"THE FIRST AND GREATEST CLASSIC OF MODERN ECONOMIC THOUGHT": SMITH'S WEALTH OF NATIONS, 1796, SCARCE IN CONTEMPORARY TREE CALF
SMITH, Adam. An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: A. Strahan, T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1796. Three volumes. Octavo, contemporary full brown tree calf rebacked with original elaborately gilt-decorated spines laid down, red and green morocco spine labels. $6500.
Early edition of Smith's magnum opus, a fine copy in handsome contemporary tree calf gilt.
"Where the political aspects of human rights had taken two centuries to explore, Smith's achievement was to bring the study of economic aspects to the same point in a single work… it is the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought" (PMM 221). Buckle's History of Civilization calls Wealth of Nations "probably the most important book which has ever been written," while economist J.A.R. Mariott asserts that "there is probably no single work in the language which has in its day exercised an influence so profound." First published in 1776. Stated eighth edition. With half titles. Volume III with rear page of publisher's advertisements. Kress B3289. Goldsmiths 16558. Palgrave III:116. ESTC T95381. Each volume with armorial bookplates of John Gordon, likely the 7th Viscount Kenmure and Lord Lochinvar. Volume III title page with owner inscription, "V.F.Benett, Pyth," a descendant of the early 19th-century architect who "Palladianized" the Georgian county house, called Pythouse, in the west of England. "Pyt House" library inkstamps cancelled in pencil. Small bookseller inkstamps.
Text pristine, only the lightest restoration to spine ends and Volume I number label renewed. A beautiful copy in fine condition.