SMITH, Adam (1723-1790). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776--[A. SMITH.] Additions and Corrections to the First and Second Editions of ... Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations [drop-head title]. [?London: ?W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1784.]
2 works in 3 volumes bound in 2, 4° (282 x 224mm). Letterpress tables in the text. Volume I with cancellans M3, Q1, U3, 2Z3 [with early ink correction to signature], 3A4, and 3O4; volume II with cancellans D1 and 3Z4. (Scattered spotting and occasional ink- or mildew-marking; volume I: paper flaw affecting page number on 2E3, short, clean tear affecting first line of 2E4, lacking final blank 3T4; volume II: lacking half-title [A]1, paper flaw touching one word on O1, 4C2.3 misbound between 4B1 and 2, 4C1.4 misbound before 4D1; Additions: paper flaw affecting one line on L3.) Contemporary speckled calf, the spines gilt in compartments and with gilt morocco lettering-pieces (covers with minor scuffing, scratching and marking, corners lightly bumped, spines a little rubbed and with short tears at ends, lacking lettering-pieces bearing volume numbers, short splits on hinges). Provenance: John Campbell of Stonefield, later Lord Stonefield, Levenside (d.1801, admitted Advocate 1748, elevated to Bench of Court of Session 1762 and a Judge of the Supreme Court until his death (cf. J. MacVeigh The Scottish Family History (Dumphries: 1891), I, p.570), early booklabels with manuscript pressmarks).
FIRST EDITION. '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 economic 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 by Strahan and Cadell in 1784. Copies in quarto format were issued separately in the same year, so that they could be bound with copies of the first edition, and represent a very considerable supplement of some 24,000 words. ESTCT96668 and T96670; Goldsmiths' 11,392 and 12,553 (Additions); Kress 7,261; Rothschild 1,897 and 1,899; PMM 221. (2)