Essays upon Peace at Home and War

Charles DAVENANT

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"ALWAYS ADDING FEWEL [SIC] TO THE FIRE OF DISCORD… GRASPING AT POWER WHICH THEY KNOW NOT HOW TO KEEP": FIRST EDITION OF POLITICAL ECONOMIST DAVENANT'S ESSAYS UPON PEACE AT HOME, AND WAR ABROAD, 1704

(DAVENANT, Charles) D'Avenant, Charles, L.L.D. Essays upon Peace at Home, and War Abroad. London: James Knapton, 1704. Octavo, contemporary full paneled brown calf rebacked with original spine laid down, red morocco spine label, raised bands; pp. (xxiv), 425, (7). $2800.

First edition of Davenant's important work on the political and economic consequences of flawed leadership, commissioned by Queen Anne and drawing on Machiavelli to develop principles of wise governance, with Jefferson owning several of Davenant's works, which "played a significant role in the later emergence of political economy as a key intellectual concern of the American Enlightenment."

In the early 18th century, when British economist Charles Davenant (alt. D'Avenant) "was at the height of his public fame as a political commentator… Queen Anne commissioned him to write a work of bipartisan propaganda, and that work was eventually published as Essays upon Peace at Home, and War Abroad" (Salzman & Wallwork, Early Modern Englishwomen, 12). Here Davenant draws extensively on Machiavelli to argue "that a prince who has no wisdom of his own, can never be well advised, and the good councils proceed rather from the wisdom of the prince, than the prince's wisdom from the goodness of his council" (Kurz et al., Dissemination of Economic Ideas, 56). He argues that a nation's economic stability is particularly threatened by those who rule not by directing "a People well united and obedient to the Laws," but instead by directing "an incens'd and giddy Multitude… always adding Fewel [sic] to the Fire of Discord… grasping at Power which they know not how to keep… ready to subvert that State which they are not allowed'd to govern" (100).

As a founding father of political arithmetic, Davenant "wrote extensively on taxation, war finance and foreign trade… his contribution to political arithmetic… was invaluable" (Stone, Some British Empiricists, 51, 69). Jefferson owned several works by Davenant, and his writings, which "were widely read in America… played a significant role in the later emergence of political economy as a key intellectual concern of the American Enlightenment" (Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment, 171). To Schumpeter, Davenant was an economist of "front-rank position… he was one of the first authorities of his time on public finance" (History of Economic Analysis, 203-4). With half title; seven pages of publisher's advertisements at rear. Part I complete with Part II never published. ESTC T85867. Goldsmiths' 4036. See Sowerby 2953, 2956, 2770. Armorial bookplate of "Colonel Cooper": with armorial arms identified as similar to those of the Earl of Shaftesbury (Ashley-Cooper).

Text fresh, mild rubbing, light edge-wear to boards. A extremely good copy desirable in contemporary calf.

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