Vie de Monsieur Turgot …

London, [i.e. Paris, n.p.], 1786.

8vo, pp. [iv], 299, [1] errata; minor occasional toning, but a very fresh, crisp, almost pristine copy, uncut in contemporary blue wrappers (wrappers a little worn and chipped).


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Vie de Monsieur Turgot …

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First edition, an uncut copy in wrappers, of the sole example of Condorcet’s economic writings to employ mathematics. Condorcet’s use of ‘the sign ∫ as a sign of summation of finite quantities’ is an ‘innovation’ in his ten-page footnoted discussion of the various ways ‘in which indirect taxation could be replaced by direct taxation and the effects of such a change’ (Theocharis, p. 65). This biography, together with that of Dupont, is the chief contemporary account of the renowned financial reformer and physiocratic sympathizer, Turgot.

Condorcet’s ‘mathematical treatment of probabilities, and his discussion of differential equations and finite differences, show an ability which might have put him in the first rank had he concentrated his attention on mathematics’ (Ball, A Short Account of the History of Mathematics, p. 388).

The work was much called for; four editions were published in 1786. This is the earliest, with a misprint in the errata: page 134 instead of 104 (identified as edition ‘A’ in Anton Gerits’ Condorcet’s Vie de Monsieur Turgot, Harvard Library Bulletin 1992-1993, vol. III, no. 4, p. 35).

Einaudi 1217; Goldsmiths’ 13128; Fisher, p. 174; INED 1186 (a later 1786 edition); Jevons, p. 278; Kress B.1032; Mattioli 746; see Theocharis, p. 65.

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