An Essay on the Principle of Population; or, A View of the Past and Present Effects on Human Happiness; With an Inquiry into our Prospects Respecting the Future Removal or Mitigation of the Evils which it occasions.
MALTHUS Thomas Robert (1807.)
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Fourth edition. Two volumes. 8vo. xvi, 580; vii, [1, blank], 484, [60, Index] pp. With the half titles. Contemporary sprinkled calf, spines with five single raised bands, second and fifth panels lettered in gilt on brown morocco labels, the rest with decorative gilt stamps, covers with double gilt fillet borders and gilt crest 'Vise a La Fin' with adder of Sir James Home-Spiers of Blackadder, Berwickshire, marbled edges, brown endpapers, silk place markers (tears to U5-6 of Vol. 2 with slight loss of text, faint residue from removal of old bookplates to front pastedowns of both volumes, otherwise generally internally clean; some light wear to extremities, spine label to Vol. 1 slightly chipped, neat contemporary manuscript classmark paper label at foot of spine, still a very pleasing copy). London, J. Johnson.
An attractive copy of the fourth edition of this canonical text of classical economics and reference point for all serious discussion of population to this day, being a reprint of the third edition of 1806 with a new Appendix written in response to earlier objections to the author's conclusions.
Originally published anonymously in 1798, followed by the extensively revised "Great Quarto" edition of 1803 and the third edition presented here, being the first to appear in two octavo volumes, both so substantially enlarged, rewritten, and re-titled as to be entirely new works. Malthus's 'Essay was originally the product of a discussion with his father on the perfectibility of society. Malthus senior was a supporter of the utopian views of Godwin and others, but recognised the force of his son's refutation of these views, and urged him to publish. Thus, the first edition was essentially a fighting tract, but later editions were considerably altered and grew bulkier as Malthus defended his views against a host of critics. The Malthusian theory of population came at the right time to harden the existing feeling against the Poor Laws and Malthus was a leading spirit behind the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834' (Printing and the Mind of Man).
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