“GAVE LOCKE A PERMANENT PLACE AMONG THE FOUNDERS OF POLITICAL ECONOMY”: SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF JOHN LOCKE’S SOME CONSIDERATIONS OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE LOWERING OF INTEREST
[LOCKE, John]. Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and Raising the Value of Money. London: Printed for Ansham and John Churchill, 1692. Small octavo (3-3/4 by 6 inches), 19th-century three-quarter brown calf gilt, raised bands, brown morocco spine labels, marbled boards. $15,000.
First edition of Locke’s important economic tract, “one of the scarcest and also one of the most important of his writings on mercantile and monetary theory” (AMEX Bank Library 269).
After the Revolution Settlement of 1688, the question of lowering the rate of interest was topical: many London merchants wanted cheap money and Locke was thus prompted to look at his ‘old essay’ and prepare it for publication under the title Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest. “Locke controverts the view of Sir Josiah Child that the rate of interest could be fixed at a low rate, say 4 percent, by law. Locke, though ready to approve of a legal rate of 6 percent, argues that ‘generally speaking’ the price of the hire of money cannot be fixed by law; and that any attempt to fix the rate of interest below ‘the true and natural value’ can only harass trade and is sure to be defeated by the devices of expert traders” (Palgrave II:632-33). “The reasoning exhibited… gave Locke a permanent place among the founders of political economy. Locke showed conclusively the fallacy of [Secretary to the Treasury] Lowndes’ schemes for altering the standard, and the bill passed in April 1696 for the restoration of the coinage was in substantial accordance with Locke’s principles” (AMEX Bank Library 271). In Locke’s “magnificently hard-money discussion,” he “superbly put his finger on the supposed function of the Mint: to maintain the currency as purely a definition, or standard of weight of silver” (Rothbard, Economic Thought befoe Adam Smith, 321-22). “Locke’s writings on money and his arguments against devaluation have almost been regarded as gospels for ‘sound money’ men” (Li, Great Recoinage of 1696-9:104-5). The first edition of Some Considerations was published anonymously, but subsequent editions bore Locke’s name. This copy Yolton State A, bound without page 193 (errata). Attig 494. Kress 1792. Goldsmiths 2941. Wing L2760. ESTC R23025. OCLC lists 27 copies in institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Cambridge, Yale and Columbia.
Interior quite clean, front joint a bit tender. Quite rare.