An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
by Smith, Adam
London: Printed for A. Strahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1786. Fourth edition. Hardcover. Very good. THE BASIS OF ALL MODERN EDITIONS OF THE WEALTH… Fourth edition… Three volumes… Octavo (8 1/4” x 5”, 210mm x 128mm)… Bound in contemporary sprinkled calf. On the spine, seven gilt bands (a thick gilt fillet surrounded my gilt dashed rolls) making six compartments. Title gilt to red crushed morocco in the second panel. Number gilt within a gilt oval in the fourth panel. Edges of the text-block sprinkled red... Spine label of vol. 1 partly perished (NOT visible in photo). Hinges cracked; the front board of vol. 1 is tender; otherwise the volumes are fairly robust. Fore-corners bumped and worn in places. Toning from turn-downs to first and last few pages. Generally, though, very little foxing indeed. With lovely margins (identical to the Kress copy); fore-deckle preserved in all volumes (1: Ii2, 2: Aa1, 3: Y3 etc.), with one unopened pair of leaves (vol. 2, Bb7.8). Entirely unsophisticated, unlike nearly every copy known to us to be for sale. With the armorial bookplates of Gordon of Aikenhead on the front paste-down of each volume; ownership signature of John Gordon on the title-page of vol. 1.... Smith revised the Wealth, first published 1776, four times before his death in 1790. This third revision is not as substantial as the second (third edition, 1784); its preface acknowledges the assistance of Henry Hop, whose help allowed Smith to write on “the Bank of Amsterdam ; of which no printed account had ever appeared to me satisfactory, or even intelligible” (vol. 1, p. iv [A2v]). It was the largest print-run at the time of its publication, with some 1,250 copies having been printed. It was also only the second edition to be available in the cheaper octavo format; this edition marks the popularization of Smith’s writing. The fourth edition is the basis for essentially all modern texts of the Wealth, whose influence on political economy is no greater than its wider effect. It is this edition, for example, which would have influenced the framers of the Constitution... The intrigue of the present copy is its ownership by John Gordon of Aikenhead (1753†1828). Gordon matriculated at Glasgow University just a few years after Smith stepped down from the chair of Moral Philosophy in order to tutor the son of the Duke of Buccleuch. Gordon was a principal partner in the West Indies trading firm Somervell (later Stirling), Gordon & Co. He amassed enormous wealth through trade via Jamaica (£118,543, some £12M in today’s money) and stood as one of the titans of industry in the newly cosmopolitan Glasgow. Thus steeped in the city besotted with Smith, he ran his firm, no doubt, along the principles spelled out in this very book... ESTC T96679, Grolier English 100 57 (first edn.), Kress B.1129, Lowndes V.2417, Printing and the Mind of Man2 221 (first edn.), Rothschild 1897 (first edn.), Tribe-Mizuta 30. Antiquarian
(Inventory #: 300011)
We are a generalist shop, with several concentrations of material. On the modern side, signed first editions, including poetry and Beat literature, art & photography and fine press. On the antiquarian side, English literature, exploration and natural science (with a good deal else besides).
Shipping & Return Policies
We offer a 30 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged.
You can be confident that when you make a purchase through ABAA.org, the item is sold by an ABAA member in full compliance with our Code of Ethics. Our sellers guarantee your order will be shipped promptly and that all items are as described. Buy with confidence through ABAA.org.