30 April 2008
MALTHUS, Thomas Robert (1766-1834). An Essay on the Principle of Population: or, A view of its past and present effects on human happiness. London: T. Bentley for J. Johnson, 1803.
4° (265 x 209mm). C4 cancelled and signed C3. (Occasional light spotting throughout, paper flaw and ink mark to verso of 2Y4, tiny hole to 4C2 not affecting text.) Contemporary calf, flat spine ruled in gilt, red leather spine label, FFF stamp at foot, marbled endpapers (spine expertly repaired, upper joint worn at tail, extremities a little rubbed). Provenance: Francis Ferrand Foljambe (binding).
Second edition. In the first edition of 1798, Malthus had proposed that population increases in a geometrical, and subsistence only in an arithmetical ratio, arguing that vice and misery therefore have to act as necessary 'checks' on the growth of population. He regarded this 'new ... very much enlarged edition' as a substantially new book, containing observations from his tour of the continent in 1799, and based on a wider reading of the appropriate literature. It fully recognises the 'prudential' check implicit in his earlier essay, and while pointing to their dangers ceases to regard the checks of vice and misery as insuperable obstacles to social improvement. Kress B.4701; Goldsmiths' 18640; cf. PMM 251.
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