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SMITH, Adam.

An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

The Third Edition, With Additions, In Three Volumes.

London: for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1784 Stock Code: 144188
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A beautiful copy in contemporary tree calf

First octavo edition, third overall (first 1776); a handsome set in an unostentatious but pleasing contemporary binding. This uncommon edition contains several additions including a new chapter titled "The Conclusion of the Mercantile System". This was the edition owned by Thomas Jefferson (Sowerby 3546).

In his Wealth of Nations, Smith "begins with the thought that labour is the source from which a nation derives what is necessary to it. The improvement of the division of labour is the measure of productivity and in it lies the human propensity to barter and exchange The Wealth of Nations ends with a history of economic development, a definitive onslaught on the mercantile system, and some prophetic speculations on the limits of economic control" (PMM). "The Wealth of Nations had no rival in scope or depth when published and is still one of the few works in its field to have achieved classic status, meaning simply that it has sustained yet survived repeated reading, critical and adulatory, long after the circumstances which prompted it have become the object of historical enquiry" (ODNB).

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3 volumes, octavo (212 x 120 mm). Contemporary tree calf, spines elaborately gilt in compartments, red and green morocco labels.


Ink ownership stamp "Seaforth" to each title page. Boards very lightly rubbed with a few small scratches, wear to lower edges and spine ends of vols. 1 and 3, small repair to spine of vol. 1, short cracks to joints at head of spines on vols. 1 and 2, contents lightly spotted, particularly in vol. 1. Overall a fine copy.


Goldsmiths' 12554; Kress B.789; Tribe 27; Vanderblue, p. [3]. See Printing and the Mind of Man 221 (first edition).


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