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    First Edition of Malthus on Population

    [Thomas Robert Malthus]. An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society. With Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers. London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1798. First edition. Octavo. 396 pages, without advertisement at end. Contemporary full speckled calf with gilt-stamped borders to covers. Morocco spine labels with gilt titles and gilt-stamped decorations and ruling. Rich inner dentelles with extensive gilt, as well as spine ends and corner edges. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. Very light wear to covers. A few spots of minor foxing and toning throughout. Minor offsetting to endpapers. Owner signature to title. Otherwise, a near fine copy of this important work.

    In Malthus' best known work, he posits the idea that food supplies tend to grow arithmetically while population tends to grow geometrically, with famine, war and poverty being the inevitable conclusion. As economics became known as the "dismal science" shortly thereafter, this work played an important role, being incorporated into the works of the early classical economists Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and David Ricardo. The broad interest in Malthus with various social sciences, along with Darwin recognizing its influence on The Origin of the Species, make the first edition of this Enlightenment work of great historical significance and as sought after as Smith's Wealth of Nations.

    Garrison-Morton 1693. Kress B.3693. Norman 1431. Printing and the Mind of Man, 251. From the James and Deborah Boyd Collection.

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    April, 2012
    11th Wednesday
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