The Fable of the Bees: or, private Vices, publick Benefits. With an Essay on Charity and Charity-Schools. And a Search into the Nature of Society. The third Edition. To which is added a Vindication of the Book from the Aspersions contain’d in a Presentment of the Grand-Jury of Middlesex, and an abusive Letter to Lord C.

London: Printed for J. Tonson … 1724.

8vo., pp. [16], 477, [3], with the terminal blank; woodcut head and tail pieces throughout; title-page with offsetting from B8v and vice versa; a good copy in modern calf; armorial bookplate of Owen Aubrey Sherrard.


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Third edition (according to the publisher’s reckoning), and the last lifetime edition to add new material. The poem that forms the core of this book was first published in 1705 under the title The Grumbling Hive: or Knaves Turn’d Honest. It was reprinted twice in 1714 as The Fable of the Bees [Part I] with a prose ‘Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue’ and twenty short prose discourses entitled ‘Remarks’. In 1723 a ‘second’ edition was published, with ‘Remarks’ enlarged and two new essays, ‘On Charity and Charity Schools’ and ‘A Search into the Nature of Society’. The 1723 edition attracted much controversy; in response Mandeville wrote a ‘Vindication’, included for the first time here. This ‘third’ edition also has some stylistic changes, and an expanded preface. Apart from one 12mo. (1729), subsequent lifetime editions (1725, 1728, 1732) are paginary reprints of this one with minor revision.

Einaudi 3688; Kaye II, p. 393; Kress 3561.

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