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FOSTER, John Leslie.

An Essay on the Principle of Commercial Exchanges,

and more particularly of the exchange between Great Britain and Ireland: with an inquiry into the practical effects of the bank restrictions.

London: for J. Hatchard, 1804 Stock Code: 144913
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The Bank of England's copy

First edition of the most ambitious contemporary response to the Irish Report of 1804, a significant precursor of the more famous Bullion Report of 1810; with a superb provenance, from the library of the Bank of England, the front cover lettered in gilt with their ownership.

The Irish Report pointed to the unfavourable exchange between London and Dublin caused by excessive issue of notes by the Bank of Ireland and their consequent depreciation, that issue being no longer related to the gold standard. Foster, a young Irish barrister, emphasized "certain sound principles: an unfavourable balance of trade cannot explain a continuous unfavourable exchange; an excessive issue of currency is comparable to a debased or seigniorage-charged currency; a metallic currency can never remain excessive, by reason of efflux; an inconvertible paper currency is likely to become excessive; sound discounting of commercial paper is no adequate precaution against over-issue; a premium on gold, a discount on paper, and a continuous unfavourable exchange are infallible symptoms of an excessive and therefore a depreciated currency" (Hollander).

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Octavo (207 x 127 mm). Contemporary sprinkled calf, rebacked in sheep preserving earlier red morocco title label, green morocco shelf label, "Bank of England" lettered in gilt to the front cover, green cloth hinge supports.


Folding letterpress table.


Subsequently in the library of the Midlands Bank Limited, with their stamp to front free endpaper and shelfmarkings to pastedown. Bound without half-title, errata slip mounted to p. viii. Light wear and rubbing at extremities, some foxing, minor pencilled markings. A very good copy.


Kress B.4801; Goldsmiths' 18882. See Jacob H. Hollander, "The development of the theory of money from Adam Smith to David Ricardo", Quarterly Journal of Economics, v. 25, 1910-11, pp. 429-70.


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