Great-Britain’s true system: wherein is clearly shewn, I. That an increase of the public debts and taxes must, in a few years, prove the ruin of the monied, the trading, and the landed interests. II. The necessity of raising the supplies to carry on the war, within the year. II. That such a design, however seemingly difficult, is very practicable: with a sketch of various schemes for that purpose. IV. An expedient which will support the public credit, in all times of public distress and danger. To which is prefixed, an introduction, relative to the forming a new plan of British politicks, with respect to our foreign affairs, and our connections on the continent. …

8vo, pp. vii, [1] blank, cl, 363, [1] blank; light offsetting throughout, marginal browning of the endpapers, title and the last leaf, but a good copy in contemporary sprinkled calf, boards gilt ruled, raised bands and gilt ruling and a gilt morocco lettering piece to the spine, spine sunned with a couple of dark marks; Macclesfield library bookplate to the front pastedown and the usual blind stamps to the first few pages.


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First edition of the last published work of that eighteenth-century British Mercantilist ‘whose vision was undiluted by vestiges of humanitarism’, most famous for his Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce (1751-1755), which was twenty years in the making (The New Palgrave).

Postlethwayt’s is a name with which, according to Schumpeter, every student of economics should be familiar. Writing of the work offered here, Schumpeter comments that ‘he was intelligent enough to see the importance of Cantillon’s book’ (p. 372), the, then unpublished, Essay on the Nature of Trade in General; in the nineteenth century the lengthy, unacknowledged quotations from Cantillon in this work were used to dismiss Postlethwayt as a mere plagiarist (Oxford DNB). Schumpeter reads Postlethwayt’s interpretation of ‘interest as a payment to hoarders by those who stand in need of it, i.e. as a payment necessary in order to overcome people’s reluctance to part with cash’ as an early form of ‘Lord Keynes’ own-rate theory of interest’ (p. 372).

Goldsmiths’ 9266; Higgs 1514; Kress 5639; Sabin 64565; also see Schumpeter, p. 372.

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