HAMILTON, Alexander (1757-1804). [Caption title:] Report of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States on the Subject of Manufactures. Presented to the House of Representatives, December 5, 1791. Philadelphia: Childs & Swaine, 1791.
2o (345 x 215mm). , , 58pp. Collation: [A]4 B-Q2 (Q2 blank not present, as usual) = 31 leaves. (Light, even browning, minor repairs to fore-margin of first leaf, small tear to margin of I2, light dampstains to fore-margins of last 4 leaves), otherwise in excellent original condition. Stabbed and sewn, as issued in original gray-blue paper wrappers, spine reinforced with similar paper, ENTIRELY UNCUT, with deckle edges preserved (rebacked to match, minor wear, upper wrapper slightly spotted); clamshell case. In superb original condition.
Provenance: Samuel Johnston (1733-1816), North Carolina legislator, Governor and Senator (bold ink inscription, possibly by the printer, "Mr. Johnston" on back wrapper).
FIRST EDITION: THE GENESIS OF THE HAMILTONIAN ECONOMIC SYSTEM. Hamilton's third great state paper, following reports on the Public Credit (1790), the chartering of a national bank and the establishment of the U.S. mint. The Report on Manufactures, a carefully considered and visionary analysis--drew on Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (see lot 311) and writings of David Hume and Jacques Necker, and the work has been termed "the Magna Carta of industrial America" (Howes). In it, Hamilton "revealed...the full range of his program for making the United States a prosperous, secure and happy nation," laying out in detail "what he regarded as the proper role of government in the economy of a free society" (Forrest MacDonald, Alexander Hamilton, pp., 232, 235). Hamilton's brilliant plan is "often heralded as the quintessential American statement against the laissez-faire doctrine of free trade and for activist government policies--including protectionist tariffs--to promote industrialization" (David A. Irwin, "The Aftermath of Hamilton's 'Report on Manufactures,'" in Journal of Economic History, vol. 64, no. 3 [September 2004]).
The Report is surprisingly rare: only three copies are recorded by American Book Prices Current since 1975; of the three, this copy is by a considerable margin the finest and is the sole copy in its original binding. Evans 23915; Howes H123.