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An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of - SMITH, Adam - 1811. 
London: for J. Maynard and F. Zinke, 1811 - 3 volumes, octavo (215 x 125 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, smooth spines gilt in compartments, black labels, marbled paper sides, sprinkled edges. Volumes respectively numbered 483, 484 and 485 to initial blanks in a contemporary hand. Joints superficially cracked in places, but firm, tips rubbed, vol. 3 spine darkened, preliminary blank neatly excised from each volume, vol. 2 with pale spray of foxing to prelims and short closed tear to bottom edge of title and fore edge of sig. 2K, the text unaffected, a few leaves (notably sigs. E7-8 and R7-8) clumsily opened or unopened at lower outer corners in vol. 3, the text spared. A very good copy. Tables to the text. An appealing copy of this later London edition, reprinting the text of the fifth edition (1786), the last to be published in Smith's lifetime, and which was itself based on the text of the third edition, the last to which Smith made any significant changes. The Life and the essay by Germaine Garnier, translator of the Wealth into French, were first included together in 1806. With the ownership inscription of noted veterinary surgeon A. E. Mettam, London Road, Retford, Nottinghamshire to the front free endpaper of each volume. Mettam (1867-1917) was in general practice at Retford before becoming the first principal of the newly-established Royal Veterinary College of Ireland in 1900. "Where the political aspects of human rights had taken two centuries to explore, Smith's achievement was to bring the study of economic aspects to the same point in a single work. The Wealth of Nations is not a system, but as a provisional analysis it is completely convincing. The certainty of its criticism and its grasp of human nature have made it the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought" (Printing and the Mind of Man).
[Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
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