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BENTHAM, Jeremy.

Defence of Usury; shewing the Impolicy of the present legal restraints on the terms of pecuniary Bargains; in Letters to a Friend.

To which is added, a Letter to Adam Smith, Esq. LL.D. on the discouragements opposed by the above restraints to the progress of inventive industry. The third edition. And to which is also added, second edition, a protest against law taxes.

London: Payne and Foss, 1816 Stock Code: 101341
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Third edition, first published in 1787. A Protest against Law-taxes was first published alone in 1793, and with Supply without Burthen in 1795. 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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Octavo (175 x 103 mm). Contemporary half calf and marbled boards, rebacked preserving the original spine, black leather label.


Library stamp of the Earl of Ellenborough. An excellent copy.


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