SMITH, Adam (1723-1790). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776.
2 volumes, 4° (281 x 211mm). With 12 cancels, 6 in volume I, and 6 in volume II. Volume II with half title, and with the Additions and Corrections to the First and Second Editions of the work bound in at end. (Without final blank in vol. I, title to vol. I a little soiled, 2Q1 slightly short at lower margin, light soiling to 3E1v and 3E2r, 3I1v and 3I2r, final leaves of the first volume lightly spotted, 2B2r of vol. II slightly soiled, 2S3 with small hole affecting one letter on recto and causing loss to another on verso, quire 2U a little browned, the Additions with dampstains in gutter and more widespread dampstaining on final leaves.) Near contemporary sheep-backed marbled boards, spines with the more recent addition of gilt ornament and morocco labels (rather rubbed, lower cover of vol. I torn, spine of the same vol. slightly torn at head, corners and inner hinges strengthened). Provenance: A few manuscript corrections in volume II.
FIRST EDITION OF 'THE FIRST AND GREATEST CLASSIC OF MODERN ECONOMIC THOUGHT' (PMM).Begun during Smith's stay at Toulouse in 1764, as a development of his lectures on moral philosophy at Glasgow University, the work took over a decade to complete. Its immediate popularity was partly owing to his admirable prose style, philosophic, yet easily accessible to the general reader. It also aroused public attention by the direct challenge Smith posed to the mercantile system. While his obligations to his predecessors, both English and French, were considerable, he was, above all, a great synthesiser, and his position as the first great theorist of capitalism, expounding the two basic ideas of ecoonomic self-interest and natural liberty, is unassailable. Nevertheless, his failure to foresee the social consequences of the factory system led Ruskin to condemn him as 'the half-bred and half-witted Scotchman who taught the deliberate blasphemy: 'Thou shalt hate the Lord, thy God, damn his laws and covet his neighbour's goods.' This copy of the Wealth of Nations contains the Additions and Corrections, first published with the octavo third edition in 1784. Copies in quarto format were issued separately in the same year, so they could be bound with copies of the first edition, and represent a very considerable supplement of some 24,000 words. Goldsmiths' 11392; Kress 7261; Rothschild 1897 and 1899; PMM 221. (2)