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SMITH, Adam.

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

In three volumes. The seventh edition.

London: printed for A. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1793 Stock Code: 145601
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A crisp copy, strikingly bound

Seventh edition of "the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought" (PMM), which reprints the introductions to the third and fourth editions; this copy presenting very nicely in contemporary tree calf gilt.

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 128 mm). Contemporary tree calf, trio of black spine labels, Smith's name gilt to first, title to second, and third onlaid with rectangular red morocco numbering pieces, smooth spines richly gilt in compartments, swirl-and-dot roll in gilt to boards and board edges, edges yellow.


Engraved bookplates, William Craven of Wakefield, to front pastedowns; perhaps the engineer William Craven who, with Richard Bradley, established their business in Wakefield in 1843, creating machinery for automating the production of bricks. Newspaper clipping laid in recording sale of first edition of the Wealth at Sotheby's 1972 for £920. Expertly restored at joints and extremities, endpapers and first few leaves browned from turn-ins, the contents crisp and clean. Overall a very good copy.


Goldsmiths' 15565; Kress B.2618; Printing and the Mind of Man 221 (first edition).


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