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BENTHAM, Jeremy.

Defence of Usury;

Shewing the Impolicy of the present legal Restraints on the Terms of pecuniary Bargains.

Philadelphia: printed for Mathew Carey by Lang and Ustick, 1796 Stock Code: 124002
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First American edition, originally published in London in 1787. The Defence of Usury was written during Bentham's stay in Russia, and takes the form of letters to a friend from "Crichoff, in White Russia". The work expounds the characteristic Benthamite economic principle that no adult of sound mind acting freely and aware of the circumstances, should be hindered from making any bargain that he sees fit to make; it is thus "an attempt to out-Smith Smith" in hostility to state intervention in economic life (Ross Harrison in The New Palgrave I, 228). "The Monthly Review, spoke of the book as 'a gem of the finest water' while Adam Smith pronounced it to be the work of a superior man, adding that he thought the author was in the right. 'He has given me some hard knocks', Dr. Smith is reported to have said; 'but in so handsome a manner that I cannot complain'" (Atkinson, Jeremy Bentham, p. 82).

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Duodecimo in 6s (147 x 88 mm). Contemporary tree sheep, flat spine ruled gilt, red morocco label.


Complete with terminal advertisment leaf.


Front joint skilfully restored, corners a little worn. Ownership inscription at head of title and following leaf cut away; a very good copy.


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