The First Dublin Edition of Smith's Wealth of Nations

    Adam Smith. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. In Three Volumes. Dublin: Printed for Messrs. Whitestone, Chamberlaine, W. Watson, [et. al.]: 1776. First Dublin edition, published the same year as the true first edition (London). Approximately 8.25 x 5.25 inches. Three octavo volumes. [viii], 391, [1, blank]; [viii], 524, [3, publisher's catalogue], [1, blank], 412 pages. With the half-title in Volume I and the publisher's catalogue in Volume II as called for. Bound in contemporary full brown calf, possibly later gilt lettering on spine and red morocco gilt lettering labels. Some wear to binding, some cracking near joints at the top of Volumes II and III, and a short crack on spine of Volume I, worm damage to the text of Volume I, with some minor loss of text between pages 235 and 303. Some minor thumbsoiling in text. Overall, a very good copy.

    There were only three editions published in 1776 (the English, the Irish, and the German); there wouldn't be a second edition until 1778. The Wealth of Nations is the fundamental work of Adam Smith (1723-1790). Smith spent ten years writing and perfecting it. It was an immediate success, the first edition selling out in six months. D.N.B. states: " is probable that no book can be mentioned which so rapidly became an authority both with statesmen and philosophers." It became the Bible of laissez faire for generations of economists and political theorists--"the certainty of its criticism and its grasp of human nature have made it the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought" (Printing and the Mind of Man 221, referring to the London edition).

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2012
    8th Wednesday
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