Two vols in one, 12mo, pp. lxxx, 213,  blank; [iv], 314,  privilège; light waterstain to the upper corner of a couple of leaves in the preliminaries; upper edge lightly browned throughout, with the odd spot elsewhere; a nice, crisp copy in contemporary full mottled calf, marbled endpapers, red edges, spine tooled gilt in compartments, with an armorial gilt stamp to the bottom compartment, raised bands, with a gilt morocco lettering-piece.
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Principes de tout gouvernement, ou Examen des causes de la splendeur ou de la foiblesse de tout État considéré en lui-même, & indépendamment des moeurs.
Rare first edition of an important contribution to the population debate by Claude-François Joseph d’Auxiron (1728–1778), a major anti-physiocratic economist before Malthus and a significant early advocate of mathematical economics.
‘Auxiron’s work is significant chiefly because of his analysis of the determinants of population capacity, and his treatment of the relation between population growth and the interoccupational and interclass movements and balance in society’ (Spengler, French Predecessors of Malthus, p. 296). Auxiron stressed the importance of commerce in the attainment of maximum yield from the given land area of any country, allowing for specialisation through trading, thereby creating a wealth-induced population expansion which would be impossible in a closed economy. He opposed Rousseau’s beliefs on the relationship between labour and production. ‘Si la terre rendoit … proportion des travaux de ceux qui la cultivent, comme certains Auteurs l’ont avancé ce que nous disons ici seroit entièrement faux. Mais l’expérience de tous les lieux & de tous les siècles fait voir que la fécondité de la terre ne dépend pas uniquement des travaux des hommes … Il est étonnante,’ he continues, ‘que de tous les auteurs, ce soit M. Rousseau de Genêve qui ait le plus fortement soutenu la proposition que je combats, lui avoit sous les yeux la preuve la plus convaincante du contraire’ (II, 302–4).
Higgs 3943; INED 145; Kress 6314; not in Einaudi or Goldsmiths’; uncommon: further copies are recorded at Berkeley, Princeton, and Syracuse Universities; see Perrot, Une histoire intellectuelle d’économie politique (1992), for a detailed discussion of Auxiron’s work.
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Observations on Mr. Whitbread’s Poor Bill, and on the Population of England: intended as a supplement to A Short Inquiry into the Policy, Humanity, and Past Effects of the Poor Laws, &c.
First edition of each work. The barrister John Weyland (1774–1854) ‘was a well-to-do man whose landed possessions were extensive enough for him to be a magistrate in three counties, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey’ (James, p. 372). In 1807, he wrote two works supporting the poor laws, entitled A Short Inquiry into the Policy, Humanity, and Past Effects of the Poor Laws and Observations on Mr. Whitbread’s Poor Bill. A third work on the subject, The Principles of Population and Production followed in 1815. The following year marked the appearance of his 500-page magnum opus, the controversial Principles of Population and Production, a work of sufficient merit to provoke an immediate reply from Malthus in his Additions to the Fourth and former editions of an Essay on the Principle of Population (1817).
[SERRES, Jean de].
Gouvernement politique et economique. Tome premier [- troisieme].
First and only edition, rare, of a little-studied work on politics and economics attributed to the president of the Chambre des Comptes of Montpellier. The Avis tells us that the author had completed his work by 1759. By the beginning of the printing he had modified his original manuscript in two chapters: that devoted to Alexander the Great, and that on St Ignatius and the Jesuits.