The Theory of Moral Sentiments … To which is added, A Dissertation on the Origin of Languages
vii, [i], 598, [2, ads] pp. 1 vols. 8vo
by Smith, Adam
Philadelphia: Published by Anthony Finley … J. Maxwell Printer, 1817. First American edition, from the twelfth Edinburgh edition. vii, [i], 598, [2, ads] pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Contemporary tree sheep. Rebacked, red morocco spine label. Text foxed and browned, waterstain to first 6 leaves. Signed S.P. Aldridge in contemporary hand on title-page and front pastedown. First American edition, from the twelfth Edinburgh edition. vii, [i], 598, [2, ads] pp. 1 vols. 8vo. The First American Edition of Adam Smith's First Book. Smith's first book, "written primarily for intellectuals concerned with the philosophical definition of virtue and social scientific explanation of how men become moral." (Muller p. 7) It established Smith's reputation as a philosopher and in this work, and his lectures of 1762-3 first appeared Smith's "development of a unified concept of an economic system and mutually interdependent parts" (O'Brien) which was further expanded and put forth in his "Wealth of Nations." When first published in 1759, this work was "received with acclaim" in England, Scotland and the Continent, Burke gave it an "intelligent and enthusiastic review in the 'Annual Review'" (Muller) but it was not published in America unti 1817. There was a resurgance of interest in Smith and in the Scottish Enlightenment in early nineteenth century. Finley, the publisher of this work, also published several other works by authors of the Scottish Enlightenment including Stewart's "Philosophical Essays." Smith's unfortunate portrayal of Americans as "the refuse of the jails of Europe[ and stating "That fortune never more cruelly exerted her empire over mankind than when she subjected those nations of heroes (the negroes) to the refuse of the jails of Europe" may not have helped his reception here. In fact, that statement did elicit a written response in "An Essay in Vindication of the Continental Colonies of America, from a Censure of Mr. Adam Smith, in his 'Theory of Moral Sentiments,' with Some Reflections on Slavery in General." By an American. (London: Printed for the Author, 1764) (Sabin 22933; Howes S570). Kress B7052; Muller, J. "Adam Smith in His Time and Ours"; O'Brien "The Classical Economists", 1975, p. 29; Shaw and Shoemaker 42128; Sabin 82314 For first edition: Vanderblue, p. 40; Goldsmith 9537; Higgs 1890; Einaudi 5346
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