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Natural and Political Observations

Mentioned in a following Index, and made upon the Bills of Mortality. With reference to the Government, Religion, Trade, Growth, Air, Diseases, and the several Changes of the said City.

London: Printed by John Martyn and James Allestry, Printers to the Royal Society, 1665 Stock Code: 126999
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Enlarged edition of a classic demographic study

Third edition, enlarged, first published in 1662. "The scientific study of the numbers, characteristics and territorial distribution of populations - today called demography - began with Graunt" (PMM). Graunt drew up his statistical tables from the birth and death records of parish clerks. From this he constructed the first tables of life expectancy, and, through applying mathematical calculations to his data, was able to form important conclusions as to the social and economic conditions of the people. He formulated principles that are now fundamental, including that the urban death rate exceeds the rural death rate, and that mortality is highest in the early and late years of life. His work noting the seasonal and annual variation of death rates, and their causes, proved a major influence on future studies of epidemiology, including those of William Farr and John Snow. Graunt was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society upon publication of the book, which proved a great success, with five editions by 1676. The present third edition had an added appendix with further observations, and a second folding table with new information from additional parishes. William Petty had some role in producing the work and edited later editions; from the late 17th century onwards it has been commonly claimed that he was the real author, with the debate as to the extent of his input still ongoing. The present copy has a manuscript note on the front free endpaper, dated 1795, which states the writer to be Petty, copied from Bishop Burnet's 1723 work History of His Own Time. The work can best be attributed as a collaboration between Graunt and Petty; it is generally accepted that the arguments for Petty's sole authorship are incorrect.

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Octavo (161 x 99 mm). Recent orange-brown morocco, spine lettered in gilt, new marbled endpapers preserving early front free endpapers.


License leaf with engraved coat of arms of the Royal Society, 2 folding tables.


Bound without the terminal blank. Folding tables with closed tears, light staining to pages, tiny chips to extremities not impinging on text, a little closely cropped, marginally grazing the heading on a1, tiny chip to G4 impinging text, short closed tear to N6 impinging text. A very good copy.


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