“IN THE PRIMITIVE AGES OF THE WORLD… THERE WAS NOT EVEN SO MUCH AS BARTER”: ANDERSON’S TWO-VOLUME ORIGIN OF COMMERCE, 1764 FIRST EDITION, WITH MUCH ON THE AMERICAN COLONIES
(ANDERSON, Adam). An Historical and Chronological Deduction of the Origin of Commerce, From the Earliest Accounts to the present Time. Containing An History of the great Commercial Interests of the British Empire… London: A. Millar, et al., 1764. Two volumes. Tall folio (10-1/2 by 17 inches), contemporary full brown calf rebacked with elaborately gilt-decorated spines laid down, burgundy morocco spine labels, raised bands. $8500.
First edition of this important authoritative history of commerce, with a global authority that includes a focus on Britain’s acquisition of “new American markets,” as well as the greater consequences of “the very extraordinary actions of the year 1720” when the South Sea Bubble burst (Sabin), complete with three large folding maps, handsome in contemporary calf.
"The most comprehensive history of the earlier centuries of British overseas trade, Adam Anderson's Origin of Commerce was first published in the 1760s as the mercantile age was at its height. It was 'to the instrumentality of Commerce alone,' Anderson suggested, that 'the Britannic Empire is most peculiarly indebted for its Opulence and Grandeur" (Ormrod, Rise of Commercial Empires, 1). Reflecting on Britain's economic ties to North America, Anderson shared a general feeling in the pre-revolutionary years "that the colonies were to perform a dual role as producers of raw materials to be used by English manufacturers and as consumers of finished English products. This arrangement was seen… as reciprocally advantageous to both England and America" (Peskin, Manufacturing Revolution, 22).
Praised by Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations (1776) as "sober and judicious" in his research, Anderson welcomed trade with the colonies and "was delighted that Britain had acquired new American markets… He also congratulated the Americans on increasing their trade, 'perpetually increasing their useful productions, cultivating new plantations, and successfully attempting new materials for commerce.' He referred mainly to the raw materials produced by the southern colonies…. [as well as] New England lumber and food products of the mid-Atlantic colonies…. giving particular stress to those colonial products that might be useful to British manufacturing" (Peskin, 22). In this "monument of stupendous industry" (DNB), Anderson's scope is global and yet specific, devoting a considerable portion to British colonial interests and offering a "most accurate account of the South Sea Company and the very extraordinary actions of the year 1720" when the Bubble burst (Sabin 1382). Within this impressive two-volume work are extensive references to treaties, parliamentary acts, the substantive contributions of economic texts, and thorough statistical accounts of currency, population and wealth. With large folding hemispheric map of the world and two other maps. Sabin 1382. Goldsmith 9939. Kress 6154. Palgrave I:39. Rare English Books on Banking 13.
Infrequent scattered foxing, a bit of very minor marginal dampstaining to Volume II, marginal wormholing to Volume II appendix only, expert restoration to contemporary calf boards.