11 - 13 July 2000
PETTY, Sir William (1623-1687). Political Arithmetick; or A discourse concerning the extent and value of lands, people, buildings .... London: Robert Clavel and Henry Mortlock, 1691.
Small 8° (155 x 100mm). Title within double-ruled border. (Small hole in title caused by thinness in the paper, the hole touching on one letter, two small ink spots on blank area of title, some brown stains at text margins, a few lower margins shaved close to catch-words, lower corners in quire G creased, G4 with tear along outer margin.) Contemporary speckled calf, blind fillets on sides, spine with raised bands and morocco lettering-piece, red speckled edges (joints cracking slightly, upper cover a little chipped). Provenance: Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872, with printed purchase label by William H. Robinson Ltd., Pall Mall).
FIRST EDITION, second issue. Poltical Arithmetick, written in 1671-76, was widely circulated in manuscript during Petty's lifetime, even though he was very reluctant to print it. The book is an examination of the wealth of England using what the author himself describes as 'Observations or Positions expressed by Number, Weight and Measure' -- in other words, statistics, the science of which was invented by Petty. Apart from the change of date on the title page from 1690, the second issue is identical with the first and printed from the same setting of type. Keynes Sir William Petty 35: 'one of his most important works'; Goldsmiths' 2869; Kress 1770; Wing P-1933.
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