealing at a time when few were "successful in using wealth from trade to found a landed family" that could become ensconced among the gentry (Rapp). But at the same time, they were typically only enriching for those running the scams. To that end, as soon as A Scheme critiques tradesmen for their slow but significant payouts through gambling, it turns around and proposes "Another Lottery, which may prove a general benefit to all concern'd; as there is no better Remedy for a Bite from a Mad Dog than the Liver of the Dog that bit." The proposed lottery, filled with so many rules, exceptions, and convoluted promises ensures that the cycle continues.

The basis for the present lottery also notably satirically targets the greatest systemic economic scam of the period: marriage. While marriage among the elite during the century was a means for consolidating wealth and ensuring the success of the future (male) offspring in a family, for the lower classes it represented opportunities "to create new, economically stable" or upwardly mobile situations for whichever partner married up (Knoll). Equally, because such marriages relied on the fiscal responsibility of the male partner or the honest financial disclosures of both families involved, it could also result in financial ruin. Ultimately, few marriages of the period met the romantic ideal of companionate partnership set by popular novels.

A Scheme's lottery particularly plays on the latter facts -- and especially how they affect women's future financial prospects. By providing "Fifty Thousand tickets to be deliver'd to Maids, or Widows, or any that appear to be such" in the hopes of winning a financially stable husband represented by the tickets drawn. Such a match could be a good one: "A Ware-House Keeper with the Salary of a Hundred Pounds per Annum and if he is a fair trader he may make it One Thousand," or "the Governour, salary unknown but sufficient to keep a coach-and-six." It could also, by virtue of lottery, be a loss: "2 Scotchmen, both Pedlars, 500 Broken Booksellers," and a range of other ruinous bounders are also listed as prizes. For those who desire an advance attempt, the folding game bound in the book invites blindfolded women to stick a pin in the board to claim their prize. The present copy was played (gently), with pin marks revealing a Blacksmith and a Valet de Chambre among those husbands won.

The popularity of A Scheme resulting in a reissue the same year, with a canceled title page as The Ladies Lottery and falsely attributed to Swift.

ESTC N20921.
(Item #6120)

Price: $4,750 save 20% $3,800

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A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...
A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...
A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...
A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...
A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...
A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...
A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...
A Scheme for a New Lottery: or, a Husband and a Coach and Six for Forty Shillings. Being very advantageous to both Sexes; where a Man may have a Coach and Six and a Wife for Nothing...