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PAGE, William, (ed.)

Commerce and Industry.

A Historical Review of the Economic Conditions of the British Empire from the Peace of Paris in 1815 to the Declaration of War in 1914, based on Parliamentary Debates. With a Preface by Sir William Ashley, M.A., Ph.D. Vice-Principal of the University of Birmingham and Dean of the Faculty of Commerce.

London: Constable and Company, Ltd, 1919 Stock Code: 107045
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William Ashley's copy

First edition, first impression, of the comprehensive history of Britain's economy prior to the First World War as recorded by Parliament, written to "afford some assistance to those interested in the reconstruction which necessarily follows the destructive agency of war". This copy was owned by economic historian Sir William James Ashley, who made significant contributions to the development of economic history in Britain, as well as to the founding of business studies as a discipline. Ashley contributed the preface to the work.

By focusing on parliamentary documents, the first volume of Commerce and Industry aims to provide as impartial a review of commercial and industrial matters as possible. The second volume is one of statistics tables, covering population summaries, revenue and expenditure reports, local taxation records, and railway returns, among other areas.

The Victoria History of the Counties of England series, of which Page was both joint and sole general editor from 1902 onwards, established his reputation as a trusted editor. In his note to the edition Page expresses his indebtedness to Ashley, "whose constant help, advice and criticism have greatly added to the completeness, utility and accuracy of the work". This is reiterated in his letter to Ashley, dated 12 May 1919, in which Page writes: "I was glad to get your excellent preface... I will be careful to see that all your corrections are made and don't think there is any necessity to send you the revisions. I am hurrying to the printers and binders with the hope of getting the work out by the end of this month or early in June... Let me take this opportunity of thanking you most heartily for all your help, trouble, and forbearance in carrying out this work. If it should prove to be of use its utility will be mainly owing to your assistance". To the rear of the first volume Ashley has included reviews of Commerce and Industry from the Sunday Times, Irish Times, Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Financial Review of Reviews, The Scotsman, and the Birmingham Daily Post, dated from July to October 1919.

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2 volumes, large octavo. Original green cloth, spines lettered and ruled in gilt, front boards lettered in blind.


With 7 maps.


Ownership inscription of William Ashley to vol. I, with an autograph letter signed from Page to Ashley tipped-in, plus 8 newspaper reviews of the edition tipped-in and labelled by Ashley to the rear endpapers. Ownership inscription of W. W. Gibson dated 17th July 1919 to vol. II. Spine ends and tips very slightly rubbed, top edge and corner of front board of vol. II a little bumped, an excellent set.


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