Description

    The Last Edition of "The Wealth of Nations" Published during the Author's Lifetime

    Adam Smith. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. In Three Volumes. The Fifth Edition. London: Printed for A. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1789.

    Fifth edition (first published in 1776) and the last edition published during the author's lifetime. Three octavo volumes (8.3125 x 4.9375 inches; 212 x 251 mm.). x, 499, [1, blank]; vi, 518, [5, Appendix], [1, blank]; v, [1, blank], 465, [1, blank], [49, index], [1, publisher's advertisements] pages.

    Contemporary tree calf, newly rebacked to style, with smooth spines decoratively panelled in gilt with two burgundy leather gilt lettering labels. Endpapers renewed. Covers with gilt single fillet border. Some occasional foxing and browning. Front flyleaf in Volume III with the early ink ownership inscription of "Scott Ship / Lexington / Virginia / Bought in Paris / 3 Aug 1867" (with the first four words crossed out), and the additional early ink signature of Binda. A very good copy.

    Adam Smith (1723-1790) spent ten years in the writing and perfecting of The Wealth of Nations. "The book succeeded at once, and the first edition was exhausted in six months...Whether it be true or not, as Buckle said, that the 'Wealth of Nations' was, 'in its ultimate results, probably the most important that had ever been written'...it is probable that no book can be mentioned which so rapidly became an authority both with statesmen and philosophers" (D.N.B.).

    ESTC T96680. Goldsmiths' 13794. Printing and the Mind of Man 221 (describing the 1776 first edition).


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    3rd-4th Tuesday-Wednesday
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