Malthus' Essential Work on PopulationThomas Robert Malthus. An Essay on the Principle of Population; or, a View of Its Past and Present Effects on Human Happiness; With an Inquiry Into Our Prospects Respecting the Future Removal or Mitigation of the Evils Which It Occasions. Georgetown: Published by J. Milligan, 1809.
First American edition from the third London edition. Two octavo volumes. xvi, -510, xxxiv; vii, -542 pages.
Contemporary full calf with gilt ruling on the spine and gilt-lettered leather spine title labels. Binding worn, with noticeable abrading to the boards. Joints worn and somewhat splitting but holding, with the front board of Volume I very tender. Corners bumped and rubbed. One-third of front free endpaper in Volume I missing. Tape repair to the gutter of the title page of Volume I. Moderate foxing throughout. Overall, a very good copy.
The bookplate affixed to the front pastedown and the inked name in each volume identifies the previous owner as R. F. Beirne, a newspaper editor in Richmond once arrested for dueling with another editor.
"Thomas Robert Malthus...was one of the founders of economics. His Essay was originally the product of a discussion with his father on the perfectibility of society. Malthus senior, who had been a friend of Rousseau, was a supporter of the utopian views of Godwin and others, but he recognized the force of his son's refutation of these views, and urged him to publish. Thus the first edition was essentially a fighting tract, but later editions were considerably altered and grew bulkier as Malthus defended his views against a host of critics" (Printing and the Mind of Man, second edition, p. 151).
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