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EDMONDS, Thomas Rowe.

Practical Moral and Political Economy; or, the Government, Religion, and Institutions, most conducive to individual Happiness and to National Power.

[Bound after:] MILL, James. Elements of Political Economy. London: For Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1821.

London: Effingham Wilson, 1828 Stock Code: 124761
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I: First edition of Edmonds's first work which "offers a critique of early industrial capitalism characteristic of Ricardian socialism. Some scholars have found in it anticipations of Karl Marx's theory of surplus value and the conception of capitalism as a historical stage to be succeeded by a more communal stage, which Edmonds called the 'social system'" (ODNB).

Relatively little is known about Edmonds; having studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was actuary to the Legal and General Life Assurance Company from 1832 until his retirement in 1866, after which date he more or less disappeared from notice. Yet as Anton Menger notes in his The Right to the whole produce of labour, that among various practical proposals for the reform of the evils of the then social system, Edmonds "formulated the opposition between earned and unearned income more clearly than any of his predecessors" (p. 60): "The income of every individual consists either of revenue or wages, or of both. Revenue is what costs the receiver no labour, it is generally derived from property in lands, houses, money, machinery, etc. Wages may be defined to be the commodities which a man of ordinary talents, and possessing no property or credit, receives in exchange for his labour." (p. 84).

"Like others of his generation who proposed improving the lives of the working class by changing institutions, Edmonds felt obliged to respond to Thomas Malthus. In his Enquiry into the principles of Population... (1832), Edmonds rejected Malthusian pessimism about social reform and tried to show instead that at each stage of human history, human misery is the result of ignorance, and of poor government." (ODNB).

II: First edition of what Palgrave calls "Mill's masterpiece". In his preface Mill describes the Elements as "a school-book in political economy" - it was in fact based on the lessons he gave to his then barely teenaged son John Stuart Mill - and he disavows any claim to originality. Born and educated in Scotland, James Mill (1773-1836) moved to England, making his living as a journalist, meanwhile writing what became a three-volume History of British India (1817), which led to long-term employment in the London office of the East India Company. Mill's thinking on economics was strongly influenced by his close friendship with David Ricardo and on public policy by Jeremy Bentham. The Elements is valuable as a summary of contemporary received theories. It was translated into French in 1823 and a second, revised edition came out in 1824

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2 works in 1 volume, octavo (211 x 132 mm). Contemporary half calf and pebbled cloth boards, spine elaborately decorated gilt, red leather label lettered gilt, sprinkled edges.


Ownership signature of J. P. Thomas dated 1823 to first title. Australian book seller's stamp to front pastedown, with later pencil ownership dated 1962 to front free endpaper.


Joints and head of spine lightly rubbed, inner hinges cracked but firm. Second work bound without the half-title. Occasional foxing, more severe in places; very good copies in an attractive contemporary binding.


Edmonds: Goldsmiths' 25445; Kress C.2057. ; rare, OCLC lists only 3 UK copies: Glasgow, BL, and Cambridge). Mill: Einaudi 3892; Goldsmiths' 23118; Kress C.739; McCulloch, p. 17.


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