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Spence's THE END OF OPPRESSION Halfpenny D&H19


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The front side shows two men waving their hats next to a large pile of burning books, deeds and documents. The circle legend reads: "THE END OF OPPRESSION". 

The destruction of all legal and other records relating to landowners was an important step in the fight against private landowners and the restoration of public land use. Spence was of the opinion that private ownership of land meant denying the equal rights of society to the use of the land and its fruits, which was tantamount to denying people the right to life. There is a Roman coin with a very similar design based on the same principles. Could Spence have spied this idea, or is it a coincidence?

Spence published a short treatise entitled "The End of Oppression" in the form of a dialogue between an old and a young mechanic concerning the establishment of the "Rights of Man". At one point the young man remarks: “I have heard that there are other Spence Rights of Man that have gone further than Payne. It does not allow the right to have private property in land, giving it all to the parishes.” In the printed version, Spence introduces himself as "Patriotic Bookseller & Publisher of Pig's Meat". Spence's published lecture "The Rights of Man" was printed and sold in London, at the intersection of Chancery Lane and Holborn Street, where he originally had his saloop kiosk.

The reverse side depicts a seated Britannia, her right hand resting on a shield, and her left holding a spear, from the tip of which the Phrygian Cap (Cap of Liberty) falls to the ground. The legend at the top reads "ROUSE BRITANNIA!" (Awake Britannia!) and two small arrowheads. Of particular note is the shield, on which the red cross is located on top of the white cross of St. Andrew on a blue background - the emblem of England and Scotland before the union in 1800 with Ireland. Spence seems to be trying to urge Britain to wake up and keep the freedom slipping away through indolence and complacency. 


Dalton & Hamer: 819