"THE FIRST AND GREATEST CLASSIC OF MODERN ECONOMIC THOUGHT": SMITH'S WEALTH OF NATIONS, 1796, 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, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, red and green morocco spine labels. $5600.
Early edition of Smith's magnum opus, a beautiful copy in contemporary tree calf boards.
"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. Contemporary armorial bookplates of John Holcombe of Wales, printed "New Cross. 1799," with the distinctive "wreath and ribbon" design.
Text generally fresh with lightest scattered foxing, faint occasional edge-dampstaining, mere trace of rubbing to boards, A near-fine copy, very desirable in contemporary tree calf boards.