Essays on Philosophical Subjects.
To which is prefixed, an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author; by Dugald Stewart, F.R.S.E.London: for T. Cadell Jun., W. Davies, and W. Creech in Edinburgh, 1795 Stock Code: 90155
Smith on astronomy, physics, logic, and the arts: an attractively bound copyFirst edition, published five years after Smith's death. It is prefaced by Dugald Stewart's "Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith", one of the earliest biographical notices of Smith, and "until Stewart's Biographical Memoir of 1811 formed the basis upon which everyone drew for the biographies of Smith that began to appear in the early 19th century" (Tribe).
Smith's literary executors, the medical scientist Joseph Black and geologist James Hutton, state in the advertisement that Smith's essays were intended as parts of "a connected history of the liberal sciences and elegant arts", but that Smith "long since found it necessary to abandon that plan as far too extensive". The essays range over philosophy, aesthetics and the history of science. Most were likely written before the appearance of the Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, but were withheld from publication as part of Smith's "extensive plan".
Kress lists the Dublin printing first and calls the London "another issue", while Tribe calls the Dublin edition a piracy. Neither is correct. Dublin booksellers at the time had a well-established exemption from the copyright laws and could legally reprint any new publication first published in London, without having to pay for copy. The London edition precedes the legal Dublin reprint.
Quarto (270 x 205 mm). Contemporary half calf, smooth spine lettered and ruled in gilt, marbled boards.
Manuscript annotation "Annan Subscription Library" at head of title (inventory number erased). Joints, spine ends, and corners skilfully restored, endpapers somewhat stained, very occasional light spotting; a crisp copy, presenting well.
With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.
Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220