17 November 2004
PETTY, 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° (166 x 97mm). Title within double-ruled border. (Light browning at page edges, a few lower margins affected by paper fault.) Contemporary calf (rebacked, new endpapers). Provenance: John Denne (early signature on title).
SECOND EDITION. Written in 1671-76, Poltical Arithmetick was widely circulated in manuscript during the author's lifetime, even though he was very reluctant to print it. The book is an examination of the wealth of England using what Petty himself describes as 'Observations or Positions expressed by Number, Weight and Measure' -- in other words, his own invention of statistics. Keynes notes that, apart from the change of date, the title-page is identical with that of the 1690 edition. 'The imprimatur and the rest of the book have been reset line-by-line including the Errata, though some of them have been corrected.' Keynes Petty 35: 'one of his most important works'; Goldsmiths' 2869; Kress 1770; Wing P-1933.
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