A ‘SPIRIT OF THE LAW’ FOR ECONOMICS

Saggio d’economia politica; o sia, Riflessioni sullo spirito della legislazione relativamente all’agricoltura, alla popolazione, alle arti e manifatture, ed al commercio.

Napoli, V. Orsini, 1793.

8vo, pp. xi, [5], 343, [1]; with engraved frontispiece and four engraved vignettes to text; a very good copy in contemporary stiff vellum, gilt contrasting lettering-pieces to spine; nineteenth-century ownership stamp to the title (Hettore Capialbi, Monteleone, 1877).

£1250

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Saggio d’economia politica; o sia, Riflessioni sullo spirito della legislazione relativamente all’agricoltura, alla popolazione, alle arti e manifatture, ed al commercio.

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Very rare first and only edition of a book on economic and social policy by Marcello Marchesini, a scholar from Istria who, having been trained in Venice, took the chair of Political Economy in Naples after Genovesi. Marchesini declares in the title that his book should be regarded as a ‘Spirit of the law as it concerns agriculture, population, the arts and manufactures, and trade’. It must be the aim of all monarchs, he writes, to build a legislation which favours the ‘sources of the wealth of a nation’: a detailed program of enlightened agricultural policies of modernisation (agriculture being the foremost and primary source of a nation’s wealth), of incentive to industry and of free trade. Marchesini’s political outlook recoils from the ‘excesses’ of contemporary French revolutionary antimonarchism, as the dedication to King Ferdinand implies. His is a mature, little-known work embedding the most modern economic notions within the political framework of enlightened absolutism.

Einaudi 3713; Kress S.5432; not in Goldsmiths’, Mattioli or Sraffa. OCLC shows a single copy, at Chicago.

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