PETTY, Sir William.

A treatise of taxes & contributions.

Shewing the nature and measures of crown-lands, assesments, customs, poll-moneys, lotteries, benevolence, penalties, monopolies, offices, tythes, raising of coins, harth-money, excize, &c. With several intersperst discourses and digressions concerning warrs, the church, universities, rents and purchases, usury and exchange, banks and Lombards, registries for conveyances, beggars, ensurance, exportation of money, wool, free-ports, coins, housing, liberty of conscience, &c. The same being frequently applied to the present state and affairs of Ireland.

London: Printed for Nath. Brooke, 1667 Stock Code: 127259

"one of the handful of first-rate economic treatises and a classic on its subject"

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Second edition, following the first of 1662, of Petty's first economic treatise, which "followed immediately after the Restoration, when changes in the methods of raising revenue were being discussed" (Keynes). "Written in the midst of urgent practical tasks, the Treatise was plainly occasioned by another question of great immediate importance - the reorganisation of the Revenue by the Restoration Parliament. However, in contrast to the many economic treatises written in defence of concrete interests, while professing to be unbiased theoretical pronouncements, Petty's work is even more remarkable for its theoretical digressions than for its acute and important analysis of its immediate subject. So far from making any claim to scientific detachment, it contains a devastating attack on his bêtes noires, the parasites on the body politic, primarily the clergy and the lawyers, but its greatest achievement is his searching treatment of the main problems of scientific economics. The book is brimful of brilliant ideas, although it inevitably suffers from the defects of its qualities - lack of system, prejudice and sometimes inconsistency. These blemishes cannot shake its position as one of the handful of first-rate economic treatises and a classic on its subject" (Strauss, Sir William Petty, Portrait of a Genius, p. 176).

"The Treatise on Taxes seems to be a straightforward discussion of the sources of public revenue, the forms of public expenditure, and of the best means of raising the one and disbursing the other... Petty's analysis... when it is summarized... includes a theory of value and wages, a theory of profit or surplus (which is in effect a theory of rent), a discussion of the value of land, and a theory of interest and foreign exchange" (Roll, pp. 102-3).

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Quarto. Originally stab-sewn, now loose in gatherings. Housed in a custom brown folding cloth case.


Contemporary annotation to p. 70. Edges a little frayed, a few small soiling marks, yet overall a very good copy.


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